Want to earn more on the side, but not quite ready to quit your day job yet? Ecommerce is a great way to start your entrepreneurial journey because it’s low-cost and low-risk. Here is all you need to know to go from ecommerce newbie to ecommerce entrepreneur in a day. May your journey to digital nomadhood begin (if you want to know more about the realities of being a digital nomad – read this guide).
Do Your Keyword Research
This is probably one of the most important tasks of the day, and the one you should start with. Keyword research will not only tell you what products to stock and what product categories to include, but it will also help you suss out the competition and size up your intended niche.
- Start broad and hone in – explore different keyword avenues to make sure you’re covering all bases. Save all your data in spreadsheets and use data filtering to help you manage keyword variants.
- Make a list of all the keywords you need to use in your title tags and on your product and category pages, and have it open when you write.
Some useful keyword research tools to bookmark:
Keyword research tools usually have a free version that works just fine – if you want more data you can become a pro subscriber.
*Google Keyword Planner won’t show you keyword search volumes unless you pay for some Google Adwords advertising (might be worth it in the long-run).
Start By Selling Other People’s Products
Product development and working with suppliers can take an age – why not start with dropshipping instead? Dropshipping means that you only handle the sales side of the bargain – leaving the order fulfilment to someone else.
- You will need to find a supplier who matches your criteria. The best option is a wholesaler who will allow you to use your own branding to make the whole chain more consistent for the consumer. Go with someone reliable with a good track record. Remember – you’ll be dealing with the fallout on the customer side.
- You can also become a seller on third party sites like Amazon or eBay and take advantage of retail arbitrage ;(more on arbitrage here). These sites have great SEO and their product pages rank well, so this could be potentially lucrative if you get the right deals.
- Affiliate marketing is another popular niche which is all about commission-based earning. Affiliate marketing is easy to set up as you don’t handle the products yourself, but some affiliate programs don’t offer great commission (read this handy post on how to set up a profitable affiliate niche).
Use Tools to Help You Build Out Your Store
You won’t be able to design and customize an online store from scratch in a day, but you can create an online store fast if you use an ecommerce platform.
- An ecommerce platform is a great way to get an SEO-friendly and professionally designed store up and running in a day. They tend to be very secure, and as you pay for many of them monthly, you’ll be spreading the cost too.
- Tight budget on the day? Take advantage of free trials and pay the monthly invoice later to reduce startup costs (open an online store with this free trial).
- A professional template is a fantastic way to get a store ready to go fast. You can always make design tweaks and changes later. Most platforms have drag and drop editors – no coding required.
- If you are more comfortable with code, you usually have a custom CSS or HTML option too.
Shoot Product Images in Bulk (on your smartphone)
Professional photography is great, but if you want to move fast – become a professional photographer with your smartphone instead!
- Use your smartphone to take attractive and unique product images. Design your own set and take photos in nice, natural lights. A neutral setting like an office or a warehouse would be ideal.
- Take some photos for social media too – introduce some interesting props and tell a story with your setting.
- Customize high-quality stock imagery from sites like Pexels and Pixabay for hero images and social media backgrounds.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Adapt processes and paperwork from other stores and merchants and customize them so that they fit in with what you are trying to achieve.
- Use competitor research as your launch pad – don’t copy what they are doing, but learn from their sites (and mistakes) to improve yours.
Launch with a Bang
The biggest mistake ecommerce merchants make when they first start out is not prioritizing promotion. Promoting an ecommerce store is a huge job and is obviously going to take more than a day, but here is where you can start.
- As we’re all about speed – you could start with the PPC (pay-per-click) advertising model. Advertise on search engines and social media sites to help you drive traffic from day one. PPC warning: PPC is only cost-effective if properly managed. If your ads are misleading and your landing pages don’t deliver, you will be wasting your money.
- Promote your store heavily on social media with offers and incentives during the launch.
- Reach out to bloggers and influencers who may be interested in covering your store or products. Capitalize on your newsworthy novelty factor around your launch.
- Keep tweaking and optimizing your store for your keywords – post-launch data should show you where some of the gaps are.
Hope you’ve got enough there to get started with your side hustle. Remember that you will have to keep refining and changing your store as customers react to it. Use data and analytics to help you further refine your user-experience. What do you think is the biggest barrier to you setting up a side hustle right now?