The growth of online shopping and Ecommerce in Australia has been truly astronomical over the past five years. Weâ€™ve seen some massive businesses evolve seemingly overnight to become household names, and a lot of them had very humble beginnings. As in a single person with a dream using their bedroom desk, to millions in dollars in yearly revenue.
When we think about these success stories, we often think about the huge leap and massive risk those people must have made though…
The truth is that starting an online store these days requires very very little monetary investment, and with the help of some great new providers out there, you donâ€™t have to be an I.T. genius or computer programmer. Anyone with a morsel of desire and persistence can do it…anyone. It just takes that little bit of thought to think about where you can place yourself comfortably in this continually growing market.
Starting your â€˜Ecomâ€™ business though is an idea that could be fraught with confusion and huge feelings of uncertainty. What do you need to setup, what do you need to do first, and what do you even sell?
This 3-part blog series will focus exactly on what steps are required to get going:
- Creating your store (this blog)
- Finding out what to sell (our second upcoming blog)
- Final touches and growing your business (now you are running, letâ€™s grow baby!)
So with a spare weekend and $100 to setup your own store, what are your first steps? It may surprise you how easy it has become in recent times. Even just a few short years back, starting an online store meant:
- getting a domain name
- buying hosting
- purchasing/installing your ecommerce cart
- setting up payment processing
- having a web-designer design a theme/brand for your store
- having a web-developer get your cart up and running, and keeping it that way
- finding products to import from a an overseas supplier (not as easy as it sounds)
- warehousing and order fulfillment
- product returns/customer support
Quite a workload there for a single person, especially someone new to the space. Before you had made a single sale you are dealing with the costs of hiring designers, developers, initial stock, and the ongoing monthly costs of keeping it all going.
This thankfully has been flipped on itâ€™s head. Using Ecommerce â€˜SAASâ€™ providers, you can now be in the back-end of your own ecommerce store in under 5 minutes…literally.
As seen above, filling out a form with basic details and wala, 10 seconds later I now have the base for my store up and running.
Companies like Shopify, Bigcommerce, et-al, have allowed everyday people to set up their storefronts, select products to sell, and start receiving and shipping orders…all in a dayâ€™s work.
So that large initial setup list above has been shrunk down into two steps:
- Register a domain name for your store/business: ~$10 (can do this second, once your store is setup, and it isnt an absolute requirement – in fact I would recommend doing this second when figuring out what products you would like to sell)
- Setup your store with a FREE trial: https://www.bigcommerce.com/pricing/free-trial – $29.95 thereafter.
In fact you could setup free trials at Shopify, BigCommerce and Volusion to see which you like the feel of the most. We can attest though that the crucial factor will come down to you, and not which provider you select.
Ihave worked on both Shopify and BigCommerce stores, and Bigcommerce I am most familiar with, having grown an apparel store to over a million dollars in yearly revenue over the past 12 months:
I also work with a friend on their Shopify account and often at times prefer itâ€™s workflow and interface. Shopify does win out in terms of expanding itâ€™s functionality as itâ€™s â€˜appâ€™ marketplace is larger, so will allow more extendability. BigCommerce has more useful features out of the box, and was originally founded by two Aussies from Sydney.
So throughout the rest of this article, we will look at the BigCommerce platform for our examples, as it also allows us to find and sell products seamlessly by connecting with a wholesale marketplace. Which is part of the key starting your store in a no hassle fashion. You donâ€™t even need to know what you are initially going to sell to get your store up, we can figure that out later after all.
So really two simple steps lay ahead, setting up your store, and then browsing for what types of products you would like to sell (in our next installment we will show a great workflow for figuring out what to sell).
Once in the backend we can see all sorts of fantastic themes and templates for your store, and in the spirit of taking things for a test-drive I would recommend using the free themes initially, as they are very good out of the box.
Have a look at some of these to get a feel for the quality of the store you can easily setup.
Very very slick and no computer coding required to make it look fantastic and begin on your journey of building a profitable Ecommerce store.
I love the classic hip theme, so will be using that for the rest of this series.
So what lays ahead now? Firstly we should look at the great tutorials provided in the backend of your store, and get a feel for navigation and layout. Bigcommerce are even nice enough to outline the upcoming steps in setting up the store, but we will also be going in depth into how to find, select, and upload your products into your store.
Itâ€™s difficult not to encourage anyone with an entrepreneurial bone in their body to jump at setting up an Ecommerce store. The barriers to entry have thoroughly been smashed, and a little bit of planning and research can set you up either a nice side income, all the way to a fully fledged Ecommerce behemoth superstore. All great endings have humble beginnings!
Now we have a store we can login to and love the look of, next week we will start doing our research into what products we would love to sell, setting up our payments, and then look at the final step of growing our store and earning some revenue!
Stay tuned for part 2,Â and letâ€™s get your home business up and running!
PS: If you donâ€™t think an Ecommerce store is for you, try our home business matchup. It takes your survey answers and matches you with up to 4 ideal home businesses that are being worked successfully in your area, and helps team you up with the exact people that can make it happen for you locally.