Ecommerce makes up only a portion of the worldwide retail market for the time being, but it’s driving most of the growth. Some predictions say ecommerce will become a $4 trillion market by 2020, demonstrating a 20 percent combined annual growth rate.
In other words, there’s huge potential for retailers to tap into this growing market as more consumers satisfy their buying needs online. This is just one reason why it’s an exciting time to start an ecommerce business, though. Here are a few others for aspiring ecommerce entrepreneurs to consider.
Startup Costs Are Reasonable
It costs money to start any business, of course. But the barriers to entry for ecommerce may be lower than you think. Here’s what one entrepreneur, who started a $30 million business from his living room, has to say to Inc. about the startup costs for getting into the ecommerce game: “A home office is free, an e-commerce website can be obtained for less than $50 a month, a Facebook page is free and most people already have a computer.”
Perhaps the largest cost to plan for is inventory, but there are ways to stock your store as you go. You can also try drop-shipping, which means your website facilitates orders but they ship from the manufacturer, helping you avoid taking on excess inventory.
You Can Launch a Store Without Web Design Experience
As the aforementioned entrepreneur said above, you can set up an ecommerce website for a nominal monthly fee nowadays. What is an ecommerce platform? Instead of building a website from scratch, entrepreneurs can build and host a storefront using a platform like Shopify—which includes features like a user-friendly theme, a payment gateway, website cybersecurity, back-end operations management, etc.
Customizing an existing template and running your store via hosting software is less finicky—and pricey—than building a custom website. Plus, you’ll have support if you have questions along the way. So, today’s ecommerce entrepreneurs can focus more on selling than trying to also master web design.
More People Are Shopping via Mobile Devices
In the past, consumers used mobile devices primarily to search and browse. But as time goes on more people are using their mobile devices to buy. Some experts predict so-called “m-commerce” will account for nearly half (49 percent) of online retail sales by 2020.
This means retailers have new opportunities to reach consumers at home and on the go. A mobile-friendly website is an absolute must-have. Make sure your store is capable of facilitating a smooth experience whether people are using desktop, a tablet or a smartphone to shop.
There Are Many Ways to Market
There are more ways than ever before to connect meaningfully with your online audience. Ecommerce marketing still includes many of the staple strategies, like email marketing. But today’s marketers have at their fingertips more ways than ever before to communicate with online audiences—like influencer and social media marketing.
As The Balance Small Business points out, customers now expect to find responsive support and an entire “social experience” from their favorite ecommerce stores. Engagement is key. Shoppers want more than recurring posts about products and sales; they want interactivity. Every social media platform allows merchants to connect with users in a unique way, though content, videos, Q&A sessions and more.
Influencer marketing has also arisen as a way for brands to tap into likeminded audiences. Try to find influencers within your niche respected by your target customers, then reach out to them to see if they’d be interested in working with your brand.
It’s an exciting time to start an ecommerce business because the industry is on the upswing and there’s plenty of room for new stores to flourish.