The e-commerce industry is growing fast, so if you’re looking to start a business, it makes sense to get online. Starting an online shop has many advantages over opening a bricks and mortar storefront: there are no overheads, and you can run your business from the comfort of your own home. However, selling online is not as easy as it appears.
You’ll need to put as much consideration into starting an e-commerce business as you would put into launching any other kind of enterprise. To help you decide whether online selling is right for you, here are four things you should consider before taking the plunge.
It Won’t Make You Money Fast
Opening an online store is just like starting any other business. It’s not a “get rich quick” scheme, and it won’t make you money overnight. An e-commerce business takes months (sometimes years) to research, build and launch, and it’s not something you can attempt without an existing, sustainable income. To be successful, you need to make decisions based on the long-term security of your business, not your short-term finances. In other words: don’t try to start a business when you’re already in a financial predicament.
You May Need Training
If you don’t consider yourself “web savvy,” it’s going to be difficult for you to start a business online. Although there are several resources available for first-time e-commerce sellers (such as Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce), these platforms still require you to have some degree of Internet literacy; so don’t jump straight into starting a business without prior training. Before you can turn your website into a selling machine, you should take a course in e-commerce and educate yourself to the nuances of the online marketplace.
Online Security Is Important
If you want customers to buy products from your site, you need to invest in reliable security measures that will keep their data safe. Add a secure payment gateway to your website which acts as a go-between for you, your customers, and their bank issuer to ensure transactions are legitimate and that information stays encrypted. Now that credit card fraud and identity theft are so rife, you cannot afford to shortchange your buyers on security.
There’s No Guarantee of Success
As any entrepreneur will tell you, there is never a guarantee that a new business will succeed. So, if you’re not in a position to take a gamble, it might be worth considering whether this is the right time for you to be starting a business. If you’re determined to start selling, you may need to adjust your expectations for the first few years of business, but don’t give up. As long as you’re up to speed with the necessary technology and you have a financial backup (e.g., an existing job or savings account) then don’t throw in the towel just yet.
Although starting a business is challenging, and there is no guarantee you’ll reap the rewards of your hard work, with the right amount of planning, research, financial stability, and managed expectations, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t see the fruit of your labors.