The hardest part! Starting an e-commerce store will take a bit of time and effort, but for the solo entrepreneur, it can pay off quite a bit over time.
Fortunately, this guide can quickly get you up to speed in starting a new store.
Finding Your Niche Market
The first thing you'll want to do is focus on a niche that appeals to you. Starting a business that you're not excited about will make the task of
running an online business much more difficult. Choosing a niche you are familiar with, and have a natural affinity for will keep
interest and engagement high, even during more challenging times. Plus, you don't want to spend the next week, month, year from now building a site, only
to find out there isn't a viable market for it.
Start a List
What are your hobbies? Write them down, and list them out. Maybe it's sewing a garment, or fad diet that you're into. Chances are, if you are an early
adopter, that is a potential viable niche market opportunity. Once you have a running list, next will be to research
viable markets for that hobby, community or product. Examples:
Finding niche viability in a competitive marketplace is easier than it ever has been in the past. There are tons of free tools and data at your fingertips to
do market research before you fully commit.
Do a Google Keyword Search
The amount of money spent on certain keyword terms and their bid price can give a lot of insight into viable and/or profitable markets. Using the Google Keyword Planner tool, keep a running list
of keywords that could potentially be used in the future, or help give you insight.
Example: Succulent, Cactus or Air Plant Store
Create a list of potential keywords in a notepad doc, or excel spreadsheet. I came up with 12 and saved them in a notepad doc.
Copy & paste your initial keyword thoughts into the Google Keyword Planner Tool. My initial keywords generated 711 other keyword ideas.
Download the spreadsheet of all keywords and keyword ideas
From the keyword data, I've learned:
- It might be a good idea to make a video about air plant care. The irony! This could be really fun and very shareable
- Make a video or write blog articles about 'succulent care', 'planting succulents' and 'growing succulents'
- Hibiscus plants are a viable niche market as well
- 'Hanging Plants', 'Office Plants', 'Low Light Indoor Plants' might be a good keywords and viable areas to market to.
Use the Keyword Spreadsheet to Find an Available Domain Name
There are still a lot of great domain names available out there. You can use your running list of Google Keywords to import into
bulk domain name search engines, or use
a site like Bust A Name if you really get stuck, and need some divergent domain name ideas.
Narrow down your keywords from the spreadsheet above, and paste the keyword
list into Bust A Name, or a bulk domain name finder
On my list I have quite a few easily brandable, relevant and memorable domain names. *Don't get too caught up in finding a domain name! A lot of first-time merchants
get caught up in names and logos before they do market research. Don't fall into that trap - it's really easy and irrational to get romantic with your product or idea before doing proper market research.
Research Potential Audiences on Social Media
There has never been an easier time to market to future consumers of your product or service. Networks like Facebook have more data on people than marketers have ever had before. Using Facebook Power Editor
can give you insight into potential networks and audiences of people who may be interested to hop on your brand bandwagon.
Harnessing the Power of Facebook Power Editor
Facebook Power Editor can give some insight into your potential audience on Facebook. There has never been more data available to you for FREE. If you already have a Facebook Page for a hobby, you can re-market to your
page audience, and find 'lookalike' audiences to expand your brand top-of-mind awareness.
Create a business or website 'Page' in Facebook, then you'll be able to take full advantage of Power Editor
Finding audiences with hashtags on Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest
Hashtags are the equivalent to a keyword search on the Google search engine. With so much screen time being consumed on mobile social networks like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, doing
hashtag research on these networks is just as important as a Google Keyword search. Do not deny the potential that these networks have to drive new customers to your future store.
In Instagram, search hashtags and accounts with like interests. Services such as Iconosquare can give insight into dayparting your posts and trending tags, and audience analytics.
A simple hashtag search shows over 2 million images on Instagram are tagged with the word '#succulents', which shows high interest on the network and visibility.
Search For Your Potential Products on Amazon
This is so simple, yet often overlooked. When products end up on comparison shopping engines, it's an all-out price war. You don't want to spend months
creating a store, only to find out that your margin is not enough to sustain a healthy profit. A quick Amazon search can tell you quite a bit about the market, and viability.
There appears to be a viable niche in the Amazon market for more types of hanging plants and air plants in hanging containers - especially in trendy, modern pots.
Power your store with AspDotNetStorefront ...
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... or take one of our Industry-specific stores, pre-populated with product catalogs
Choose the 'niche', then sign up for a storefront that comes ready filled with things to sell. We have carefully
selected premium distributors and drop-shippers who will keep your storefront up to date with prices and inventory. You can save time (by
having your catalog automatically updated) and you can save money (by electing to drop-ship and avoiding heavy warehousing costs).
Broadcasting, Marketing and Referral Networks
By this time, you should have a pretty good insight into where your future customers are. In addition to a range of ecommerce platform offerings,
AspDotNetStorefront also connects and feeds
products out to most major shopping networks or comparison shopping engines. This makes handling store inventory and pricing automated and manageable.
directly, sign up for a free demo
of our e-commerce platform or get started today