Consumers are online. Suppliers are online. Currency is online. Isn't it time for you to stake your claim on the digital landscape? When you're ready to go all in on digital, the next critical decision you face is which kind of ecommerce business to launch.
Nearly a decade ago, management consultant Simon Sinek kicked off a radically new concept in entrepreneurship called "Start with why." His research revealed that, "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it."
That's how Apple went from a literal garage startup to the first $1 trillion company. They effortlessly glided from selling personal computers to music players to mobile phones, because what they sell doesn't matter as much as why they sell it. Apple is more than just a company: it's become a lifestyle.
As you begin to think about the most compelling elements of your own story — the "why" of it all — factor in where your strengths match the needs of the marketplace.
To guide you in matching strengths to needs, here are a few of the most underserved sectors, as evidenced by the high demand and the success of first movers with ecommerce sites:
Culinary stores like Capital Teas
Do you have a passion for good food and energizing drinks? Consider a gourmet ecommerce store. Demand for high-quality food, coffee and tea are at an all-time high and trending upward as more people in more places go looking for better meal experiences. Peter Martino ran just a small brick-and-mortar tea store in Maryland before he took the leap into ecommerce in 2011. In our profile of how Capital Teas went digital, we reported, "Even though customers can't try the teas in-person, Capital Teas' online store has managed to be a success by providing videos, testimonials, and free samples in every order they ship out. Their internal growth has grown more than 50% year over year for five years straight, and next year they're hoping to grow in excess of 100%."
Pet supply stores like Posh Puppy Boutique
The majority of families in the US (55 percent of homes) love taking care of their pets. They are willing to pay a significant premium to keep their furry friends happy and healthy. Jennifer Kirk launched her Posh Puppy Boutique as an online only store with no physical component. She was inspired by watching her kids play dress up. She said, "After trying several trials from various providers, I chose Volusion. Volusion is very user-friendly and has great video tutorials and support. I recommend Volusion to everyone that is starting an online store! Since 2008, our sales are projected to be up 515% and the numbers keep on growing."
The Essentials of Ecommerce Operations
When you start with why and match your talents to market demands, a great deal of possibilities open up. The next step is narrowing down those options with practical considerations.
Our interactive guide on How to Start and Online Store walks you through the steps of:
- Finding your niche
- Choosing a platform
- Conducting basic market research
- Creating buyer personas
- Budgeting and SEO planning
- Finishing setup and marketing
Delivering on the Last Mile
One of the biggest changes to the ecommerce scene recently is the rising consumer expectations for getting things delivered more quickly, to more locations, and with simplified return processes. You'll be able to answer all three concerns at once when you align with the right dropshipping partners. In logistics, the last mile problem describes why even though prices are dropping for cross-country shipping, costs remain high and coordination complex for delivering the goods on time to individual homes and businesses.
Dropshipping is the radically new business model of shipping goods directly to your buyers by collaborating with third-party vendors. This eliminates the need for you to hold inventory or manage all the complications of specialized delivery. It also can open up your business to customers in locations you never considered before, nationally or internationally.
Never forget that once is not forever. You might end up testing out several different ecommerce store ideas to find the right fit for you and your lifestyle. Enjoy the journey!
Have any questions about launching an ecommerce business? Let us know in the comments!