In the middle of 2012, the U.S. Census data revealed that e-commerce sales are increasing at a rate faster than traditional offline retail sales, raking in approximately $190 billion in sales in 2011. Businesses are taking to the internet to sell their products and services. Those not taking to this business model are being left behind. Entrepreneurs, big or small that are already running “bricks and mortar” businesses are turning to e-commerce as a business opportunity, and retailing business has given birth to etailing.
According to Free Dictionary, e-tail means retail conducted via the Internet, Therefore what used to be called mail order business is now e-tailing. This involve selling products over the internet. From importing , selling clothing, PC, DVD’s, new and used books to PC’s and accessories, this is a business idea and opportunity that is not limited by location since its online based. Anyone in Australia, United States, UK, Asia or Africa and any other geographical divide can buy and sell over the internet. Lots of SME businesses are also springing up and selling within their community online.
There is no doubt that there are lots of advantages of e-tailing as compared to offline retailing business. First, it is easy to set up as you can start from home. All you will need is your online store with your products displayed. The good thing again here is that you can even do your sales through drop shipping. This way, you only pay your supplier and ask for goods to be shipped when there is an order without you having to keep inventory.
Aside physical product, you can also e-tail digital products such as ebooks, software or services. The other advantage is that you have a wider and lager market reach as people can order without being in your location.
Starting and running a successful e-tailing business require proper planning. Here you need to define what products you will be selling as well how to sell them to who is to buy. For example, you need to put into consideration issues related to packaging and shipping of items.
Write a Business Plan: Never under estimate the importance of business plans as it will guide you to always keep you on course as a road map. It will also prevent you from spending money on things you don’t need.
Read article on how to write a business plan
Build a website and add your products: Your website is your online store or shop. You will need to build a secured store with payment gateway integration. If you are selling digital products such as ebooks, you can integrate solutions such as cliclbank, jvzoo, e-junkie, or ccbill and cj for software.
You can also build online shopping cart using your hosted account with software such as cubecart and opencart,
Drive Traffic to your website and make sales: Traffic to any website is the most crucial element to success of any online store or business. You are competing with well over 4 million websites on a particular niche just like your online store. Therefore, you need to be above the competition and one way to do this is optimizing your site keyword to look juicy to search engines. Use of social networking as well as paid advertising will also help tremendously.
Starting and running your e-tailing store is not rocket science, but highly achievable in matter of days. However way you want to start, my advice is that you sell the right product you have passion for and concentrate in building a business for future while you keep learning.