The Internet has made staying in touch with each other easier than ever. While this usually means keeping in touch with friends and family through email, social networking sites, and instant messaging, it has also had a profound effect on the way we shop.
Online shopping was initially popularized by Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com. While Bezos started out selling only books through his website, he initiated a trend that completely changed the way we shop. Today, virtually every type of product is available for purchase online, ready and waiting to leave its shelf in a warehouse somewhere and be on your doorstep in days.
Why e-commerce works for entrepreneurs
While the e-commerce explosion was a no-brainer for established vendors to sell their merchandise online, enterprising individuals also began to realize the potential there. The primary incentives are an expanded market reach, low stock maintenance, and easy accounting and sales transactions with the right software. Essentially, e-commerce trims the excess fat of retail shopping and makes the consumer-buyer experience lean and efficient.
If the thought of owning your own business sounds appealing, e-commerce may be the easiest, most cost-effective way to get started. Whether you’re selling products through a dedicated website or through an EBay store, the potential for making money is there.
What’s great about running an online store is that you don’t have to physically be present to handle customer orders and enquiries, making it great part-time work. Answering customer enquiries, and packing and shipping, can be done whenever you have free time and sales transactions are automatically taken care of.
What about products?
What should you sell and where can you get it in stock quantities? Sell something that you are interested in, that you might buy yourself. This is important because you will be able to sell and market your merchandise more effectively. Imagine a guy who loves cars and knows everything about VW auto parts selling fine glassware. It doesn’t make sense.
Sell something you or your friends might be interested in.
If you’re looking to source products to sell, one place to definitely check out is Export.ca. This is Canada’s e-business portal and provides a global business directory to access exporting companies and a marketplace where you can post what you’re looking to buy. Another great site is for online trade is Alibaba.com, where you can access global manufacturers for virtually all types of merchandise.
How do I get a product from my basement to a customer?
Shipping products nationally, or even internationally, is unavoidable and an essential part of the e-commerce process. But before making friends with you local Canada Post office clerk, check out all your shipping and packaging options. You may find a better solution with FedEx or UPS. All companies provide solutions tailored to meet small businesses’ shipping needs.
While juggernauts like Amazon and EBay are definitely in their own league with respect to online buying and selling, creating a small, focused store with a specific niche is an opportunity to pursue if you are interested in being a web vendor. For an example of such a store, check out this pet pharmacy store created using Volusion.
For more info, check out these government websites: