Women In Business

5 tips to start an online shop business from home

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Like so many other women I know, the idea of transitioning back into the corporate world after raising kids (I’ve got three girls including twins) can be quite daunting. For many, it is the most uninspiring phase of their life. One of the most exciting alternatives is to create your online retail store and put your heart and soul into building an exciting brand to call your own. When you consider the alternative, working long hours in a corporate environment making your boss rich, your online shop carries so much appeal. In this article, I wanted to run through my top 5 tips to running a successful online shop from home.

1. Do your research

You likely have a strong interest or a passion that excites you when you start talking about it. You know when someone mentions your topic and you chime and then say ‘Don’t start me…’.Well, that is a great starting point.

Start to gather some critical pieces of information such as:

  • The competitors in your space
  • What sort of advertising they are running?
  • What are the unique selling propositions of each?
  • What sort of customer support do they have?
  • How long does it take them to respond to enquiries?

Your goal at this stage is to make sure you have the opportunity for a viable business. You want to see that they are regularly updating their website, are quick to get back to enquiries and that there are a handful of competitors in the space. Competitors and advertising indicate that money is being made and there is an opportunity for you to profit.

2. Run some real market tests using the 400-pound gorillas

Nowadays there are several opportunities to test the market with your new idea without having to commit much money. Initially, don’t worry too much about a fancy new website and an impressive logo. When it comes to eCommerce, get your product idea to market fast and leverage the 400-pound gorillas.

Setup accounts with eBay, Gumtree, Facebook and Etsy. Etsy is perfect for those who make hand-crafted items. Before selling your handmade items on Etsy, it’s essential that you mark them with customized labels and personalized tags. If you want to get the best labeling experience, Wunderlabel.com is the place to go.

eBay, Gumtree, Facebook and Etsy are the 400-pound gorillas. They are already successful at driving traffic. Your job is to put your offer in front of all their traffic. Once your account is registered, post an image or two, write up a product description and put a price on it. You are good to go.

3. Build your online store

Shopify is by far my favourite online shopping facility. For a small monthly fee and a few hours work, you can have your very own online store up and running. Shopify is brilliant at making the impossible, possible. Having said that, I don’t want to give the expectation that with a few clicks you’ll be up and running. The reality is you must commit many hours and go through some basic training to hit the ground running.

4. Start marketing via paid channels such as facebook

Once you have tested the market and invested some time in building your store, now you are ready to run some paid advertising. Paid advertising is by far the best way to scale a business. Once you find a winning combination of ads and a reasonably low click through rate, you start to scale it up.

Facebook allows you to target specific demographics such as women who are into Yoga or women who are into fashion design. Every conceivable demographic is possible on Facebook. Facebook is one skill worth learning when it comes to building a rock-solid online e-commerce store.

5. Network in the local community via facebook groups

Another way to promote your business is via local Facebook Groups. Locals love supporting other locals. My family does everything we can to go to local fairs and school events where the locals are selling their goods. Likewise, you will find several local Facebook groups who will welcome your input. Not only that, but they will allow you to showcase your business.

When working with Facebook groups, it is compulsory to read the rules of the group. As an example, some groups I am a member of allow you to post about your business once per week, some at the start of the month. Read the rules and stay within their guidelines, or else face the prospect of being removed. Ouch. You don’t want that to happen.

So, there are my top 5 tips to running a successful online shop from home. As a stay-at-home mum with three beautiful girls, I get the opportunity to work around their school pick-up times, school events and sporting activities. Not only that, but you will get the chance to build a business asset that can be sold if you decide to move on to other ventures. Who knows, you might get the e-commerce bug and build another online store or two or three.

About Nicky Jessen

Nicky is the proud mum of 3 beautiful girls and Owner of Earth Inspired Gifts. Earth Inspired Gifts is an online retail store specialising in gifts inspired by Nature, such as Himalayan Rock Salt Lamps, Geodes, Crystals, Jewellery and other beautiful items. In addition to running Earth Inspired Gifts, Nicky has been building and managing many websites, including some of the largest online stores in Australia. Feel free to reach out to Nicky via her Facebook page or Twitter.

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