Raking in the cash: How to set up an ecommerce bus...

Raking in the cash: How to set up an ecommerce business

Change is a force for good. Always accompanied by growth and development, it brings with it the promise of better things to come. It’s normal to feel doubtful or uncertain when leaving your comfort zone, but I say – embrace it!

As I recently posted about, I’m currently in the midst of some huge changes in my life. Going from dead set job security to the beans on toast lifestyle of a student nurse wasn’t an easy decision and change has been tough to take. But oh, is it worth it. In the spirit of this, here’s how you, your mum, or even your cat (seriously) could start afresh with something of your own making.

Many people dream of having their own shop – selling cakes and crumpets or ballerina shoes and handbags – and with the magical powers of the internet, it’s never been easier to make that dream a reality. With no rent rates and overheads, selling crafts, clothes and, well, anything else online is simple. Whether you are a blogger hoping to add a new dimension to your site or someone ready to ditch the 9-5, I’m going to walk you through a couple of easy steps to setting up an ecommerce business. Basically, selling stuff online. Cha-ching.

Why ecommerce?

Ecommerce is one of the leading industries in today’s world and is continuing to grow. It’s currently estimated that 87% of people in the UK have made an online purchase in the last year, and that by the end of 2017 online sales will account for 30% of all kinds of purchases made.

With an online business, you can sell to people anywhere in the world, meaning you could be making money as you sleep. You can also take your job with you wherever you want to go and determine your own working hours. Sound good? Read on…

So how do I start?

It’s incredibly easy to get your online shop started, even if you possess absolutely no tech skills. The only thing you really need to know is what you want to sell! My best friend from school has been making her own little crafts, my aunty takes cake orders, and a few friends dabble in photography packages. Whether it’s thrifting old clothes, upcyling old trinkets, or trying something new, if you can think of it, you can sell it.

Creating a website

You have a few options here. You could build a website yourself, employ a web designer to do it for you or use an ecommerce hosting site. If you go for the latter option, there are different packages offered depending on your needs, and these have a lot of design templates to pick from and a high level of security. This will ultimately be the cheapest and easiest route, but if you are blessed with some tech savvy then you should definitely consider something customisable.

Choosing a domain name

So you’re online, but how are people going to find you? Your name can give your customers a big indication about your business and products, so think carefully. While we loved being six out of ten, it didn’t really give much indication about what we were about. Big City Little Nurse, our upcoming rebrand, does what it says on the tin. Remember not to choose a domain that is difficult to spell or too long – it should be catchy and memorable.

Marketing your items

Once you have everything set up, all that’s left is the practicalities of spreading the word about your store. There are a couple of key areas in which you can support your online business so that it receives the best and widest publicity possible.

Use great pictures

It almost goes without saying that an ecommerce site relies very heavily on the attractive appearance of its goods. Read up on product photography and think about the way you want to present things. If your website has a distinctive theme or colour set, try to mirror this in your images.

Write useful product descriptions

Online stores need to offer all of the information a buyer would have if they were in a real store. This means detailed information about items’ dimensions, weight, colour, size, fabric and of course, price. You can discuss how and where things were made if this is important to your brand, or offer useful tips on how it can be used.

Use social media or a blog

Social media is the best way of spreading the word and establishing direct contact with your customers. Use your social platforms, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, to gather reviews from previous purchasers. These, in turn, can be published on your website and will help to establish trust in your brand. Blog posts are great for putting your products into the context of people’s daily lives: invite guest writers to try out your items and write about the ways in which they used them.

If you have ever flirted with the idea of starting your own online business, I hope I’ve given you a little food for thought. With determination and hard work, anything is possible!

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