eCommerce. You’ve probably heard the word. You might even have a pretty good idea of what eCommerce is. But, today we're going to show you how anyone can start their OWN eCommerce business right from their own home. No inventory. No packaging. No shipping. No headaches. The Internet connects people from all over the world and creates new opportunities every day. This means that you can find whatever you want, whenever you want and have it in your hands before you can even say “What is eCommerce?”
What is eCommerce?Simply stated, eCommerce is “commercial transactions conducted electronically on the Internet.” Pretty broad definition, right? It’s essentially an umbrella term for any transaction conducted online. For our purposes, we’ll narrow the definition a little more.
eCommerce: selling physical products in an online storeFor a reference point, Amazon.com is the giant and prototypical example of eCommerce. Ebay and Etsy are 2 other giants in this area. In 2015, there was OVER $335 BILLION in eCommerce sales in just the United States. And major companies like Target and Wal-Mart have started investing in beefing up their online presence. Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-08/wal-mart-agrees-to-buy-jet-com-for-3-billion-to-fight-amazon Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/target-stores-changing-for-e-commerce-online-focus-2016-3 Needless to say, big things are happening… and you just need a small slice of it to make a significant profit.
Commerce is EvolvingThroughout history, most commerce was done face-to-face. As new technologies arose, they too became platforms for commerce. Direct mail, telephone, radio, even infomercials and home shopping television shows had their moments in the sun. The problem is that most of these technologies have major drawbacks. For example, radio and television can reach a large number of people, yet they are impersonal. Being a one-way channel of communication, they also have to use another platform to actually conduct the transaction (like calling a phone number to order a product on tv). Direct mail and telephone are two-way communication channels, yet come up with their own sets of disadvantages. With telephone, you can’t reach a large number of people and there is no visual aspect to it. With direct mail, it can take months between advertisement and purchase. Also, the response rate for direct mail is pathetically low. I don’t even want to spend any more time discussing these because they’re all outdated. The point is that eCommerce dominates all other means of commerce in every way. eCommerce truly is the FUTURE.
3 Differentiating Factors of eCommerceeCommerce combines the best of both worlds. It has the dynamic qualities of face-to-face commerce with the ability to reach anyone anywhere. Now that’s a recipe for success!
The Internet is a Place of BusinessWith eCommerce, you have an actual place of business. Well, a virtual place. But it’s still a place. On your website, customers can see pictures, read detailed descriptions and place orders. eCommerce is the only other form of commerce, besides face-to-face that has an actual place of business as well. It’s the virtual version of having a store. All of the other mediums (direct mail, television…etc.) are more like different ways of advertising than an actual place of business. Additionally, the internet is a ‘place’ you can be from any physical location. Meaning you can run an eCommerce business from anywhere in the world, especially if you implement some of the strategies I detail below.
eCommerce is DynamicAnything on the Internet can change as fast as something done face-to-face (and even faster in certain aspects). Need to change a product description? Easy. Address a customer question? Got it. Refund an order? Done. The only way to keep up with a fast-changing world is to leverage dynamic technologies. eCommerce is a great way to do that.
eCommerce is ScalableAnother X factor that eCommerce has is scalability. When it comes to eCommerce, conducting 5,000 transactions is not much different than conducting 5 transactions. Let’s compare it with a physical store. You can set up an eCommerce store faster than ever before. There are just 2 steps…
- Step #1: Choose your domain
- Step #2: Use a simple-to-use service to create your website
- Find a space
- Haggle over the price and specs
- Deal with the government to get the right permitting and zoning
- Spend thousands of dollars building out your space
5 Steps To eCommerce SuccessNow that you have a good idea of what eCommerce is and its limitless opportunity, I want to provide you with the simple formula I used for creating my eCommerce success. This is a proven strategy that has worked for thousands of people, but please know that results may not be typical nor expected for every person. I’ve done the work myself, interviewed the experts, and partnered with the best in the business. Through all of my accumulation of knowledge and experience, I’ve distilled the strategy for setting up and scaling an eCommerce business into 5 simple steps. Are you ready?
Here's My 5 Step System To eCommerce Success:Step 1. Store Creation Step 2. Inventory Arbitrage Step 3. Targeted Visitors Step 4. Profit Multiplier Step 5. Rinse & Repeat Those 5 fundamentals are all that's needed. They’re not even very complicated. Anyone can master this process once they’re shown the way. With each step, you’ll learn exactly what it is and how to apply each one in a cohesive manner. After reading this, you’ll have more applicable knowledge regarding eCommerce than the vast majority of people involved in it. The tools for your success are all right here. Once you have the information, it’s all about applying it. Don’t worry; I've got you covered there too. Let’s get into it…
Step 1: Create An Online PresenceTo conduct eCommerce, guess what you need to do first? Be on the internet! While this is incredibly obvious, the question of “How?” is where many people run into issues. There are 2 ways to create a presence online, one is more advanced and one is so simple you can have an eCommerce store set up by the end of the day.
1. Create Your Own eCommerce WebsiteThe first way to create an online presence is to do it yourself. But before you even consider doing this, I have an important piece of advice that will save you thousands of hours and headaches: This is NOT for beginners. If you were to build your own eCommerce website from scratch, there are a lot of factors to consider… You'll have to...
- Figure out how to create a website
- Build a way for people to place orders
- Get a way to process credit cards
- Find out how to ship your products
2. Use An Existing eCommerce PlatformThanks to the wonders of technology, there are many platforms that provide you with all of the tools to create and run your eCommerce business. Why waste precious time when you can have everything done for you? Here are some of the leading platforms when it comes to eCommerce.
- All in-one platform (website, hosting, order placement, credit card processing…etc.)
- Free trial
- Active community with contests and other bonuses
- Monthly Cost (though earning potential can make the monthly cost an absolute steal)
- Easy to set up
- Need your own website and hosting already set up
- All-in-one platform
- Free trial
- Monthly Cost
- All-in-one platform
- Free trial
- Monthly Cost
For Beginners, I Recommend Trying Shopify FirstShopify is by far the best eCommerce platform to allow any individuals with little to no experience building their first online eCommerce business. I've flown across the country to negotiate on your behalf with the decision makers at Shopify HQ to offer an exclusive 21-day free trial plus a 10% off your monthly subscription for an entire year. With Shopify, you no longer have to worry about hosting, maintenance and finding software to take care of your orders. It's an all-in-one solution and I highly recommended it. In order for you to be eligible to get Zero Up™ Lite training program for free, you must have an active Shopify account to install the training app to your store. Click here to get started now! But that's not all! When you click here, I'll also give you complimentary access to my online course with a Step-By-Step 10-Part Video Training Series to Help You Build Your eCommerce Business Starting From Zero! Once you’ve completed the first step and have a presence online, you’re ready for step #2…
Step 2: Inventory ArbitrageAfter you’ve created an online presence, the next step is to get products to sell. A stockpile of products waiting to be sold is known as inventory.
Inventory: A stockpile of products waiting to be soldTo sell physical products online, you need inventory, right? Actually, no! This is a HUGE misconception in the eCommerce world. You don’t need to stockpile a bunch of inventory before you can start selling. If you rush into buying a bunch of inventory, you might have a stockpile of goods that just sits in a warehouse and never sells. Starting your eCommerce business with a bad inventory investment immediately puts you in a hole. However, there is a way to get around risk…
Simply sell other people’s inventory to your customers.When you're building an eCommerce store, remember that you're selling products, not necessarily your own inventory. If you can structure your business model to just sell products and not inventory, then you avoid the risk of being stuck with a warehouse full of expensive inventory that won’t sell.
Inventory Arbitrage is a unique method in which you simply sell your vendor's, manufacturer's or reseller's inventory.Let’s say a product sells for $10 and your manufacturer charges $5 for it. When you receive an order, you collect the $10. Then you simply pay the $5 to your manufacturer, who ships the product directly to your customer. You make the $5 margin in between, just like that. This is the least risky way to create an eCommerce store right from the get go. It isn’t even difficult to find products to use this strategy with. Here are just a few places where you can buy inexpensive physical products – mostly from China – to sell in your country for a significantly higher price.
The Key Is Picking The Right NicheThere are profitable physical products to sell in every niche imaginable. That’s why the single most important factor in selecting a niche is finding something you’re passionate about. If you’re not passionate about a niche you’re choosing to do business in, you’re basically just creating another 9-5 job for yourself.
- Love dogs? There are thousands of products you can sell related to dogs.
- Like cooking? Same thing.
- How about yoga? You bet there are lots of products to sell!
Choosing the Right Products to SellWhile just about every niche can be profitable, not every product in those niches will be. To find a profitable product to sell, look for what people are actually buying. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel!
- Go to Amazon.com and look for the bestsellers in the niche you’ve chosen
- Check out watchcount.com, which reveals the top products selling on the eCommerce giant Ebay
- Check out the Google Keyword Planner Tool, which comes with a free Google Adwords account. It will show you the most popular search terms, including physical products people are searching for
Step 3: Generate TrafficAfter you have a web presence and products to sell, the next step is to generate traffic. In order to sell anything, you need people to be aware that you’re out there. You need eyes on your website. You know the old phrase “Build it and they will come?” Well that definitely does NOT apply to eCommerce. A common misconception today is that if you put up a website, hordes of hungry customers will automatically find you. This just isn’t the case. These days, with billions of websites out there, yours is just a drop in the digital bucket. Luckily, there are many ways to drive traffic to your website. There are literally dozens of tactics and tools to generate traffic, both free and paid. But in order to succeed, you must focus. While many different strategies can work, there is one that I’ve found is by far the most effective for anyone getting into eCommerce.
Traffic ControlHere’s a key point: If you can control your traffic, you can control your sales and the longevity of your business. So how do you control your traffic? The answer is advertising. But not just any advertising. You don’t want to blindly advertise and just throw your money away. When it comes to targeted advertising, the most effective tool is Facebook. Facebook is now becoming one of the largest advertising platforms out there. The reason for this is that Facebook gives you the ability to target people that express interest in your niche. You can target Facebook ads to people who like your specific niche, which is every advertiser’s dream. You can do this on Google Adwords as well, but Facebook is a much easier platform to start with. Facebook ads are easy to use, easy to implement and they start at just $5. That’s why my advice is start with Facebook advertising and expand from there. At the end of the day, mastering traffic can open up limitless possibilities for an eCommerce business. It’s what brings in customers, and those customers bring in revenue. Even with customers, your work is not yet done…
Step 4: Multiply Your ProfitsOnce you have the first three steps lined up, it’s time to multiply your profits. The secret to multiplying profits is simply increasing your average order size. If customers come to your website and make 1 small purchase, that’s fine, but you’re leaving A LOT of money on the table. People who are successful in eCommerce capitalize on this opportunity with a simple but powerful strategy: creating a sales funnel.
How To Create A Sales FunnelA sales funnel is essentially a sequence that entices customers to buy more. This might consist of things like giving a coupon away, creating upsells or generating more sales on the backend.
Funnel Trick 1: Host A GiveawayOne way to stand out from your competitors and bring customers to your website is to give something away or offer a steep discount. When a customer takes advantage of a discount, they’re already making a micro-commitment. While it’s difficult to get someone to buy from you the first time, it’s EASY to get them to buy from you again once they’ve already made a purchase of any easy. This psychological process is one way to “grease the wheels” on the buying process, and offering special deals is a great way to take advantage of it.
Funnel Trick 2: Create an Upsell SequenceAn upsell is an offer that is a higher cost add-on in addition to the initial purchase. The classic example of an upsell is ordering a burger at McDonald’s and the clerk asks, “Do you want fries with that?” That one simple question was an upsell that increased McDonald’s profits by millions of dollars overnight WITHOUT having to do anything else (except serve the fries with the burger). You can do the same thing at your eCommerce store. If a customer purchases 1 item from you, there is probably another item they’d be eager to buy along with it. It’s important to capitalize on that period of time when your customers are in a buying mood, and there’s no better time once they’ve already bought something from you..
Funnel Trick 3: Use an Email Sales FunnelAnother means of creating a sales funnel is through email. There are many ways to do this, as email is one of the most useful tools for anyone with an online business. On the front end, a sales funnel can be initiated by collecting someone’s email address when they come to your site. Even if they don’t purchase anything during their first visit, you can continue to communicate with them and eventually turn them into a customer. On the back end, you can email customers after they made an initial purchase. When someone purchases a product from you, it’s highly likely that they’ll buy again. Following up with customers and getting them excited about other products can multiply profits exponentially. Email is a powerful sales tool. It gives you the opportunity for direct communication with customers and potential customers that other mediums simply can’t touch. The real money in any business is on the back end (meaning after a customer already makes an initial commitment or purchase). It’s important to have a solid follow-up process to take full advantage of this reality. Though people may make purchases the first time they visit your website, this pales in comparison with the amount a customer you’ve already established rapport with will buy over time. Multiplying profits by creating a sales funnel can lead to tremendous eCommerce success.
Step 5: Rinse & RepeatOk, so you’ve created a presence, found products to sell, generated traffic and multiplied your profits. What’s next? Rinse and repeat! The first 4 steps are a tried and true process. If you’ve implemented all 4, you’ve learned the process and proven to yourself that you can do it. And, like all processes, this process is repeatable. Here’s something else to keep in mind. By duplicating the process, profits can duplicated as well! There are several ways to duplicate the process. Remember how I mentioned scalability before? Repeating the process is a means of scaling up.
More stores >> More products >> More traffic >> More funnelsThis might sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember, you are building a BUSINESS, not creating a new job for yourself. As you generate profits and look to scale, you can hire virtual assistants on freelance websites like Upwork.com and Guru.com to maintain your existing store while you implement the process again. That creates massive opportunities to scale and grow. Here are a few ways to repeat the process and scale up.
Repeat and Go PremiumYou can scale up by seeking out premium manufacturers that sell higher cost items who also fulfill your customer’s orders. In doing so, you will be selling premium products for higher profits.
Sell & RepeatOne option is to sell your store when it’s profitable. If you start making, say, $500 a month on a website, there are opportunities to sell it for thousands of dollars. $500 per month is easily achievable in the world of eCommerce and most likely, if you follow the steps, you’ll be making much more than that*. So if you do a little extrapolation, LOTS of money can be made just by selling an eCommerce website. *Results may not be typical nor expected for every person. Once you sell it, guess what? You can create another one and sell that too, then do it again and again. It will only get easier the more you do it.
Take ActionWhile I’ve provided you with all of the information necessary to start your very own eCommerce business, there is 1 missing ingredient: Action. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe famously said, “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” It’s all laid out, step-by-step. All you have to do is implement it and you will be able to create your own eCommerce business.
- Create a presence. Create a website for your eCommerce business. As we discussed, there are platforms that make it incredibly easy to do so.
- Get products to sell. Choose a niche you’re passionate about, find out what’s selling and sell the same products or something similar.
- Generate traffic. Get people to actually come to your website. And not just anyone, bring in the right people who will actually buy from you.
- Multiply your profits. Create sales funnels and use the power of the upsell to greatly increase profits.
- Then, just rinse & repeat.