eCommerce; make sure you’re ready – really ready.
Unfortunately I see it a lot. eCommerce seems to be in 2020 what SEO was in the early 2010’s. Anyone that’s been looking for even 10-minutes will start seeing ads for platforms where you can “do it yourself” or “earn tens of thousands of dollars a month with your side-hustle.” This is true, however, it’s not even close to the full truth; if we were to put a number on it, I’d say it’s 24% of the truth. Before jumping into eCommerce, make sure you’re ready, really ready.
Can I earn money online?
Of course you can! In today’s post-COVID world, selling online is as common-place as selling in a shopping center. The aspects to note are how to sell online, how much it costs to do so, how much time it takes to setup a solid, secure and controlled online store.
What costs are there?
There are a few. Thinking that you can throw something up online without any money, any real experience or effort and you’ll make money is as stupid as the person who told you that you could.
As with any business there are start-up costs. There are management, upkeep and feature costs. Not to mention the cost of making money – or CoM (Cost of Money) that we’ll go into a little later on.
Sure, there are platforms and tools that can be used to reduce your costs immensely, but, there will be costs. Simply registering your Domain Name carries a cost (more often than not <$50, but still).
WordPress & Woocommerce
Here at TDG, we think these two and eCommerce go together like Chicken and Bacon, Sausage Rolls and Tomato Sauce… damn it, now I’m hungry! These two tools have been around forever, make up close to 70% of the internet and are open source. From our perspective, that last one is the kicker – that’s the money.
Why is Open Source good? Well, in our specific instance, if we want WordPress or Woocommerce to do something it doesn’t do out of the box, we can create code and make it happen. With these two tools, the only limit on what’s possible is budget.
You can learn everything you need to know, and more, on YouTube. The amount of knowledge there is honestly crazy. However, you can probably learn everything a 3rd year Plumbing Apprentice would know there too – who do you call when your hot water needs fixing?
To get up and running within a respectable timeframe with a store that’ll push through some real sales, you’ll probably need a designer/developer to help out.
If Woolworths spent $40,000,000 on a brand-new, state of the art store with robots, 100% renewable, off the grid energy with all the greatest products at insane discounts and put it 40kms west of Dubbo, and didn’t spend a dollar on marketing – how many people would shop there daily? If you guessed none, you’d be right.
People will not go somewhere if they don’t know it exists.
Now there will be people out there that spout “social proof and referral marketing is all you need to launch an eCommerce business.” Those people run social media marketing agencies.
Don’t read that wrong, UGC, referral and social proof is an amazing marketing tool that will deliver fantastic results. However, it’s just that, a marketing tool, not a strategy.
To bring clicks to your store and to get a start on your conversion rate, you’ll need paid marketing. Whether that be Google, Social or other, you’ll need it.
I know you knew this was coming. The ugly truth is, when Google was coming into power, there were a lot of degenerate pirates out there that capitalised on something that no one understood and ran a fantastic campaign convincing every business owner that they needed something they didn’t understand – and that it cost tens of thousands to do so.
That’s shameful, but it’s the truth.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and SERP (Search Engine Results Page) Optimisation are the single most important and most influential tools that will deliver consistent sales and money for you and your business.
The trick with these, now in 2022, is to fully understand how it works, what will have an effect and how long it takes. Being on Google’s first page is critical for business. But you must remove yourself from your mindset. You know your product, the industry and how it works. Your customer doesn’t. You must push your SEO efforts from the mindset of a customer.
to catch the customer’s wallet, you must first think like the customer
Also be patient, so very very patient. Google looks at billions of webpages and facilitates hundreds of millions of Google searches per day. Finding yours will take time. Ranking on page one for a brand new business (website) cannot take less than 6-months. Just won’t happen, get that out of your mind right now. An engineer for Google couldn’t make it go faster.
Dedication & Time
Also the thought that you’ll be sipping cocktails from a beach whilst sales just roll on in is another fantasy. If you have a physical store, you’re limited by opening hours, you know, they old 9am-5pm and maybe 9pm on a Thursday. Well, your online store doesn’t close. Someone wants to ask a question at 11:15pm – they will. Something could go wrong and crash your site at 4:03am – it will.
In the beginning at least, you’ll be working 10+ hours a day until you start to learn how to automate. Even then, you’ll be putting in at least 6-hours a day, minimum.
Unless you fall in with the lucky 0.10% of owners who’s product gets picked up by a celebrity instantly, you’ll be slogging away for at least 6-months. But, and I need to stress this a lot. Once you reach a balance, or equilibrium if you will, things get easier. Much easier. Sales start to flow through without much effort, things start to auto-pilot. That’s the time to scale, or start another business, don’t get complacent!
Build a Network
No-one got rich alone. No business mogul got to the top working alone. Find yourself a network of people to lean on and get things done for you when you need to. Find a great SEO team, photographers, marketers, graphic designers, developers, videographers and product designers – or, just remember The Digital Guy 😉
Please, oh please understand that opening a business online isn’t free, it isn’t simple and it isn’t a get rich quick solution. It takes time, passion, creativity, a network of people, expertise and of course, The Digital Guy!