In the U.S., ecommerce sales make up 8.5 percent of total retail sales, compared to 3.5 percent in 2007, according to YCharts. That means ecommerce sales represent roughly $36 billion of the total $426.85 billion retail market. This growing trend means that retailers cannot afford to ignore this burgeoning sector.
However, starting an ecommerce business is a challenge. Competition in the market is fierce and traditional retailers may not have the bandwidth to support a secondary business model. Here are three ways to get around this challenge:
1. Consider drop-shipping
An online drop-shipping business requires less overhead than a standard ecommerce business and requires little to no inventory. Here’s how it works: According to The Balance, you’ll need to find a reputable wholesaler first. For example, if you’re selling consumer goods such as water bottles, umbrellas or stationary, you would look for a company that sells those products at wholesale prices. Then, you list those products on a site like Amazon or eBay with a custom label. When someone makes a purchase, you pass it along to the drop shipper, who fulfills the order request.
“Drop shipping requires little to no inventory.”
For instance, let’s say someone buys a water bottle with your label for $15 on eBay. You take the order, buy a water bottle at wholesale price, request your label to be printed on it, and the wholesaler completes the sale. You’ll make a small profit from each unit sold, but you won’t have to carry inventory.
2. Monetize your current website
If you have a website for your business, but haven’t yet monetized it, you have a few options. If selling directly from your site isn’t an option, you can still make money from it by including affiliate links or display ads for relevant items.
Affiliate links are special because they’re tied to a unique identifier that tells the affiliate network where a purchase came from. If someone clicks a link on your site, follows it and makes a purchase, you’ll receive a percentage of the profit. Note that you must clearly inform your visitors that your site contains these links and laws regarding affiliate advertising may change from state to state.
3. List your products on sites like Amazon, Etsy, Shopify or eBay
Rather than creating your own ecommerce website, you can use an established platform such as Amazon or Etsy, which have a number of advantages. You won’t have to pay for webhosting and you’ll have access to the platform’s expansive customer base. But there are drawbacks as well. The platform will take a percentage of every purchase and you’ll face much more competition. Not only will you compete against other retailers, but also against larger competitors with more established infrastructure.
To make your Amazon listings effective, you’ll need to invest in high quality product photography. Just as you would create eye-catching displays at your shop, your product images should be visually engaging. If you’re selling earrings, for example, it may help to display them on one of our boutique earring displays.
To learn more about how to leverage your retail store online, contact our team of experts today.