Have you noticed the lack of brick and mortar shops in your area? Have you seen or read news articles about large companies goingunder or closing down stores? It seems that stores are closing left and right!
Why? The economy keeps hitting market record highs! It's because everyone is going online! Making money with Shopify, an online ecommerce website platform, is a lot easier than you might think.
How To Build An Ecommerce Website
Let me show you some benefits of using Shopify, and how literally anyone can make a fortune through selling anything online with Shopify!
Step 1 – What to sell??
Before you get into the building of the website and setting up shop, you got to lay out the foundation first. What are you going to sell? This doesn't have to be a difficult question, it may take some trial and error but don't let it hold you back for too long. Ask yourself, “what do I go shopping for online?” This may give you a good idea of what you could start selling. Make a list of 5-10 categories that you have an interest in, and then narrow down your results based on the potential and opportunity of that category. Some people spend the most time on this topic, ironically being the first step and never get anywhere. “Will my product sell?” “How will I know if I'm wasting time with this product?”
Jeff Walker in his book “Launch: An Internet Millionaire's Secret Formula…” shows you exactly how to answer these questions and determine what to sell.
For example, we'll start with what I first did. I enjoy exercise and fitness. This is a very competitive category, but rather than just exercise and fitness specifically, I narrowed it down to multivitamins. There are thousands of companies that sell multivitamins, and each one of them are looking for places to sell their product. I branched out some and sold common vitamins such as Fish Oils, prenatal vitamins, prostate support, etc. But the focus was on multivitamins.
The more specific your niche, the better. Do some research on your chosen niche, and determine what the competition is through google searches. Visit other company websites, and get an idea of how they present their product and how you might want to do the same. For a good resource on determining what to sell on your ecommerce site, I'd recommend this quick read.
Step 2 – Where will you get your product? How will you store your product?
Once you have decided on what to sell, you need to know where to buy it. You also want to make sure you can purchase the product at wholesale prices so you can sell it at a retail value, otherwise you won’t make any money! Now this step may be one of the most difficult for some people simply because they don't know where to find wholesale companies. But, once again, our good friend google is the place to go. If your category is multivitamins, search on google “multivitamin wholesalers” or “multivitamin wholesale distributors,” and you got a head start.
There are 2 ways you can source and sell product online. The first is simply finding good wholesale companies that will sell you good products and brands, and buying the product in bulk and keeping them at your office or home (depending on where you set up shop). This is difficult for a lot of people because it requires a large amount of money up front to buy the inventory, and then there is the risk of what if you never sell it?
This brings us to the next option, namely, drop shipping. Drop shipping is the most convenient and cost-efficient way to start your ecommerce store. Drop shipping is simply listing a company's or brand's product on your website, then once you receive an order for that respective product, you simply then turn around and pass that order on to you wholesale supplier. They then send the product directly to your customer as each order comes in!
No inventory required, no risk of not selling your product, and all you have to do is pass on the orders to the wholesaler and they do the rest! (Keep in mind that this usually means that they will keep $2-$3 per order for fulfilling and sending it off for you. This book lays out drop shipping very well along with some credible resources and how-to's.
When searching for suppliers, you will want to make sure they allow or offer drop shipping if you so desire to go this route (and I recommend you do to start out). Aside from google, the absolute best place to find good wholesale companies with great reputations, and narrow down those that offer drop shipping is through Salehoo.com. Although you have to pay an up front fee of about $67 for the year, it is WELL worth the money and saving you the headache of finding good wholesale companies who know what they are doing.
Step 3 – Time to set up shop!
Now that we have the foundation set, time to set up shop! Although there are many ecommerce companies out there, for the sake of this conversation I'm going to refer to and strongly recommend using Shopify.com. They are the absolute best option for the prices they charge. For a basic plan, its $29 per month, and this gives you access to drag and drop website set up, access to thousands of app integration's for marketing, analytic's, payment options, etc. And to top it all off, they have the absolute best advice and all the expert info you need on the how to's of ecommerce! It's absolutely worth it, and sure to get you up and going quickly.
Go to shopify.com here to set up your basic account, then come back here to take the next steps.
Step 4 – Choose a domain name your website design preferences
Based on your niche, you will want to decide on a website name. Shopify allows you to have a free domain with the basic account, but it will be [your company].shopify.com rather than [your company].com. I'd recommend going to godaddy.com to buy your personal domain (it can be as cheap as $0.99 for your domain), and then setting that as your domain in the settings section of your shopify account.
Shopify has tons of website templates to choose from. I recommend using the free versions to start out with, they are as good as anything you will get. They may be just a bit simpler (which in my opinion is better) whereas the options to buy templates for a one time fee might have a bit more fancy layout with more options
You will want to base your website design on your niche category. Mine again was on multivitamins, so I decided to do something very simple that had an athletic picture presented on the front page, next to a brief introduction to our company and links to our products and blog articles. Depending on your category, this will vary some. Again, trial and error will come into play, and you can change your website template at any time so don't worry too much.
Step 5 – Link your product to your website, and begin advertising!
Now that we have the basic design of your website, we need to linkyour product to your website. The best way to do this is by having your wholesale company automatically upload their product to your website for you. If they do drop shipping, they most likely have this service for you. If they don't offer that service, InventorySource.com is the best option. They will give you access to tons of drop shipping companies, and if they don't have any companies you like they will work with you to integrate your preferred vendor to your website with shopify.
Begin advertising on social media, through google pay per click, writing blog articles, and in no time you will start seeing sales come in! It's that simple! Now I didn't go into a ton of detail on each of these steps, because most of the work will be done through the companies you work with, or shopify will have step by step directions for most questions as well as recommended vendors they trust.
Now don't expect to be making millions from day one. This takes time and patience. Through consistent daily effort on building out blog articles on your website, through social media advertising, and if you have some extra money, through paid advertising, you will start building an audience and return customers. It took me about 2 months before I saw my first sales, then before I knew it I had people submitting large orders in amounts of $1,000+!
If you'd like more in depth instructions and information on building your ecommerce website, take a look at these books about building ecommerce businesses with shopify, and details on how to build your business with drop shipping.
I've read all these books and each has some insightful information on how to build your ecommerce business. Please leave your comments and questions below, I'd love to hear your input! To see how else I'm building passive income streams through online businesses, click here.