Are you or someone you know interested in starting their very first online store? Before you start choosing branding swatches, purchasing domains and picking out business names, learn more about why I urge people to think twice (in a good way, of course) before launching an e-commerce store.
If I see one more “I made XX amount of dollars in X amount of time with Shopify” ad, I’m going to vote that we throw away the whole Internet. (Okay, maybe not the whole Internet…) But as a marketing and sales consultant, I find the growing number of overnight success stories VERY problematic and kinda disturbing. Though it seems like a harsh critique It's creating really dangerous expectations and presents an uncommon, almost unrealistic expectation of conversions and timeframes for the average owner.
Before you get started, there are a couple of things you should know.
As e-commerce becomes a more popular potential source of income for hopeful entrepreneurs, I think it’s important that the e-commerce community begins to have more honest conversations about struggles of first launching your first e-commerce store. Honestly, e-commerce is NOT easy. While the concept itself is fairly straightforward there are grave misunderstandings about the amount of financial, time, and educational investments that will be required of you….consistently. A fair number of people don’t do enough research about launching e-commerce stores and end up investing (and usually wasting) a ton of money, getting burnt out, out of money, or discouraged. It's becoming more and more common to meet entrepreneurs that have been scarred by bad first-time experiences.
Unless you have a background in online sales, marketing or any related areas, finding your rhythm in the e-commerce world will (realistically) take time. There are tons of unforeseeable lessons and learning curves going to have to work through. Like figuring out how to get sales, balance fulfillment and maintain your everyday routine. But there’s a silver lining to this whole e-commerce launch process: there’s a method to the madness.
But, there's good news!
One thing I can say about the “fly-by-night” success stories is they all have a common thread: they always have the perfect balance of appeal, presence, demand (and typically a little bit of beginners luck) -- everything you need to launch successfully. Spend more time in creating appeal, learning about your audience, studying demand trends, and working on developing a solid launch strategy before launching your online store..
Before you take your life savings and nosedive right into e-commerce, take a little (read: a couple more months) more time to prepare yourself for success. Take some classes, absorb as much as you can, and just when you think you’ve learned/saved enough, you need to learn/save a bit more.
Remember, this isn't a quick sprint. This is a marathon and I want you to be prepared. Looking for advice for getting started? Tune into the Strategy Channel for free tips and advice.