Starting an online shop is exciting, and if you’re thinking about doing it, you’ve probably read tons of success stories online about people who make six figures from their shop. Maybe those stories are what inspired you to quit your 9-to-5 job and start your own business in the first place. That makes the whole process even more exciting. I mean, you could be the next big eCommerce success story and rake in 5 or 6 figures every year from your store! But to reach that level of success, you’ll need to create a strategic plan. Start by asking yourself these 4 questions:
Is there a market for the product I want to sell?
It’s common sense to make sure a group of people is going to want your product before you start producing it. Yet, lots of ecommerce store owners skip this step and find their sales disappointing as a result. Don’t be like them – make sure you know that there’s a market for what you’re selling before you spend time (and money) creating a shop, building a brand, and producing products.
You don’t even need to have a huge market – as long as some group of people is highly likely to purchase your product, that’s a good sign. And that brings me to the next question you’ve got to ask yourself before you open an online store.
Who is my target audience, and how will I build a brand that appeals to them?
You can’t succeed in business without defining your target audience — it just won’t work. Why? Because you need to know which people your products and marketing efforts should appeal to if you want badass sales results. It’s as simple as that. Keep in mind that you don’t need to appeal to tons of people. If you want, you can go niche with your shop and create a unique product that only appeals to a small group of people, and that small group of people will be attracted to your shop like flies to honey.
There’s no point having endless unproductive meetings deciding these things, but think it over, make a decision and own it.
Do I have the means to create my product consistently?
Let me explain what I mean here with a quick personal story. Several years ago, I opened up an ecommerce store where I sold bows and headbands. To create my products, I needed to sit down and sew every day. The problem with that? I had literally just learned how to sew when I opened my shop. I wasn’t good at it, so it took me forever just to make one product, and I didn’t like doing it… at all. So, guess what happened? That’s right – I shut down my shop because I didn’t have the means (or the willpower) to create my products consistently, even though they were selling.
Learn from my mistake, and create products that you are willing to make on a consistent basis so you’ll be able to stick with your shop for a long time. Or, outsource production so you can focus on managing your shop and marketing your products.
Am I ready to learn how to market my products online?
No matter how awesome your products are, they aren’t going to sell if no one knows about them. That’s why marketing is so essential to ecommerce success. If you already know how to market products, then you’re in good shape. But if you don’t, you’ll need to commit to learning how.