Build on a Budget — How to Start Your Own Ecommerce Store for Cheap

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March 22, 2017

Starting an ecommerce store with a huge war chest certainly makes doing business easier. However, you really don’t need deep pockets to go into business. All you need is a good idea, a solid execution plan and the drive to enact them. In fact, one of the most attractive aspects of going into ecommerce is you can build on a budget. Here’s how to start your own ecommerce store for cheap.

Before you build a site, spend some time making sure your idea will fly. The first step to accomplishing this is to develop a business plan. While it sounds complicated, writing one can be quite simple and you’ll find plenty of guidance online to help you.

If you already know what you want to sell, look around to make sure you can be competitive selling it. If your idea is something new, spend some time shopping it around to see if people will buy it before you go to the trouble of setting up a site. In most cases, the product will tell you who its customer is. All you need to do is find a place where they gather and offer it. If you get lots of bites, you’ll know you have a winner. If you get no bites, spend some time tweaking it and test it again.

You’ll also need to figure out how to get your product at the lowest possible price to maximize your profit. Every successful merchant will tell you profit is made when you buy rather than when you sell. Drop shipping will save you upfront money. While it does cut into your margin, it also eliminates the need to keep stock on hand.

Once you’ve ensured your idea will fly, it’s time to research the best website builder for ecommerce for your concept. If you’re offering a product, at minimum, the platform should include a shopping cart, an option for collecting payment and a free trial period so you can test market your idea without spending a lot of cash. The best platforms also let you choose a domain name, provide hosting and offer nice themes around which you can design—at no charge.

To get your site set up, you’ll have to provide photography and descriptions. The manufacturers of some products have photos already and that’s great if you can get them. But you should always write original descriptions. If you go with canned descriptions, your site will have the same copy as a lot of other sites, which will hurt the way it indexes with search engines. If you’re a bad writer, run an ad on Craigslist, or search freelance writer forums to find someone suitable for your product or service.

While you’re setting up your site, you’ll also want to establish a social media presence. If yours is a highly visual product, go heavy on Instagram and Pinterest. If you need to help people learn how to use your product, create video tutorials and demos you can run on your site and post to You Tube. Facebook is good for all around marketing efforts because you can target key groups of people.

You can also make ad-swapping deals with other site owners and start a blog around your offerings—taking care to avoid coming across as someone who only cares about selling their product. Your blog should provide useful information, as opposed to talking up your business. You can also post your site in free online shopping directories and conduct email campaigns.

If you really want to run an online business, you can easily build on a budget and start your own ecommerce store for cheap. You just have to have the drive to make it go. The only thing stopping you is you.

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