A Comprehensive Guide to Bootstrapping Your eCommerce Business the Right Way
If you don’t put in the hard work, you’ll never be able to take your ecommerce business to greater heights.
I mean, sure, you may be able to set up shop in minutes — thanks to the help of ecommerce website builders — but to have a thriving store, one that can generate a decent amount of monthly sales, you need to hustle.
You need to make sure your product pages are loading fast.
You’re selling the right products.
You’re targeting the right audience. And that you have a compelling content marketing, among other things.
That fact is especially true if you’re low on budget and are bootstrapping your business.
If you’re in that very situation right now — bootstrapping your ecommerce business, I mean — then allow me to share with you these tips to help you succeed in your ecomerce endeavor.
#1. Choose a Fitting Platform
Once you’ve decided on a niche and product to sell, it’s time to choose a platform where you’ll house your eCommerce business.
A popular ecommerce platform paired with WordPress is OpenCart.
With OpenCart, you can build your website, manage it through the easily navigatable dashboard, and sell products or services from your self-hosted site.
An alternative to the WordPress-OpenCart combo is a hosted eCommerce solution such as Shopify.
Instead of building your site and paying for web hosting, an eCommerce platform like Shopify allows you to set up an online store and sell your products.
Remember, however, that the platforms might be great and all, but they can only help you succeed provided you have the following two things:
- A product that provides real value.
- A marketing strategy that brings you constant leads and sales.
For the greenhorns in eCommerce, the dropshipping business model can be a good starting point.
An oversimplified view of this business model is you’ll market your offering to your chosen audience and sell.
You don’t need to maintain a physical product inventory because your supplier does that for you.
Your supplier will also be responsible for shipping them to your clients.
This system of online selling is not just more economical, but also simpler because you have less involvement in the shipping and handling of your products.
While you still need to create your website and upload the products you plan to sell, there’s no doubt about the flexibility you have with whatever platform you choose.
Whether you choose to use an open source or a hosted solution, choose a business model you’re comfortable sticking with for a good while.
#2. Choose Your Niche and Stick to It
Loving what you’re doing isn’t enough for any online business to be profitable.
You need to ensure the product or service you’re offering can compete with existing products in the market.
Here’s a tip: Check how your business idea fares in search engines and get more ideas about it by using a keyword tool that’s free and available online.
One such tool is Ubersuggest.
Enter your seed keyword, and you’ll get keyword ideas and suggestions after you hit the “Search” button.
Ubersuggest also provides you with other helpful data like:
- Monthly search volume
- SEO keyword ranking
- Average cost per click (CPC)
- SERP analysis report
#3. Take Advantage of Social Media
While there are countless tried and tested ways to generate blog traffic, you can’t deny the power of social media when it comes to increasing an eCommerce business’ monthly traffic.
The best news about social media is that most of its features are free for all to use.
A few ways you can utilize different social media platforms to build brand awareness, gain website traffic, and boost sales include the following:
- Post messages that link back to your site’s blog and product pages regularly.
- Find the social media platforms your target market frequents and build your brand presence there.
- Run contests that encourage users to share your content with people they know on social media.
- Establish yourself as an authority in your niche by interacting with your audience through industry influencers’ social media posts.
- Show your audience that you value interacting with them by engaging when they leave comments or reactions on any of your posts.
While each social media site is unique, the secret to an attention-grabbing post on all of the platforms are images.
Posting visually appealing images can pique your audience’s interest and are useful for getting users to take action.
Canva is a free online tool that lets you create and design social media-optimized images to accompany any announcements or messages you send out.
There’s a variety of templates to choose from, and you have the option to customize the images to fit your brand and include a message.
Your chances of standing out will likely increase if you create unique images for your social media posts, boosting your business’ success rate as a result.
#4. DIY Designs
Graphic designers know what they’re doing and we acknowledge why their expertise doesn’t come cheap.
They can afford to charge premium rates even for just a simple business logo.
Lucky for you, you don’t need to hire a pro to design your logo. At least, not for now.
Free logo designers on the web are a dime a dozen, but a good logo creator you can use is GraphicSpring’s Logo Maker.
The interface is straightforward and user-friendly. You start by entering your business name and tagline.
Next, the tool lets you choose an image from its stock inventory to use as a primary symbol to represent your brand.
After the tool generates your logo, you have the option to modify the logo’s color scheme, typography, or add other shapes you want.
Once you’re done, click on the download button and you have your own logo! Now, go on over to your site and display your masterpiece.
The decision to bootstrap your eCommerce business is never an easy one, especially if you’re short on cash.
Bootstrapping can be a challenging task, and sometimes, you can become too overwhelmed to know where to begin. However, if veteran online business owners have done it successfully, so can you.
If you want to dive into the world of online retail selling without anyone else’s financial help, take time to plan things thoroughly before making the first move.
Aside from learning from other online marketers’ successes and missteps, be sure to equip yourself with the right tools and strategies that can increase your chances of success.
You will soon see your startup grow and thrive in today’s competitive online world!