February 25th, 2020 | Updated on July 17th, 2021
According to Statista, eCommerce sales accounted for 14.1% of all retail sales worldwide in 2019. This figure is expected to rise to 17.5% by 2021.
What this means is that more and more people are doing their shopping online and it’s time you got in on it.
Unfortunately, eCommerce businesses can cost upwards of $5000. Don’t have $5000? Not to worry, there is a way to open an online store without shelling out tons of cash.
You may even be able to open an online store with no money. How is that possible you ask? It’s all about playing your cards right.
Find The Right Product
If you had tens of thousands of dollars you could choose to sell any product you want. However, if you’re working on a budget you need to be more strategic.
This is due to the fact that there are 100,000+ online stores out there that you have to compete with. Not to mention the eCommerce giants, Amazon and eBay, how are you supposed to compete with them? The simple answer is, you’re not.
Instead, to be successful, you’ll want to choose a product that has an audience that is easy to target and for which there is relatively little competition.
The best way to find a product that meets these criteria is to combine a theme with a product.
This way your target audience will be much more defined, decreasing the amount of competition you’re facing and increasing your chances of being profitable. Some examples of themed products would be:
- Game of Thrones mugs
- Cat-themed shoes
- Compostable shirts
- South Park hats
Decide Whether Or Not To Dropship
Dropshipping is a method of retail fulfillment where a store doesn’t actually keep products in stock. Instead, they purchase the item from a third party supplier and then the supplier ships it directly to the customer.
Dropshipping is ideal because you don’t have to spend as much time handling inventory and shipping products. Additionally, the supplier benefits because you advertise and sell their products for them.
Unfortunately, profit margins tend to be a lot smaller with dropshipping. This is because you have to pay the supplier to store the inventory and ship the products.
As a result, you spend more money per product. Ultimately, if you want to save money, ship the products yourself, but if you want to save time, choose to dropship.
Options For Creating Your Store
- Shopify : Shopify is a platform that allows you to easily create your own eCommerce website. With their 14-day free trial, you can choose a theme, customize it and have a store ready to go in minutes. If after the 14-day free trial you like the results you’re getting, Shopify’s plans start at $29 a month. Shopify is great because they have a huge app database that allows you to make simple and cost-effective site customizations. Additionally, they have automatic integrations with dropshipping services like Printful, MXED, and Oberlo.
- Amazon : Amazon doesn’t allow you to create your own eCommerce website, rather they allow you to sell your products through their site. This means that you get access to Amazon’s 300 million users. With Amazon, you don’t have to worry about maintaining a website. This will save you a lot of money. The best part though is that it costs very little to sell on Amazon. Individual selling plans don’t have a monthly cost. Instead, you pay $0.99 plus a referral fee whenever you sell an item, (for media items you pay an additional $1.35 per item). This means you can start a store with no money upfront.
- eBay : The easiest option of all may be eBay. eBay allows you to sell and ship your own items without creating a website and it won’t cost you any money until you start making an income. All you have to do to start selling is take a picture of your product, upload it to the site and decide whether you want to have people bid for your item or sell it at a fixed price.
Promote Your Store With Social Media
One of the best ways to promote your store is to share links to your store on social media. Some platforms even allow you to sell directly through them.
For example, Facebook lets you set up a “Shop” section on your Facebook page where users can browse and/or buy direct.
Pinterest lets you create buyable pins that you can share through your boards and Instagram allows approved users to create shoppable posts.