Most people, especially in my age category, seem to be dissatisfied with either the pay grade, or their job itself. I know a lot of people who had to take shitty low-wage jobs to pay for their student loans, rent, or to simply feed themselves. And then they get stuck in that rat race, living paycheck to paycheck. It is not uncommon for some of us to work overtime, or have two jobs.
Owning an e-commerce business can help if not escape this nightmare, but at least make it a little easier. Especially in the time when the online shopping on the rise.
US Ecommerce sales estimated to be $304.1 billion for 2014, increasing to $491.5 billion by 2018.
Accodring to Selz.com, 71% of shoppers believe they will get a better deal online than in stores. Total consumer spending in stores continues to decline, and the online spending keeps on rising [source]. 80% Of all people who have an online access have purchased something using the internet, and 50% purchased something more than once.
For the holiday weekend (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday), E-Commerce revenue is up 15.4% over the same weekend in 2013. Online sales are up 23 percent year over year from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.
And it's not just the US: online sales already account for 13% of the total UK economy, and its expected to increase to 15% by 2017 (source). An outlook for Europe looks very promising too: E-Commerce sales in Europe expected to grow to US$216 billion in 2014, an increase of 18% (source:RetailMeNot).
E-commerce sales in Europe are expected to increase by 18.4% this year alone.
The same research also suggests that offline retail sales will decrease by 1.4%.
In my opinion, with the E-Commerce on the rise, and so many out-of-the-box solutions there has not been a better time to quit making up excuses, and live up to your own potential. If you are looking for an extra income, or if you want to start and grow your business to replace your job, having an online store makes does not require a lot of capital (in contrast, for example, to opening a physical store).
Starting an E-Commerce store with AliExpress.
1. Get a Domain Name and a Hosting Plan, and create a website.
You could start an eBay or an Amazon store, which a lot of people did with excellent results, and I encourage you to look into selling on these platforms. However, when you work on “rented” territory, there is always a possibility that your store would get closed at any given moment, and you will be left on your own. Having your own website lets you grow, scale and brand your business in any way you like, retain your customers and create brand loyalty; and sell it if you choose to do something else.
If you have little to none coding experience, WordPress may be the way to go. In as little as 3 hours you should be able to build a nominal site that will be ready to take orders.
2. Choose the product.
You could go with Alibaba right away, but it could be overwhelming at first. Payment options are sometimes limited to Wire Transfers, a lost of sellers deal with large quantities only, and normally the price does not include shipping.
In contrast, the products on AliExpress are sold individually or in small lots, so you can order samples and see if you like the product. The price difference is usually not substantial You can read feedback left by the actual end consumers, and look for any consistent complaints – too small, too fragile, too synthetic, etc. For simple and cheap items you should be able to tell whether the item is good or not just by looking at pictures, and reading the feedback.
AliExpress makes choosing the product very easy: start by browsing the Best Selling items in the categories that interest you. T-shirts, leggins, phone cases and pendants are the things that first come to mind. Use your own judgement and imagination. It could be funny socks, replacement drone blades, or a geeky store with all items under $10.
3. Make good quality pictures.
A digital camera and a lighting kit is optimal. I found this lightbox, which is perfect for taking pictures of smaller items. People like things that look good, so ensure that they look their best.
4. Start selling.
There are three ways of doing it. You can start with one, and add more or switch to different ones if there is a need.
- Physically hold the product, and send it to whoever buys it;
- Work with a seller that offers drop shipping;
- Work with a fulfillment company, like FBA (when you reach an amount of sales high enough for it to make sense financially);
Options 1 and 2 are what you will probably want to focus on when you are just starting out, as fulfillment companies usually require exact numbers. In my opinion, fulfillment companies are best for the later stages of your business.
Option 1 is when you buy the product, store it, and ship it to the end user when the product is bought. It may be easier if you want your customers to have the product sooner than if it was shipped from China. This would work best if you are planning to focus on selling within your general area (city, country, general geographical area, e.g. mostly in Baltic countries, Europe, etc.).
Option 2 is when someone gives you money for the product, then you pay your seller, and the seller ships to your customer. In this scenario your seller is just a shipping agent, and has nothing to do with your customer. You are the intermediary. If the client claims they did not receive the product, they go to you, and you then contact your seller.
Scaling your business is important. Keep it simple for the time being. Focus on 5-10 products, and add more at a later time if needed. Don't be greedy, and price the products reasonably.
For example, the 60 pc. lot of iPhone cases with a bottle opener and a kickstand.
The 60 pc. lot with free DHL shipping costs $189.05 or $3.15 each.
Similar cases are sold online for $19.95 (and these ones don't even have a stand); but even if it is priced at $10.00, which is a more adequate price for such item, it translates into a potential $410.95 revenue.
Here are some other suggestions:
USB rechargeable electronic lighter
10 pcs. for $16.37 (select the color option 2)
Suggested selling price: $10 per piece
Potential revenue: $83.63
Nokia 3310 (refurbished: aftermarket case, original guts)
20 pcs for $265 (including the charger)
Suggested selling price: $30 per piece
Potential revenue: $335
Suggested selling price: $5.00
Potential revenue: $69.00
105 pc. lot for $5.75
Suggested selling price: $5 per piece (I paid $15 for 2 when I had my tongue pierced)
Potential revenue: $519.25
Good luck, friend!
Remember that you, and only you are in charge of your own freedom and happiness.
I made a new section for the wholesalers, and will post new lot items periodically.
Stop living paycheck to paycheck. Change your income source.
Live the DotCom lifestyle!