Tag Archives | ecommerce

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Congratulations – all of your hard work over the couple of years has paid off and you’ve finally graduated with that coveted degree! After years of studying and spending hours in the library, it’s time to sit back, put your feet up and wait for all those job offers to start rolling in. Right?

While we wish we could say that it’s that simple, as you may have already realised, the job market is a pretty tough place for graduates to be right now. Increased competition means that it’s more important than ever for graduates to stand out when applying for jobs  – and as you may discover, it’s a lot harder for you to get your hands on that dream job than you initially thought it would be.

However, don’t despair – not all hope is lost! While it may feel hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, there are plenty of other options out there for bright young graduates like you.

Have you ever considered going it alone and starting your own ecommerce business? No? Well, read on.

With a growth rate of 23% year-over-year in the USA, and a total value of $322.17bn sales in 2016, it’s not hard to see why unemployed graduates might consider ecommerce for their big break. But what else is in it for you?

If you are looking for an alternative way to start earning some money and put your degree to good use, here’s why ecommerce could be the answer to your unemployment woes.

Work from home

Thanks to order fulfilment options such as dropshipping, where an external company manages stock control and deliveries for you, there’s no need to have your own storage warehouse. Therefore, depending on what products you’re selling, one of the perks of running an ecommerce business is that it’s pretty easy for you to work from home.

Yes, you heard that right. No need to put on that business wear and leave the house at 6am to start your daily commute. You can roll right out of bed and work in your PJs if you like!

Earn while you sleep

Since ecommerce allows customers to purchase goods via an online store, there are no barriers in terms of distance or time (depending on where you ship to). Therefore, you have a wider audience for your products or services than if you decided to open a physical store in a shopping mall, for example. Your business is always open – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Low operating costs

Running a physical store costs a lot of money. Just think of all the overheads you’d have to pay for rent, electricity and staff. By running your own solo ecommerce operation from home, one of the main benefits is that the overheads are much lower.

For example, an online store requires fewer personnel to manage it thanks to automation and inventory management. You can also benefit from cheap online marketing channels such as social media to spread the word about your business.

But wait – there are downsides too

It’s important that you’re not fooled into thinking that setting up an ecommerce business is going to be an easy ride – because it certainly isn’t. In order to be a business owner, you need to be prepared to work hard, especially in the early days when you are trying to get your ecommerce store off the ground.

You need to spend lots of time researching your business idea and creating a plan to help you establish whether your idea is commercially viable or not. While working yourself certainly isn’t for the fainthearted, if you found it easy to motivate yourself to study hard at college, then you might just have the dedication needed to run your own ecommerce business.

How to start an ecommerce business

If you think that setting up an ecommerce business could a good option for you, then here are a few handy tips to get you started:

  • Find the product or service that you want to sell: Yep that’s right, it’s time to do some research! Once you have an idea in mind, go online and see what your competition is doing, then ensure that you offer your customers something better
  • Choose the name of your business: Once you’ve decided on your product or service, it’s time to pick a memorable name for your business that will help you to stand out in the crowd. To make sure that the one you want isn’t already in use, conduct a corporate name search
  • Register your domain: When you’ve settled on a name, you’ll need to buy the domain – ideally one that is the same as your business name, with a strong extension like .com. Find out more about how to do this here
  • Build your store: Next up you need to work out whether you want to host your own online store or use a third party marketplace such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy. When you’re just starting out, using established marketing channels can help you grow your sales – but you won’t build up much brand equity that way

With the benefits and downsides considered, if you’re a graduate who is currently unemployed and is interested in finding out more about getting into the world of ecommerce, then there’s never been a better time to get started. 

This article was contributed by guest author Victoria Greene.

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Now that you know how to use your fashion blog to make some money, you might want to consider getting into ecommerce as well. If so, your next concern should be how to let people know about your blog and ecommerce site. After all, you can only grow your audience if they know about your site and where to find it, and the best way to do that is by having an online advertising campaign.

You might think that should be easy enough; all you have to do is to keep talking about it in your social networks, and people will come. That might work at the start, but unless you do something more, growing your audience will likely trickle to a stop as you saturate your natural fans such friends and family. You want to attract the attention of people you don’t know in order to widen your circle of influence, and that takes a bit more effort.

Targeted advertising
The first thing you need to do is to narrow your target audience. Your little sister may be an ardent supporter, but most of her circle of friends are unlikely to appreciate your insights on fashion do’s and don’ts, especially if you are targeting male teens. There are five major segments in fashion marketing: gender, age, geography, behavior, and lifestyle. You have to identify the profile or buyer persona of your target audience by defining them as male or female, age range, location, fashion quirks, and lifestyle choices. For example, your blog may focus on females between the age of 14 to 18 in New York that prefer US brands and are avid followers of K-pop.

Once you have identified your target audience, you can start planning your advertising strategy. Social media is the new black when it comes to advertising and marketing in general, but it is peculiarly suitable for fashion sites. This is primarily because people on social media tend to be more receptive to new ideas, more engaged once you capture their interest, and more likely to share to their networks because it is so easy to do so.

Social media in fashion advertising
According to this article, the top sites for fashion advertising are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Snapchat, a relative newcomer to the social media power sites but with a large following of young people, is also a powerful marketing tool for fashion sites for teenage fashionistas. However, while it may be easy for fashion and retail companies to launch an aggressive campaign on all these platforms, it is a little different if you have a limited budget. Here is some useful information about the different platforms that can help you decide which platforms are best for your fashion site.

• Facebook – Facebook tops the list for most advertisers from sheer volume. As of the 3rd quarter of 2016, it had 1.79 BILLION active users a month, which is about 1.2 billion users a using it on a daily basis. Statistically, advertising on FB just makes sense for blogs as well as ecommerce sites. Aside from reach, FB also offers different ad types to suit advertisers of all budgets and experience levels. You can pretty much learn as you go when you use Facebook ads, and you can start small while you test the waters.

• Instagram – Instagram is particularly apt for attracting interest because it’s visual. You can tell a story more effectively in fashion if you use an image or video better than text, and with 600 million monthly active users, it makes sense to include it on your list. However, Instagram is not too forthcoming about its ad rates, so you will need to get a bit creative when using it in your marketing strategy.

• Twitter – There are about 317 million active users monthly sending 500 million tweets daily, which is not bad at all, although you need to know that its demographics can affect its effectiveness for fashion site campaigns. It does offer quite a few options for advertisers and allows you to set your own budget, so you can start with as little as $5 a day.

• Pinterest – Most people don’t know that you can advertise on Pinterest through promoted pins. However, these are auction-based, meaning that the more you pay, the more prominent the pin. In a very real way, you are bidding for the best spots on a board, which usually means bigger and more prominent pins. Not only that, you have to follow some stringent rules for your pin.

• Snapchat – According to its site, Snapchat has 150 million users a month sharing 10 billion videos a day. They offer a slew of ad options, and they are very effective, but most are priced way beyond the budget of most small ecommerce or blog site owner. However, you can start with Snap Ads or Local Geofilters, which are on the low end of the ad cost totem pole at as little as $5 per campaign. You can also try these tips for using Snapchat without paying a cent.

Making the most of paid ads
Let’s say you decided to go for paid social ads. Does that mean you stop engaging in other ways on social networks? Heck, no! You should actually make some noise as your paid ad is running to maximize its effectiveness. You can use:

• Hashtag campaigns – a very successful example is that used by Travelocity in 2013. Here is how they did it.

• Engaging social media communities – you cannot afford to let your social media pages to go stale. Here are some tips for keeping your profiles fresh as a daisy and enlarge your fanbase.

• Partnering with influencers – it would be awesome if you could get participation from some influencers on the platform on which you have an ad campaign. It can have an exponential effect on your engagement. You can do that in several ways without being considered a pest.

Whether you are seeking more exposure for your fashion blog, or embarking on ecommerce, these tips on advertising for online fashion sites will work for you. You don’t need a bucket load of money to do it either. Use social media and their ad options to your best advantage, and you might just achieve something amazing!

This article was contributed by guest author Sheila Frye.