When we first embark on a new business venture, the vast majority of us need to keep costs down in the first few years.
Profits are typically lower with new businesses than at any other time during their lifespans. As a business owners, we have to make sure we aren’t spending a small fortune on the day-to-day running of your new start-up, especially at a time when when we can least afford it.
The ecommerce industry has been growing rapidly in recent years. With so much growth, there is ample room for new players to successfully jump in the ring.
On the other hand, competition is fierce. Most entrepreneurs, especially in this space, are bootstrapping the company. Very few ecommerce founders are independently wealthy or backed by venture capitalists.
Therefore, success will hinge on your ability to cut costs and maximize revenue in a manner that doesn’t drastically compromise growth opportunities or the customer experience.
For example, you could suppress costs by finding a great deal on your website hosting. But you would only want to do this if the performance suffices, to ensure it doesn’t scare off visitors who are ready to buy but impatient with load times.
Of course, you can really boost your conversion rates by following up on abandoned shopping carts. Just be sure the messaging is not too pushy if you venture down this type of automation.
Regardless of where you aim to limit expenses, you absolutely MUST select a top notch platform for building and hosting your ecommerce website.
You may be able to find a development agency that says they can build you a custom ecommerce site on the cheap. Don’t fall for it and risk spending money on a poorly built web store. More often, you’re better off doing the job yourself, using a hosted ecommerce website building platform.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important reasons this is the case:
Simplicity to Aid Efficiency
With so many options available these days, many ecommerce website builders support the features you need to start a lean online retail business, all under one roof.
In the past, many of us had to source our domains, web building tools, shopping cart solutions and server space separately. Juggling so many variables can make the whole process seem arduous and cumbersome.
Now, with packages built for each and every particular need your company could require, the whole process is really quite simple. And let’s face it – when starting out in any business, we all need as much simplicity as possible.
There are so many aspects of the business that need our attention. With a limited workforce (sometimes literally just ourselves), time is of the essence.
Many entrepreneurs in the past would have enjoyed having a website that is easy to design, update, and maintain.
The top platforms all offer easy access to a range of stats and data, so you can see what is and isn’t working well on your site.
With all this functionality now available, running an ecommerce website is not the uphill struggle that it once was.
Unique Services for Unique Businesses
The wonderful thing about the wide array of services available is that each platform can cater to different businesses in ways that others cannot.
Some offer a far more graphically focused way of displaying their content. Other platforms some have a multitude of useful integrations with other services built right in. Still others are more centered around complex stock management, such as those that are optimized for drop-shipping.
Depending on your particular needs, one of these services will provide you with the perfect platform to sell your wares and promote your brand.
There are obviously different ways for you to trade online, other than on your own website. Given shortcomings inherent to many of these models, you’ll be best served to own and control your own website / store in the end.
A lot of entrepreneurs sell products on large ecommerce sites such as Amazon and Alibaba exclusively. The risk with this approach is that they risk having their entire trade routes cut off. This could shut down your business altogether.
Many merchants can erroneously step outside the rules imposed by these sites. If that happens, it can sink the smaller businesses completely.
Because of this, I want to caution you with putting all your trust in trading through one platform.
Trading in brick and mortar stores, while more stable than using the aforementioned digital marketplaces, is slowly declining in popularity.
The sensible solution to this is to build your own market destination, and be your own decision-maker.
Finally, having your own website allows you to control your own brand in its entirety. It also aids you in your efforts to push that brand up the search engine rankings.
A constantly changing site will make you far more visible for potential customers than either selling exclusively on other platforms, or simply selling in stores.
With so much business now centering around online sales, the latter option is generally unadvisable, while the former means you are at the behest of others.
Neither of these models will help your brand succeed as well as having a modern, responsive website of your own.
Of course, you could turn to traditional advertising to push your brand. While it is not a bad thing to push online ads through various platforms and services, this does incur an additional cost. You may well, and probably should, look to advertise.
Frugal entrepreneurs should absolutely prioritize raising visibility on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Advertising can get expensive, quickly. Meanwhile, a website is an appreciating asset that will provide value for years to come.
Bottom line: You would be foolish to ignore the potential of owning your own professional-looking, easy-to-manage, and data-rich website presence.
It is relatively cheap. It provides extremely useful information on what is working well for your business and what isn’t. And it will help you efficiently and effectively promote your brand.
If you haven’t already decided on which website builder to use when creating your website, there is no better time than the present.
Feature Image Credit: CC 0; Public Domain. Feature image sourced from Flickr.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.
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