A Homemaker’s Guide to Starting an Online Business

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Ecommerce is a type of commercial use of the Internet to start and run an online business. Since it is accessible and convenient, anyone can start a business online, including stay-at-home parents. Running an online business is a great way to earn without compromising your responsibilities at home. Online businesses run at home are now more common than ever and starting an ecommerce business might be a great way to run a business without giving up freedom or flexibility.

The competition in ecommerce

Before you start an ecommerce business, you must understand that it will not always be sunshine and rainbows. Ecommerce connects entrepreneurs and their markets in a universal space. Today, more and more startup founders and entrepreneurs enter the ecommerce landscape because of its opportunities, potential, low costs, and market reach.

With competition on the rise, new entrepreneurs inevitably feel overwhelmed upon entering the ecommerce space. While startups are known for their innovative and entrepreneurial capacities and great survivability, they still need to extensively study their target markets, access enough resources, and explore the ecommerce field to succeed in the long run. As a stay-at-home parent, you should manage your expectations and prepare yourself holistically to succeed in the ecommerce space.

Advantages and disadvantages of ecommerce

To get started, here are some advantages and disadvantages of ecommerce to help you manage your expectations.

Advantages

Requires small upfront cost

You do not necessarily need a team of workers, a leased space, or a complete set of equipment right away to start an online business. With ecommerce, you can start as a solo entrepreneur working entirely in the digital space with free management resources. You can also work with little capital and grow it as you gain more customers, expand your product or service range, and boost your sales.

Enables 24/7 business operations

Ecommerce allows you to offer your products and services anytime. This setup contrasts with having a physical store that is only open for a couple of hours. With an online store, your customers can purchase your products anytime and receive them at their doorstep.

Offers vast consumer base and ability to scale business

There are currently more than 5 billion Internet users worldwide, all of whom can be your potential customers. The key to accessing this big market is implementing strong business strategies, following industry trends, and finding ways to maximize your market reach.

Provides the ability to target customers

Ecommerce allows you to gather customer data, like shopping behaviors. You can use this information to analyze your market further and develop targeted and data-driven marketing strategies.

Accommodates customer preferences

The global market prefers online shopping for its flexibility and pricing deals. With ecommerce, you can easily accommodate your customers’ preferences without investing too much in resources.

Disadvantages

Lacks in-store experience

Running an ecommerce business means limiting the customer experience. Without a physical store, your customers cannot touch, feel, and try your products, which sometimes influences their shopping decisions.

Requires fulfillment assistance

If you are working independently, you might have a difficult time simultaneously monitoring your online store, packing your products for delivery, dealing with courier services, and addressing customer concerns. Running an ecommerce business still means investing time in all these tasks.

Poses a risk of cybercrimes

Working with the web also exposes your ecommerce business to cyberattacks, especially when transacting with your customers’ personal information.

Susceptible to price comparison

Consumers may compare your prices against your competitors. They will most probably purchase the cheapest option for the same item.

Ecommerce Businesses You Can Explore

Starting an ecommerce business means you can offer anything. You can sell handmade products, distribute goods from a manufacturer, or offer your skills for specific commissions. It all comes down to choosing a business related to your availability, interest, or abilities. Here are some examples that I know about, but of course, you can pick something you know well about or something that interests you.

Jewelry

You sell jewelry at low prices since you no longer have to pay for rent and staffing. You can also make your jewelry pieces by hand or work with a distributor. Remember, crafting jewelry pieces from scratch requires time when deciding which option to take. You can earn big from it, but you need to invest time and patience in making your products. On the other hand, reselling from a distributor generates less profit but saves you the time to develop the products. Here are a few more tips when starting an ecommerce jewelry business:

  • Match your web design with your products.
  • Offer different payment and shipping options, especially if you work with more expensive pieces. Securing official payment options and reliable delivery services should complement the integrity of your business to create good customer experiences.
  • Provide lots of visuals on your website to compensate for the lack of in-store experience.

Baby supplies

No matter if you’re a dad or a mom, being a stay-at-home parent means you relate to other parents who need quality baby supplies. You can use your personal experience as an advantage to starting an online baby supply store. While the market is already saturated and competitive, you can always begin locally and incorporate fresh and unique ideas as you grow your business. The best way to enter the market is to find a specific niche of customers and make your business model responsive to their needs.

For example, you can initially sell products for a specific age range of babies. You can provide same-day and home delivery options to make purchasing more efficient since your customers would likely be fellow stay-at-home parents who need to tend to their babies all the time. Ensure your entire purchasing process is simple and easy to navigate to relieve fellow parents’ shopping challenges. Use social media as well to reach a broader audience.

Service business

Another common ecommerce business idea is offering your skills and labor to other people. Are you good at sketching, designing websites for brands, or altering clothes? There are a lot of possibilities. With a service business, you no longer need to work with a distributor or prepare a huge startup capital. You can quickly establish your commissioned services and only spend on resources when required.

Earn from home with ecommerce

Being a stay-at-home parent does not mean you cannot earn from your home. Ecommerce now allows anyone to start their own business wherever they are, whatever they do. Competition among online businesses is indeed tight, and ecommerce has several disadvantages. However, leveraging the advantages optimized to your knowledge and skillset and learning to maintain your business effectively will grant you a productive and income-generating time at home.

This guest article has been provided by Michelle Bilan.

Photo credit: The feature image is symbolic and has been done by Sura Nualpradid.

This guest article has been submitted by Michelle Bilan. We appreciate all guest contributions but the opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of TechAcute.

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This article has been submitted to us by an external contributor to TechAcute. We appreciate all external contributions but the opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of TechAcute.
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