The world of e-commerce has been build up as a tool only for retailers and global marketplaces to serve today’s consumer better. However, anyone who has access to the internet and a small amount of cash can use E-commerce as a passive income stream within a very short period of time. Here are tools I used to set up my E-commerce business in a week and generated 5 figures in under 6 months.
There are a few e-commerce platforms that will help you sell online without knowing any coding. I think that Shopify has one of the easiest platforms to navigate! Shopify has free template layouts, tons of apps and allows you to use your own domain to run your e-commerce site. The basic plan is $29 per month + 2.9% and 30¢ per transaction. This can increase if you want to add more apps depending on their pricing. What I love most about Shopify is that it integrates seamlessly with my Amazon FBA account, which is how I fulfill my orders. It also integrates with social media accounts including Facebook messenger which allows me to talk to my customers while they’re on the site, and it works with MailChimp and other platforms too. Buy your domain from somewhere like GoDaddy. Once you create your Shopify account, you can start listing your products and prices. Since it’s linked to your fulfillment chain, you don’t have to worry about updating the inventory, and it automatically fulfills orders as you accept the payments. Make sure that you link your account to the bank account that you want to receive your payments. Then your site is ready to go!
Shopify does provide some basic e-commerce analytics, but it’s always good to be prepared to have a deeper understanding of your site traffic as your business expands. Site analytics can help you find out where your traffic is coming from, why your customers aren’t converting or what page they spend the most time on. When you start, I advise you make sure that you put the google analytics code in the backend of your Shopify account so when you are ready to dive deeper into the analytics, the information will be there. This is also free!
3. Social Media Accounts
Creating social media accounts that will be relevant to your business is super important to drive traffic to your website. Don’t try to have an account on every single platform, be strategic and choose a platform that is relevant to your products. Be honest with yourself so that you can maintain creating consistent content. You may only post on Facebook and Instagram and use Twitter for social listening. I do believe that Facebook is a must because it’s where you can run affordable social media ads that will run on both FB and Instagram. They also make it easy to find an audience who would be interested in the product that you are selling. Also, the Facebook messenger feature allows you to talk to your customers as they are shopping on your site. Social media is where you are going to spend most of your energy in your passive e-commerce business. This time will be broken up into creating content, scheduling content and engaging with your customers. However, if you use the app Schedugram that I listed in my previous article, you can spend 2 .5 hours scheduling for the entire week and then just check in throughout the week to engage with your audience.
Finding a supplier sounds difficult but honestly, in today’s global economy it’s pretty simple. Once you figure out whether you want to sell a digital or physical product you can go to different wholesaler sites like Alibaba, Aliexpress or Dhgate and find your products. Once you find the right product, order a test sample to make sure it the quality standard you want. Once you have confirmed the quality, you can have your supplier ship it directly your fulfillment center. There is always room for negotiation so make sure you express the order sizes you will be placing and that you plan on being a regular customer to get a better price. Also, make sure you have a supplier that you can communicate effectively with, this will make the entire process so much easier.
Your fulfillment method is the most important part of making your business passive. There are many fulfillment services that will deliver your products for you so that you don’t have to deal with storage, inventory management or shipment. One of the most popular is Amazon Fulfillment aka FBA which deals with the management and storage of inventory for a certain fee. This means if your order is placed at 3 am for next day delivery, Amazon packages and ships that order for you all while you are asleep! Research the different fulfillment methods and make sure that it links with your e-commerce platform for seamless fulfillment.
When you create your site, make sure that you have a popup or some place for your customers to sign up for a newsletter. When you collect a sufficient amount of emails, you can find lookalike audiences on social media platforms. So, when you are ready to run digital ads, you will have higher conversions. This also allows you to create an e-blast so that you can retarget your customers after they leave your site. It’s very important that you aren’t constantly acquiring new customers, but you are staying engaged with the ones who have shown interest in your products already. Offering a discount code or some free resources is a good incentive to make customers sign up for your email list.
Social media influencers are a quick and resourceful way to find and reach your target audience. Social media influencers with followings in 50k – 300k range are still willing to take free products for payment. Reach out to 10-15 influencers whom you believe will genuinely enjoy your product and have followers who fit your target audience. You can gift influencers with free product and request that they feature your product or service in a post or video which could generate sales on your site and increase your social media following as well.