The ease in which you can open an online store makes it a much more viable option than opening a brick and mortar store. The costs are not only far lower to operate than a traditional store, but your audience is worldwide so you aren’t relying on foot traffic to your store.
Once you settle on a platform like Shopify or WordPress, you are ready to open your “doors” to the public and start selling. Of course, there is a lot more that goes into it than just that.
In this article, I will go over what the operation of an e-commerce site is actually like. Once you know what you want to sell, then this will give you the basics of getting started.
Shipping and fulfillment
No matter how great your product is, it isn’t much good if it takes too long to get into the hands of your customers. This is why figuring out the shipping ahead of time is the best way forward.
There are a couple of ways to go about this. One is to ship products yourself using a courier, preferable same day delivery. You’ll get orders and box them up and get them ready for pickup. Usually you schedule the courier to pick up from the location where you are putting orders together.
This is the cheapest way to go, but it is also the most time intensive. Since you are responsible for putting the order together and printing and labeling the shipping addresses.
The next best thing is to hire a fulfillment company that takes care of all of that. You send them cases of your product, usually from the manufacturer, directly to their warehouse. With the right software, orders will go directly to the fulfillment company and they will handle the shipping to your customer. It costs money but gives you the time to grow the business.
Keeping your products on the proverbial shelves is one of the most important aspects of running your e-commerce store. There is a fine line between keeping enough inventory and tying up too much money in stock. You definitely don’t want to have any cash flow problems.
Make sure that you have a good inventory software that is going to alert you when you are in danger of running out of stock before the new order comes in. This software will account for how long it takes to get your product from the manufacturer and calculates how much stock gets sold in a certain timeframe.
Provide subscription possibility
A good way to make sure that things run on a sort of autopilot is to offer subscriptions so they automatically receive an order in a certain period of time. This helps your customers get their items on time every time and gives you a hands off way to run the business.
It helps you with your shipping logistics and also inventory control when you know roughly how many units you need to have on hand every month.