Many people can have a million-dollar business idea, but not everyone can have a million-dollar investment budget. So, how to be smart with whatever money you have while starting an online store?
There is no doubt that you can create online store these days with much simpler approaches, but when you have a limited fund, you need to stay extra careful with every simple or complicated move you take. One wrong investment and you can fall short on money for another crucial deal. Here, we are going to discuss some simple and practical ways to be smart with your investment budget without compromising on the competitive aspects of your eCommerce business.
Be smart about your office setup
It’s more likely that you would want to set up your first office at your home to save some bucks on rent, but even home office setup can be extremely redundant if you don’t think smartly. A comfortable office is undoubtedly an important requirement, but it doesn’t mean you should invest everything in it. For example, you can do all your work right from that table and chair in your living room. You need not purchase a separate office chair and a big table.
The point is your initial savings can prove to be extremely useful in the later parts of the business when you actually need to put in money in crucial things, say the website development. Just set up a decent home-office where there is no distraction and peaceful enough to work without getting uneasy from the surroundings. You can invest in a decent computer system, high-speed internet, printer, stationery, and noise-canceling headphones, etc.
If you can’t spare a room or space at your home for your office setup, the best option is reserving a place in a budget co-working space. I would recommend opting for a monthly rental rather than per-hour plans. Until you start growing your turnover, a budget co-working space could give you the experience and environment that you need to work peacefully. You can also rent essential office equipment sometimes from your co-working office, such as meeting room, projector, printer, fax machine, etc.
Be smart about your eCommerce development
You need a professional-looking website to not only look trustworthy but also beat the competition from tones of other websites. However, this is where most entrepreneurs fall prey to false positives and end up investing a fortune in what could have been done at a way cheaper price.
Earlier, it was an impossible task for a non-techie to create an online store without hiring a full-time developer or a team. Moreover, you needed to build everything from scratch, which would consume hundreds of hours of development, alpha-testing, deployment, beta-testing, and full rollout. Consequently, this would demand a fortune of investment just to build an eCommerce website.
Today, it has all changed, as you no more need complex coding skills or hiring full-time developers to build an eCommerce website:
If you are not tech-savvy at all:
Depending on your requirements, you can subscribe to a SaaS-based eCommerce platform like Shopify, BigCommerce, Weebly, Squarespace, or Wix, etc. A SaaS-based eCommerce platform is an all-in-one package of everything essential to run an eCommerce website without in-house resources. That means, with a SaaS package you get a ready-made website, a web-hosting plan, payment solutions, and website maintenance service.
Sounds magical, isn’t it? You just need to manage your website’s back-end, while complex tasks are managed by the SaaS-vendor. However, there is a catch. Apart from commission or transaction fee on every sale you make on your store, you will be paying a monthly recurring fee to the SaaS-vendor for these services. The fee itself may range from $30-$1000 per month, based on your website. Here is a breakdown of how much Shopify charges for is eCommerce SaaS platform:
Acquire little skills and you can save thousands of dollars:
Just because you don’t possess simple skills to set up and manage your online store, you would be paying a major proportion of your revenue to the SaaS-vendors, which indeed provide great service but only after leaching away your money.
Instead, if you acquire basic website management skills, you can use open-source eCommerce platforms to build an online store without paying anything at all. All you need to pay for is a decent web-hosting service and a custom website template, which is a one-time cost. In fact, if you can spare a little more, you can also use premium node js eCommercesoftware to build massive eCommerce websites comparable to Amazon and eBay.
You can download the source code of an eCommerce platform like Magento, PrestaShop, OpenCart, ShopyGen, WooCommerce, or Drupal Commerce and install it on your web-server to get a ready-made eCommerce website.
Open-source eCommerce platforms do not demand monthly fee or transaction fees. If you do not want to do the setup by yourself, you can always hire a freelance developer to set it up for you. You just need to tell the developer if you want simple eCommerce store software or a multivendor marketplace softwaresolution as per your business plan. With this one time investment, you can own a stable eCommerce website and its source code, without sharing your revenue.
Be smart about the right eCommerce tools
Once you have your website on a live web-server, it’s time to make some money with it. However, you will need some eCommerce and marketing tools to attract customers, and this is where you can invest a few bucks in useful eCommerce tools.
SEO tools: Besides, the free of cost Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools, you should invest in an innovative keyword and competition research tool. These tools will help you out to find the right keywords to target in your digital marketing and SEO campaigns. For starters, you can use the free version of Uber Suggest, but premium tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, and premium version of Uber Suggest are also smart investments.
Email tools: Email is the backbone of any digital marketing campaign. You cannot ignore the importance of a good email-marketing tool in your arsenal. Whether you want to blast promotional emails, abandoned cart emails, or to create segmented email lists, you need an email-marketing tool at every step. You can test the free or trial offers from MailChimp, Constant Contact, ConvertKit, EngageBay and Mailjet, etc. for starters.
Before setting up your store and buying the tools, you need to consider the business model of your website. Are you going to operate in B2C, B2B, or C2c model? The selection of many other important tools will depend on your business model. Don’t overlook anything just because you think it’s not important, and don’t purchase anything blindly just because everyone has it. The scale of the business influences the scale of your requirements too.
If you are expecting huge website traffic, invest in a good web hosting service and a content delivery network to offer quick website loading experience. If you cannot manage your website alone, don’t back off from hiring an employee or purchasing a small business CRM solution to automate some aspects. In short, while you should refrain from spending in redundant aspects, you shouldn’t overlook the requirements that are crucial for the future scope of your business.
I am a professional blogger, guest writer, Influencer & an eCommerce expert. Currently associated with ShopyGen as a content marketing strategist. I also report on the latest happenings and trends associated with the eCommerce industry.
Follow me on Twitter @Jessicabruc (https://twitter.com/Jessicabruc)