My eCommerce Journey | Part 3 | Our First Lesson
Mistakes were made. Let's learn from them.
It's been several weeks since I last updated this blog. A lot has been going on for me. If you read Part 1 of my eCommerce Journey, you'll know that mental health has played a large part of my year. I've been tackling it, slowly but surely.
Now that my excuse is out of the way, you're here for eCommerce talks and tips, and I'm here to provide one for you in this blog. So let's dive into it, and I'll share with you one of the first big mistakes I made on my eCommerce Journey.
One of the first things we learn when starting our online business is what sort of business we want to open. Sometimes, people just don't have that original plan in their head, and that's okay. Plenty of eager entrepreneurs want to open a store and start a business just for the sake of it. Originally, I wanted to start a clothing line, but I knew that before I delved into that particular field, I wanted to experiment in others beforehand, so that I can make my mistakes with a product or niche that I wasn't one hundred percent committed to so that I could learn from those mistakes, and that's exactly what I've done.
When it came down to it, I was ready to open a store. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do, I just needed a product or a specific niche. Plenty of guru's online in the various and plentiful tutorials and videos I spent hours upon hours watching explained that picking a niche is a crucial step. In my experience, most guru's suggested not to open a general store that had no particular niche for several reasons. To name a few, as a beginner, learning to target an audience is one of the more difficult steps in having a successful business, and a general store has no particular audience. There's no specific way to target who you are selling to, but more importantly, there are already an abundance of general stores on the internet that already have a loyal following behind them. Instead, choosing to operate in a specific niche selling products related to said niche is the smartest way to go forward. So, with that information I chose a niche.
After a little bit of research, I decided on my niche. I checked up on other stores that operated in my chosen niche from a quick google search, just to see what I would be up against and if there was anything I immediately noticed I could do better. When choosing a niche, a lot of guru's that I found particularly helpful said to pick one somewhere in the middle. What this means is you don't want something too obscure, but you also don't want something too over saturated. For example, there are a million jewelry stores online operating just fine, and at the same time there's no real market for a store that sells socks made from bamboo only to people with blonde hair. I know that's very specific, but my point is that somewhere in the middle is the safest bet. There's already an established knowledge of the product, and there's not too many stores already in place for you to stand out. A good way I like to decide on my niche is to ask myself how many professional brands I can name within that niche. I could easily name you five professional sport brands or five professional jewelers, but I could only name around two in my chosen niche. Of course, there's nothing to say you can't open a store in a saturated market such as jewelry, but you should be aware of what you're getting into. The same goes for obscure products and niches. If you can't even name one professional brand for your chosen niche, don't worry, as that doesn't necessarily mean your niche is too obscure. For example, some people couldn't name five coffee bean brands off the top of their heads, but everyone is still aware of coffee beans.
So I made my decision. The niche I chose to work in was yoga products.
Now that I had chosen my niche, it was time to build my store around it. I chose yoga because yoga is a widely known passion, and after googling some yoga stores, I noticed I could dropship products for much cheaper than the leading stores that came up on the first page of Google. Of course, I fully planned to order each product on my store myself to make sure that people weren't paying for poor quality items. Testing your own products is a crucial step in making sure your store is functioning at its finest. If a product doesn't come up to scratch, you can always source another, similar product. That, however, isn't the lesson I want to teach you today. What I want to teach you is the importance of choosing your niche.
I chose yoga simply because it fitted perfectly in the middle of successful niches, which I assumed was the only necessity for starting my online business. I, however, was wrong. Since I've uploaded Part 2 of my blog to this website, I've barely touched on my yoga store, and there is one good reason for it.
I simply don't care for yoga.
Simply put, yoga isn't something I have an investing interest in. There's nothing wrong with yoga at all, it's just not something I care about, and that fact is holding me back. My brain filters out a lot of information when it comes to trying to work on my website. The entire website is set up, and is live now. It only needs a few more touches to work, but I don't find the time to work on it because I'd rather be doing other things that I care about more. My lesson here is that if you're going to start a business online for business sake and not because you personally want to sell a specific product, choose a niche that you have some interest in. It doesn't have to be the thing you're most passionate about, but as long as you have some sort of involvement and eagerness, you should be fine. For example, if you're an avid coffee drinker and admirer, you could open an eCommerce coffee store. If you dream of opening a sports wear and gear store but want to try out on a smaller level like I have decided, then you could go into yoga yourself. This revelation had led me to decide to abandon my first journey into eCommerce and to start another store, with a new niche that I'm much more interested in. The important thing to remember here is that is okay. The entire point of starting a yoga store was so that I could make the mistakes I would naturally make along the way as a fresh, new business owner. In a way, the yoga store has succeeded in its true purpose. Now I know I should have chosen a niche that I am interested in, and I can pass this knowledge onto you.
So, dear reader, when it comes time for you to decide what sort of store you are opening, make sure its a product or niche that you like. Of course, there's no reason that you can't choose a niche that you aren't interested in. Feel free to do so. My point is that if you choose one you do like, it'll be much easier to concentrate and care about your business. When choosing my next niche, I thought to myself "Would I use this? Would I buy this?" My answer was yes, and it's helped me shape out my journey in my mind. Since it's something I've bought and used before, I'm able to easily compare my decided method and marketing to places I've bought the product before, and can more accurately think about how I would want this product marketed to me so that I would buy it.
In conclusion, the first steps we take on our eCommerce journey are the most important ones. Choose the niche that you like, relate to, and are involved in. Choose a product that you like, would buy and use, and that you know the applications of. This step will greatly help you in your future endeavours in the world of eCommerce.