If the lockdowns of 2020 taught us anything, it’s that almost all businesses need the ability to sell to customers online. Last year, U.S. consumer e-commerce spending increased by 44% — a number that is predicted to rise year over year. Furthermore, by 2022, Black buying power is estimated to reach a whopping $1.46 trillion — a staggering amount that if allowed to recirculate in the Black community, could have lasting positive effects on future generations of Black entrepreneurs. The e-commerce business is a great way to seek visibility on such a broad scale while reaching millions of customers. If you are planning to build your own e-commerce business or looking for tips and a masterplan, here is a helpful guide to get you started.
Research Your Business Plan
When launching your online store, it is important to research your business plan to assist with efficient decision making. There are numerous ways vendors decide what product to sell or build. Discovering a specific issue or a problem worth solving can serve as a great start as you think of the challenge your products will meet. Take some time to also think of your own interests to recognize possibilities for products that people with similar interests may need. Observe and locate the individuals who will benefit from what you are creating and make them your main priority. If you come across an idea during your research that is already on the market, take this as a good sign. You still have the opportunity to offer the same product at a different price, or to create an alternative product. Before doing so, read customer reviews of the existing products to see where your contenders fall short; this helps during your research of better solutions.
Talk About Your Ideas
Once you have an idea about what your potential customers may be looking for, the most convenient way to identify if your idea is worth pursuing is to talk to the people around you. Reach out to a small group of individuals who may be facing the issues you are trying to solve, and seek interest in how they currently go about solving them. Use this meeting as an opening to see what they would pay money for to solve this issue and if so, how much are they willing to pay?
Find the Right Source for Your Product
Once you have decided what product to sell and who this product will serve, it’s time to find the right source that will help your online business thrive. The key is finding the right source specifically for your product. Here a few ideas on how to source your product:
- Create or Build Your Own Products
Creating your own products gives you the most control over the design and quality of your product. You can even create small quantities of your product in order to keep operations manageable.
- Resell Existing Products
In order to resell an existing product, you will need to first locate online listings to access suppliers for your product. You will need to contact a vendor, order the product you would like, ship them to your business, and send them out to your customers. Developing relationships with vendors can lead to a both positive and consistent supply cycle for your business.
- Working Directly With a Manufacturer
Working with a manufacturer to expand your product can potentially contribute to the overall growth of your business. Once you do find a manufacturer who is the best fit for your business, work with them closely to build a blueprint, and eventually make your first order. Once you’ve successfully built a new product, you have the potential to create a brand that will help your business stand out.
Choose Your Online Channel
There are so many options for selling your product online. For Black entrepreneurs, selling products on WeBuyBlack.com is the easiest and most effective way to reach a large customer base that wants to purchase from Black-owned businesses. Another option is to create your own website. This is appealing for those who are interested in customizing and managing all aspects of the business. In order to build an e-commerce website, you will need to be prepared to invest in graphic design and web development services in order to build a successful online experience and earn sales. You will also need to use social media platforms for online advertising.
Launching and Running Your E-commerce Store
There are many ways to create a quality online store. Executing accurate product descriptions, displaying reviews, a fast and easy checkout, punctual delivery, and a trouble-free return policy would serve as the perfect start. During your online store journey, it is helpful to track your business performance with e-commerce analytics. Checking your analytics periodically is a great way to see how your business is doing and to see how customers are interacting with your brand.
We Buy Black Intern Writer
My name is Kaylah Mack and I am a senior at Spelman College where I am pursuing my undergraduate degree in English with a concentration in Journalism. My interest in Journalism stems from my love for writing, storytelling, and public speaking. In my free time, I enjoy listening to podcasts, meditating, exercising, baking, spending time with nature, and catching up with loved ones.