How to start an online food restaurant business

Online food restaurant

I have a love-hate relationship with food, while I may love well cooked homemade food, I do not like the cooking aspect of it. I love to experiment with food but I simply do not like to have to cook every day.

The little cooking skills I ever had had to be upgraded by my hubby after I married him. Till today he is still a better cook than I am. I come from that part of the world were cooking homemade meals is a must, of course, we can eat out once in a while but home cooking is a must for us.

While I love the fact that I get to cook what my little ones eat and hence ensure that they eat nutritionally balanced meals. I find that I struggle a lot with being creative with their meals. This is where I know I would not mind having the services of an online food restaurant which is what preempted this post on how to start an online food restaurant

An online food restaurant is basically a way of serving homemade meals to people without the necessary stress of putting down huge amounts of money to own a physical restaurant. I like to think that most businesses we have in brick and mortar can also be run online, that’s why I am tooting this idea.

Now to run an online restaurant, there is a key skill which you must have, that is selling skill or marketing skills depending on what divide you belong to. Your ability to sell your food ideas and draw in your customers will make the difference in your business, since its basically online without a physical storefront.

Before we delve into the methodologies for starting an online we need to outline some crucial tips that are necessary

Crucial Tips necessary for an online food restaurant

1 Legal requirements: Most cities have very strict regulations when it comes to food business, so you must ensure that you have your Licenses, permits and regulations looked after before you venture into this business. This is because legal trouble is the last thing you need when you already have a business booming.  Don’t think that because it’s online, it does not matter. It really matters because you will be cooking food which will be sold to strangers so make sure you have your bases covered.

2: Understand your market: For you to be successful in your online restaurant, you have to have a good understanding of your market. Because you are selling food, your business is still location specific. You can’t send cooked food to another state so you have to understand what the needs of your immediate neighborhood and be ready to meet those needs.

If you are living in a neighborhood where everyone love to cook their own food, you may find that your market may be tough because you have to cook an exceptionally good meal to make them to decide to order yours instead of cooking theirs. Statistics show that a ordering for food online is much more prevalent amongst millennials, so be sure to include this group in your market assessment.

3: Your costs matter: Cooking is a very interesting skill but you have to know that running a restaurant business has nothing to do with cooking, it will look like it’s a joke but seriously, your major business is marketing and drawing in and satisfying your customers. It’s the cook’s job to make sure the cooking is well done.  This probably means that you may have to hire a personal cook from the word go, If you are not careful about your costs, you may find yourself spending more than you are making.

Having mentioned this 3 crucial tips, we can now go on to look at different ways you can run an online restaurant food business.

Different ways you can run an online food restaurant business

When we talk about food business from home ideas, there are various ways you can make your business valuable and make money from it. You can call it the different arms or different ways to make money from the online food restaurant business and you will not be far from it.

-Sell fully cooked 3- 5-course meals

-Sell only sauces and soups

-Sell caned personal recipe homemade sauce

-Make food for group gatherings

-Get pre-orders from offices or business places.

-Sell baked goods

Tools you will need to start up your online food restaurant Business

A website: This Is basically like your shop front, the first experience people will ever have of your meals is the picture of your meals so make sure you have a well-built website that showcases what you have to offer.

I would always go with the Wix website builder because it’s basically a drag and drop website builder, very easy to manipulate and use. It does not require much technical expertise, so long as you can drag and drop parts of the website, you are in business. Plus it also offers integrations for marketing an online business. To get a Wix website, click here.

A good Camera is your Friend: In this case, you can’t possibly run an online food restaurant without your own pictures because people will buy only what appeals to their visual senses before they even taste it. So you are the best food photographer your business can have. Be ready to take pictures of your finished meals or even prep processes in other to entice people to buy from you. You can get a good quality camera such as canon, they are the best when it comes to picture quality.

Content marketing: Be willing to market your food business through the written word such as blogging, social media posts, and even online quizzes, this will help you to create an online audience that appreciates what you have to offer.

How to launch your Online Food restaurant Business 

After you have put all this aforementioned in place, create a launching program and launch your online food restaurant. Because food is often what people like to taste before they agree to give you a review, you can choose to open up by having an in-house physical open day where people can walk in and try your meals.

Try offering buffet style servings to showcase your products and give the people opportunity to critic and also review your food options. It will also give you the opportunity to collect their information such as emails and preferences so that you can build your email list.

One thing which I will not overlook in building an online food restaurant business is the need to connect with people physically, so I will advise that you have a once a month pop up restaurant kind of treat where customers can book their orders in advance and then walk in to have a dine in.

It will help them to know what it feels like to be served by you, it will also create more avenues to relate with your customers and also meet fresh customers base that you may not be aware of.

Coffee lovers travelers bundle

1-Start Blogging about it:

In this age, we are in, you start talking about your business before you have started the business, you get the drift, right. The idea is to create awareness and build anticipation about your product even before it has landed. That way you make people expectant of your D- day.

You can create that awareness through Blogging, social media posts, hand fliers and even local announcements in your local newspapers.

This will help people to be aware that a new business is about to start off. Because you are selling food online, you are to ensure that your Online website is very locally optimized to avoid getting orders from out of state.

2-Pick a date for the In-house Pop up restaurant style meetup:

It will be wonderful if you plan all my launch strategy around this idea because it will be a time for people to get to meet with you, connect with you and also have a feel of what It means to buy from you.

It’s important that you make a big deal about it, go out of your way to invite people to your open-air dining so that you can gather as much patronage as possible. Offcourse It will be nice to choose to launch in the summertime when the weather is beautiful and people are willing to go out.

Be sure that your launch day meals feature the varieties you have to offer and also ensure you announce your future menus so that people can be on the lookout for it.

Use your launch day to connect with business owners who have small groups of staff who will normally buy from food from others and entice them with the prospect of a meal that is readily home cooked and made especially for them and delivered right to their office. Highlight your unique service offerings and let them know how buying from you could be the best decision they will make.

3-Online marketing:

i Create a Buzz online

Make sure that you are also consistently creating a buzz online, you don’t want people thinking you are the brick and mortar type of restaurant, you want them to know you are mainly an online restaurant type so ensure you are directing all your offline efforts online also.

ii-Advertise on Social Media

Create your customer avatar and reach out to your persona online via advertisements on Facebook and Instagram, using the features which are available there to target your location and target market. This will help you to attract your ideal customers to your website.

iii-Build your email list

Have a landing page for email collections, you can’t have an online food restaurant business without an email list provider so be sure that you have that handy and then offer people a gift for their emails. It could be food recipes or even meal packages in exchange for their emails. You can actually tie your open day invitations to this aspect, that is,  exchange their email address for an invitation to the open day activities.

IV-Provide an opportunity for online ordering and make sure your website is user-friendly.

I know this idea looks basic I mean what is the use of having an online restaurant without a provision for ordering right? but it will shock you that some people just drop a phone number hoping that people will call in.

One thing you should know about online business is that it takes perhaps less than a minute for people to decide that the effort to reach you is not worth it if you have a difficult layout that makes it cumbersome to make orders.

To take care of this aspect, please ensure that there are different ways of ordering for your food. This may include, an order button, a booking button, a toll-free number they can call to make orders or even a texting service with codes for different food options, this way the customer can easily choose whichever suits them. Statistics show that the ease in ordering for food online is much

V-List your Restaurant on Online directories

Ensure that you list your online food restaurant on local business directories that are online, that way if people are new in town and are looking for where to dine or how to get their food, your business will pop up. An example of such directories is Yelp, thefork, tripadvisor and Manta.

After putting all these in place, you can then go ahead to launch your business.

6 secrets about Printables Business you should know

6 secrets about Printables business

In my post the Ultimate guide to a Printables business, I wrote extensively about how to start a home business selling different types of printables. If you want to know what types of software to use and where you could sell your Printable designs then get to that post and read it.

In this post, I am going to share with you 6 secrets about a Printables business that you should know. I will be dealing with such questions as; how to make printables that sell, what are the key things to look out for in making printable designs so as to ensure that your designs are popular. Finally, I will also deal with the best selling digital items on Etsy.

Some people have often asked the question how much money can you make from selling Printables ?and I often think, what limit is there to the designs that we see daily, if there is no limit to what you see as designs daily, whether its on paper or canvas or even on clothing materials, mugs and beddings, then there is no end to how much you can really make. It might not be a get rich quick scheme, but if you are consistent and people love your work. You will definitely make a living out of it.

Printables designs have been with us since man learned how to draw, the advent of design software has made it easier for people to sit down on their computer, design stuff or even think up a quote and create very beautiful designs with it. And as long as men always seek to beautify their personal spaces then you are in business, so there is really no end to how much you can make from a printable designs business.

For the sake of not throwing around figures, I know that Sarah Titus makes close to 50,000 dollars per month selling her printable designs and also binders from her online store. This I believe she has probably surpassed by now because I am on her email list and I get her emails. So I know for sure that you can make a killing just using your design skills.

Now on to the Secrets about Printables Business you should know

1-Your design is key

The first of the secrets about Printables business is your design. A digital printable is a piece of art or quote or even a binder that is first seen before it is bought, this means that you have to have a design that is appealing to the eye. If you make designs that are not appealing, then you may find it difficult to convince the buyer to buy. Therefore ensure that your designs are appealing visually.

Make use of light colors that are bright and easily noticeable, ensure that you leave lots of white space to enable contrast to play a big role in getting peoples attention to your printables.

I will always advise too that you keep your designs simple and classic. People love it when a design is simple and easy on the eyes. A jumpy graphic that gives people a lot of movements here and there may not necessarily work, but to be fair, this is my personal preference and I have also seen a simple quote sell out on Amazon.

 

The content of your designs.

The 2nd of the secrets about Printables business is your content is important.

A printable design is used to convey a message be it a wall art, a quote or a binder, the most important this is that the content is top notch and superb. For example, a kid printable wall art should have friendly kids artworks that appeal to kids, it should not be complex and difficult to understand.

Depending on the functionality you had in mind, your design should deliver the message loud and clear. For example, I love to encourage people via my coffeesantea product, so I created a wall art quote that you can put in a coffee shop that is based on both coffee an encouragement.

I posted it on my Instagram page and got a lot of comments and reactions to that post. That’s is because the message was loud and clear. People felt encouraged just reading it, and it made me feel like I had made an impact with this design

You can get this wall art for just 2.99 British pounds- Click here to buy it

if you need a table framed picture, it can be adjusted to fit in a frame too.

Espresso coffee quote Printable wall art

3-Marketing:

The 3rd part of the secrets about Printables business is strong marketing skills.

After designing your Printables, you will want to sell it right, the secret to marketing your printable designs is first knowing who you designed it for, that way you can carve out your target market and begin to work towards selling to them.

Because printable designs are a highly visual product, I will advise that you ensure that the first platform you hit is Instagram, this because you get to display beautiful pictures of your designs, while also using the right hashtags to attract your consumers. Another place where you should also be active is Pinterest, this is because 70 percent of printable business consumers are mostly women, whether it has to do with kids, blogging or even binders for the home. Women are more likely to buy from you than men, so ensure that you go to platforms where they are available and be there. Plus Pinterest is a good traffic source for your business too, you don’t want to miss out on that.

 

4-Choosing the right Niche:

There is nothing like trying to be everything to everyone, it will likely not work, except you are a magician, that is why this 4th secret is very important.  Of all the points I have mentioned about the secrets of Printables business, this is the one that takes precedence as it sets the tone for the rest.

It’s important that you choose the right niche if you want to make an impact in your printables business. If you want to know the types of niches available in the Printables business, then you can read it up on my previous post.

You can choose to combine two niches if they complement each other for example, mom and baby niche or Business printables and home business designs. The most important thing is that you understand your market and you know how to find them. I had already mentioned some niches in my previous post so I will not repeat them here but if you want to know the trending ones this year here it is

Planners: They are a huge market right now on Etsy and if you are someone who is just starting out, I will recommend you try your hand on these

-Calendar Planners

-Blog post planners

-Monthly and weekly planners

-Fitness and health trackers

-Homemaking Planners

-Meal Planners.

-Hand lettering Binders

 

5-Functionality

The   5th secret about Printables business you should know is functionality. The thing you have to consider as a printable business owner or someone who want to start one is how functional is your printables business. Can people easily understand how to use it? Does your marketing strategy convey to the users what this planner or printable design will do for them? You have to be willing to demonstrate how your printable designs can be used so that people can see the beauty.

For example, if you have made a wall art, you must show how beautiful it looks by showing a picture of the wall art on the wall. That way, the buyer looks at it and knows that he or she will like to have such a wall art hanging in the house.

To achieve this effect, you do not necessarily have to hang the picture yourself and snap it, you can use a software that helps you to achieve that effect If you wish.  A good software that enables you to do so is wallapp.

You can also inform them where it can be used and also provide whatever help that is necessary to make it more appealing. If you are making a binder, have you designed your binder in such a way that it has enough offset for punching the holes for the spiral binding? These are the considerations you should make while displaying your designs or demonstrating your product.

In designing a product that must sell, you have to do whatever possible to get your buyers attention to the point of purchase.

6-Customer service is King.

Because you are selling a digital art does not mean you should just stick it there and expect the buyers to figure out how to access your product after they have paid, that is why this last of the secrets about Printables business is very important. If you have worked so hard to attract a customer, don’t mess it up with poor customer service.

You should have clear written instructions on how to access their file download after payment. You should also provide necessary technical help if they find it difficult to access your product after they have paid, an excellent customer service will keep them coming back to your store, plus they will give you reviews that will convince other people to buy from you.

Qualities of a Printables design that sells

-Beautiful design and font

-A clear demonstration of product use

-Classic and simplicity

-Funny and creative designs

-Good use of color complements

Key things to help make your designs popular

-Offer Freebies

-Offer little to nothing  some of your designs, for example, create 1 dollar deals in your online store so that if someone is just browsing through but don’t want to make a big purchase they can purchase the small-priced ones

-Create a buzz by collaborating with other people to launch your collection

-Look for ways creative ways of putting your designs out there, like making designs that are catchy and fun and posting daily on your Instagram page.

Having learned about the 7 secrets about your Printables business, I hope you implement them and be on your way to creating a profitable online business via the selling of printables

Did you enjoy this post? leave a comment below. Also, sign up on my email list and get stuff like this sent to your email box daily.

 

 

How to Start an Organic Skincare Business

How to start an Organic Skincare Home business
How to start an Organic Skincare Home Business

In this age, people are moving towards sustainability and earth-friendly recipes, for all things starting from the crave for organic food to organic skin care.  The Skincare industry is a big industry that is continuously evolving, therefore, it is a huge opportunity for people who care about what they put on their skin to tap into and make a great home business out of it. Statistics have it that Global organic skincare market is projected to reach 22 billion dollars by 2024.

People are becoming more aware of the effect of chemicals both on skin and food, especially with the prevalence of different cancers which are caused by the chemicals that are mixed with our food, drink and skincare products. Hence the move towards more organic, natural and earth-friendly recipes that treat sensitive skin conditions using the natural elements that are available in nature.

I am not an expert in Skincare but the aim of this post is to sensitize you to a business idea, should you have a passion for mixing stuff and trying it out on your skin. This could be the catalyst that helps you to go out and launch an organic skin care business that will change your life, having said that let’s go.

1-Researching the Organic Skincare Industry.

First, before you decide to go into this business you need to do a thorough research to determine what category you want to serve because skincare is a very sensitive business, people are careful of what they put on their skin, you will have to be sure you understand your market and how to serve it.

You have to understand what categories of skincare products you want to sell, do you want to serve the youthful skin? or aging skin? it could also be that you had like to serve a niche which has to do with chemically damaged skin or produce organic skincare products that help to heal burned and damaged skin due to accidents. This is what you have to research and be sure about before you set out. This is typical to my posts about finding out what your niche business should be. You can not be the master of all at the beginning even though you can extend your niche as you move on and become more successful.

 

2-Formulation and testing:

Your product formulation is your secret sauce and your winning bid, ensure that you have a product formulation that delivers what you claim it does. People have a variety of skin issues and are constantly looking for organic skincare regiments that will help solve their issue from acne to flares up due to change in hormones, especially for women.  Be sure that you have tried your product and you can show its ability to deliver what it promises.

 

3-Packaging

Before anyone has the opportunity to test your products to see if it works, they will be looking at how it is packaged. This means that your package design should communicate what your product stands for and be beautiful to behold. I don’t know about you but I love Olay products because of the branding, design and more importantly their bottles and cups, though I always feel like they cheated me when I see how small the cup is when compared to how it appears on the pack Lol.

But the main idea is to make sure that your labels, designs, and packaging send a message which is clear to your buyers if you had like to read more about how to brand your small business, go to this post where I wrote how to brand your small business.

4-Business license:

Just because you are a small business that operates out of your home, does not mean you should not subscribe to any legal requirements for setting up your home business. In fact, before you start any business you should find out what the legal requirements are and abide by them. You do not want to get shut down when your business starts rolling.

5-Advertisement and marketing:

When you are done with the above steps, its time to advertise and market your business, you should know that because your business is personally formulated by you, people may find it hard to be won over but If you are able to set up a good marketing plan for your product, you will do well.

Your marketing plan should include product demonstrations, giving away free samples and also asking for reviews from people who loved your product. Your first port of call will be for you to ask people who already know you to try your product and give you a feedback and review, that you can use on your website.

Ways to Promote your Organic Skincare Business

-Create a website: I know this sounds basic these days but you can not afford not to emphasize it more, your online presence means that people who are not able to reach you physically can reach you via the website and buy your products. Except for you are still leaving in the stone age or you have tons of cash to rent a physical brick and mortar store, then this online store is your best bet of a shop front that people can use to buy your products. To create a website you may need to consider buying hosting from hosting providers like Bluehost or you may consider using an ecommerce platform like Wix or Shopify. Either way, having an online presence is a must.

-Blogging: Blogging is sharing your knowledge about a particular field of choice with your audience. Blogging about your organic skin care products will help you to build credibility and trust. This is because as you share your knowledge about the products that you formulate and also provide helpful information about how to care for one’s skin using organic products people will be more likely to trust your products enough to buy from you. Blogging also provides a digital footprint which the search engines love and will use to direct traffic to your online store.

Have a social media presence: In this day and age, once people are able to check your website, if they like you they will love to check out your social presence via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest in other to follow you so make sure you are on these platforms, especially Instagram, if you plan on marketing to a youthful population, you can’t afford not to be there.

-Demonstration Videos: People will buy when they see results, so demonstrating how your product works and the effect it has on your skin or perhaps another person’s skin will make all the difference. If you use yourself as the lab rat( sorry ) they will trust you more, so have your videos shot and upload on youtube and other video platforms like Vimeo, Facebook, and even Instagram to show how your products work.

-Podcasting: Do you love to talk, then podcasting about your organic skincare business will be a new   new source of traffic you should not joke about, when you podcast about your products, you tap into a new traffic source that comprises online listeners who don’t have time to watch videos but love to listen to podcasts. Podcasting is like having your own radio station, It’s a great way to share knowledge and information. I opened my coffee online store named coffeesantea and I wanted to use it to encourage people who buy from me, the only effective way I would be able to to do that was through podcasting. Today  I have my encouragement podcasts on several platforms like Stitcher,  SoundCloud, and Spreaker. These platforms are free to use.

5 exceptional methods for brewing coffee

 

-Instagram stories: Instagram has evolved from just posting pictures on your feed to sending people your stories which may be a video or picture. The good thing about Instagram stories is that you can send to individual people who are following you or even to people you follow who your feed will not usually appear on their feed except they follow you back. If these people love your feed, they will likely share it with their audience which will attract sales to you. It just happened to me of recent, I shared an Instagram story to a person who I was following on my Instagram he reposted it on my his network and mentioned my handle, I was thrilled about it because I knew that I will get traffic from there.

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How to Dropship from Aliexpress with 50 Dollars or less

 

Learn how to dropship from Aliexpress with as little as 50 dollars investment
How to Dropship from Aliexpress

Drop shipping is business model where a seller obtains a product from a manufacturer and sells it to the buyer without necessarily keeping inventory. The manufacturer is the one who delivers the product to the final buyer.

It is one of the easiest ways to start an online shop. You pay nothing to your product supplier until you make a sale.In this post, I will be teaching you how to dropship from Aliexpress with 50 dollars or less, so hang on with me as I take you through.

*there are affiliate links in this post, please see my disclaimer policy*

To learn how dropshipping works, please read my post on 5 easy steps to running a drop shipping business.  In this fresh post, I will be writing about how to dropship from Aliexpress.

Aliexpress is an online marketplace much like Amazon, except that it is for Chinese sellers. In Aliexpress you get a congregation of manufacturers or big-time whole sellers who sell products to you at the manufacturer’s price, which means they sell at a lower price than you will get at your normal everyday store.

AliDropship is the best solution for drop shipping

If you want to start selling online without holding inventory, to drop ship from Aliexpress will be the best method to follow.I have been part of forums where people do not understand how to dropship using Aliexpress, hence the need for this post.

The first thing about selling online is that you have to determine what you want to sell i.e defining your niche, if you don’t know what to sell then it will be difficult for you to know how to market or sell your products.

Defining your niche will help you narrow down to what you want to sell and hence decide where you want to source for those products from.

To read more about discovering your Niche please get my free ebook: From stay at home mom to Mompreneur, I dedicated a section to write about finding your Niche.

The next thing to do when you discover what you want to sell is to find suppliers.

For the purpose of this post, I will only be treating using Aliexpress as a supplier to your Business. There are other ways of finding suppliers, you can read that up in my earlier post.

How to Choose a Supplier  when you want to Dropship from Aliexpress

The first thing to do before you start searching for your suppliers in the Aliexpress platform is to register on the site.

Register on Aliexpress

Your registration on the platform will give you the opportunity to send emails or messages to your supposed suppliers, you will also be able to Follow a store, this helps you save your suppliers so that you don’t keep searching afresh each time you want to make a purchase.

I  suggest that once you have adjudged your supplier to be the one you will use, you follow the store immediately so it is saved in your account. Anytime you want to use that supplier you just check your account and click on the store to go directly to that store without necessarily searching for the store again.

Please note that you cannot search for store names, you can only search for products.

Registration does not take more than a minute, it’s no different from registering on Amazon.com

Before you start choosing a supplier for your products when you want to dropship from Aliexpress, there are certain key metrics that you must look out for.


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Metrics for Choosing a Supplier

1 How long has the supplier been open for Business:

Before you choose to order from a supplier the first thing that you should check out is how long has this store been selling on this platform. This will give you a sense as to how reliable that supplier is. It will do you no good to pick a newcomer on the platform who is still trying to get off on his business. There will not be enough reviews for you to know if that person has been consistently delivering to her customers. I will normally go with someone who has been in business for over two years.

How to Dropship from Aliexpress

2 Check for Feedback scores:

On the Aliexpress platform, all shops have a feedback score attached to them which are usually graded in percentages, this feedback score is a sum total of an average number of people who returned a good feedback on the products they bought from the shop.

How to dropship from Aliexpress

Most times, the shop owners are always encouraging you the buyer to leave a good feedback. In fact, they often remind you via emails to come back and leave a feedback so that they will know you were satisfied.

Your feedback is often in form of written notes, star ratings and perhaps even pictures to show that you received the item. This score is perhaps what Aliexpress uses to grade a particular seller. I will go with sellers that have a 98% feedback score and upwards. Sometimes you will see a seller who is considered a Top brand, such sellers may not have a feedback score percentage attached but they have a top brand badge on their platform, this indicates that Aliexpress trusts the quality of products sold by that store.

3 Number of Orders

Before selecting a supplier for your products, you need to check for the number of orders they have processed, it may be for your particular product or for another product from the seller. This is because you want to know that the person you are going to buy from is really selling products consistently. You want to check out the hot selling products and the number of orders that product has sold out.

How to Dropship from Aliexpress

Most times, you will see that the hot selling products for that store have a lot of reviews, you should take your time to read the reviews not just the good ones but the bad reviews too. You want to know how the seller handles bad customer experience. It’s not enough to say that we will refund your money if you do not like our products, but do they actually do that? Of course, Aliexpress offers buyers protection but you may want to buy from someone who has integrity.

4 Check for shipping options:

What shipping options do they have? and do they offer epacket? I will always go with anyone that offers epacket because it gives you the opportunity to offer free shipping to your customers which will make the customer happy and encourage repeat sales.

5 How long does it take for your Product to arrive

Depending on where you are selling in, perhaps in US or UK or maybe you are shipping worldwide, you have to check what time it takes for your order to arrive. Orders that are shipped to the US take from 12-20 days to arrive via epacket. I sold an item during the Christmas period to a customer and my order reached my customer in 10 days. I was quite impressed. The time it takes for your customer to get their order is important since you dont want an irate customer that did not get his or her orders on time. I will suggest that you add a little lead time to your own product shipping time, this will give you leverage for any delay in shipping from your suppliers.

6 Communicate with your supplier by sending him a message.

Contact your intending supplier to find out if they dropship from Aliexpress. It’s important not to assume that every seller on Aliexpress must want to dropship. Some may not want to, so it’s important to check out with the seller and let them confirm to you that they are willing to dropship for you, should you make a sale.

7 Make a test order:

You could test order the product you want to sell so that you can check out the process, as this will enable you to know what the whole process will be like. It will also give you an idea of how the actual product looks like. Pictures don’t always tell the whole story. You may need to handle the product and packaging to know if its worth using that person as a supplier.

8: Take advantage of the App To Dropship from Aliexpress

Aliexpress has an app which you can download on your phone to use. I have noticed that goods are often cheaper on the app. You can take advantage of the app to get cost savings on your product sourcing.

After you have completed these preliminaries, you now want to start your online shop.

Complete supplier solution for your Dropshipping business
Salehoo : Vetted suppliers for your dropshipping business

Cost of Setting up your Online shop

There are basically two options you can go with when you want to start drop shipping a product. You can choose to sell on an online marketplace e.g Amazon, Bonanza, or you can choose to sell on your own hosted ecommerce shop using such deliverers like Shopify, Big commerce or Wix.

I wrote a post on Online marketplace versus ecommerce shop, you can read It up to check out the pros and cons of using any of those methods.

Selling on Amazon as an individual seller is free while selling on Bonanza is free except for charges which you only pay when you make a sale.

If you choose to use an ecommerce shop deliverer as I noted above, it will cost you the following amount

Shopify- basic- $29

Wix -$16.50

Domain name registration through each platform is – 10 dollars.

So the big question that is still hanging now is how to add these products to your e-commerce shop.

How to Add Products to your Ecommerce shop

You can choose to do it manually- quite time-consuming- you have to cut and paste each picture to your online shop. Plus you will have to manually maintain your pricing, ordering, and tracking.

or you can use this very important Plugin Alidropship which takes care of the following

Product Automation: This includes search and importation of products to your shop, pricing update, epacket filter options, Order fulfillment, auto tracking and also the auto update on product information. For more on how this plugin can change your dropshipping business, click Here.

Customization: This includes Free themes, built in product customization, unlimited products addition, woocommerce support, product variation.

Marketing: This includes, email lists, cart abandonment, discount coupons, product reviews.

Managing: This includes Live statistics, cashback system, payment gateway integration.

AliDropship is the best solution for drop shipping
If you chose to go with hosting your shop on Wix, you may find that you have an extra 23 dollars which you will use to set up your first Facebook Ad, in other to attract your first customers.

Please note: Aliexpress is different from Alibaba.com. Most people think they are the same but they are not, Alibaba.com caters to people who want to import physical goods and then distribute or ship themselves and they often require a minimum order number for you to use them.Alixpress selles to anyone even if it is one article you want to buy.

 

Other alternatives to Alixpress could be joining online directories who curate and qualify manufacturers. An example of such online directory is Salehoo. You pay an amount yearly to have access to suppliers in their database who are prequalified by them. The only thing is that you still have to do the due diligence of reaching out to each one supplier and creating a relationship.

Do you want me to help you do all the written due diligence above? contact me for consulting.

I will help you set up your first shop and ensure all the necessary job is done. I can provide a done for you shop as long as you have picked your Niche. send an email to elizabeth.uchealor@thehomebusinessowner.com

 

 

online marketplace versus ecommerce store

Want to know the best option for your new ecommerce business, read this
Online marketplace versus Ecommerce store

Today I will be taking my time to look at the benefits and non-benefits as it pertains to stand alone online shops versus online marketplaces in the ecommerce business. I have a special fixation for ecommerce because the internet has made it easy for you to start one within an hour if you so choose to.

Selling stuff is as old as man itself, for as long as humans exist, there will always be commerce. Commerce is as old as when man started exchanging money for goods. The difference with the age we live in is the form and shape it has taken. This means that you do not have to own a brick and mortar store and stock up inventory for you to sell. You can now use the drop shipping model to sell.

When you decide to sell goods online, the next dilemma may be what vehicle do you want to use to make this possible. Apart from sourcing for your goods through online platforms like Salehoo, Aliexpress and co, choosing the right platform will be the next most important decision that you will make in starting your ecommerce business.

There are various ways you can sell on the internet, if ecommerce is your thing, you can sell via Facebook or perhaps via your Instagram account or even through your Pinterest account. But the more professional way of selling can be divided into two major types.

Types of ecommerce Platforms

Online Marketplace: This involves selling in places like Amazon, Etsy, Bonanza, storenvy,eBay etc. To learn more about online marketplaces read my post on 10 online marketplaces where you can sell (with high traffic)

Standalone online shop: This involves setting up your own online store using e-shop providers like Shopify, Bigcommerce or having your own website where you sell your goods.

While you can be successful selling on either of these options, the main issue that is the bone of contention is what I like to highlight which is control over your own business.

Many people have always prevaricated on choosing what platform to use in pursuing their dream of owning an online store because they are not sure of what the advantages are of using either of these options.

While some people have tried to hedge the risks for both by owning on both platforms. The issue is that if you are just starting out, it may be too much of a work for you to start your ecommerce business on both platforms because then you may be spreading yourself too thin to give each platform the attention required to make it a success. In the next few points, I am going to be looking at the pro’s and con’s of the online marketplaces versus the standalone online shop in ecommerce business.

Online Marketplace

Pros

Guaranteed traffic: its called a marketplace because they already have a name that attracts buyers to their platform.

Think of your huge brick and mortar bazaars where people open shops or shopping malls where different kinds of people open shops on a rented floor space. The online marketplace is just like that, they provide you with the platform to sell your goods, you pay rent to own it either before you start or as you make sales. Traffic to your shop guarantees that you will make sales which means your business will start yielding fruits faster.

Wider reach: Online marketplaces often have wider reach because they already have built a name and brand which they are often investing to make it better because that’s where they make their money from. You have access to all sorts of customers as long as you play by the rules. Having a wider reach is a subset of having traffic since you only attract people that you can reach.

Advertising: some online marketplaces provide you with free advertising or they may charge you a commission o advertise your products. Often their best bet is investing more money in their platform to ensure that people want to shop with them.

Low cost: Most marketplaces usually have a free version of their offering which you can use to starts as an online shop owner without paying anything. For example, in Amazon you are offered individual seller option where you pay nothing to list your products and sell, the only snag is that you have a limit to the number of products you can sell per month.

With Bonanza marketplace, you don’t have to pay anything to set up shop, you only pay commissions after you have made a sale. Etsy collects a very small listing fee of 2 cents, This makes sit easy for anyone wishing to start selling on their platforms to easily start with little investment.

Another reason its low cost is you don’t need to pay for a special domain name or maintain a website just to do your business, your only stress is to list your products and sell since all that has been taken care of by the marketplace provider.

 

Cons of Online marketplace

No control over your business: Most online marketplaces have rules which guide them which you must abide by, you do not have control over those rules. If they suddenly change their algorithm you will have no say on how it affects you. For instance, you may be making a huge sale on a platform, and there comes a rule that says your products can’t be accommodated on that platform anymore. You will have no option than to leave that platform.

Sometimes a change in their algorithm may also bury your own products and make it difficult for searchers to find your products. This may mean a huge drop in your sales.  Some online marketplaces may ask you to pay for exclusive display of your products on the front line if you want more customers. That’s the case of Bonanza platform, while you may not be paying anything to register on the platform, there are prices for different categories of services that they offer you. Organic driven traffic may be low if you do not have money to pay for such services.

Fierce loyalty to their Buyers: Most online marketplaces have a fierce loyalty to their buyers, that’s why they offer buyer protection. While this is a good thing because people have to trust that they will not be scammed if they are using your platform for purchase, it can also be exploited to the detriment of the sellers who are small business people trying to make a living.

Some buyers exploit that loyalty and cheat the sellers by making spurious claims that may be false hence causing the seller to either be penalized or shut down, sometimes even without a fair hearing from the concerned party.

 

Competition may be stiff: Another notable con of online marketplace is that competition for sales can be stiff, this is because the consumer has a wide variety of options to choose from when they want to make a purchase. While that may be good for the consumer, it will work against you as a first-time seller.

This is because people are more willing to buy from experienced sellers than from a first-time seller. It’s like a catch 22, you need people to buy from you so that you can have more experience or reviews the currency of experience in such places, people won’t buy from you because you don’t have many reviews.

No Brand loyalty: When you are in the marketplace, there are thousands of other sellers too, so its difficult to build a brand. People don’t search for shops, they are searching for products. Only some online marketplace offers a buyer opportunity to save a shop so as to be able to come back and purchase more form the shop if they so wish.  Even though people may like your goods they cannot be particularly loyal to your brand which is what breeds repeat sales.

Same look and feel:  You cannot customize the look or feel, of your store because it’s a one size fits all. This means you really cannot bring out your personality on such platforms, hence the reason it’s never about you hahaha. The online marketplace has no place for personalization, although some may offer you some aspect of personalization like your header board or logo or picture, at best, that’s all it can do. You will have at look to a stand-alone online shop to find those.

 

Standalone Online Shop:

This is popularly known as an ecommerce store or online shop as you may deem fit. This resembles your normal brick and mortar store where you build your own shop to your taste and design.

Pros of a standalone online shop:

Customization: Like I mentioned above with your own online shop, you get to do as you choose, depending on what platform you chose to use, like in Shopify, you can choose what themes you like, upload your own logo, input your own brand colors and generally put your own feel on the store.

Control: You have control over your own inventory, what you sell and how you sell, you don’t  have to compete with other stores over your type of products. You also have control over what your brand represents and what you want to be known for.

 

Brand loyalty and repeat sales: Because you are able to customize your shop to your taste, you are able to send a message about what your brand represents, people who like your products become your loyal customers. They do not have to check other competing products in the same view when they are shopping. You also able to convert them to repeat customers by offering sign up to your newsletter what you cannot do with online marketplaces.

Better Margins: If you are able to get people to come to your shop via an advertising platform like Facebook or Instagram, chances are that the buyer already knows the price of your goods and is willing to purchase from you, hence saving you from sometimes cut-throat competition that comes from operating in online marketplaces.

In the online marketplace, the same product is shown to the consumer at different prices, and the consumer will always go for the lowest price. For stand-alone web stores such choices are not available hence you make better margins and avoid loss of customers.

 

Cons of Using Standalone Ecommerce stores

Like everything in life there will always be disadvantages to it, here are some disadvantages of using stand-alone shops

Cost: While most online marketplaces often allow you to start with a free registration and perhaps only makes money when you make a sale, for stand-alone stores, you always have to pay a monthly subscription cost in other to keep it running.

This means that even before you have made a dime, you are spending, now if you have limited funds for your startup shop you may find it difficult to maintain it. You also have to buy your own domain name and hosting which you will keep renewing per year, these are additional costs to you.

Traffic: For stand-alone ecommerce store you have to drive your own traffic to your store which costs money and time, you are also responsible for the optimization of your store so as to come up in searches.

This means that if you don’t understand basic SEO principles, it may be a long time before anyone visits your store and the fewer visitors you have the less likely you are to make sales. Kind of worrisome since you have a recurring monthly bill to pay.

Maintenance: You are responsible for maintaining your store, meaning that the site has to be run by you, this may not always be the case if you are using service providers like Shopify or Big Commerce. But all in all, this requires a lot of time and effort.

In conclusion, when starting out as a new business person, if you have limited funds, it’s always better to start with the free platform like online marketplaces so as to navigate the learning curve without running out of funds. As you get better and you are able to make more money you can begin to think of moving to a paid option.

Think of your online marketplace like the mass-produced stuff that you use when you are starting out in life, as you earn more and you have better income, you now develop a taste for the finer things in life and hence you want your own customized stuff.

Everything in life takes time, so be willing to start from where you are, the most important thing is that you are taking action.

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