We all love shopping online, but a surprising number of Australians are taking the thrill of eCommerce a step above – by starting their own stores. A recent study by eCommerce platform Bigcommerce.com found that half of all work done on online stores takes place after hours. This night-owl trend in small business owners suggests that a growing number of Australians are starting up online retail businesses to create a secondary source of income. With ‘moonlighting’ as a retailer becoming so popular, would you give it a go?
By Michelle Balogh, Money Maven
Bigcommerce sampled 1800 of its online stores over a three month period this year, and found an unusually large amount of activity being logged by online retailers outside of regular office hours. At midday, as could be expected, 82% of online retailers were found to be working on their stores. But at midnight there were still 48% actively working. At 1am more than a third of all retailers sampled were working, and even more astonishingly at 3am, there were still 335 out of the 1788 retailers actively working on their stores.
In the past, whilst many of us may have fantasised about turning our love of fashion into a boutique, or transforming an obsession with origami into an edgy jewellery business, the reality of leasing a space, decking it out, drawing in customers, hiring staff and running a business were well beyond the limits of our free time. eCommerce has made our creative retail ideas into a tangible reality.
‘We know online retailers spend a lot of time on their business because they are encouraged by the sales they are making and working hard to grow their stores,’ says Eddie Machaalani, co-founder of Bigcommerce. ‘But we also know it’s never been easier to set up and run an online store, so many Australians are simply running a hobby bussiness to supplement their regular income.’
‘On some occassions, these ‘hobby stores’ end up becoming so big that the owner ends up quitting their day job to concentrate on their store.’
‘There really has never been a better time to own and operate an online retail business. These days all you need is a credit card and an internet connection to get a fully operational online store up and running in a matter of minutes.’
With this in mind we’ve gathered up five top tips to help make your online store dreams come true:
1. Size up the competition: There’s no better place for inspiration than from your competitors and this is the best way to avoid starting a business that is doomed to fail. Discover how much of a market there is for your idea, and how you can differentiate your
2. Start small: Don’t throw all your savings on the line by investing in a huge amount of stock or relying on a vast number of buyers right away. Why not try selling some of your items on eBay and see how well received they are. Take note of who’s buying, how much they’re paying and how they rate you as a seller in their feedback. These are all essential tools to create a realistic and exciting business.
3. Be passionate: Make sure that you love the products you are selling. A genuine interest and enthusiasm will keep you going when you’re working into the wee small hours of the morning.
4. Don’t re-invent the wheel: There are already various platforms in place to help you create your website. Buyers know how to use devices such as the online shopping cart and shopping lists – utilise this familiarity rather than trying to break away from traditional approaches.
5. Get promoting: Just because the internet is available all over the world doesn’t mean that the whole world is going to notice you. Get on social media, get out on the streets, make contacts and promote your cause!