Hi. Looking for any thoughts / guidance / lessons learned on a start up e-commerce business in terms of approach, etc… I appreciate ya’lls help.
The quick background on me – I’ve been in internet marketing since ’04 – Email, SEO, PPC, Web Design, Conversion Optimization, Analytics, etc…. Mostly as a manager/director level. So, I’ve figured out what to do from the customer acquisition, conversion and loyalty sides of things. I’ve worked with teams in given direction, etc… to get results. But, I’m not a technical person – ie. I don’t code or do design work myself. That said, now, instead of making my various employers $, I’d like to take my knowledge, deliver value into the marketplace, and frankly, create more value in return for myself.
That said, I’ve done some eBay work – selling some products on a small-scale from a big closet in my home. My sourcing has been to find some out of production products from a couple Big Box retailers, have them shipped to me (or I go to the store to buy), then I toss in the closet, post on ebay/Amazon and wait for the cash-register text to ring on my phone… the pick/pack/ship/usps.
I’d like to get bigger and find a different category, and what I’m thinking is looking into an approach of building a ‘new’ business. The pillars of my thinking are A) Researching the products/category I want to be in, B) developing relationship(s) with authorized Wholesalers, building a pure-play site from scratch and optimizing for SEO, etc…. Eventually I’d like the fulfillment model to be drop-ship where the wholesaler pick/packs/ship for me. The value I bring to the table in the supply chain is the marketing/customer experience/sales, but I’m lighter on the sourcing / inventory mgmt pieces.
I’m trying to figure out a good approach for the following:
1) How to source? Do I find my wholesalers through a “worldwidebrands” or a “doba” or similar? Or is there a ‘better way?’ I’m ramping up my knowledge in this area, so looking for input / pitfalls, etc…?
2) I’m thinking to scale up initially, I’ll have no choice but to buy “enough” product, put it in my garage and fulfill myself. Ie. buy $20k worth of product, prove that I can sell, and then look to change my relationship with supplier. Thoughts?
3) In terms of research, I’m using keyword tools (ie, AdWords) to help determine market size, then Googling competition. Also, looking at some sites on trending to see what’s hot in ecomm, or UNDERSERVED in ecomm. Probably better ways to do this?
4) Website build – Thinking I can do this with a partner who can give me a decent template, and then who can help with the SEO architecture and we’ll work on content/keyword relevance, etc….My play will be SEO to have a presence and then capture a piece of the search share, etc…
One other thing – My ‘other’ thought was to check out ebay drop ship or amazon fulfillment, but I don’t know much about either, and my gut tells me I’ll get crushed on margins, and the longer-term plan of drop ship with a pure play site gets pushed out even further.
If anyone has any comments on approach, other suggestions on supply chain/sourcing, that would be great. Thanks for hearing me out, and your thoughts.