There are so many things you can do when stuck at home. And if you weren’t quarantined because you had an essential position, perhaps you had a spouse that was. Whatever your reasons, making money from home as a new business or side hustle to supplement your income is prevalent in the days of COVID-19.
If your new endeavor is an online business, there are a few things you need to know.
- What e-commerce platforms are best for my business idea?
- How much will it cost to maintain?
- How to set it up?
- E-commerce platform integration
Armed with the right knowledge, you will be less likely to stumble like so many that just jumped in blindly. They will be revamping while you are well into cashing in on your new revenue stream.
Earning Money with an E-Commerce Platform
Let’s start simple. Take a site like Shopify. We all know it. It is very user-friendly. It has tons of built-in apps, most of which are free, and for all the e-commerce platform features, it is a great go-to option for those just diving into online sales. It is also a drop-shipping site, similar to Amazon, and can be almost entirely automated.
Seems pretty basic, right? On paper, it is. But then there are the little details like the site Aliexpress.com, where most of your products will be shipped from. And AliExpress is global, but the cheapest items to give you the most profit are based in China, and the shipping time frame is horrifically long. This will quickly drive customers away when Amazon can have their items to them tomorrow, not two months from now.
The best way to make money with an e-commerce platform business model is with speed over profit. Instant gratification trumps discount pricing these days. And with a site like Shopify, instead of setting up shipping yourself, set up as an Amazon associate and make a commission on your sales. The profit is lower, but so are the headaches.
The Best Way to Begin
Picking the right e-commerce platform options is key to jumpstarting your money machine. Over 1.8 billion people across the planet bought items online in 2018. By 2021 sales are shaping up to exceed 4.8 trillion dollars. And having the right e-commerce platform is the way to get a big piece of that very attractive pie.
But first, let us explain how e-commerce platforms earn money. The items you sell or the services you offer are paid for by your customers, just like in a typical store. They pay with either PayPal or a credit card in most cases. If you are a seller, you get paid before you send the item purchased from your vendor. The vendor ships it, and you never touch a single piece of inventory.
There are sales platforms for anything you want to sell. For instance, video games have some broader sales market options for online retail, but also have a smaller, more intricate specific to hardcore gamers. And you can now sell items within games, credits for in-game currency, and even credits for online casino games like Pirates Gold, and people will pay hard currency to get them.
A few sites with video game sales are:
- Gamefly – New and used, rentals
- Amazon – New and used
- Best Buy – New only
- JJgames.com – Used only
- Overstock.com – New
- Steam – Downloadable only, plus add-ons
- Xbox Live and PlayStation store – Downloadable only, plus add-ons
Another great way to make money with an e-commerce platform for small businesses is to offer a service. E-Commerce platforms for services abound but aren’t as popular as the much easier drop-shipping option. The thing that makes services a better choice, though, is the lower market saturation. There can only be so many people who do what you are offering.
E-commerce platform development for services is a little simpler than for sales. Ultimately you are selling yourself as your brand. Payment systems are still in place the same as with a store, but with this avenue, you are selling expertise, and that comes with a premium. Everything from teaching online guitar lessons for advanced players to instructing folks on setting up their e-commerce enterprise can be lucrative.
If you want to set yourself up to never work again, or at the very least drastically minimize your workday, these platforms will get you started. Eventually, you can even register as an LLC and have your e-commerce platform market share. But that is further down the road.
The go-to, the super user-friendly online store option, is the most widely used by most entrepreneurs who want to dropship. It has reasonable monthly rates and tons of great options for beginners.
This is best for services. It is an elegant platform and a very user-friendly interface that allows a multitude of custom options. Putting your service portfolio online has never been easier. It attracts the right clients for the services you specialize in.
3. WooCommerce and WordPress
If you can’t decide on sales or services, this option offers the opportunity to do both. It is a little less conventional and much less user-friendly platform for beginners, but it has all the bells and whistles to get your brand out there in the most magnificent way possible. And if you back it up with a quality hosting service, your customers will appreciate the added safety.
4. Magneto Commerce
Beware the sticker shock when you choose this platform, but do not despair. Magneto Commerce exemplifies the adage, “you get what you pay for.” The services they offer for all online sales and service possibilities are comprehensive and worth every penny.
Starting an online business is a worthwhile endeavor, but do the research. Never jump in with only thoughts of greed and retiring early. That way lies frustration and eventual despair. Take your time, talk to the right people, and keep a cool head. Have you started your own internet company and perhaps have some wisdom to share?