Starting an ecommerce business can be stressful.
Not because it’s difficult, but because there’s just so much information out there. It’s hard to know what to do and when. Sure, you can figure it out through trial and error, but that can get expensive. Fast.
Throwing your computer at the wall can seem like a better solution. But, before you launch your laptop at the drywall, keep reading. The four steps I outline below will get you off to a powerful start. Plus you’ll be saving yourself a lot of time, money and headaches.
1. Identify unmet needs.
It all starts with a need. Most people just upload products they feel others will like. That’s a dice roll, though, and entrepreneurship shouldn’t be treated like a casino trip. Instead of guessing, research what to sell first. You do that by identifying products that are already available, have steady sales track records and aren’t meeting current customer needs.
Start with Amazon reviews. If a product has a lot of reviews, dive a little deeper. What do people like about it? What do they dislike? What features do customers wish for? Armed with insights like these, you’ll be more informed about which products to steer clear of and which ones to invest in. How could you make those same products better based on customer feedback?
Amazon isn’t the only way to uncover unmet needs. Listen when friends complain or praise products. Why do they love (or hate)? That’s your in. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just make a better one (more durable, faster, cheaper, safer, etc.). Reading through Quora, Facebook Groups and other communities is another great place to start. If you’re still unsure, my newest guide outlines several other research methods you could look into.
2. Create a compelling offer.
Most offers are boring. You see these all over the place. “Contact us for a free trial” or “request a free demo” are common, albeit weak, offers. Who needs sleeping pills when you can just read offers like that before bed? A good offer is targeted to the right audience, addresses their most pressing concerns and outlines how your product can help with them.
Let’s say you find out — after browsing Amazon reviews for an hour — that most flashlights suck. Consumers are complaining left and right. Poor battery life. Dim bulbs that produce no light. Cheap handles. Bulky and cumbersome construction.
Now let’s say you make a better flashlight. A good offer wouldn’t be “Click here to download our free flashlight specification sheet.” It would be “Check out our blindingly bright, lightweight, military-grade flashlights with batteries guaranteed to last.” See how I flipped those pain points and turned them into selling points? That’s what a compelling offer does.