STARTING AN ECOMMERCE BUSINESS WITH AMAZON OR SHOPIFY

Amazon, Shopify, Ebay, Alibaba, BigCommerce, Etsy, WooCommerce, Asos, Mercado Libre, Flipkart, Jumia, The Iconic… the list of big players in the ecommerce game goes on and on and on! With the glass half full mentality this is great news when starting an ecommerce business.

So how can you claim your stake in this powerful online world of buying and selling and earn money online by starting an ecommerce business?

By the end of this blog post you’ll have a much better understanding about:

  • What ecommerce means
  • The different types of ecommerce and how products are bought and sold through ecommerce
  • The best online selling platforms
  • What’s the best shopify course and the best amazon course to accelerate your rate of success

As I’ve learned from my own experience (following failing to build a YouTube channel after a year of hard work), there’s no faster path to succeeding at something than learning from those who have achieved what you want to achieve, and applying it!

That’s why finding the best course to fulfill your dreams of successfully starting an ecommerce business is critically important.

By the time you read the following blog post you’ll have a much better understanding about the exponentially growing world of ecommerce and how to start an ecommerce business with amazon or shopify (or both!!) so you can love work at home and earn money online.

So, let’s get stuck into it!

ECOMMERCE MEANING

Ecommerce refers to all the business transactions that happen online. All the buying and selling of products or services that happen on the internet are considered ecommerce activities.

Although the first of these sales happened not so long ago, in 1994, ecommerce is considered the fastest growing market.

ecommerce meaning

Consider all the businesses that sell products or services in your local area. How many of them have a global online presence do you think? Not many I’d say, but can you imagine just how much your bottom line would grow if instead of marketing and selling to a local community, you had the attention of people needing your product or service all over the world!!!

No wonder everyone who thinks beyond the edge of their suburb wants to try it…

TYPES OF ECOMMERCE

I’m not going to bore you with all the B2B, B2C, C2A definitions because quite frankly the most important thing to know is what products sell online and how those products are sold online.

Generally speaking, anyone can sell to anyone else. Ecommerce is breaking down barriers so that businesses and corporations can more easily become associates, and collaborations with governmental institutions are possible as well.

It’s not mandatory for consumers to only buy from retailers. Individuals can also sell or resell stuff to each other, like things they no longer use or enjoy. And they can sell products or services to enterprises too. The possibilities are endless!

WHAT PRODUCTS SELL VIA E-COMMERCE

Personally within the last 2 weeks I’ve bought a book, subscription fees for many things like my accountant, my Google account and my home internet, a bike helmet, flights, shares in an index fund, an organic box of fruit and vegetables; all ecommerce, and that’s just the beginning.

Maybe you already have a product or service to sell, or maybe you’re just starting out on your ecommerce journey, but either way, your product will likely fall within these three categories:

  • Physical goods: you can start an online business selling almost any type of object, which is probably the most common choice when it comes to ecommerce. Options may vary, starting from home decorations or furniture, clothes, shoes and accessories, all the way through to people’s weekly groceries. After ordering stuff they want, they’ll pay for them and then it’s up to you or your delivery system to work it’s magic.
What Products Sell via Ecommerce
  • Digital goods are also an option when starting an ecommerce business. One of the first coming to mind are e-books. Other things which can be included in this category are films, music, photos, and also software. In this day and age, most of us choose learning on the internet as well, so online courses are another popular and growing option.
  • Lastly, services can be sold online. Starting an ecommerce business from scratch might be easily done this way. Any skills or knowledge you’re particularly proud of? Why not make money out of them online! Freelancing is one example that comes to mind here.

How to Sell Your Products via Ecommerce

Here’s a list of types of ecommerce with an explanation of how the product gets from the manufacturer to the end consumer.

  • Drop shipping
  • Wholesaling and wharehousing
  • Private labelling
  • White labelling
  • Subscriptions
  • Bricks and Clicks
  • Social Media Ecommerce

To dive a little deeper…

  • Drop shipping – is directly related to the first category in our previous section, physical goods. With this method, you won’t actually have to keep products on hand for selling.

Customers will order and buy from you, and then you’ll order the products from a third party. Usually, that’s the actual manufacturer that you’re collaborating with, who will organize delivery of the product. Sounds easy doesn’t it!

You can work from home, an office or even a hotel room while on vacation. Once you setup your channels, your main focus will be on marketing your website. However, as it’s a simpler way to start an online business, it can be competitive.

How to Sell Your Products via Ecommerce
  • Wholesaling and warehousingStarting an ecommerce business from scratch will prove to be more of a major investment if going for this option. Wholesaling and warehousing requires you to have a space for storing physical products before being sold. You’ll also need to take care of customer orders and shipping, at least while you’re kicking things off.

If you have small products, it could be a good option for starting an ecommerce business to help you earn money online. Otherwise you’ll need to get your systems into place to ensure you can enjoy the creature comforts of a home business.

  • Private labelling – With this ecommerce option you get to build the concept of a product, while someone else makes it for you. The whole idea revolves around your successful collaboration with a manufacturer. You decide on the name, content, label design, price and so on, order a batch and get it delivered.

Sounds like a fun way of starting an ecommerce business from scratch, doesn’t it?

Some pros are having control over every decision related to your product, picking a niche you’re passionate about (you can create anything, cosmetics, clothes, a piece of tech, a new chocolate bar, you name it), costs can be reduced as you won’t need to invest in a space or equipment to make it yourself.

  • White labelling – This way of starting an ecommerce business is similar to private labelling. At least, regarding the point of someone else taking care of production, while your main focus needs to be on promoting the brand.

The biggest difference is that, in white labelling, you don’t decide on what that product contains. The same thing can be sold by several retailers, but under different names. A manufacturer makes it, while you just label it and sell it better than others do. Probably the beauty and skin care industries are the most populated markets when it comes to white labelling.

  • Subscriptions – Another easy way to start an online business is by choosing one based on subscriptions. These help people sign up for buying certain products or services on a regular basis.

Subscriptions include things like financial advice newsletters, subscription boxes like fashion, food or cosmetics boxes, online learning or mentoring subscriptions, book boxes such as Mentor Box, online workout or fitness subscriptions… the possibilities are endless.

subscription box

One advantage of this ecommerce idea is the comfort that it provides to customers. It simply takes the weight and bother of going into shops by bringing what they need daily to their front door.

The key for success lies in providing quality with each of your deliveries. A decrease in this area will surely turn customers away. Something that many people appreciate on the other hand, is receiving personalized orders.

  • Bricks and Clicks – Maybe you already have a physical shop that’s been selling your products or services for years, but you see the value in starting an online business. With bricks and clicks you’ll have both a store and a website.

We’re all human and have different preferences; some like to sit comfortably on their couch while browsing for products, while others like touching them before pulling out the plastic.

This method helps entrepreneurs reach more customers. By including the online world in your activities, you have chances of reaching further.

Just about any home business idea could run under the bricks and clicks model with the power of an online offering such as a course, newsletter or mentor group.

  • Social Media Ecommerce – Social media is constantly growing, covering more and more of this Earth’s population. In many cases, social media is used for major marketing strategies and campaigns.

Social media is also one of the cheaper tools you can use when starting an ecommerce business (pay for ads, but for posts you don’t). Make use of those to also give valuable information away for free that gains the trust of your followers and will bring more new ones into the picture. Some platforms like Instagram even give the opportunity of making sales there, which makes things faster and even easier.

ONLINE SELLING PLATFORMS

Now that we’ve gone through what you can sell and how you can sell it, let’s take a look at WHERE to sell. Online selling platforms are how you can start an online business and work from home.

work from home

If it’s an online market place like Amazon, companies or individuals can sell their merchandise to an existing market place that’s operating 24/7, where customers are actively seeking to buy products and services. The operator of that online marketplace is the one taking care of transactions, while you’re in charge of deliveries either to the marketplace owners’ warehouses, or to the end consumer.

If it’s your own website created through a platform like Shopify, the website will be geared up to handle transactions, however you’ll need to take care of more of the operations, particularly marketing!

The ecommerce business model you choose (drop shipping, private or white labelling etc.) will dictate which online selling platform you’ll need. However one tip to consider is starting with an online marketplace that is already popular and packed with consumers, building your brand awareness there, then switching over to a self-managed platform where you have more control, and take more profits!

You’ll likely lose customers in the switch process, but for the longevity of your brand it’ll be worth it.

Let’s discuss two of the best platforms that you can use…

Shopify vs Amazon

Both Amazon and Shopify are huge names in the global ecommerce industry. You might think they’re very similar, but I can assure you that’s not quite true. So what separates these ecommerce giants and which is the best online marketplace you can choose when starting an ecommerce business?

Roll up, roll up, it’s a showdown – Shopify vs Amazon.

shopify vs amazon

Basics

On Shopify, you actually build your own mini website in order to promote your brand and do the selling. Only your products will be displayed on that specific webpage.

The Amazon online marketplace, on the other hand, puts products offered by different sellers all in the same place. Brand importance is decreased, but still relevant.

The main advantage for both these choices is that they make starting an ecommerce business from scratch easier than ever. With Amazon, you only have to get an account, and you’ll be ready to sell. They can even take care of shipping for you.

Design

Although building a website might sound scary, Shopify makes it simple. They offer many templates to choose from, with navigation and design that are easy to understand and go through. Also, their main platform is filled with help videos. How cool is that?

On Amazon you work with what you’ve got. The only thing you can decide yourself is product description.

Costs

Customer payment options are numerous on Shopify, but more restricted on Amazon. But what about their fees?

Both ecommerce giants ask for some sort of monthly subscription for using their services (bet you wish you started these subscription services! Don’t we all J). Those start at $29 on Shopify and $39 on Amazon.

On Shopify, transaction fees go up to 2% out of their value, which is not that bad. Amazon’s online marketplace, on the other hand, is said to bring that percentage to as high as 8 to 15%. They also seem to charge you for storing products and shipping them through their FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) service.

Customer Service

You’re probably very interested in learning about the interactions you’ll have with clients. If using Shopify, you’ll definitely need more time to build visibility, credibility and customer trust. People won’t know about your products from the beginning, so you’ll really need to work on those marketing strategies and get your brand name out there.

Amazon will share their popularity with you. Between 150 and 190 million people in the USA go on their website every single month! They already trust this website, so they might buy your products when coming across them.

best ecommerce platform

Another Amazon advantage is that they deal with customer service for you. In case clients are dissatisfied and have complaints, they will be ready to deal with returned products.

Seller Service

But which is the best ecommerce platform when it comes to your own questions, as a user?

You’ll be able to fill in forms to request Amazon’s support and they’ll get in contact with you later. You can also go on their forums, but it doesn’t seem either easy or fast.

Shopify likes being closer to its users. You’ll have access to 24/7 chat or phone, you can contact them on social media, email or watch a tutorial.

Shall we wrap things up a bit? Let’s put together some short pros and cons lists for both Shopify and Amazon, for a clearer view on things…

Shopify PROS

  • You get to build a brand name which is incredibly powerful for longevity as a business
  • Website design, product display and descriptions are entirely up to you
  • You have various payment options
  • Fees seem lower, or at least more transparent
  • The first 14 days on Shopify are free, so you can check if it fits your needs or not
  • Access to 24/7 support systems, to help you start an online business with them

Shopify CONS

  • Building traffic and a brand can take a lot of time and a lot of effort
  • If customers don’t have a history with your brand name, they might not visit your website
  • You have to deal with customer service and product storage

Amazon PROS

  • Amazon can take care of customer support and shipping for you
  • There’s less need to worry about marketing, since this online marketplace already has a large number of loyal clients
  • People will trust buying your products, because they trust Amazon
  • Starting an ecommerce business is easier, you only sign up and you’re ready to sell

Amazon CONS

  • Fees seem higher and are sometimes harder to find, while payment methods are limited
  • Getting your product towards the front pages for your search terms (keywords) can be difficult depending on what you’re selling
  • Sometimes Amazon makes decisions regarding your prices
  • You’re at the whim of Amazon’s decisions – their search algorithm can change, their terms can change, they can ban sellers as they choose, they have the power

BEST SHOPIFY COURSE

It’s safe to say that as time goes by, there are more and more people starting an ecommerce business.

So how do you get a leg up? How do you out market them? Out brand them? Out sell them? Good questions.

I tried to start a YouTube channel in the past and failed miserably after a year of creating, drafting, filming, editing, uploading, doing the SEO, and everything else that took so much time. After that experience I realized that if I wanted to be successful in any domain, I needed to learn from someone who has achieved what I wanted to achieve.

Then I paid for a course and gobbled up its content like a teenager discovering Krispy Kreme for the first time. Doing a course helped me crystalize my thoughts, steer my actions and it led me to the creation of Love Work at Home. Without that course I’d still be spinning my wheels, doing things that I think are important that simply aren’t.

best shopify course

This is my experience, and why I’m so passionate about passing on valuable resources to help people fulfill their visions and dreams. On that, if you’ve chosen Shopify for starting an ecommerce business, you’ll want to take a look at these hand-picked courses. These will help you successfully start an online business.

Shopify academy – First of all, a safe bet is the platform’s own course, called Getting Started with Shopify. Alongside this one, they also have other helpful materials regarding ecommerce, drop shipping, and so on.

How to become a Shopify Expert (from zero to hero !) – Another pick for our list of the best Shopify courses is this very highly rated course based on more than 1,200 reviews on Udemy. The course is relatively short so you won’t be bogged down with content for months on end.

The Complete Shopify Dropshipping Masterclass – Last but not least, you can always join the Complete Shopify Drop Shipping Masterclass. This course is also highly acclaimed on Udemy based on more than 900 reviews. This course has quite a bit more content than the previous course, so it might be more useful (fingers crossed).

AMAZON FBA COURSE

If you’ve chosen Amazon for starting an online business, there are courses to help you succeed here too. How to Start an Amazon FBA Store on a Tight Budget – First up, if you’re looking for a home business idea with low investment, check out this highly rated Udemy course based on over 12,000 ratings!

Marketplace Superheroes – The team behind this course claim that their community members have sold over $33m worth of products and “completed over 1,343,700 orders on 7 marketplaces with simple, low competition items”. It’s hard to get a genuine review of this course, however it crops up a lot when searching for courses, so at the very least they know their way around marketing!

Marketplace Heroes

Amazon FBA Course – How to Sell on Amazon MASTERY Course – Lastly, this course is intriguing as it has a high rating on Udemy based on over 1,400 reviews, even with only 3 hours of on demand video. Perhaps the articles contain more information. Either way, could this be the best amazon FBA course? It’s worth a look.

CONCLUSION

Hopefully, things now seem clearer as to your options when it comes to starting an ecommerce business from scratch. Plain advice: start with your product, find a profitable nice and decide what you want to sell. After that, everything else will come to you, and you’ll be able to learn HOW to sell it.

Being honest, Shopify and Amazon are both great. It all depends on how you want things to unfold. If you want to build a name for your brand, make it ‘famous’ J, Shopify is the best ecommerce platform, it can be a good platform to help you get there at a steady pace. If you don’t care about that and just want access to clients, surely Amazon takes the title of best online marketplace.

Sure, you’ll need to take money into consideration as well, your marketing knowledge and the effort you’re willing to put in when you’re starting an ecommerce business. Remember: you can work from home and be successful too, as many others have before you.

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