Many people looking to earn some income on the side opt to do so by setting up their own e-commerce business. It seems like a really simple place to play. With the joys of drop-shipping now very much reality, it means that the site can operate almost by itself during the day time, with some attention paid to marketing and customer services during the evening.

It is a great model for earning a side income, but it isn’t quite as easy as you may think. Granted, getting it right can translate into good money, but there are some specific pitfalls to avoid first. Here are some thoughts on what to look out for.

Traffic is the key

In order for your site to make any money, it needs to ensure that there are enough people through the door. You will very quickly want to work out what your conversion rate is. IE: For every unique browser who lands on the site, what percentage do you convert into a buying client? Once you know this number it becomes quite easy to work out the model in terms of what you need to spend to acquire the audience and how much they need to spend once converted. One of the best ways to ensure that you get the highest quality and most relevant audience onto the site is to partner with an ecommerce SEO agency. They will help to deliver you the best and most targeted audience.

Work the angles

For this type of project to work as a side hustle, you need the right partners taking up the slack for you and making life as easy as possible. It is often a good idea to involve a digital marketing company from the outset, or perhaps even a full-service digital agency. One of the key elements of digital marketing is what goes on behind the scenes in the technical set-up. Agencies will take care of this for you as well as the more obvious above the line marketing-related elements like database management and generation, content calendars, social media and newsletters.

Know your audience

The better you know your audience the more likely you are going to be able to sell to them. This is one of the key elements that you need to understand and research before going live. Ideally, you want an audience that is niche but not limited. You want to tap into something that will endure – riding the back of a trend is great in the short-term, but you will quickly find that you run out of legs. Ideally, the store will also sell something that interests you. Sure, making money might be your primary focus, but when you find yourself having to hustle and graft late at night after a long day of your regular job, it certainly helps if the product is something you like and enjoy.

The build

Make sure that you get the right people who build your business platform. You want something robust yet simple. Ideally you want to use a platform that is not created specifically for you. Use things like WordPress and Shopify as these are easy for any developer to work on and they are purpose-built for e-commerce. They also come with built-in solutions for SEO, security, and payments.

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