As a blogger, you have already developed key skills that will pave the way for you to make a career online. A well-crafted blog can position you as an influencer in your industry, and with influence comes a leg-up into the world of eCommerce. With a bit of creativity and a sound business plan, you can harness these skills to set up your own online store. Who knows, you may even be able to give up the 9 – 5 if you follow this advice!
Why you are already primed and prepped for eCommerce
Being a blogger isn’t just about writing from your stream of consciousness. Blogging has come a long way since its conception, and there are many bloggers like yourself who have done the legwork to expand their following and become an influencer. Here are just a few of the transferable skills you will have picked up from your experience as a blogger:
- If you have worked as an affiliate blogger or a sponsored post writer, you are a dab hand at writing to a brief. Adhering to a brief is a great skill, requiring focus and creativity. This will prepare you for writing the copy of your eCommerce website, which should include SEO-optimized product and category descriptions, buyer’s guides, an ‘About Us’ page and perhaps a blog
- A can-do approach and drive to succeed in business is essential. While there is a skills overlap between blogging and business, the latter career may stop you from being so flexible with your time. You will have deadlines to meet and orders to fulfill, but a little organization will set you on the right path
- Is the focus of your blog relevant for a particular industry? Brainstorm what your blog’s primary focus is, and see if you can link this to a product offering. An example of this could be a DIY blogger selling upcycled furniture. This may give you an advantage because you already have contacts, a relevant readership and industry knowledge at your fingertips. Don’t be afraid to use them!
Hello, is it me you’re looking for?
Lionel Richie lyrics aside, if you have a readership or are an influencer in a particular industry, you are already at a serious advantage. But don’t worry – there are other ways to find your niche product offering. Here’s a checklist of what you should be searching for:
- Your niche should be targeted, rather than broad, to ensure that you meet the demands of customers
- An evergreen product offering that will stand the test of time is always better than a one-trick-pony. This will ensure that you can create a scalable business with sustainable growth
- Check relevant keyword and search phrases with tools such as Google Adwords to make sure that there’s enough interest in your niche.
- Get involved in a market that is growing – you don’t want to set yourself up in a declining industry
- Do your research to see if there are any trending topics on Twitter, or perhaps a topic that is being frequently discussed by bloggers. You want your product offering to be something that people talk about.
- Being unique is key: the internet is saturated with online stores. If you are going to enter a market like beauty, which is already really popular, try to offer something that will make you stand out.
- Of course, high demand for the product is really important. Try to offer something that provides a solution to a problem that people are crying out for.
Your niche needs to be something you are passionate about and driven to succeed in. This will make you far more likely to do well, because your energy and subject knowledge will shine through your work.
Keep these keys to niche success in your mind as you explore different avenues for your product offering.
Setting Up Shop
Congratulations. Now you’ve found your niche, you can start thinking about how you will set up your online store. Here are some of the best options available to you.
Open source eCommerce platforms
If you have a big enough budget and some time, then you could invest in using an open source eCommerce platform. This is the ultimate choice for those who want to call the shots, with the ability to change intricate details of the design and functionality of the store. WordPress is probably the blogger favorite and there are loads of ready-to-go themes out there to choose from.
Hosted eCommerce platforms
These are a great option for those on a tighter budget, and for those who just want to get up and running ASAP without any of the technological hassle. Have a go with Shopify’s free trial and see if it works for you. It’s very easy to set up and run when you’re on the go – perfect for people who have got used to the flexible working hours that blogging offers.
Don’t forget about the likes of eBay, Amazon and Etsy. These online marketplaces can be powerful selling tools, and you can get your store up and running in a matter of hours. Signing up is completely free, and the only charge taken from you is a small percentage of each sale. These marketplaces have the additional benefit of a very active community of users searching for products every day.
Check out our previous article for advice on affordable marketing tricks for your startup business.
Use Your Contacts
It’s important not to forget about your readers, because they are a valuable commodity at your disposal. The business world is all about making contacts and listening to your customers for feedback.
If you are still stuck for ideas of what to sell, or you need reassurance that your chosen niche is a good one, you should use your readership to find out. You could create a landing page on your blog to capture the email addresses of your readership. It would then be a matter of contacting them to see if:
- They think your product offering is worth pursuing, or would be relevant to them.
- There are any particular products that would add value to their life, or would provide a solution to a problem they regularly encounter.
Getting to grips with what your customers want is key to selecting a product offering that will generate a profit.
A successful blog can put you in a great position to be successful in eCommerce. However, setting up a sustainable business will take a little work in such a saturated online market. You will be one step ahead of the rest by following this advice.
About the author: Patrick Foster, eCommerce entrepreneur & writer
I am a freelance writer and contributor to many digital publications specializing in business, eCommerce and blogging. I enjoy nothing more than sharing my knowledge with others in the industry.