Through his website Bootstrapping Ecommerce, Shabbir Nooruddin helps entrepreneurs build online businesses. We recently got his insight on building a successful ecommerce business. Here’s what he had to say:
How did you become so passionate about ecommerce?
I come from a business-oriented family, and ever since the very beginnings of eBay and Amazon, I had the chance to play around with them. Back when I was a kid, it would be selling old video games and trading cards, and after a while, it became a huge business opportunity and a means for livelihood. I think the appeal of an ecommerce business being a truly lifestyle business is what drives me the most, though.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned about running an ecommerce business?
The biggest lessons I’ve learned is nothing comes easy. Like any other business, ecommerce is hard work, perseverance, many failures and a new experience every day.
Where should aspiring business owners start when launching an ecommerce business?
Aspiring business owners should start looking for where they can add value. Is there a specific problem that people have that your product can solve? Is there something that your product can enhance? If your product adds value – and you have identified how it does so – you’re a step ahead in the game.
What advice can you offer on creating a marketing strategy for ecommerce sites?
Go where your customers are. Experiment. Not all marketing strategies work for all businesses. I know successful owners who just wouldn’t have been able to pull it off using just paid ads, but are doing a phenomenal job on social media. It’s all about knowing who your customers are and where they are (on the internet, of course).
What do you think is the biggest misconception business owners have about marketing their ecommerce sites?
You don’t have to spend a ton of money to market your website. The most powerful marketing plan is where your customers become your product and brand ambassadors.
What are some of your favorite money-saving methods for marketing an ecommerce site?
Shopping cart providers like Shopify and Bigcommerce have really beautiful themes so spending $10,000 can be overkill for a fledgling business. Of course, once you’ve reached that stage, absolutely go for it, but it’s not something you need to do in the early stages. Just a nice, simple logo and a bit of customization can go a long way.
What methods don’t seem to work as well?
I have not had much luck with PPC. This is not to say you shouldn’t try PPC, just that my stores have not been as successful. It really depends from product to product, how you choose your keywords, and how much wiggle room you have in your margins to spend on PPC.
What are your favorite tools or resources for marketing your businesses?
I am a huge fan of the Shopify blog, Backlinko, A Better Lemonade Stand, Envision.io, and The Amazing Seller. Of course, there’s my blog, too: Bootstrapping Ecommerce. As for tools, I use ahrefs, Long Tail Pro, and occasionally BuzzSumo. My favorite tool by far is good ol’ Google.
What ecommerce trends or innovations do you think business owners should be aware of right now?
Mobile and making purchasing super-easy. With stuff like Apple Pay where buying something securely is literally as easy as placing your thumb on your phone, innovations in mobile shopping are ever-growing.
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