All around the world, more young graduates are joining the eCommerce sector in various capacities. Many have gone on to launch their own businesses in the niche. What is the cause of this attraction?
The eCommerce is growing every year at a rapid pace. The industry is expected to see more than $4 trillion in sales by 2021, and more than 2 billion people are already shopping online. The COVID-19 global pandemic has further highlighted the importance of the industry. A look at the most recent data on how the coronavirus has influenced the growth of the eCommerce world shows that all projections about the industry published before 2020 will most likely be blown out of the water as the months roll by.
By the time the world recovers from the pandemic, the number of people that will regularly shop online could cross the 3 billion mark. With the continued growth of internet users around the world, it is easy to see how the eCommerce niche is one of the most fertile grounds to play in for people looking for an economic foothold today.
This article looks at some of the major reasons that are driving young graduates to join this industry.
The Dream of Becoming First-Generation Successful Entrepreneurs
All around the web, there are stories of young people in eCommerce that are making tens of thousands of dollars from their businesses per year. Some have even gone on to become billionaires. Such motivation is a strong driving force for many young graduates looking for a new way to make money and leave the 9-5 routine.
With lots of inspirational stories to learn from, these young people have more fuel for their burning passion to become successful entrepreneurs.
Low Overhead Costs
To start your eCommerce business, all you need is a website and access to a supplier. The only overheads you need to worry about, at least in the early stages of your business, are your domain name and hosting subscriptions to get your website online. If you have a bit more cash to spare, you can invest in some brand branding material. Once your website is up and running, you can focus on attracting customers.
With eCommerce retail models like dropshipping, you don’t have to worry about manufacturing, keeping an inventory, or even running a warehouse. The lower bar for entry plays into the hands of young graduates who may not have enough capital to start the typical brick-and-mortar business and those who won’t qualify for loans from high-street lenders.
Lack of Conventional Job Options
For some young graduates, the decision to join the eCommerce industry was borne out of necessity. This is especially so in developing economies. Some of the entrepreneurs only launched their businesses as a way to fight unemployment and its attendant ills.
While some of these accidental entrepreneurs have gone on to become successful, others won’t hesitate to ditch their business if they are offered their dream jobs.
The Need For Supplementary Income
Other employed young graduates look to eCommerce as their way to generate supplementary income to support their earnings.
Part-time eCommerce entrepreneurship is common all around the world. It is also one of the most quoted options for people looking for new ways to make extra income or build a business while still employed.
Lots of Ways to Earn in the Industry
Owning a website and selling your products is not the only way to make money in eCommerce. We have already mentioned the dropshipping model, where you can complete thousands of sales per year, without ever keeping your own inventory. Other avenues to make money in eCommerce include:
- The logistics angle. Here, you get involved in the last leg of the sales process running shipping or door-to-door deliveries.
- The product sourcing angle. Do you know many manufacturers for various products and how to reach them? This approach allows you to make money by connecting these manufacturers with wholesalers.
- The consultation angle. When you built some experience as a player in the eCommerce niche, you can begin to offer your services to people that need them. Some of the solutions you are expected to provide as a consultant include customer acquisition advice, content management,eCommerce-centric digital marketing, and more. Even services like Shopify optimization can yield consistent income if you build a positive reputation.
These options can be divided into B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to consumer) categories. With the former, you are earning money directly from end-users either by selling your products or selling products from other manufacturers. With the B2B model, you earn money by providing services to other business owners.
With the plethora of options to choose from, many young graduates have no problems finding somewhere to fit in.
Wide Range of Product Choices
Whatever the product type, you can sell it online. Some of the products being sold online today include:
- Kids items
- Cooked meals
- Prescription glasses
- Smart pills
- Musical equipment
The list is by no means exhaustive. With the wide range of product choices, it is easy for anyone, including young graduates, to find a product they can understand and get started with. This shortens the learning curve a great deal.
Ecommerce Feeds into Modern Nature
The modern nature is such that we spend more than six hours of our time online daily. From business to entertainment, we want to do everything online these days. This fact is pushing more young people into eCommerce.
Apart from the fact that these graduates are looking for a way to set up a profitable business without leaving the online space, the number of people also spending more time on the internet is on a steady incline. This means that any online business already has an audience waiting somewhere. Whether or not you can find them is another conversation.
The Need for More Independence
There is no denying the fact that the average working-age adult hates the 9-5 routine. You only need to look around social media to see the groans that meet the end of each weekend. Working for a terrible boss is a part of the reasons for these moans online. Many young graduates, who may already have the experience of what it feels like to be tethered to someone else, embrace eCommerce due to the promise of freedom it brings.
Some people can argue that independence in entrepreneurship is overstated because the demands can be strenuous. However, an online business owner will enjoy more creative and management freedom—something most young graduates will appreciate.
The Opportunity to Follow a Passion
Some young graduates embrace eCommerce because it allows them to do what they love and make money from it. Do you love football? You can create a business around it by selling football gear online. Do you love your optometry career? You can create an eCommerce business around recommended glasses and perhaps throw in fashion eyewear and contact lenses in the mix. With e-commerce, you don’t have to wait around to find a job or position that aligns with your passion.
Immunity to Economic Downturns
If you are selling essential products in your eCommerce store, you can almost guarantee some level of consistency in your sales and earnings. Smart young graduates know this, which is why they are considering evergreen niches like food, drugs, and groceries. Household electronics, computer accessories, and clothing are other niches that will continue to enjoy patronage in a poor economy, albeit to a lesser extent.
The “Big Lockdown” of 2020 caused by the coronavirus pandemic is yet another example of how eCommerce can withstand most economic shocks. While some businesses are closing and furloughing staff, online retailers are hiring more staff and expanding their operations.
By investing in essential eCommerce niches, young graduates are embracing the chance to build a resilient business. They don’t have to worry about shutting down or getting laid off.
Near-Unlimited Expansion Potential
Young entrepreneurs love eCommerce because the expansion potential is almost limitless. As a brand grows, it will continue to attract more buyers. The advertisement options available to eCommerce owners also ensure that there is no limit to a brand’s reach.
Add the low overhead costs, as we have discussed above, and you can see why it is so easy to scale an eCommerce business and start employing dozens of staff and start selling products internationally.
A Level Playing Ground
With an eCommerce store, a young graduate can jump into the pool competing with larger, more established brands using nothing more than a website and a few social media pages. With a robust digital marketing strategy and a quality customer service, it is possible for a three-month-old fashion store to attract existing customers of larger brands and compete evenly with these brands for first-time buyers.
Interestingly, many consumers today prefer to patronize reputable smaller businesses that offer them a quality shopping experience instead of larger companies. These customers feel closer to the small business than the multinational.
For many young graduates, the opportunity to tap into a highly receptive audience is too juicy to ignore.
These are some of the reasons why more young graduates are joining the eCommerce sector. However, the fact that it is a richly rewarding industry that holds a lot of potential doesn’t mean it easy for everyone to succeed in it. According to recent statistics, 8 out of 10 online stores get abandoned within the first two years. As a young graduate looking to launch your own eCommerce store, how you can ensure you are a part of the successful 20%?
How Young Graduates Can Succeed in eCommerce
Becoming a successful eCommerce entrepreneur goes beyond registering a domain name and selling any products that come to your mind. Here’s what you should do for a better shot at success.
Find the Why
What are the reasons why you are looking to start up an eCommerce business? If you don’t have a strong enough conviction, there is every likelihood that your business will end like the 80%—failure within the first two years.
Research Various Models Extensively
There’s no winging it when it comes to successful eCommerce entrepreneurship. You need to treat your business with the seriousness it deserves by spending enough time to research all the possible angles. We have covered some eCommerce business models above. Which of them sound appealing to you?
Dropshipping may make sense for someone else that would rather not get involved with products, but for you seeing keeping your own inventory may be the better option. Do you have a product you’d like to make but can’t manufacture? Consider going with white labeling.
After you have analyzed the pros and cons, choose the option that appeals the most to you.
Choose a Niche
There’s nothing wrong with dreaming about becoming the next Amazon. However, Amazon started more than two decades and with selling products in just one niche—books. Therefore, creating an eCommerce store in the hopes of selling everything, but adult Dinosaurs is a sure way to fail. Such a lack of focus is one of the surest ways to get frustrated.
Look around you and find product niches that are already semi-competitive and get involved. Avoid crowded niches, but options without any competition at all often suggest the lack of a market or you have just invented the next big thing.
Avoid options already dominated heavily by the major brands, unless you are bringing a unique twist to the table.
Think about Your Target Market
When you have settled on a business model and a niche you are comfortable in, the next thing on your mind could be to start the product hunt. However, this isn’t the right time. Think about your target market. Who are they? What will your business offer them? What kind of brand image do you want to project?
This stage is important because a fitness eCommerce brand that suddenly switches to selling milkshakes and smoothies won’t be taken seriously by anyone.
Get Started on Product Ideas
After you have a clear understanding of your target market, it is time to get started on product ideas within your chosen niche. A good tip is to start with one product at the beginning. If you feel like adding one or two more options, look around for affiliate marketing opportunities. Find similar products that are showing promise on other eCommerce sites. Using affiliate marketing to test the waters is an excellent way to find out what works before you go all-in. If you notice that a product is very popular, you can start selling your version of it.
However, don’t forget to test out those affiliate products first to ensure you can defend the features. Exhibiting ignorance about a product’s quality is a sure way to ruin the reputation of your brand before you’ve even started.
Register Your Business
Once you have a clear picture of the products to sell, it is time to register your business. The registration gives you legal cover and could also qualify you for tax benefits in some countries. Choose your site domain name. Although some people register their domain name as the business name, it is not compulsory. Don’t forget to find out if you need any other special licenses. This varies from one country to the other.
Once you have squared off all the legalese and settled on a domain name, launch your online store. Your website doesn’t need to be costly. Platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce have made it easy to start your online store with a few hundred dollars.
Decide on Your Approach for Attracting Customers to your eCommerce Store
You’ve done everything right, but the sale numbers are still very low. It is at this stage that many new entrepreneurs give up. To avoid this, ensure you have a robust marketing strategy in place from day one. Digital marketing is the lifeblood of any online business. You need to have a budget for maintaining a consistent content strategy as well as publishing search and social media ads.
Don’t have the budget yet? Invest in free digital marketing options and be ready to put in the work. Create high-quality content for your blog and social media pages. You’ll also need to stay active on social media to ensure regular interactions with your target audience. Other approaches include running social media and email newsletter promotions, offering freebies on your website, etc.
Having a marketing strategy in place may still not lead to a higher number of sales over a short period. This is because most organic (and sometimes, paid) digital marketing approaches take time to yield results. In this scenario, you should consider creating other avenues to get your products in front of more people. At this stage, you can also consider going into partnerships with influencers in your niche. Offer them your product in exchange for a review.
If you’d rather not go through the process of negotiating with influencers or don’t want to use them, you can create an affiliate marketing window that will encourage other people to actively help you sell your products. Platforms like ClickBank make the process straightforward.
There are many reasons why young people are embracing eCommerce and making huge time and money investments into the industry. The aspiration to become first-generation successful entrepreneurs like some of these popular teen founders is only one half of the equation. Whatever your reasons, ensure you are going about building your business in a truly sustainable manner. It is your only way to avoid falling by the wayside.