If you’ve visited a bookstore, some quick math after studying the prices and number of books available swiftly confirms that business is way out of your league. Recent technological advances mean that’s no longer true.
If you are on a tight budget, this article examines how you can succeed at starting an online eCommerce bookstore business with little or no money. If that fails, you could start with small business loans until it stabilizes.
Reasons why you should start your online bookstore
Online bookstores have meager startup costs. Unlike the olden days, you don’t need to worry about staff, the price of books, or where to display or store books. Some online sites such as Amazon will even store your books and ship them to you.
An online bookstore works a charm as a side hustle since you can automate the entire sales process, only taking care of shipping. It’s accessible and convenient to your customers as they peruse your bookstore from the comfort of their homes and place their orders online.
You don’t need any experience to run an online bookstore. To cut costs, read up on the most sought-after books and go book-hunting in thrift stores, libraries, estate sales, and book sales where you might land some gems. Speaking of gems, some of the rarest books can net you significant profit margins, with some people recording $400 sales from $1 purchases.
How to start an eCommerce bookstore step-by-step
1-. Research and business plan
Like any other business, conduct comprehensive market research. Identify market needs, what competitors are doing, and your unique market positioning. Finally, create a business plan pinpointing all the finer details.
Firstly, get a tax ID number for filing federal tax returns. For citizens, the Social Security Number will do. Immigrants need the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
Next, register your business name by following the steps provided on your State’s website. Depending on the State, you might need a business license, so contact the county clerk or city hall for guidance.
This is going to be the first impression potential customers will have of your store – put on an impressive show. Incorporate great website design, high-quality products images, and an intuitive user interface.
The trick is to find a source that sells you books at below-market prices. As mentioned earlier, visit thrift shops, garage sales, or try dropshipping. Place the proper book labels and descriptions once you list them on the website.
If your finances can’t handle the budget, this is a viable business so consider small business loans, funds from family and friends, or angel investors.
Advice to succeed in an online bookstore
One of the crucial steps in an online store is customer support. If you succeed, include helpful customer support who has excellent knowledge of books and running online stores.
While a flashy website might look great, the goal should be creating one that comes across as trustworthy. Further, run a test order to ensure the process is working. This will help work out ways to improve the entire process by ironing out any kinks.
Optimize the website by:
- Streamlining the book purchase process
- Increasing website speed
- Including intuitive navigation and optimized store search
- Placing the right product descriptions
- Incorporating SEO practices, such as related items
- Ensuring the website looks and works great across all platforms, such as mobile devices on both Android and iPhone
Frequent inventory updates should keep traffic visiting your store. Search for new books and try new ones suggested by leading online bookstores. In addition, follow seasonal ebbs and flows. For example, the longer classics tend to sell better during winter.
Start your own business!
To sum up, selling books is no longer a pastime for the rich. With little or no money, you can even succeed through operating an online bookstore. Starting an online business has never been easier–all you have to do is register the business name, get an ITIN or SSN, and build your online store.
The most costly is buying the books, but that is easy if you check out thrift shops or estate sales. Research the internet for the rarest books as they offer the best returns for as little as $1 investments.
To ensure the business succeeds, optimize the website by providing the correct labels and utilizing SEO practices. That includes fast loading times, crisp images, and ensuring the website works and looks great across platforms.
If you don’t have the finances, consider getting financing for the online bookstore. Learn more about small business loans from the introduction section above.