I have been owning and operating my own business for about 10 years now. I started out as a small business owner with a storefront located in my small nameless town in the American Midwest, but I have recently moved my business online to participate in the hype coming from eCommerce. COVID has been a perfect time to get started with my business online, because this is a time when people are stuck in their homes for an extended period of time and may be looking more for opportunities to buy things online. Since moving my business online, I have found a lot more success in eCommerce and being able to sell and distribute my products has never been easier. I was originally really worried about going out of business with my storefront being shut down, but I’ve actually made more money over this year of COVID from not having to pay for rent the past couple of months.
Moving my business to an online store model was not a super difficult transition. While I was originally worried about being able to effectively translate my business into an eCommerce model, it seems that there has been a lot of softwares and products made in recent years that help older guys like me figure out how to run my stuff online and actually turn a profit. A lot of the initial problems associated with my eCommerce business were found in the allocation of my shipping and packaging resources to ensure that my products were being sent to where they needed to go. One struggle was having enough shipping boxes on hand to be able to keep up with the increased demand from the pandemic. It was also quite a process to identify what size shipping boxes work best for my products, as many of my products have a different weight and size and therefore need marginally more or less room to ship comfortably.
I also did not want to have problems with my products being broken or damaged during shipping, so I had to ensure that I was packing my items with lots of bubble wrap and packing material to keep everything secure. Owning an eCommerce business has its fair share of drawbacks, though, and I must say that I miss working in my actual store at times. It is not as rewarding to work hard and create products for people you will never see; it always brought me joy to watch people, families, or young kids come in to buy my products and see the joy on their faces.
With eCommerce, most of this is gone. Sometimes I get emails from happy customers or very nice reviews on my website from people who are satisfied with their order, but it’s nowhere near the same as before. I hope to continue working with eCommerce, but I eventually want to return to my physical store when things begin to open up and COVID restrictions become a little bit looser. If you are looking to start your own online business, just make sure you are paying attention to your customers and seeing how to best target your market. ECommerce business models can be relatively simple or surprisingly complicated depending on what you want to do, so keep that in mind as you venture out into that online world.