Ecommerce is one of the most rapidly expanding industries in the world and it’s one that’s open to anybody: doctors, architects, sports stars, HR administrators, and skilled travel bloggers like yourself.
Luckily, as a travel blogger, you have a head-start on many of your peers looking to break into the industry. Read on and find out how you can use that to start your ecommerce business today.
Recommended reading: Travel and Blogging Isn’t Easy: But it’s Worth it
When thinking about what goods or services you want to sell the place you should begin is by tackling these two points:
As a travel blogger, you already know where your skills and interests lie. This gives you a head-start on many people looking to get into the ecommerce game, as you know the market you want to step into — travel and lifestyle! Plus, you are already skilled at content and photography — more ecommerce must-haves.
You can’t turn your skills and interests into a profitable ecommerce business if it’s in an area where there’s no money to be made.
Opportunity is the key word here, and the questions you need to answer are:
As with most things in life, Google has the answer. Using Google Trends allows you to see how popular a topic is across the globe; and not just right now, but going back a number of years.
Using travel as your example, you can see how hot a topic your niche area is:
Credit: Google Trends
As you’ll see, since February 2013 travel has been a hot topic, scoring an interest rating that regularly hits the 100 mark – as Google explain:
Credit: Google Trends
You can also break it down by region and see if your niche covers the geographical area that you will be looking to target:
Credit: Google Trends
A further trick you can use to establish whether the niche area that you have chosen is the right one, is to look at whether people are buying the products in that area.
While Google has the answers to all of your questions, Amazon remains the best place to get more granular about ecommerce.
Jungle Scout is a resource that lets you conduct product research by establishing the sales volume for goods listed on Amazon. While this is angled towards striking up a FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) business, it can give you invaluable insight into what people are spending money on in your niche. You could find out that travel technology and accessories have been selling well recently, whereas memoirs and paperbacks less so.
Another way that you can make use of Amazon is to look at the sales ranking of similar items than the ones you are hoping to sell.
You can find this information on the Amazon product page, and you will be able to look at the sales ranking across a number of categories:
Do your research on the products that you’re thinking of buying/stocking, and see how popular they are across a range of categories. This will help you to determine whether the products you want to sell are being bought — and whether you can stand up to the competition.
Having decided what you want to sell, the next stage on your journey of getting into ecommerce is to set up your store.
There are 2 principle ways of setting up an ecommerce store:
Each of these two models allows you to build your own ecommerce website. The essential difference between the two concerns the code that is used to create the website:
The benefit of using an open-source CMS is that the technology is that you will not have to pay a monthly subscription fee in order to build your ecommerce store. WordPress is a great example of an open-source CMS and it is free to set up. If you are already blogging on WordPress, you can just install WooCommerce and make your blog into a store.
The benefit of using a closed-source CMS is that it comes with a community who are able to guide you through the process of setting up your ecommerce store. Shopify is a great example of closed-source CMS that comes with a wealth of guidance.
No matter what method you use for creating your first store, make sure you put visuals and customer experience front and center. You want a store that’s got clean lines, is aesthetically pleasing, and works well on mobile. Think about how you can use your experiences of photography and social media to help enhance your store. It’s important that it’s appealing and easy to use.
It’s no good you having a shiny new ecommerce store that sells products people want to buy if no one knows that it exists. Here’s how you can get people to notice it:
As a travel blogger, one of the major advantages you have over other people who are starting out in ecommerce is that you have an audience of followers and readers that you can turn into customers.
Notify your followers of your ecommerce business. The authority and respect you have built up with them through your blog means that when you notify them of your new venture, your recommendation will be treated with value by your followers.
Another major advantage is your writing ability. One of the most important factors in the visibility of an ecommerce store is where it ranks on search engines – nearly 100% of people won’t even check the second page in their search results.
In order to rank higher you need to maximize the SEO of your ecommerce business — writing quality, regular content is one of the best ways to do this.
Apply the skills that you have gained as a travel blogger to your ecommerce store and create a content calendar to make sure that you are adding to your website on a consistent and frequent basis.
Ecommerce is a rapidly growing and hugely profitable industry that is much easier to get into than some people may think. And you began by having a number of advantages over your peers and now you have another! So decide on your niche, build your online store, let people know about it, and join the ecommerce industry.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she offers advice on how writers and bloggers can make their way in the world of ecommerce.