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Starting an E-commerce Business From Home

Author Lim Wan ErLim Wan Er

5 min read
Better Business

What good will going online do for me? In this article, we discuss how choosing to go online can work out to your advantage in the long run.

Starting an E-commerce Business From Home

Thousands of new business ventures are started every year and you may be thinking of becoming your boss too. If you’re low on paid-up capital and are not quite ready to start a brick and mortar business, why not choose to start an e-commerce company instead?

By the way, if you are planning to sell across multiple e-commerce platforms, you’ll need an accountant specialising in e-commerce. Get to know us more, otherwise, read on as we show you how choosing to sell online is a good business idea.

Why Choose To Start an E-Commerce Business?

2021 E-commerce Trends

Take advantage of the trends so that you can grow your e-commerce company faster and better.

Statistics from the United Kingdom have shown that e-commerce now accounts for more than one-quarter of all retail sales in the UK. Moreover, Virtual Assistants in the UK have high demand. This number is projected to slowly increase through the years and would reach nearly one-third of all retail sales by 2024. In this year, revenue in the e-commerce market is estimated to reach £80,678 million, with Fashion being the largest segment.

Having said that, starting an online business from home isn’t as simple as just creating a website and waiting for the customers to show up. While it is considerably easier than a traditional business, there are some things you’ll need to consider before going full steam ahead.

Is Your Company Suitable for a Work-From-Home Structure?

Not all companies are suitable to take on the e-commerce route. To determine whether your company is suited for e-commerce, here are some points to think about.

  1. Do you need a team working together most of the time?

If you do, you’re probably not that suited for a work-from-home company structure just yet. If there is a need for you to manage your team in a physical work area, and you find it unproductive to telecommunicate, then it’s still best that you stick to an office working environment.

  1. Where do you store your work documents?

Do you still use hard copies for documents, or are they stored in the cloud? If you’re the former, you need to think about how to switch your hard copies into shareable documents that can be obtained through the cloud. It will be difficult for your staff to get information if they are all written on paper.

By the way, our bookkeeping and accounting software stores your document in the cloud so that you can sort your books anytime and anywhere. That’s what being truly digital is all about.

  1. Is your current office space too small?

If you think you have outgrown your current physical workspace, no matter where it is, it is time for you to consider switching to a remote working structure. The decision to work from home saves you rent and electricity spent on office rental and maintaining the office. This extra cash flow can be invested back into the company or used to motivate staff.

  1. Are your team members comfortable working remotely?

The younger members of your team should not have a problem with remote working structures. However, you will need to consider the older members as well. Some of them may not be comfortable or have trouble making the jump to an online workflow. It will be advantageous if you could do the transition slowly, to make sure that they do not feel the processes changing too quickly.

  1. Here are some suitable industries. Do you fit in either of them?

Some instances of suitable industries that can work remotely.

  • Social media influencers
  • Bloggers or video loggers
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Dropshipping
  • Selling handmade items
  • Online coaching

You can even piggyback off of some of these industries to sell your product or service. For example, there are plenty of lucrative subscription box ideas with interesting products that bloggers would love to sell with an affiliate marketing code.

What Advantages Will You Get From Starting a Work-From-Home E-Commerce Business?

6 Platforms to Consider

In order to enter into the UK e-commerce market, we list out six of the best e-commerce platforms which will help you grow your retail business and help more customers find you online.

Why do investors or entrepreneurs prefer e-commerce these days? It may be more difficult to switch from a physical office to a remote office, as compared to starting a whole new e-commerce business. However, there is no reason why you shouldn’t consider the possibilities.

You no longer have to:

  • Search for a convenient storefront with high traffic
  • Pay rental fees each month
  • Be tied down by stipulated working hours
  • Consider if your store location is optimal for your target audience

Instead, your home can be your office, warehouse and ‘store’, if you don’t mind strangers visiting your house, that is. There are many reasons why starting an e-commerce business is not a bad idea. It doesn’t matter if you’re in it for the cheaper start-up capital, the low barrier of entry, or the fact that many physical stores are closing their doors. Or you may just feel like being your boss and not be tied down by working hours, choosing when and where to work is totally up to you.

Christopher has a physical shop selling novelty items catered to domestic pets such as dogs, cats, hamsters etc. Most but not all of his products are handmade. He has a team that does the stitching of pet toys, collars, and even clothes for pets. Christopher’s store was previously located in an outskirt area, quite a distance away from the town area. He then realises he is not getting enough human traffic, to keep up with product sales.

To improve this situation, he then shifts his store into the heart of town. By doing so, he will be able to reach a wider target audience for his products. However, he finds out that although his sales numbers have risen, he is still not hitting his optimal monthly income. This is because of the increased rental cost of a more popular storefront.

In this case, Christopher can consider switching to e-commerce instead. He can even offer customised products for pets if he switches to selling online. All he has to do is to have a small warehouse to store his products and create an online store. Customers can then place orders directly online, with the items being shipped to them. Christopher’s biggest expense will then switch from rental to shipping costs, which will be much less.

Another thing to note is that if your business is niche and it is difficult for you to hire locally. For example, if you are not able to hire someone that is in the same country as you, you can post an ad for a remote worker. This is a feasible idea if you’re looking for freelance designers to design your products.  

For small e-commerce businesses, you must take care of the necessary processes as well. Things such as registering your company in the UK, sorting out invoices, cash flow, inventory management and payroll is still a must, even with an e-commerce business.

No matter if you are using Amazon, eBay, stripe, Shopify, Etsy, or more, Osome handles them all, leaving you more time to focus on your business.

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