Out of nowhere thousands of different small businesses have emerged and are doing well. The Internet has changed the game for small business owners, allowing anyone--even someone with a small budget--to be successful at his own business, providing he does some strategic planning. This means a small handbag online store owner needs to dominate a specialized area in his market. Although handbags are already a specialized area within the fashion industry, you should make your online handbag business even more specific by choosing a certain area within the handbag industry.
Register your business and trade name with the department of revenue in your state. Ask for professional legal help when deciding on the legal structure of the business. You can register as a company, a limited liability partnership or a sole proprietorship.
Decide on the type of handbag you want to sell. Remember specialized is key to a successful Internet business, so think of something that can make your business different and one of a kind. For instance, you can sell handbags that are crafted by you or by artisans in third-world countries. You can choose handbags that are made out of “green” environmentally friendly materials, or decide to create a business that only offers special discounted designer bags. The point is to target customers with a particular interest within the handbag industry.
Find your handbag wholesaler. Look for a legitimate source for your specialized handbag product. Make sure the handbags you choose fit the theme of your business, and be sure you find a legitimate wholesaler. This may take some time, especially if you are looking online, as some businesses that advertise as wholesalers actually only sell their products at slightly below retail price.
Compare wholesale to retail prices when looking for a wholesaler. Aim to find a seller with prices approximately 50 percent below retail. Good wholesaler sources are websites like Alibaba, Daily Trader or Wholesale Dir (see Resources).
Look for wholesalers in your area through the Yellow Pages or at local trade expos. Contact your Better Business Bureau to find out when retail trade expos will take place in your area.
Build a website. Contract a website designer or look for an inexpensive website designer on a freelance website like oDesk, Freelancer or Vworker (see Resources). Often an online freelance web designer is less expensive than a local designer.
Sign up for PayPal and add an e-commerce pay button from PayPal to your site. This way customers can pay for their items using a credit or debit card through PayPal, a secure payment method.
Learn to understand your customers and offer handbag products that meet their needs at the right price. Realize that customers will buy from a competitor if you don't offer what they need.
Sell products on web auction sites like eBay, Etsy or Amazon. Place links or website information in emails, on receipts or in newsletters to people you sell products to on the auction sites. This will bring traffic to your new website.
Offer excellent customer service and return policies and be sure to send out newsletters and special offers on a regular basis to customers who have bought from you. This will bring you repeat customers.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images