As most mums who go out shopping will have realised, high street shops are declining in popularity. The Independent notes how retail sales have plunged at the fastest pace in 24 years, prompting store closures. This indicates a growing change in consumer habits. The BRC Like-For-Retail-Sales reading on FXCM’s economic calendar showed a drop of 3%, which is a reflection of how less shoppers are using traditional retail stores, and the main culprit of this phenomenon is e-commerce businesses. With the convenience of purchasing a wider selection of quality goods online and having them arrive at your doorstep within 24-hours, fewer shoppers are seeing the benefits of using physical retail stores. While it is bad news for retail stores, it does open up an opportunity for those looking to start a home business.

Setting up an e-commerce business can prove to be quite profitable, and the best part is anyone can do it. Below, are some useful tips for mums who want to set up an e-commerce business from home.

Choosing a path to e-commerce

Examining your current assets while observing the market is the first step to a successful e-commerce business. In my blog post ‘10 Steps to Turn You Hobby into a Small Business’ I explained how it helps to look at your hobbies as a potential business opportunity. If you’re into handicrafts or baking for example, why not try your hand at creating bespoke items or fresh-baked goods and market them online. If you know a third-party supplier for an item you think might be a hit with others, you can act as an online retailer.

Setting up your online platform

The good thing about setting up an e-commerce business is that it involves minimal capital investment. Picking the right online platform to use is dependent on two things: the target audience you’ve identified, as well as the kind of product you’re selling. For example, Etsy is a huge marketplace for handicrafts and bespoke products, perfect if you are converting your hobby into a business. If you are thinking of purely reselling items, eBay UK has over 14 million users, with 10,000 people already using the site to generate income. It also pays to take advantage of social media. A lot of new brands these days start their journey on Facebook and Instagram. The important thing is to do your research so that you understand the pros and cons of each platform. In order for your business to succeed it will need to have a strong target market.

Finding a good support group

If you are setting up an e-commerce business it is best to find someone who can help you with your administrative tasks, if you are unsure yourself. This could be essential in making sure your business doesn’t incur additional costs down the line. Given the high costs of hiring consultants, try to capitalise on friends or family members who have experience in digital marketing and IT. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from other people who’ve been successful in setting up an e-commerce platform. What might seem like your competition could actually turn out to be your first business partner. Continue to reach out to people and listen to their advice, as the benefits always outweigh the risks.

In today’s connected world there is no reason why a busy mum can’t set up her own e-commerce business. In fact it is a very thrifty way to make money either as a full-time or part-time job. The biggest step is making that initial decision – so go for it!