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  • #968788
    Salad
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    Hi I am new to this site, which is great by the way and I have a couple of questions in regards to a business idea.

    For the past year or more I have been selling on ebay with some great success, mainly ladies clothing, some secondhand and some new. This is just for pocket money not a business so to speak.

    By chance I got talking to a lady who could supply me with stock from a wholesaler that I could resell so have had a nice steady stream of stock from her at wonderful prices.

    I have an idea and I know there is a market for it and I could sell on ebay, however it can get quite expensive selling on there all the time. I thought I could set up an online store which I could direct people too. I am already a member of a huge online community which this market is aimed at so I am not worried about traffic to the site.

    I also would need to source more wholesale suppliers and their prices so that I know what costs would be involved in starting out. I would need an ABN to do this as they obviously wont give me their wholesale pricing unless I have this. My question is do I also have to Register a business name also if I just have an online store. The business will be a mixture of new and secondhand stock.

    Gosh I am sure I had so many more questions but I have drawn a blank, I guess if there is anything else you can tell me about having an online store then that would be very helpful.

    Oh and also in the future I may open a shopfront but it will be a little while off yet as I have small children.

    #1035167
    Anonymous
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    Hi Salad,

    I’m not the best person to answer your questions, so will leave that to others, but just wanted to welcome you to FS and wish you all the best for your new venture.

    Good luck,
    Jayne

    #1035168
    marketingweb
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    • Total posts: 625
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    Hi Salad,

    Firstly good luck with your new venture! It’s a very exciting time for you just dreaming about the possibilities!

    There are really three main areas you need to look at:

    1) How you will structure your business, suppliers, drop shipping vs holding stock, ABN’s etc etc – a lot to think about but you seem to have a handle on much of it.

    2) Building your website itself – a big task.

    3) SEO and Marketing – don’t think of it as an add-on, it’s FAR more important than the building of the actual store in my opinion, but often looked at as an afterthought.

    Online the womens clothing area is very very crowded with lots of competitors – particlarly since it’s a very popular area (as is kids clothes) for WAHM’s (Work At Home Mum’s) to set up in business.

    My business slogan is “What’s the use of a website if no one can find it?”, and in your case I think it will apply. Unfortunately unlike better mousetraps, if you build it it doesn’t mean they will come, and many a new online store owner has been upset after putting in the hard yards putting up a site and wondering why there are no customers.

    That said your eBay market does help as you can hopefully use that to help you get customers. Besides that you need to work out what your niche is – ie what specifically that people are actually searching for online can you position yourself as selling – while making sure it’s something you actually have a chance at.

    If you don’t rank top 10 in Google for a least something you aren’t on the map. This means you will have to invest heavily into SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) AND/OR Google Adwords paid results. Adwords gives you guaranteed placement and instant gratification, but can be a money hole. SEO takes a lot of time and/or expense with no guaranteed results, but if you get it right it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

    Many other online marketing strategies can also help, but to be honest it’s very difficult (at least in my experience) to build a strong viable online retail business via facebook etc. They can help, but aren’t the whole picture.

    Hope this helps a little, and please don’t hesitate to email me if you would like to discuss further. I’m more than happy to help whether or not it includes any paid work being involved.

    Matt

    #1035169
    LukeMoulton
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    Salad, post: 42247 wrote:
    My question is do I also have to Register a business name also if I just have an online store.

    I’m no expert on taxation law, but I’m pretty certain you’ll need to register as a sole trader to get an ABN. You can just register you own name if you like.

    Check the ATO’s website for details.

    #1035170
    King
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    It is all quite straightforward.
    1. Register a business name
    2. get an ABN
    3. Register a domain name
    4. There are some simple to use website builders with carts installed – may not be the prettiest, but your cost will be almost nil as it will be included in your hosting package.
    Yes seo and marketing are important, but you mention you have an established market and are part of a community online that you can leverage for success.
    5. Payment you can use paypal till you decide differently.

    So in terms of setting up a web store with a year’s hosting and basic business aspects, you can do it for around $250 and if you are reasonably competent, can do it all yourself.

    As your business gets established youcan look at spending the income on refining many spects of a website that need refining. Till then, don’t be put off doing it yourself.

    #1035171
    colinl
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    • Total posts: 12
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    Whilst I agree with MarketingWeb that SEO is important, I do not think it is the be all & end all when it comes to online marketing.

    We’ve helped a bunch of businesses with online marketing that are now very successful & not ranked very highly in search engines. In fact, in some really competitive businesses, high rankings in search engines does not equate to sales as their businesses are very price driven, so all potential customers will do is look at the top 5-10 sites in Google or other search engines & then choose the site that offers them the product at the cheapest price. That is not good business for anyone.

    There are a heap of very highly effective ways you can market yourself which lend to building really long term relationships with key customers that have nothing else to say but good things about your business/product/service. What you don’t want is customers just buying from you because its the cheapest they could find. They establish no relationship with you apart from transacting that one product on your estore.

    My biggest recommendation to all who conduct online business is to make sure they have strategies to build long term & strong relationships with customers. Even if you are selling products that aren’t typically repeat business, having good relationships with a customer that can then go on to refer you is so very valuable.

    Also, adwords whilst effective can also be a huge money trap especially if you are in a hugely competitive market like women’s clothing. There are lots of other cheaper ways of generating just as much traffic. I would look into PPV for instance. A keyword that might cost you up to $10-15 on Google, will probably only cost you below 10cents on a PPV network.

    Anyway, good luck with your estore. If you have more specific questions about it, feel free to post. I would love to help you if I can..

    #1035172
    Salad
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    • Total posts: 13
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    wow thanks so much for your replies everyone, such helpful advice and suggestions, very much appreciated.

    Thanks for the welcome Jayne.

    The items of ladies clothing that I will be selling are aimed at a specific audience, its not just normal ladies clothing, I cant say too much without giving away my whole idea. There are a handful of other estores that are selling the same “type” of product but only a handful and my long term goal is to open a store front in my local town where this type of product is in demand but short supplied.

    I cant see myself building my own website lol I am not that clever and I do want it to be user friendly to not only my customers but obviously also to me so I am pretty sure I will be investing in someone to do that for me. I am not sure how all that side of things works, I will need to do some more research.

    Once I get myself a good range of stock I am also thinking of opening a store front say 4 times a year in my local town for say two weeks at a time just to guage some more insight into the interest there is out there in my product is an ABN and registered business name all I need to be able to do this?

    Thanks once again for your replies.

    #1035173
    marketingweb
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    • Total posts: 625
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    Hi Salad,

    I agree with Colin that SEO is not the be all and end all of online marketing, and I didn’t meant to give that impression. However I will say that it is definitely an important part of the mix, and that while the term gets thrown around a lot to sound almost meaningless, but can become very powerful when done right.

    Re your specific audience, you need to look at two things:
    1) From a search engine point of view, are people actually searching for this type of product online in decent numbers: A check using the Google Keywords Tool will give you a good guide by trying some phrases. You want to look at the local searches monthly, and to take figures with a grain of salt – if it says less than about 1000 searches, you won’t get a lot of traffic by ranking for the term.

    2) It’s great you have defined a very specific target market, you then need to work out how to engage them. The specific target you have – where do these people hang out online? Are there any forums, online communities, blogs etc that have a high percentage of your target market. If you can work this out, become involved in these communities even before you launch your site. By being active and helpful to your target audience pre-launch, you will then be taken more seriously when you do launch. A member of a community who introduces a service/product is taken more seriously than someone who just turns up out of the blue trying to sell something before actually engaging anyone. Another example is twitter – i’m not a twitter expert although there are others on here who are, but for example when I “tweeted” that I had a new Labrador cross Border Collie puppy, I had about half a dozen people follow me who were specialists in Labs – although no Collie people interestingly enough!

    Re your website there are a lot of good options out there. If you would like to discuss options or are looking for someone to build it I would be happy to throw my hat in the ring. Email me [email protected]

    Best of luck with your new venture.
    Matt

    #1035174
    Mitch
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    • Total posts: 30
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    Hi Salad,
    Welcome to the forum.
    All you you need to do to get involved is;

    1. register the business name http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/
    you can do this by fax and cheque, just ring them and ask for the forms to be emailed.

    2. register for an ABN http://www.business.gov.au/BusinessTopics/Registrationandlicences/Registerfortaxation/Pages/RegisterforanAustralianBusinessNumber(ABN).aspx

    Thats the bare minimum to start trading, then online stuff as follows

    3. Register the domain name crazydomains.com.au

    4. Find a webdesigner that will build you a nice site, im sure you could find someone on here to help.

    5. Marketing , forums SEO etc all been mentioned in previous posts.

    Other things you can try is to get a stall at markets etc, i dont know how hard it is to open a shopfront for 2 weeks at a time. If the clothing is maternity or plus size stuff a mail order type of business may work too.

    Good luck and hope it works for you.

    Mitch

    #1035175
    Chris Finnegan
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    • Total posts: 85
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    Hi Salad,
    Lots of good comments here already. Be sure to use your eBay account for traffic as well! Link your “about me” page to your website,

    Cheers
    Chris

    #1035176
    mike_allen
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    • Total posts: 74
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    Hi Salad,
    The ABN is easiest just log onto the ATO and get one. You don’t need a registered business name for a domain name or online shop. The only use I’ve ever had for a business name was to open a bank account in the name of the business.

    #1035177
    HealthyChart
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    • Total posts: 20
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    Hi Salad,

    I built my online store using http://www.webs.com. At first I freaked out about the whole process, but once I got going it was all simple really.

    1. I registered my domain (.com.au) with an Australian provider.
    2. I signed up to web.com and used their templates to build my site. This was easy to use, enough choices, and free.
    3. Then I paid webs.com to upgrade to Premium service (about A$105/yr).
    4. Using webs support team, I pointed my new webs page to my .com.au domain name (otherwise your url is “www.yourname.webs.com”).
    5. I set my shopping cart up to only accept PayPal, which has a small fee associated with it that may or may not be same as ebay (i’m not an experienced ebay seller).

    And voila! I have my own website that I can change in a blink of an eye. All up it cost me less than A$200/yr to do.

    As for your store front, someone once told me this: “Don’t open a retail store unless you know that each day you put the key in the lock to open the door and flick the lights on, you can make enough money to cover doing those things.”

    Good luck.

    #1035178
    Salad
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    • Total posts: 13
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    Thanks for the detailed replies.

    The whole registering a domain name confuses me, although I use the computer everyday and the internet and I am savvy enough with these things to get me by and I am pretty sure once I had a go at changing or adding things to the website that I would have no worries with it all. The thing I am confused about is who to register the domain name with, I dont really get all that kind of thing. I dont want to have to pay too much too soon until I have built up my business but I know I will benefit from having my own website, especially to move away from ebay fees.

    So for me to just sell my product at markets, ebay and an online store, do I need an ABN and do I need to register my business name. Obviously if I wanted to purchase wholesale I would need an ABN but for the above listed is it necessary. I hope these questions make sense, I know what I am trying to say in my head just typing it is the hard part :)

    #1035179
    Mitch
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    • Total posts: 30
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    Hi Salad,

    I think you will find your questions answered if you go back through the posts.

    There have been links posted to what you need to do and where you need to go, just follow the links and get started.

    Here is a recap:

    If you want to trade officially on the web or off the web and you dont want to use your own name you have to do these things.

    1st register a business name at the dept of fair trading in person or by fax. $151. If you want to trade using your own name you dont need to do this.

    2nd register your domain at crazydomains.com.au its about $12 a year.

    3rd register for an ABN at the ATO site, its free. If your turnover is more than 50k a year you need one, otherwise you dont.

    Then I would suggest finding some help in setting up a website.

    If your idea is too hot to give away then you should do all of these things.

    Good luck in your venture.

    Mitch

    #1035180
    CatD
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    • Total posts: 2
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    Hi there,

    Being new to all this myself, I am not claiming to be an expert but I have been given some good advice.

    To be successful online, you need to have a presence on the top Australian websites; EBAY (which you have covered) Google, Facebook & Youtube.

    You can get on to these with out really having to spend a great deal of money.

    Best of luck

    Catherine

    Fastasleep.com.au

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