Starting a business is often a challenging venture. Many often opt to start an online business to spend more time with family and get more free time. If you have a passion in furniture and believe that starting an online store is the best idea, you may want to take a step back. While selling furniture online may make for a great business, there are several important factors to consider, which you should know to make an informed decision. This guide will show you what your day will entail as the owner of an online furniture store, what your target market will entail, and the legal requirements involved.
What kind of inventory you will have in your store
It may sound pretty obvious: furniture! However, to have a thriving online store, you need to specify what kind of furniture you will offer your clients. Do you want to provide simple, functional furniture for buyers on a budget or executive mahogany imports from Italy for affluent people? Do you want to sell brand new or used items? Plastics, wooden, metallic items? In addition to furniture, you can also offer lighting fixtures, electronics, and outdoor furniture, as your target clientele will often be moving into a new home or upgrading their furniture collection, and may buy such items as well.
Does an online furniture store suit you?
Do you like all things furniture, interior décor or the artsy aspect of home design? Are you interested in helping your clientele build a great home by creatively using furniture? If you love any of these aspects of selling furniture plus the challenge of building an online business from scratch, then an online furniture business is perfect for you.
What will a typical day entail for you?
As an online store owner, you will have to monitor your site constantly to ensure your inventory is in order, reply to customers’ inquiries, and ensure optimal site function. You will interact with suppliers, keep up with competitors’ activities, and decide what furniture you will feature each season. Marketing campaigns will also be high on your priorities to ensure that clients are aware of your store’s existence. Anything from social media ads, fliers, newspaper ads, and dazzling displays, along with coupons and loyalty discounts, will be on your plate. You will be manager, marketer, IT consultant, logistics and procurement, and customer service all in one!
Who is your target clientele?
Your customers will be people looking to change their furniture. Some customers change their furniture as often every fashion season, others when the furniture becomes old and uncomfortable. Some of your clients will be college students moving into new apartments or companies looking for office furniture. Your repeat clients will provide the biggest revenue to your store; more often, these will be companies and colleges that buy massive amounts of furniture regularly.
How will your store generate money?
By buying furniture from wholesale suppliers or directly from suppliers and selling it to your clients at a higher price for profit.
What is the potential growth for an online furniture store?
It is crucial to understand that many online furniture stores exist, and for your store to have a chance at growth, you will have to offer something different to clients. Often, your uniqueness comes in excellent customer service, high-quality products, and reasonable prices. You also need to create a great reputation for geographical area popularity and so that clients will refer their friends and family. With the right prices, excellent products, and customer-oriented business culture, your online store will grow rapidly.
Costs involved in starting an online furniture store
The biggest initial cost you will have to incur is inventory and website startup. To offer your first-time clients enough options, you may have to spend up to $1 million to obtain inventory and a warehouse for storage. Getting your own warehouse will is better to avoid long term storage costs. To get a website live, you will incur web hosting and domain name costs every month, which may range between $9-$40/month and $10-$50 per year, respectively.
Start an LLC
The best way to run a business is to register it as an LLC. This way, your personal assets will be protected in case you go bankrupt, and you will not be liable if your store is sued. You will also have to open a bank account and keep separate company accounts to ensure proper business running.
How to promote a furniture store
Aggressive marketing is a must-have if you want people to find your furniture store on the vast internet. Social media is the first tool, especially Facebook, with billions of users logging in every day. Invest in some paid advertisements in which you will interact with your followers, hoping to convert them into clients.
Getting involved in local trade fairs and renting out stalls and tables will help in networking and finding new partners and clients. Running an online store gives you access to a national, even global clientele. Mass media advertisements will help you get their attention. The ads will have to be relevant to each season, for instance, office furniture in the fall. Use discounts, loyalty cards, and other incentives to make your repeat clients feel valued.
Different states have different permit requirements for furniture stores, and you need to find out what permits to obtain to avoid getting hefty fines. This information is available from your town, city, or county clerk offices or registries available online. You will also need to get registered for taxes and file your sales and other taxes annually.
Consider these factors before you start your online furniture store to ensure you start your business on the right foot. With this information, you will start a robust store where you will make profits and enjoy your passion in furniture.