If you have a passion for gardening, and want to find some part-time work related to your love of plants, you have some options. You can try to find an actual part time job working in a nursery, plant care firm, or small farm, or you can start your own business. A good fit for a love of gardening might be a gardening supply store, but running a ‘brick and mortar’ storefront is a big, expensive commitment and is not well suited to work in your spare time.
Steps for Online Gardening Store
An online store is much more manageable, and easier to set up when you don’t have hours on end to spare. Here are the major steps you need to take to get started with your own online gardening store.
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Decide What to Sell
Garden supplies can range from tiny shovels up to rototillers, from small tractors down to seeds, and from a bag of fertilizer to a hundred cubic feet of manure. From these examples you might choose not to sell any large power equipment. And you might also decide you don’t want the problems with delivering truckloads of anything, be it compost or wood chips. But even if you start a store that focuses on small garden tools, which brands, which sizes and which types will you sell? Picking a theme or niche and basing all your decisions around that can be a great way to narrow your focus.
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Find a Wholesaler
Once you’ve found what you will stock, you will need to find someone to sell it to you, and at wholesale prices, so that you can make a profit selling it at retail. Be sure the wholesaler you choose carries the products you wish to sell, and ensure you research thoroughly to find if they are reliable and easy to work with. The optimal solution is a distributor who will ship orders directly to your customers without you needing to carry inventory or to arrange any shipping. Obviously, this will cost more than a company which sells in bulk to you for you to build up stock and has you ship to the final customer. When you make your decision be sure to account for all of the extra expenses each one requires to make a fair comparison.
Market in Advance
Setting up your store and waiting for customers to find you is not the most efficient way to arrange your business. If, once you have your plan mostly complete, you begin marketing your store on social media and other outlets, customers will be waiting for you to open, and will make their orders as soon as you are online.
Consider advertising in stages, starting with teasers that you have a business in the works, then adding more and more details as your launch date comes closer. If you want that give great advice for free!
Setup a Website
This isn’t as difficult as you might think. There are many articles with step-by-step instructions, but the basic process is pretty easy.
First, create a domain name that is easy to remember, easy to spell and gives a good, short description of your store. Examples of good domain names include things like “thefabulousgardener.com” or “Joseysgardensupply.com”. Avoid odd names, spellings and numbers at all possible. “gardent00ls4you.com” looks strange, not to mention shady, and it will reduce your visibility in search engines. This will make it harder for new customers to find you, and that’s exactly what you don’t want!
Once you have your domain name picked out, and made sure no one else is already using it, you can choose a hosting service to put your store on. You can put together a basic design for your site in just an afternoon, but it might be worthwhile to set aside more time to arrange things just the way you want.
You might also make a small budget for some inexpensive graphic design work to create a logo. You’ll also need high quality photos to draw attention to your store, and illustrate your products, or any blog posts you put on your storefront. You don’t have to shoot these yourself if you don’t want; you can just use free stock nature photos instead.
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Once you have your basic site set up you will need to integrate shopping software. This will give you the ability to post all of your products for sale, set prices, take payments, and arrange shipping. Make sure you use shopping software that is flexible enough to keep up with your anticipated sales.
Once your store is configured, you will need to enter all of your products for sale and configure each of them. This shouldn’t be very difficult, but might be time consuming if you have a long list of items for sale. The advantage you have is that your store isn’t open yet, so you’ve got time – don’t be afraid to delay your grand opening, if you can, to make sure your online store will be a great experience for both you and your customers.
And there you have it: you have channelled your passion for gardening into an online store that you can run in your spare time. At first it will likely seem overwhelming as you learn each new things about running your business, but over time you will learn how to get through your tasks quickly, or find additional tools that make them easier. Don’t worry yourself to death over your mis-steps early on; you’ll get there!
Don’t forget about the people who make your store a success! Be sure to keep in touch with your customers; any feedback they provide can be a great way to know what needs improvement on your site. Make shopping at your store a pleasant and simple process and customers will come back again for all of their gardening needs, and will even recommend you to their friends. No go start your amazing business, have fun, and good luck!