Businesses are not a common person’s best friends. Their primary objective is to make profits. They might have some other objectives as well, but none of them involve providing their employees with financial freedom and personal growth. That burden falls squarely on the shoulders of the employees themselves. They are the only ones who can look after themselves, and no one else, including the government or their employers, are going to do it for them.
The biggest caveat with having a full-time job is that it demands all of a person’s energies, and the best hours of a working day. This leaves little time for a person to invest in themselves, which is necessary to develop a mindset which leads to the ultimate goal: financial freedom.
People doing full-time jobs have long dreamt of an opportunity which enables them to get rid of their hated 9 to 5 jobs, and become masters of their own destiny. In yesteryears, this dream had remained just that: a dream.
Until now, when the internet arrived, and brought with it the online shopping frenzy known as eCommerce.
The Game Changer
With an eye-watering total market cap of $5.7 trillion by year 2022, and millions upon millions of worldwide customers, the growth of eCommerce is explosive. Although many people display their amazement at this phenomenon, they really shouldn’t. It should’ve been apparent to everyone that once people got a taste of ordering something while sitting at home, and have that product delivered at their doorstep, there was never going to be any turning back. Cue in further sweeteners like customer-friendly policies, vast product catalogs, free product returns, special deals, and near-constant price discounts resulting from fierce competition between retailers, and it is easy to see the reason behind the gate-crashing success of eCommerce.
But while the eCommerce boom has made lives very comfy for customers, has it done enough to entice new sellers to enter the online retail market as well? Has it removed the role of the much-maligned middlemen so prevalent in traditional commerce? Has it provided opportunities for prospective sellers to turn around their fortunes without relying on other people’s help?
The answer to all these questions is a big loud ‘YES’.
eCommerce and the financial freedom
Traditional business involves around having a physical office, a number of employees, a lot of middlemen, and a large social circle.
eCommerce has rendered all of them redundant, irrelevant, or both.
Now, all an upstart entrepreneur needs is a good product with considerable demand from customers, a solid inventory to make sure consumer demand is always met, a robust online marketing strategy, and not much else.
Online shopping platforms like Amazon, eBay, Shopify and the like allow retailers to create virtual online stores on their platforms, list their products up for sale, pay some necessary fees, and start selling.
Since the vintage commercial model relied on a heavy number of inter-dependencies, a network of middlemen, and inter-connected social circles to keep the employees firmly under their clutches, the goal of financial freedom becomes a realistically plausible scenario once those restrictions get lifted thanks to eCommerce.
When it comes to eCommerce, there is something in it for everyone. One doesn’t even need to be a product manufacturer to start their online selling business.
All you need is some handy research into market trends (which is also not that hard for those who make use of professional business management applications), to figure out which product is trending among consumers. Once a hot and in-demand product has been pointed out, find out a manufacturer experienced in making those products at an industrial scale. Once you receive those products from the manufacturers, it is easy to make those products ‘yours’ by putting your brand’s logo (or label) on them, and essentially sell them to the customers as your own, even though you were not the one who manufactured them.
In this particular type of eCommerce, there are no losers. The manufacturers/suppliers get to sell their products at wholesale prices; the private labeler gets to have the product in their inventory, without having to create assembly-line production facilities for manufacturing themselves. They can then control the whole experience from then onwards, by branding the product and having it fulfilled through Amazon’s FBA, or maybe shipping it to customers themselves without the need of a third-party through the FBM program. The online shopping nature of this setup also erodes any need for extensive infrastructure building required for the traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores. Having control over the whole experience also allows retailers to exercise more control over pricing decisions. This way, the retailers get to have the top-quality products in their inventories without ever having to bother with the creation of the actual products themselves.
Corporate giants (like Amazon) thrive at the expense of common people and smaller startups. Why? Because they keep the important branding experience firmly in their control. Big corporations understand that the consumers only interact with the company through the brand it has built up for itself. Consumers identify with the brand story, the brand labels affixed on the product packaging, and the brand’s engagement with consumers through various marketing and social media channels. Once a brand establishes themselves with the clients, they can then go on to provide top-quality products and services over sustained periods of time, which will then lead to customer loyalty and retention, and overall business growth.
eCommerce as a driver of financial freedom
Apart from providing a worldwide avenue to ambitious startups dreaming of planting their own flags on a summit traditionally dominated by big-money, eCommerce also provides are number of advantages over traditional forms of commerce, which make it even more of a sweeter deal for new adopters. Let’s have a look at some of those:
By year 2022, the number of 6people shopping online had exceeded a figure of 3 billion, which is more than 1/3rd of the total population of planet Earth. Amazon, the largest online marketplace in the world, had more than 300 million active users, around 200 million of whom are regular visitors to the online shopping platform and subscribers to its Prime service.
Any prospective seller gets immediate access to all of these potential customers, if their product and customer service is high-quality, and their marketing strategy resonates with the public.
The opportunities for scaling in an online business are also endless. Thanks to all the costs saved by not having to have a physical office, large staff, and resulting maintenance and overhead costs, all of that money could be spent of refining the brand, and launching an effective marketing strategy.
- Loyal fanbase
Every business depends on customers. The more of them there are, the better. The more loyal they are, even better.
Thanks to the integration of social media with eCommerce, if a seller provides premium shopping experience to their customers (such as top-quality products at reasonable prices, special deals, coupons, and good customer service), the reaction from satisfied customers is instant, and meaningful. Every online shopping platform has their own unique customer feedback and ratings system in place, which allows customer to display their pleasure (or displeasure) at the products they purchased, and the overall shopping experience with the sellers. Getting positive reviews with high ratings can immediately turn a seller into an eCommerce darling, with more and more new customers flocking to their online store, and their loyal fans promoting their products and brand, free of cost.
Sky is the limit when it comes to strengthening your brand while selling online. With a good product catalog and customer service, every seller can have loyal and recurring customers, who convince others to come over as well.
It is supposed to go up, not down
With the constant advancements in technology, the concept of buying online over cellphones, and people getting hooked to all the advantages of online shopping, and the private label dropshipping extravaganza, the eCommerce phenomenon is just getting started.
The total eCommerce market cap nearly $6 trillion, and is set to exceed that number sometime in 2023. Traditional brick-and-mortar stores are also increasing adopting many facets of eCommerce to a degree, where it is not unfathomable to see a future where the lines between traditional and online commerce have blurred to the extent of non-existence.
With all that in mind, it is safe to say that the aspirers of personal space, who have always longed for a chance to break free of the monopolistic elements of traditional commerce, should join in the eCommerce bandwagon while they can, because that is their best shot at financial freedom.