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WAHM > Stay at Home Mom Work Ideas > Traditional Product > Start an Online Gift Shop from Home

Start an Online Gift Shop Business

What you will be doing.  In a gift shop, you can find a little of everything for all occasions.  Finding the right location can be the difference between a thriving business and a failed one.  Judging how much inventory to carry will depend on your assessment of the area and what consumers are “into” at the time.  And, don’t forget seasonal items.  They are usually the biggest money makers in a gift shop. 

As a gift shop owner, you can offer customers what they want for a lower price than a storefront gift shop.  To do this, setup and manage a virtual gift shop on the Internet.  The overhead is lower and so is the amount of inventory that you have to carry. 

How to start.  You will need a business plan.  The plan should include what items you want to sell in your store.  It should also mention setup and maintenance of an online storefront.  

You may need licenses or permits to run your store, so check with the local courthouse to access the situation.  A business license will get you better prices with a product wholesaler.  Shop around with several different wholesalers to see who has the best prices and shipping policies for the products that you want to offer in your store.  Keep a list of the best ones to deal with for pricing, shipping, money-back guarantees, and the like. 

If you prefer to ship the items yourself, then you need to set up an inventory area in your home.  This area will also double as your business office.  The items should be categorized, counted, and safely stored to avoid damage.  Familiarity with shipping requirements will take the guesswork and extra expense out of mailing items to your customers.

Starting costs.  To outfit a store, you will need many items.  If you plan to sell anything outside your store on eBay, making sure that you can meet the demand is crucial.  The costs can range from a few thousand to several thousand dollars.   The price depends on what equipment and supplies you already have and which ones you don’t. 

Your office will need a computer, telephone, printer, bookkeeping software, and fax machine.  You will also need shipping supplies, packing supplies, and storage supplies for your inventory.  Advertising costs will include flyers, newspaper ads, and Internet ads. 

Skills needed.  Marketing is a good talent to have.  After all, you want to attract people to your store.  You want to gain their attention and keep it.  Getting the most for the fewest advertising dollars will require a bit of finagling.  As long as you are not afraid to ask for what you need, you will find success.  You never know what deals you can make if you don’t at least ask. 

Marketing.  Key to getting a new business off the ground is to get customers in the door.  Offering discounts on the first order or a free item with the order may be juicy enough for customers to take a look.  Selling products on eBay can bring business to your store by adding a link to the store’s website. 

Sell advertising space on your store’s website.  This is just like allowing people to put up flyers in a traditional store.  Affiliate programs with other websites can also bring in more business to your store. 

An online gift shop can take a bit of work to get going, but the payoff will come in higher profits.  With less overhead, this business can be started at home with the freedom that a stay-at-home mother or budding businesswoman needs.

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