I have been working on this project for about 8 months now and I wanted to provide you some insight on how I went from a concept idea to a full blown brand with product in hand. Hopefully this guide can be helpful for those of you interested in creating a business, brand or product and don’t know where to start or what questions to ask. My brand DentiArmor will be the example that I talk about throughout this article.
This is going to be a pretty in depth and long article so I am going to break it up into multiple parts and release the articles separately so each one isn’t a novel to read.
Part 1: Idea Phase
One of the first things you need to start an e-commerce business is an idea of what you want to sell. My first recommendation here is make sure its something you are passionate and knowledgeable about. You need the passion for it to keep you motivated when things get challenging (believe me they will). But also you need the knowledge so you can create a product that will sell well and something you can speak about in online communities or to friends and family.
The other part of the idea phase is you need to ask yourself, why are you creating this product? Does it improve upon a current design or functionality of an already existing product? Is this a brand new invention that is not currently available on the market and you see a need for it? Are you creating a product that is similar quality to other brands but you can manufacture and sell for significantly less? How big is your target market and what larger brands are you going up against? These are all questions you need to answer before committing to creating a product. If you plan to just create something the same as another product on the market with no better price, design, or functionality you are more than likely going to fail unless you are a marketing wizard.
Real World Example:
Let’s use my brand DentiArmor as the example to answer some of the questions above in the idea phase so you can get a real life application to the above information. So the products I sell are replacement toothbrush heads for Oral-B Electric Toothbrushes. (Riveting right?)After reading that you are probably like “For real? Thought this product was going to be something cool.” Or “How in the world did you decide on replacement toothbrush heads?” Both very valid questions, so let’s start with how I got to this idea. I have another business as a reseller on Amazon and Walmart marketplaces, and used to sell replacement toothbrush heads on those accounts for Oral-B Electric Toothbrushes. Also I am an owner of a Oral-B Electric Toothbrush, I used to say to myself, why in the world are a 4 pack of these replacement toothbrush heads like $25-$30!? Like its a piece of plastic with bristles on the end, Oral-B has to be making these for pennies, why do they charge so much? Another good example of this is think Dollar Shave Club and a company like Gilette, they charge an arm and a leg for replacement razor heads that probably cost them a couple bucks to produce.
So now, maybe you can see why I started pursuing this angle. Let’s start jumping into the questions I asked above and see how those answers applied to my products. First question I mentioned was the need to have passion and knowledge behind your idea. For DentiArmor I had already been selling replacement toothbrush heads for a year, and selling a variety of different brands as well, so I had good knowledge of what packaging looked good and what didn’t, the amount of sales volume these can produce, the quality differences from brand to brand and the target market or customers that are buying these.
Some of the things I believed in were:
- I could design higher quality packaging that was more appealing than my competitors
- My brand could be on par from a quality perspective to the leading brands in this category
- I can manufacture and sell this product at a significantly lower cost than the leading brands in this category
- It is a re-order product for a customer so being able to get repeat customers for the same product is attainable
- Since being a reseller for replacement toothbrush heads, I knew the market for it was quite large and there is plenty of room for sales growth
With all this information and being able to confidently answer all these questions I felt very good about starting the next step after the idea phase and starting to design the product and get in contact with some manufacturers to help facilitate creating it.
Hope you were able to take some good information from this and it helps you create a plan and see how I applied it in a real world application. Stay tuned for the next article that discusses the design and manufacturing stage of the process. If you have any feedback for me or tips for the future they are gladly welcomed!