If you’re starting up with small budget never subscribe to any store platform unless you have your products in stock, you’ve written description of all the products and taken photos.
If you are starting up your online store with a limited budget and a small team, you have to be very careful while purchasing inventory for your store. In the initial phase of your business, you should divide your inventory budget into several product categories, setting best selling product categories in first priority and other products in second priority.
I would like to categorise the products into two categories:
1. Your original product (Something that you designed or manufactured): Make products/inventory ready and then set up store. If you are going to sell your original products, your strategy and planning should be different from the stores selling unoriginal (products from other companies) products.
If you are going to buy parts and make something out of those parts, then, it’s better to start with 1-5 products only. I am saying this because if you are going to make more than 5 products and if it takes several months, you would be paying for store fees for nothing because you would be selling your products after they are fully made.
Then, you will have to take photos and write description also. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you fully prepare your products, make them ready to sell, take photos, write description, organise everything and then only pay for store subscription.
Setting up any kind of online store (except Woocommerce) takes less than a day, so, if you have everything ready, you can open the store for your customers as soon as you pay for subscription.
Many people pay for subscription first and they start working on other aspects of online store. They keep on paying for the subscription for 3-4 months and then only open the store for customers.
2. Unoriginal products (Products made by other companies): Make your store ready and then purchase inventory. If you are going to sell products made by other companies, you may have to make your store first because when you are going to purchase inventory from different manufacturers, they may want to see your online store before accepting you as a reseller or a distributor.
If the manufacturing or product sourcing company allows you to use their images, it’s good to list out all the products first(with images) and then only purchase inventory.
Where are you going to buy products from ?
It depends upon your niche . You should know big companies in your niche which sell their products in wholesale price. For example, I sell electronic kits for school and universities. So, in my case, the big companies are Sparkfun, Adafruit, Makershed, etc.
If you are unsure about what to sell, you can get ideas from companies like http://www.banggood.com, http://www.dx.com, http://www.dhgate.com, http://www.alibaba.com, http://www.aliexpress.com, http://www.ebay.com. You can find thousands of companies online.
How to store your products ?
If you starting out in small scale, you can buy shelves, racks to store your products. It completely depends upon the types of products. If you are storing your products inside small boxes, I recommend you to label those properly so that you can find them whenever needed.
DYMO label printers are very popular, I am using one labelling my products. Check out one from Amazon: