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State of Mind: Big Chances in 2016

Kees van DijkIn the previous interview of the new “State of Mind” series we looked back to 2015. Today we look together with Kees at what 2016 may bring. What are the chances and trends in ecommerce in 2016? I asked Kees.

Kees, you now have multiple successful online stores. But what would you do if you could start anew?

In the SEO-analyses we do for ecommerce entrepreneurs, I discovered there are still a lot of chances in ecommerce. In almost all niches it is still possible to set up a successful online store. The areas in which you shouldn’t start an selling online, are, curiously, exactly those fields people tend to think of first. In short, everything that sells: electronics, books, DVDs… And also for white goods the price pressure is huge. If the margins are small, there is no room for nice marketing. In these niches it is simply not possible to compete with the big guys out there. Clothing also seems to be quite difficult, but there are still some opportunities left there.

But in all other niches the opportunities are many and for the taking. We fore example calculated that

The sale of rain barrels in the Netherlands could bring in 6000 EUR of profit per month!

6000 euros of pure profit?! Tell me how?

First you should work on claiming the top positions in Google: rain barrel, wooden rain barrel, plastic rain barrel, etc. And you should of course find a good supplier who is ready to drop ship.

Could you name other interesting niches? Before everyone will turn to selling rain barrels now.

[Kees thinks aloud] I think that things like fencing, lampposts, reed mats for fences, that kind of stuff may bring in a nice margin and will not have a huge online presence yet. Artificial grass could be another good “new” online product.

It does, however, remainimportant to find a good supplier.

Kees, I do talk about starting from zero. You’d now have a nice startup capital, but the average starting ecommerce entrepreneur doesn’t.

Startup capital isn’t necessary. A few thousand euros is handy to have (but really not necessary!), you don’t need big funds to start. You can build up a great online store in a month.

Concerning ecommerce software – do you remain a fan of Shopify?

Shopify, even if they wouldn’t continue to improve their service in 2016 (which they will certainly will!) the product is already great at the moment. If I would set up an international store I would definitely consider their platform. For a Dutch shop, or even a European one, I would go with SEOshop. I have already said it before – it is possible to set up a great online store with these ecommerce platforms within a mere month! And it costs a little.

If you’d need to advise people who do have some startup capital – would you advise them to set up a completely new online store or to take over an ecommerce business?

Taking over an online store always remains risky. Especially if you don’t know what you should exactly pay attention to when evaluating an online store. With google ads and shopping sites, an online store can very quickly generate a lot of traffic. But that isn’t the kind of traffic you are looking for – it is all paid traffic. Look to the organic turn-over – in short – how many people entered the online store via a search in google or another search engine? That is free traffic, and you can earn most with that type of traffic!

Trends for 2016


What are the trends in ecommerce in 2016?

Let me first remark that I am not someone who is following all trends. I used to do that and would jump on every single hype – but I sold very little as a result. Only when I found my focus, my business grew.

Look at one trend of last year: all blogs wrote that SSL secured websites would now be ranked higher by Google. That is typically one of those things that don’t matter a lot for the average online store. It probably does constitute a noticeable difference for huge websites and enterprises. But even for me, and I have by now various big online stores and operate in 5 countries, it really is a very small margin.

As online store owner you shouldn’t follow this kind of trends. It only distracts from what it really should be about.

To do mention a relevant trend: the customer wants more choice about the delivery. We shouldn’t just focus on next day delivery in 2016 (or even the same day). It is way more important for customers to know that they are at home when the package is delivered and that the delivery comes at a convenient time. Give them, therefore, the choice between various time windows (and work with your delivery service to get those time windows as precise as possible). Allowing to deliver the package to the neighbours is for example also a choice that can be offered during checkout.

To conclude this interview Kees, what are your expectations and plans with your own businesses for 2016?

I expect a healthy further growth within especially Europe. We will work to build up our market share in Germany. And we will push to conquer France!

But like I already said before, we will focus even more on SEO – we can improve and benefit most in that field.

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