eCommerce is a fast-growing business sector, with online sales of products expected to pass 2.3 trillion US dollars in 2020. If you want to expand your current business or plan to start a new one, don’t ignore this lucrative marketplace. Though competition in the world of online retail is fierce, it can pay big dividends if you use the right technology and marketing strategies.
Here’s how to start selling products online.
Choose the Right Products
First, you must decide which products you want to sell on the internet. And while it’s true that you can buy just about anything online, selling is another matter.
Many industry experts agree that there are really only two types of online products that sell: Commodities and niche products. Potential customers are often spoiled for choice when it comes to online shopping, so if you’re selling, your products need to be in high demand, appeal directly to a specific customer base, or both.
Commodities are products that a majority of customers need or want. They can be essential goods or popular items, and they make up the majority of retail sales for online stores and businesses.
Niche products, on the other hand, are usually more unique and have less competition. Oftentimes these items are not mass-produced products with brand names. These appeal to a very specific target market, such as specific types of clothing for a lifestyle or equipment for unique hobbies.
Whether you have a unique product of your own or access to commodities that you can sell at profit, you’ll need to strategize. Choose products that will fill a need or ones that you’re passionate about, and be sure to advertise them effectively when you’re ready to launch your eCommerce venture.
Decide on an Online Platform
As you decide what products you’re going to sell, be sure to consider what online platform you’ll be selling them on. You can choose to sell your products on a pre-existing platform, create your own website, or both.
Use Existing Platforms
Existing platforms come with a variety of advantages. You won’t need to build or design your own online store, you can use built-in payment methods, and you can even take advantage of provided advertising options. You may also have an easier time attracting customers from the steady stream of web traffic some platforms already capture.
If you opt to use an existing platform, there are a variety to choose from. You can use online retailers like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy, or social media platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. Be sure to do some research on which platforms sell what kinds of products: Amazon, for instance, sells large amounts of commodities, while platforms like Etsy and Pinterest specialize in niche items.
Create Your Own Website
Choosing to create your own website comes with advantages as well. With your own online store, you’ll have more control over product presentation and customer experience, and you may be able to more easily create your own brand and loyal customer base when you don’t have to compete directly with other retailers on a platform.
No matter what type of online platform you choose, bear in mind the advantages and disadvantages and how those may affect your sales. Also, remember that you can use more than one platform: you can create your own online store on your website and also have an Amazon store, for instance.
Provide a Reliable Payment Method
Whatever platform you choose, it needs to have a reliable, secure, and convenient payment method for your customers to use. Existing online platforms already come equipped with these, but if you opt to build your own online store, you need to consider how your customer’s money will get into your bank account.
Credit cards are the most popular way to make online purchases, and there are several ways to collect your customer’s credit card information and process payments. You can open a merchant’s account and have your customers enter their payment details into a form on your website, or you can use a payment processor from a third party like PayPal or Square.
Third-party payment processors are often already built into most eCommerce software, which makes them easy to set up. Customers can also use their existing accounts to process payments, which may offer added convenience and speed to their online purchases and potentially drive up sales. Digital wallet services like Google Pay, Masterpass, and Amazon Pay come with the same advantages.
You can also choose to have more than one payment option available for added convenience. No matter what type of payment methods you choose, make sure that your customer’s payment details will be secure.
Select the Best Shipping Options
Once your customers have made a purchase, you need to be able to get their products to them. Consider which shipping carriers are available in your area — such as FedEx, UPS, and local postal services — and do some research to determine which will offer the best rates to ship your products to a customer’s address.
You need to take different variables into consideration as you account for shipping costs with any given carrier. To do this, experts recommend that you use eCommerce software that provides the real-time rates for a given shipment and integrates the shipping charge into your payment methods. While it’s tempting to offer your customers free shipping, you should only offer this option when you’re confident you’ll make back more than the cost of shipping.
Use eCommerce shipping tools that will seamlessly integrate shipping into the purchase process, and consider providing both standard and expedited shipping options for your customers. Also, make sure that you have a reliable, cost-effective method of packaging items and delivering them for shipping without any mishaps.
Selling products online includes many different components. As you consider the strategies in this article, take another step closer to successfully entering the world of eCommerce by consulting Grow Team.