The Internet has had a significant impact on commerce, with nearly all brands jumping online to sell their products. It has also opened opportunities for local businesses to sell to a wider audience. With everyone now building online stores, you are in for a lot of competition when you sell your products online. Keep reading to get an advantage!
Where to sell your products online: Create your e-commerce store
You no longer need to hire a programmer to actually develop your web store. Building one is much easier thanks to a variety of tools. Shopify is one of the most popular of these e-commerce tools. The software lets you build an e-store from scratch, complete with virtual shopping carts and transaction management. It also lets you customize the look of your site.
The website for Death Wish Coffee is an example of an online store built using the platform.
Setting up payment options
Paypal is the most popular choice for online payments to ecommerce stores. The platform lets customers send their payments to you quickly and securely. Do your due diligence and look at alternative options like:
Make sure that these are also secure for the benefit of buyers.
Doing shipping and delivery
Unless your e-store is connected to a physical store where customers can go and pick up their orders, your next task is to sort shipping. Rates are going to be the major factor when deciding which shipping method to offer. You want your shipping rates to be as low as possible. One way to deal with this is by using real-time shipping quotes, which charges customers with the exact amount you are expected to pay the freight company.
Be aware that the larger shipping companies offer discounts to small-business:
— FedEx Office (@FedExOffice) December 27, 2016
Be sure that the courier you use has a good track record for buyer satisfaction.
Ecommerce websites: Using eBay to sell products online
Ebay is often considered the granddaddy of all buy-and-sell sites. Despite its age, ease of use is still one of its main attractions. All you need is to create your ad, post pictures of the product, and you are good to go.
Universal Gadgets is a good example of a highly successful Ebay store with more than $18 million in yearly sales.
Be aware that recent changes the site has made, including the removal of some seller protection features and increasing fees, have sellers concerned. Be aware of this as you go after the sizable user base.
Ecommerce websites: Using Amazon to sell products online
Amazon is another pioneer in the online selling trade. The company has since diversified, with specific labels focusing on particular product categories. Just like other sites, Amazon lets you build a hosted store you can fully customize.
MusicMagpie took full advantage of this to build their store on the site, allowing them to become one of the top stores on Amazon.
The site’s Fulfillment by Amazon program is also useful if you want to get your inventory shipped to customers without too much hassle.
Ecommerce websites: Using Etsy to sell products online
Unlike the previous two sites, which host general merchandise, Etsy is geared more toward arts and crafts, and vintage products. As such, if you are either a manufacturer or a seller of such goods, Etsy can connect you better with buyers who are specifically looking for your products. Nicole de Bruin is one such artisan who found success on the site, selling more than 200,000 items.
Selling on Etsy goes in a fairly similar manner as to other ecommerce sites, though you get lower listing charges here.
Ecommerce websites: Sell your products online with Facebook
While Facebook is primarily meant for interacting with potential customers, there’s also a growing marketplace within it to directly sell products. Set up a Facebook Store page as it offers seller protection. A proper Facebook Store will display your products with a ‘Buy’ button for quick purchases. The button links to your web store and automatically completes the transaction without the need for redirects.
Online Japanese merchandise seller Onegai Onii-chan uses such a page along with its website to cater to patrons.
Building your Facebook store does require more tinkering than regular pages. Particularly, you need an app that will connect the page to your web store and pull product information from it for display. There are plenty of platforms you can use for this purpose, such as Shopify.
Selling your products online: How to launch your products
Whether you are a new store, or an established one, you will need a defined online strategy. Time is of the essence. You want to launch your products quickly to make their presence felt early. Many choose a “soft launch,” creating basic entries for new products in their online shop.
Once the initial launch proves successful in generating a buzz for your products it’s time to do a full launch. This is where you can go all-out with the promotions. A teaser campaign is a good way to start drumming hype for the grand launch, like Nintendo does here for the Switch:
The initial customers you will get from the soft launch can also be mobilized for this purpose. They will be the first people interested in your products, and you can later use them to get more retweets and shares on social media.
Contests and giveaways also work well to generate interest online. People love the idea of getting free gifts, which means you can expect to attract a large crowd. Be aware that this may attract people who are solely there for the freebie and are not interested in your products. Work around this by having the giveaways/prizes tie up with the products you are launching.
Sell your products online with social media
Another important aspect of understanding how to sell products online is making good use of social media. While these platforms are well-established as promotional tools, they have also become a marketplace for goods. Be sure to examine their strengths before pushing in:
- Facebook, for instance, is more commonly used for leisure. Products related to that, such as toys and gadgets, can readily be found for sale here.
- LinkedIn is where most customers will go when looking for professional services. It can be great for B2B products.
- Pinterest has a large crafting audience. If you’re looking to appeal to this audience you must be on it. Start learning how to pin on Pinterest at the link.
- YouTube doesn’t offer any direct selling opportunities, but people frequently go there for product reviews and tutorials.
Trends come in handy want to seize possible viral moments. Look for trends that relate to your products and use their corresponding hashtags. Holidays and public events are the easiest ones to ride, as Lazada shows on Chinese New Year:
You can also come up with your own trends and hashtags. This is going to be harder, though, as you need it to gain traction to increase the prominence of your product posts. Buying retweets and shares will help you create that initial wave of activity. From there, you can build more engagement and get people talking about the products you offer.
Getting your products reviewed
Another great way to convince people to purchase your products is by letting them read reviews. Who does the reviewing is one of the considerations here. While reviews coming from the general public are welcomed and will help boost awareness about your products, it is the influencers you want to go after.
Online influencers have the clout and power to actually persuade people to buy the goods you offer. This is why people like Kylie Jenner make so much as influencers online. They have engaged audiences who pay attention to them:
— Kylie Jenner (@KylieJenner) March 13, 2016
Find out who influences your target audience by taking a peek at the reviews of similar products. YouTube reviewers are particularly popular product influencers, with their video reviews being watched by the millions. A good example is IGN, which is popular with video gamers for their early reviews of new titles.
Learning about influencer marketing is very important, and likely more than we could comfortably cover in this article. Take the time to get familiar with Twitter influencers in this article. Once you have your influencers, you can give out samples for them to review. In most cases, it will be the finished product. But you can also generate early hype for new releases by providing pre-production samples.
Toy manufacturers, for instance, provide popular YouTube reviewers like Vangelus with pre-release samples of their new products for this purpose.
As a courtesy, provide another sample that they can give away as a prize. This can ramp up their excitement for your products. When the reviews come out, be sure to share them with your audience and call on them to spread the good reviews.
Sell products online: Cheaper than a physical store
Since you don’t have to deal with construction costs or rent/lease payments, that cuts down on initial setup costs considerably. Day to day operating expenditures are also much lower since you don’t have to worry about utilities and wages. Depending on your business model, the only major physical expenditure you have to deal with is maintaining a warehouse for stock.
Run your business from anywhere at anytime
One of the biggest limitations of running a physical store is that you typically have closing times. This limits how many customers you can serve daily. With an online store, customers can make purchases even when you’re asleep, maximizing profits.
— Mark The Garlic (@GarlicUK) January 15, 2017
Furthermore, you can run the store from wherever you are.
Reach more customers than before
The location is another major limitation with running a brick and mortar store. Unless you are in a good spot, getting people to drop by can be a challenge. That’s not the case when you go online. Customers can visit your website or social media store anytime they want. Going online also lets you capture customers from far-flung places, even from other countries.
It scales up easily
One of the important considerations when expanding your business is growing your product line. With physical stores, this entails a lot of work. Online selling makes it easier as you only need to add the new products to your catalog. Tracking which products are selling is also easier, helping you make better decisions for further expansion.
You can sell your products online
The Internet offers businesses a large marketplace where they can offer their goods. To make the most out of it, you need to know how to sell products online effectively. This involves:
- Launching your products the right way: You want to generate an initial buzz even before the product hits the market. This will help in creating buyer excitement once it becomes available.
- Getting the Internet to talk about it: Promotion is the key to continuing the initial hype you have. Make the most out of available channels, like social media and influencers, to maximize your promotional mileage.
- Knowing where to sell your products: Your business website is not the only place where you can do business. Post your products on various e-commerce sites to cast a larger net for potential buyers.
Doing all of these will help you increase sales and establish your online business more effectively. Don’t hesitate anymore and go online to sell your products. Buyers are waiting for you.