How to Sell Online | Ultimate Guide in 2022
If you’ve been planning to put up an online store, don’t wait any longer.
Last March, U.S consumers spent a whopping $78 billion online. The transition from traditional to digital shopping had accelerated when the pandemic struck due to community restrictions. Even now that the world is easing back into normalcy, it’s still likely for those who started online shopping to repeat.
Selling online offers multiple benefits. These include broader reach, convenience, and 24/7 operations. You can sell to other cities without setting up physical stores there.
But it’s still not easy to succeed online.
E-commerce has become an extremely competitive playground. So, we’ve outlined a guide to increase your chances.
What Can You Sell Online?
The first challenge to overcome is figuring out what product or service to sell online. Coming up with a profitable idea is not easy. Sometimes the thing you want to sell isn’t precisely on-trend. It’s also possible to feel that almost everything is already being sold online and in brick-and-mortar stores.
Fortunately, new products are being launched all the time.
Decide if you want to provide a solution to pain points, appeal to hobbyists, or pursue your passion. And then, select products from the Everything E-Shop catalog, which is updated regularly so that you can add the freshest piece in your own store.
Which Platforms Are Best for Selling Online?
The eCommerce industry is expansive; there are numerous platforms to choose from. As a beginner, you might be tempted to choose the simplest or the cheapest option. However, make sure to answer these questions before making a decision:
Is it user-friendly? According to research, 18% of customers abandoned their cart in 2021 because of the lengthy process. Remember that convenience is the primary reason people shop online, so it’s only sensible to choose a straightforward template.
Digital or Physical? Choosing between digital and physical goods makes all the difference in marketing, shipping, store size, etc. Check if the platform is suitable for products/services you intend to sell.
What payment methods can you offer? Most online sellers accept payments through PayPal and credit cards. Check if your target locations have access to payment systems or reliable alternatives.
What is the best payment plan for you? Review your annual budget. Look for opportunities you can save, such as paying for a yearly plan.
Which Ecommerce Business Model to Choose?
A company’s framework for operations is called a “business model.” It includes the value proposition, pricing strategy, and profit generation. Setting your business model determines your products and services, target market, marketing strategy, and expenditures.
Business models are essential in understanding your customers, motivating your employees, attracting investors, and providing a sustainable advantage.
Over time, you may have to change your business model to overcome obstacles and ride with the latest trends.
What Are the Different Types of Business Models?
Most transactions between businesses and customers are classified into four:
The B2C refers to the direct transaction between a business and a customer. For instance, when you purchase a gadget from a brick-and-mortar or an online shop.
B2B refers to any transaction between businesses. For example, a software development firm sells a product to another company that distributes it to a retail level.
A company can also have two business models. For example, a spice brand sells its products directly to shoppers and provides bulk supplies to restaurants.
The C2C business model is when the trade happens between two consumers. This includes selling products and services on online marketplaces (e.g., Facebook Marketplace). Many entrepreneurs started as individual sellers and built their online stores.
The creator economy, which is comprised of artists, journalists, gamers, influencers, and any content creator, encouraged C2B. This business model is the individual consumer that sells a product/service to a business. For example, when a company purchases a stock photo for its marketing campaign.
What is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is the process of fulfilling a retail order and sending it to the customer for a business. Instead of keeping an inventory, you get the product from a third party (usually a manufacturer or wholesaler). Many online stores use this model to don’t have to buy/lease a warehouse, maintain storage conditions, and hire more staff.
How Can You Promote Online?
When marketing your online store, you need to think of the three types of primary audiences.
1. People who have purchased from you before
2. People who are aware of your store but have never done business with you
3. People who would want your product/service if they just knew about it
Knowing the different audiences will help you plan any campaign well.
People who know your business use email and social media for direct communication. Reinforce your relationship by sending/posting thoughtful content, special discounts, reminders, tips, etc. Do this sparingly to avoid overwhelming the receiver. Instead, focus on the quality of each post and email.
Remind them of your value for people who are aware of your store but have never purchased from you. Consider holding webinars, product demos, and events to convert their interest into sales. This audience may have visited your store before, followed your social media account, signed up to the mailing list, or engaged with your business in other ways.
And for the people who have no prior knowledge about your business, invest in content marketing. Create articles, blogs, videos, etc., that answer any possible question related to the problem your product/service could solve. Aim to become an authority in this field, and customers will naturally come to you.
How Can You Be Recognizable and Unforgettable?
Branding refers to how you make customers feel about your business. It’s crucial to shape and solidify your brand identity to become recognizable and unforgettable.
How do you do this?
Your brand identity is conveyed through your logo, color schemes, ads, website, uniforms, packaging materials, and everything part of your business.
Are you premium and pricey? Is it about reliability and durability? Do you want people to feel relaxed and energized upon seeing or hearing your store name?
For example, a store that sells luxury products should sound refined, exclusive, and powerful.
Marketers usually give their brand a persona. Imagine that your brand has a face, a gender, and a lifestyle.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Selling Online?
It’s essential to look at the pros and cons of online selling to ensure it’s the right field for you.
While the prospect of being able to do it all from home is attractive, there are many other reasons to consider an eCommerce business:
- You can operate almost anywhere and handle your own time. You are the boss.
- You can reach more customers and sell almost anywhere. The possibilities are infinite.
- If you’re sold or bought anything online, you already have an idea of how it works. Compared to other home business options, online selling concepts are easier to grasp. Plus, there are various tools nowadays designed to help beginners navigate commerce.
- Are you into hand-made bags? Do you have a passion for birdhouses? Refurbishing antique ornaments? Oil painting? Ecommerce allows you to turn your interests and hobbies into a profitable business.
- The risks are minimal. Compared to traditional companies, you don’t need a large capital to start an online business. There’s no need to rent/buy an office, hire people, maintain a warehouse, etc. You can begin online selling sites or build your online store for less than $100 a month.
Like traditional businesses, online selling has a few downsides. It’s essential to be aware of these to set realistic goals.
- It usually takes months before you can enjoy sold results. It’s unlikely you’ll have lots of sales in the first week. The key is to be consistent.
- There’s a difference between selling online as an individual to marketing online as a professional business. The tips mentioned earlier can help you get started.
- You’ll handle a LOT of work. Besides being the business owner, you’ll also be the accountant, auditor, marketer, designer, customer support, etc. You might decide to delegate the tasks eventually, but you’ll understand everything better if you tackle different roles.
- Online selling isn’t always passive income. There are times when you have to invest time and energy to update inventory, evaluate marketing strategies, handle customer complaints, etc. Until you can hire more people, you’ll have to be more involved in all aspects.
Online selling isn’t some get-rich-quick scheme. While numerous tools are accessible to anyone, you have to build a reputation, develop a brand identity, optimize processes, and embrace the learning curve.