Today, it is essential for businesses to know how to sell online.
The Internet is no longer the wave of the future: it is here, has been for quite some time now, and it’s not going anywhere.
Research firm Statista says 87% of today’s shoppers use e-commerce reviews to make a purchasing decision, and 77% actually make a purchase online.
So, if your customers are online, it’s clear that your business should be there, too. Follow this guide to know how to sell online.
Find the Right Place to Sell Online
One of the important things of knowing how to sell online is where to do it. There are plenty of options for businesses who want to sell online (the best thing: they don’t require any coding or design knowledge).
Here are just some of the options. Keep in mind you don’t have to pick just one. Some of the most successful businesses combine a few of the below e-commerce options, it’s just a matter of knowing what’ll work for you.
Making your own e-commerce site
It’s very simple to set up your own e-commerce site nowadays. There are free website builders (with drag-and-drop design interface) that can easily help you create an e-store.
Shopify and Wix make it easy to set up an e-commerce store with just a few clicks. You can select from a variety of templates these platforms have loaded into their system. All you have to do is customize the site to your business’ style.
👍🏽 The benefit of these sites is that you’ll have a completely customized e-commerce site.
👎🏽 The downside is you’ll have to market this site extensively to get people to visit it (people won’t just know that you have an e-commerce or know the URL, you’ll have to help them).
Use another company’s e-commerce site
If you don’t want to create a customized e-commerce site, you could opt to sell through Amazon, eBay or Etsy. All of these sites provide easy ways for small businesses to sell their products.
It’s very easy to set up a store in these platforms, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. You sign up for a seller’s account, customize your page, then begin to list your products.
👍🏽 The upside is you don’t have to do any site creation, plus these sites already have a large number of visitors.
👎🏽 The downside is they often charge you a fee for the items you list and/or sell, and because you don’t do any of the designing, it won’t have your unique flair.
Use social networks
You can also sell your products through social media networks such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Each one provides an easy way to sell directly with your customers.
👍🏽 The greatest benefit to social media is the extremely large, captive audience.
👎🏽 The downside is that many users don’t feel comfortable shopping on social media platforms.
Do You Have the Right Products to Sell Online?
Once you have decided the method(s) to sell online, you need to make sure you have the right products.
- If your business is product-based, then e-commerce could be a great way to gain new customers.
- If your business is more service based, such as an accounting firm, then it is unlikely you’ll make many direct sales through e-commerce (even in this case, though, it’s important your company uses the Internet as a marketing tool).
If you are selling through e-commerce sites, make sure you not only have the right products for sale but have ample inventory to fulfill orders (especially on your best selling products). The last thing you want is to not being able to deliver when a customer makes a purchase.
Finally, ensure the products you are selling online are easy to ship. If your items are fragile, ensure they are packaged and protected properly. If the products are large or heavy, an e-store might not be the best fit.
E-Commerce Store and Marketing
Perhaps the most important aspect of knowing how to sell online is how to market your business and your products. Try to build a captive audience through social media channels (even if you aren’t selling there), because it is an easy and free way to drive interest and traffic to your e-store.
Ensure the products you are selling online are displayed in the most positive way. Treat your e-commerce store the same way you would a brick-and-mortar display of your products. Take high-quality photos that show your product off.
How your products appear online are a direct reflection of your company. You don’t need to hire a professional photographer to do this, but avoid taking blurry photos in bad lighting on your phone or with people walking around in the background.
How to Sell Online: Other Aspects You Need to Consider
There are also other areas that factor into how to sell online.
Shipping and fulfillment
Once you sell your product, you need to make sure you are able to fulfill your orders. This means having enough of the product stocked and accessible. Also make sure you have the ability to ship the item safely, securely and in a timely fashion.
Knowing how to sell online means ensuring that your e-commerce site, no matter how it is set up, can accept as many payment options as possible.
Sites such as Amazon and eBay will have this already set up for you, but if you’re creating your own e-commerce site, you’ll need to sign up for and create a payment gateway as well.
Make sure you can accept payments via Mastercard and Visa, but also consider Discover, American Express, PayPal and other mobile payment options.
It’s likely that your business already has a customer service team or process in place, but when you sell online, you need to make sure this team or process anticipates inquiries from e-commerce customers. Publicize the ways people can contact you if they have a question or concern about a product or order, try to also offer email and telephone customer service support.
When you sell online, you need to protect your products and your intellectual property by licensing and protecting all of the products you create. At the same time, you need to make sure you’re not infringing on another company’s license.
Make sure all of your customer information is kept safe and secure. Social media channels and sites such as Amazon will already have a built-in system for this.
If you are creating your own e-commerce site, ensure the vendor you use for payment processing is legitimate and upholds basic standards of security.
Selling your products online may seem like a daunting task, but it’s something any business can do with the advent of the Internet. Setting up an e-commerce site is definitely a worthy investment of time and money, and if you follow the tips above, you’ll learn how to sell online like a pro in no time.
Nowadays, knowing how to sell online is a must-have marketing knowledge. Make sure your business is part of the 21st century and sell more than you ever thought possible.
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