E-commerce: Getting your Sales off the Ground
Online sales is a great line of work to be in for a number of reasons. You can sell from, and to, just about anywhere, you aren’t bound by a 9 to 5, and if you’re good at what you do, the profits can be incredible. If you’re looking in this direction, but aren’t quite sure where to start, here’s how to get your foot in the door.
Do Your Research
Whether you have a product in mind, or you’re still open to options, do your research first. Is there a demand for what you plan to sell, and is that demand not being adequately met by current suppliers. If it is, can you offer a better product, a better price, or both?
Find out what people like and dislike about the products you’re hoping to sell. If you’re uncertain about how popular something is, or skeptical about the quality of the product, you may want to steer clear so it doesn’t reflect badly on you as the middleman.
Sourcing your Product
Find the best supplier for your product at the best price. If you have the space and the capital, buy wholesale so you can personally manage and monitor your stock. The alternative is drop shipping, where you sell a product at retail price, pay your supplier wholesale and have it shipped straight from your supplier to your buyer. This eliminates your need for storage space and stock control, but may become problematic with returns or if your supplier runs out of stock.
Setting Up Your Website
A great website design will have a massive impact on your sales. You can set up a basic e-commerce site through WordPress or similar, but having your own domain may be preferable. You can always start with WordPress to keep your costs down, then upgrade once your business takes off.
You’ll need an e-commerce template with payment facilities. Make sure your site looks good, offers a pleasant browsing experience, and is user and mobile-friendly.
Marketing Your Business
Because you’re an online business, online advertising is the way to go. Relative to dollars spent, email marketing generates the most income – about 44/1. As your customer base grows, you can keep existing customers up to date on sales, promos and new products. You can also hire an email marketing company to send advertising to people on their database who may be interested in products you have to offer.
Social media marketing is another low-cost, high-reward form of marketing. Running competitions and promos on your company Facebook page will keep customers engaged with your business and attract new customers, and the only cost is the prize on offer. By marketing promos and discounts, you give existing and new customers a great deal, a good experience, and more often than not still make a profit.
Once you’ve done your research, and you’re pretty sure your product will sell, you can start small scale, or dive right in and launch your own website.