Although it might be easier than ever to set up an online store and start selling, there are plenty of decisions that you need to make. More popular than ever, the number of people setting up an ecommerce store to start making some extra revenue continues to grow. That means that there’s a lot of competition out there, and you have to be careful that the time you spend on setup isn’t going to be time wasted. Of course, when online selling means that you can sell to almost anywhere in the world, you have options to choose from. Here are some tips that can help you decide the best ways to set up your first ecommerce store.
Before you can start selling anything, you need to have an online store. Fortunately, there are more ways to sell online than there used to be. The most popular options are:
- Dedicated ecommerce stores (BigCommerce and Shopify are the big names)
- WordPress (with the WooCommerce Extension)
- Online marketplaces (eBay, Amazon, and Etsy)
- Social media pages
The crucial thing is that you don’t have to choose one option and stick to it. Instead, you can sell across multiple channels at once, and it couldn’t be easier to set up. The fact is that most of the platforms dedicated to selling will have apps that will allow you to integrate multiple platforms. That makes syncing your online store a simple process and means that you don’t have to keep switching between multiple platforms.
eBay, Amazon, and Etsy business accounts are extremely easy to set up, and it can be as simple as setting up your account, listing your products, arranging your shipping, and choosing how you accept payments. The challenge, of course, is working out how to stand out from the other stores selling what you sell. The best way to do this is to make sure that you have a separate online store and to work on your branding. If you decide to use marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, remember to pay attention to the transaction fees. These can often be higher than expected, so make sure that you factor those costs into your product pricing.
- Amazon Selling: This is one of the best ways to reach a bigger audience, and selling on Amazon has a wide range of benefits. Unfortunately, it’s a crowded marketplace, so you can easily get lost among established names. The good news is that Amazon provides a wide range of tools and resources to sellers. This look at Amazon Brand Registry by Nuanced Media highlights the latest resource provided by Amazon that could make all of the difference to your ecommerce venture.
- Etsy Selling: If you’re selling arts and crafts products, you should have a presence on Etsy, even if it’s not your main platform of choice. In terms of branding, Etsy gives it a lot more of a personal feel. The fees on Etsy can be noticeably lower, but you still need to pay attention to them as they will slowly eat away at your revenue.
- eBay Selling: You can sell almost anything on eBay, and it’s one of the most popular marketplaces in the world. Remember that if you do decide to start selling on eBay that you may often have to wait for payments, especially if you’re doing an auction. You will also find that eBay fees are often a lot higher than you expect, so be careful about pricing.
- Facebook Selling: This is the platform to use if you already have your online store set up and want to connect it to the most recognized social platform in the world. When you sell on Facebook, you can match your products with specific customers, and all that you need to do to start selling is set up a business account. The key to selling on Facebook is engagement and entertainment. Learn as much as possible about selling on Facebook and the best ways to grow an audience.
- Alternatives: There are additional options to consider. Instagram now offers shoppable posts, where users can click directly on a product image and get taken directly to your product listing. TikTok is also making it easier to reach a new demographic and has partnered with the ecommerce platform Shopify to make the process just as easy.
Learn as much as you can about the pros and cons of each selling platform so that you can have a much better idea of where to target your efforts and put the work in.
Your Selling Strategy
All new business ideas need to have a business plan, and your ecommerce store is no different, no matter where you’re planning to sell. You need to identify:
- Ideal profit margins
- Your target audience
- Marketing tactics
By answering these all-important questions you will start to build a better idea of what you need from your selling platform and which ones are the most suited to your brand.
Your store is set up and you’re ready to start making a profit. The challenge now is making sure that consumers know that you exist and know what you sell. This comes down to marketing, which is a huge subject to explore. The basic marketing techniques that you need to research include:
- Social Media
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Blogging and content marketing
- Email newsletters and promotions
The more that you learn about ecommerce marketing, the easier it will be to make use of the methods that will be of most value to you and your target audience.
There are a lot of decisions to make when you’re setting up your ecommerce business. Make sure that you have a presence on all of the relevant selling platforms, and work on your branding as much as you work on your product descriptions and product images. The more professionally you treat your online business, the more likely that you will be able to build it up into a profitable business that provides you with revenue for years to come.
About Author: Ryan Flannagan is the Founder & CEO of NuancedMedia, an international eCommerce marketing agency specializing in Amazon. Nuanced has sold $100s of millions online and Ryan has built a client base representing a total revenue of over 1.5 billion dollars. Ryan is a published author and has been quoted by a number of media sources such as BuzzFeed and Modern Retail. To connect with Ryan, check out @Ryanflannagan on Twitter or via Linkedin.