For retailers, the only upside to COVID-19 has been eCommerce, or online shopping. More purchases than ever before have been made online. Millions of people have learned new shopping habits and, as things return to normal, for many, that new online shopping habit has stuck. That’s bad news for the high street, but it could well be good news for retailers savvy enough to pivot or start their business online.
ECommerce entails proper planning from getting your supplies, setting up a business process for every step in marketing, sales, and customer support. To give you more idea, read on and see how online selling can be your best option to make more money:
Choosing What You Can Sell
The very first step in starting your online business is deciding on what product to offer your potential customers. In making the decision you need to take into account the demand for what you will sell, its market price and profitability, sales and marketing, and market competition. Choose a product that is needed by your target customers and it should be competitive with the other brands of its kind. Your goal is to sell what is in demand and the price is fair enough from your identified supplier so you can expect more return on sales. Here is a quick guide to help you with this decision:
Related To Your Line Of Interest Or Hobby
This can be a good idea if you like to invest in selling products that you are interested in. It can give you that level of expertise whenever a customer has a question about what you are offering. This will make selling easier and enjoyable for you.
Products That You See Online
One way of choosing is to do product research. Try visiting online selling platforms and see which items are very much in demand in the market. Your goal here is not to sell a product that is already doing so well, but instead, check out items that can have lesser competitors but still have a high demand. You can also offer complementary products to these expensive items and give the customers alternative options where they can also save on spending too much.
Finding Your Suppliers
After you have decided on what product to sell, you will then need to find a credible supplier for your product. Finding a reliable partner for your business is key to your success. You will want a supplier who can deliver on your specified requirements. Below are some ways on how you can look for your supplier:
Search For Dropship Suppliers
There are several dropship suppliers online. This is a method where you will not have the inventory of the product with you, but your supplier will ship it directly to your customer. This reduces your expenses on overhead to store your products in a warehouse or stockroom.
Find Wholesale Suppliers
The internet is free and open-source, you can always use it to search for wholesale suppliers for your online business. Getting a wholesale supplier will give you the advantage of getting the product at a cheaper rate and be able to sell it online with a higher cost giving you now higher returns.
There are a number of routes to finding wholesales suppliers. Start with the manufacturer. If you can buy from them directly and cut out middlemen then your profits will be higher. However, your order size may be too small for them to begin with, in which case ask them for a list of reputable wholesalers of their products. Other useful wholesale routes are the established B2B marketplaces like Alibaba and checking out eBay for wholesale lots.
Setting Up The Business
Now it is time to make everything online. Set up the business with these steps
Have A Coherent Brand Image
A consistent brand image encompasses everything to do with your marketing communications, including business name, logo and the way you and your team behave. Start with your values, how do you want people to feel about your brand? That feeling should inform the business name you chose, your logo and a consistent set of colours and fonts that you use in all of your marketing materials. It should also be fundamental to the way you and anyone representing the business communicates with customers and other stakeholders. The brand will make your marketing communications, including social media, instantly recognisable and relatable to potential customers.
Register Your Business
In every country or state business regulations are strictly implemented. Make sure that you abide by this law. Being legally registered will also add up in building trust from your customers. In the UK you will need to register with HMRC for self-assessment taxation as a minimum. If you trade as a sole trader, that will be adequate. However if you chose to register as a Limited company, you will need to register it with Companies House. See our guide to deciding what the best legal structure is for your business.
Choosing What Platform To Sell On
Once you have a shop name, it’s time to select which eCommerce platform you will use for online selling. Review the features that you need against what each platform offers. Then list additional pros and cons, like price and SEO.
In addition to the platform, you need to find a reliable web host for your site. Some platforms offer this as an integrated service, though service can be variable in different locations. To avoid this from happening, find the best web host for your country to ensure the best quality of service for your customers.
Marketing Strategies To Make More Sales
You already have a product to sell, a coherent brand, legal registration, and a venue for online selling. For higher profits, use an effective method that produces more conversions. Here is some best practice on how to effectively make sales online:
Have a plan to advertise or promote your business. You can use organic marketing or paid advertisements to build your email leads database. Having a list of your leads will allow you to send them the latest offers on your site and invite them to participate in your promos or sale events.
High Quality Of Listings
What you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) principle applies when posting your product online. Giving your customers the actual photo will entice them more to add that to their cart. Give them a brief and specific description of each product that you sell.
Get Customer Feedback
As a business owner, you should ask your customers to give some reviews or feedback about your product. This will build future customers, especially if the feedback is really good. The feedback will also serve as your learning curve and help you to continuously improve the business.
ECommerce is not an easy option. Filling orders and sourcing supplies is an ongoing hard graft. But if you follow our tips, you will save a lot of time and accelerate learning and success.