Selling online is not as easy as you might think. You need to determine which products to sell, where to buy them, which channels to use to sell them … But knowing how to sell successfully online has never been so lucrative. Online sales in the United States will exceed 500 billion $ by the end of the year.
You’re here because you want your piece of the pie, aren’t you? In this guide, we’ll show you how to:
- Develop an online sales strategy
- Sell through your own store, a marketplace like Amazon, or social media
- Find out what products to sell online
- Attract new customers.
So if you want to learn how to sell online, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re worried that it’s too technical or too long, don’t worry: we’ll walk you through it step by step.
1. Choose which channels to sell your products online.
In this section, we’ll cover the key selling points on:
- Your own e-commerce store
- Marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay
- Social networks like Facebook
Selling online on your own e-commerce store.
Running your own store is the best way to sell online because you are in full control. You decide how your site looks and how your products are presented. You are not vulnerable to external factors, such as algorithm updates. You do not have to compete in a saturated market. If you want to change something, you can. You don’t have to wait for decisions from Amazon or Facebook.
Online store CMSs allow you to showcase your products and process your sales faster and easier than ever. You can automate many mundane processes, giving you more time to focus on other aspects of your business. Plus, your online store can literally be “open” 24 hours a day.
Selling online on marketplaces: Amazon, Etsy, and eBay.
Selling in a marketplace like Amazon, Etsy, or eBay is extremely popular. Amazon alone is estimated to have over two million-sellers! And it’s not hard to see why… The barrier to entry for selling in an online marketplace is very low.
Marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy expose you to a huge number of potential customers and allow you to start selling very quickly. The difficulty is knowing how to stand out from all these salespeople.
While selling directly on Amazon or eBay is much easier these days, relying solely on them can be a big mistake. For example, the Amazon search algorithm is constantly changing, so your products might appear one day and not the next. There are always new competitors coming up and slashing prices to gain customers. While we all understand that a price war is not good for anyone, there is always someone who is willing to lower their price to gain customer share.
After all, it is not easy to “personalize” yourself in marketplaces such as Facebook, Amazon, or eBay. So for a lot of buyers, you are just another trader with the same product. And they’re going to look for the product that is the cheapest and has gotten worthy reviews … and, let’s be honest, the reviews can be skewed.
Selling online your products on social networks: the example of Facebook
Along with marketplaces, social media is a popular way to market your business and products to your customers. To start selling on Facebook, you need to create a business page and then add a “Buy” button. Here are some tips for successfully selling on Facebook:
- To entertain– don’t just post your products while waiting for a response. Facebook is a busy place and customers’ attention is short. Experiment with videos, puzzles, questions, and even jokes to grab the attention of your customers.
- Organize promotions– Offering an exclusive discount in exchange for an action on your page is a great way to build an audience.
- Use high-quality images – do not under-sell your page by uploading poor quality or blurry images.
- Post regularly– but don’t overdo it. In general, once or twice a day is a good average. Experiment with different times of the day and see what gets the most reactions.
The problem with exclusive selling through Facebook is that you have to manually process orders, which can be time-consuming. On the other hand, if you are selling through an e-commerce platform linked to your Facebook page, you can manage all of your product updates and inventory from one place. Shopify’s integration with Facebook, for example, is fantastic!
2. Selling online with developed strategies.
Once you’ve decided how to sell online, it’s time to think about your business strategy. You don’t have to be Warren Buffett, but you do need to prepare yourself a bit.
- How much do you hope to earn? Think about how much money you hope to make and how many products you hope to sell in the first six months. Not having rough financial goals would be like driving down the highway blindfolded – you will get really lost very quickly and find yourself in a mess!
- What margin are you looking to make? Anyone can blindly start selling online, but you are here to learn how to sell online, no? In this case, you need to calculate your margin. Figure out how much it costs you to produce/buy and then deliver your product and deduct how much you want to charge your customers. Bingo, you have your margin.
- Who are your competitors? Search Amazon, Google, and Facebook for the products you want to sell and see which appears at the top of the results. Take a look at their product descriptions, images, and layout and make a list of what they do well. Signing up for newsletters is a great way to stay on top of how competitors price and promote their products.
- How do people spend their money online? The better you know your customers, the better you can meet their needs. And the more you meet their needs, the more money you will earn. A big part of this is letting customers pay the way they want.
- How will customers find you and your products? A surprising number of e-commerce entrepreneurs forget to think about it when they learn to sell online. You can attract customers by blogging about your products, sending email campaigns, or Google Ads campaigns.
Want to know how to achieve the results of the largest companies by improving the ROI of your site? Discover the 6 good practices to adopt!
3. What products to sell online?
Every e-commerce entrepreneur dreams of predicting the “next big thing”. Imagine knowing ahead of time what will be the best-selling or trending products of 2021. If there was an easy way to do it, we would all be millionaires! What you can do is determine the demand for your products. It’s about maximizing your chances of success.
- Use Google Trends– a great tool for determining which products are popular and which are not. Results are based on the popularity of the search term entered into Google over time. Suppose you want to sell clothes online, but don’t know whether you want to sell floral shirts, Hawaiian shirts, or retro sweatshirts. You can enter all three and see which one is growing in popularity. Define the country where you want your customers to live and let’s go! For example, if shoes are particularly popular in December, you might want to increase your marketing during that month.
- Perform a keyword search. As soon as you have a product idea, enter it into Google’s keyword analysis tool. You will see data on the number of people searching for this product each month (popularity) and the competitiveness of the keywords (number of companies selling the product). As a general rule, avoid selling any product with less than 300 monthly searches. What is the point of advertising a product without demand?
How to present the products so that they sell?
Once you’ve decided which products to sell, it’s time to sell them. After all, even if the food in a restaurant is delicious, you’re less likely to buy it if the menu is poorly written and the images on the billboard are unattractive, right? So when you decide to sell products online, how do you display them so that they actually sell?
Add product images
Your products might be good, but how do you sell effectively online if your images don’t look good? The good thing is that you don’t have to be a professional photographer to give your store great images. Just follow these general rules:
- Always use high-quality images – if they are out of focus, you will lose customers.
- Use the same image dimensions each time. You can use a tool such as Paint to resize the width and height of images.
- Provide as many views as possible – the more you can give your customers a 360-degree view of your product, the more comfortable they will feel in purchasing it.
- Make sure that each product variant (for example, a different colored T-shirt) has its own image.
- Give your customers context by displaying images of your used product whenever possible.
4. Final thoughts.
When you want to sell online, it can be difficult to know where to start. You can sell in a marketplace such as Amazon, a social media platform such as Facebook, or an online store that you have created and control. You can also use an agency, such as Bright-Promotion, experts in E-commerce and Retail to increase your traffic and sales. The bottom line is that with e-commerce platforms, you don’t have to choose. You can sell across multiple channels, but manage your business from one place. The best way to build a stronger business is to start your own e-commerce website. It can help you build awareness of your business by having a great store designed instead of having a simple Amazon page.
People have been mastering the art of selling products and services to those who need them since the beginning of time. The methods that entrepreneurs use to sell their goods have changed down through the millennia, but the principles are still the same.