Selling online has never been easier. But that’s not to say it’s easy. Let’s jump in and explore some things that you need to know before you begin starting an online store.
What to sell
No ideas what to sell? What’s something that you are personally passionate about? Computer parts, bicycling, plants, interior decoration. Starting this adventure will be a lot easier if you base it on something that you know and love, even just a little
Those that fail to plan, plan to fail
Find that topic, and niche down. Selling pet accessories? Focus on bird accessories. Focus on bird stands. Focus on edible bird stands. Focus on edible bird stands for large parrots.
It’s a lot easier to be a professional and make a profit in a small niche than it is to be a general seller of lots of things to anyone.
Who is most likely to buy your product? This is where a little planning can go a long way. Imagine your most perfect customer – someone who repeatedly buys from you and loves your products so much that they start promoting your brand. Who are they, what do they do?
Define your target audience to make marketing easier.
Ask yourself questions like do they already buy a similar product, or do they not know that they need my product? How do you currently determine who buys your product? What are the values, attitudes, lifestyles, and personalities of your perfect customer?
Creating a customer persona helps you get an idea of who you want to buy your products, setting you up for a tone of voice, attitudes and key values in any marketing and customer service you undertake.
Where do your customers hang out?
Now that you’ve defined who you’re selling to, it’s time to figure out where they spend their time when they’re online. Chances are that it’s going to be Facebook. Everyone uses Facebook and in doing so, they provide a lot of personal data. Data that you can use to get your product in front of the most interested buyers. But before you go spending money, consider the free options.
Facebook groups – an easy way to find people interested in our products
Facebook Groups for example. There are groups for everything. Become a member of some Facebook group or pages that are relevant to your product or your well-defined niche. Don’t post, don’t start interacting just yet, just observe. Watch and observe, what things people are talking about, what problems they face and how, if at all, your product can solve their problems.
Next, visit Twitter. Use a tool like ritetag to discover hashtags that are relevant to your products. Who is saying what about your niche online? Twitter is also a great way to use Influencers to market your product.
Chances are that whatever you’re selling, there’s already someone selling it. This can be a blessing and a curse – someone has already done a lot of hard work for you, but it also means someone else wanting money for the same thing you’re selling.
Some healthy competition can be what you need to improve.
Identify your competition using social media and Google. Observe things like how their website is laid out, the products they’re selling, how they write about their product and how that company uses social media. Pay close attention and see what works for them and what doesn’t.
Use a tool like ahrefs to look at their website. This will show you how much traffic they’re getting and where it comes from, as well as relevant keywords that Google associates with their products. A little SEO research can be a quick way to make you automatically overtake even the stiffest competition on Google.
Education & support
If you’ve never sold anything online before, you’re in for a bit surprise. While it is easy, it’s not as easy as you may think. Sourcing products, payment gateways, international shipping and return policies are some of the less sexy things that are often overlooked.
Selling online is not easy. Study and research is essential.
To make sure you’re not left out in the cold, you need to be aware of what your peers are doing in the industry. Shopify is considered one of the big-guns in the eCommerce world, both with their products and the way they educate their followers. If the price is a concern, consider a more technical platform like Wix or Magento. Also, pay close attention to smaller eCommerce providers like Shoplo.
As previously mentioned, there are Facebook groups for everything – eCommerce is no different. There are a huge amount of active Facebook groups dedicated to educating people about online selling. Get involved and learn from the people doing it.
Your customer is dumb, but always right.
The old adage ‘The customer is always right’ is still true today, but that’s not to say that they’re intelligent.
If your online store is to get returning customers, it is important that your customer service is memorable and suited to the thus customer.
People don’t read things. Shipping policies, return policies, anything like that won’t be taken into account if someone wants to buy your product. These things will only be read when it’s too late or when it becomes a problem.
Even when they’re wrong, make sure to leave your customer satisfied, even if it means you lose money on a transaction. Sometimes it can be quite easy to turn a bad transaction into a good one by just giving the customer what they want.
To sum up everything we’ve gone through today, it is possible to make money by selling things online.
- Be a master of one product rather than being ok at a few.
- Research your target audience
- Figure out where your customers spend their time.
- Look at what has worked for your competition.
- Learn, study and be willing to grow.
- Make customer service your main priority.
To add a few other tips of mine;
- Dropshipping will not work if your product is sourced from China.
- The more capital you can invest, the more you will succeed.
- 99% of your money should be spent on marketing.
- Be prepared to walk away when it isn’t working.
With these tips in mind, go out and fill the world with thing that people want!