2021 is a great year to sell online. The coronavirus pandemic affected every industry worldwide, bringing millions of companies to the brink of bankruptcy. But, one industry that thrived and flourished was online selling. Billions of people around the world have dreamed of leaving the generic 9-5 work regime and stepping into the life of an entrepreneur by selling online. If you're walking down the same path, there's an unlimited amount of potential awaiting you at the end of the tunnel. If you're interested in selling online but are having difficulty figuring out where to start, you're at just the right place. In this article, we're going to go over everything you need to know before you step into the world of online selling. Let's get right to it.
The best part about selling online is the freedom that comes with it. You're not obligated to work on specific hours. You're not obligated to work from a specific place. You could be running your online business while vacationing in Hawaii, and there are no cons of it whatsoever. Online selling allows you to be your boss in every way imaginable, and the flexibility that comes with it is one reason why people love to switch to this lifestyle.
The cost of setting up a physical business is much, much higher as compared to an online business. You have to deal with paying employees, rent office, pay utility bills, provide hardware to your employees, etc. These expenses are just a few of the bills you have to pay to keep a physical business up and running. The mentioned costs don't exist in an e-commerce business. The only initial investment required will be to purchase the product you have to sell. After you make that payment, the expenses required will be almost negligible.
Any other form of livelihood cannot match the scalability of an online store. An online business can start as a side gig, earning you a little bit of extra money along with your regular job. But, if you know your thing and have the knowledge required to scale that business,you could potentially make it your single, most profitable source of income in just under a month.
The first thing you should decide is what you want to sell. There are billions of potential products that you could sell. How can you choose the right product to inaugurate your online business? While we can't give you one product that would work for everyone, we can give you a checklist of all the things your product should have.
This is obviously necessary. The entire purpose of creating an online store is to create a profitable cash flow. Every product has profit potential. However, when you start factoring in expenses like shipping, packaging, marketplace fees, warehouse fees (if you're working with Amazon FBA), advertising fees, etc., the profit margin falls steeply. If you're looking for a profitable product, look for something that can be priced at $20 and above. This gives you an ample amount of budget to invest
The key to making any company profitable is to look for a product that not many people are selling, but there's a steady demand for them. If you enter a densely populated niche, it'll be challenging to rank up against folks that have been selling your product for a longer period of time. Similarly, there won't be much room for profit if there aren't enough customers in your niche.
Lots of online stores are sourcing their products from third-party manufacturers, most of which are located in countries with cheap labor costs like China. Usually, there will be more than a few defective products amongst the thousands that you order. However, when you import an electronic device or a glass product, there's a pretty decent chance that one of two things happens; either the product comes defective or gets damaged during the transport. By looking for products that cannot be damaged and have less chance of being defective, you'll save hundreds of dollars in the form of potential refunds.
The next step is to find reliable manufacturers that can create your product in bulk. If you're located in the United States, it's always recommended to source products from countries that will cost less. For example, countries like China are extremely popular for dropshipping companies and are used by most Amazon private labels to source their products.
Websites like Ali Baba and Ali Express are great placed to find products. You could also customize the products by going back and forth with the vendors to throw in a personal touch—however, you must be careful. Order samples first to ensure that the product you're ordering is of decent quality before you order in bulk.
Once you have the right product to sell, the next step is to find the right platform you want to sell it on. It primarily depends on where you live and what type of product you're selling. A lot of people like to start with Amazon since it's the most significant marketplace globally. Amazon's FBA service is amazing for folks looking to sell in places other than their own country. You can ship off the product to Amazon warehouses, and they'll take care of the delivery for you. Moreover, an Amazon business can be a one-man show. The platform is oriented in such a way that hiring extra personnel is a luxury, not a necessity.
Etsy is another great platform particularly famous for arts and crafts. Craigslist, eBay, Newegg, Walmart Online Marketplace, etc., are all great platforms for starting your business. Alternatively, you could also use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to make sales as well. It's a bit more difficult to start since a lot of folks tend not to trust companies selling on social media.
Regardless of what your product is or what marketplace you're selling it on, marketing is a core part of successfully selling products online. You'll need to attract the first few customers and create a name for your brand. This is where you'll need an effective online marketing strategy. Here are some of the ways to market your e-commerce store.
Search Engine Optimization, or more commonly known as SEO, is a form of organic advertisement where different aspects of your product (title, descriptive, meta tags, etc.) will contain highly searched keywords that will help tell Google and other search ranking algorithms what your product is about so it can be marketed accordingly. SEO can be done without spending a dollar. However, this form of advertisement is a hit or miss. Every single competitor selling the same product as yours will be using SEO the same way you are. There's no guarantee that the time you spend optimizing your product will garner any results.
If you're looking for guaranteed methods to boost traffic and sales, Pay Per Click is the way to go. As the name suggests, PPC is a form of marketing where a service provider charges you a certain amount every time a potential customer clicks on your sponsored ad. Some marketplaces like Amazon offer their campaign managers that you can use to run PPC campaigns on the platform itself. If your platform of choice doesn't offer advertising options, you could go for Google Ads and get customers directly from Google Search Results redirected to your product page.
A social media presence goes a long way in making an e-commerce store successful. It's not only an amazing tool for marketing purposes, but it also helps a lot in creating a positive image of your company in front of customers who aren't familiar with your brand. Spending some money on social media ads goes a long way in increasing your sales, and if you use social media to its full potential, you'll be able to create a loyal audience of customers who will always come back to buy from you.
Selling products online in 2021 is the easiest it has ever been. The world has moved to a phase where we simply cannot function without utilizing online marketplaces and e-commerce platforms. So, if you've had an interest in creating a brand online, there's no better time to set it up than today!