If you’re thinking of launching a business soon, e-commerce could be a smart decision. According to Nasdaq, approximately 95% of shopping will be via e-commerce by 2040.
However, a lack of experience in the industry could prevent you from grabbing a share of the market. Rather than living with regrets, you must take the steps to learn more about e-commerce and how you can enjoy great financial success. Get started by reading this ultimate guide to selling products online.
Research the Best Product to Sell
The first thing you must do is find the best product to sell online. If you want to generate a substantial revenue each year, you must attempt to source a product that isn’t available in many e-commerce stores. If you select products that are featured heavily on many platforms, you’ll likely struggle to attract customers and you might need to lower your pricing.
Discover a product you firmly believe your target customers would like to buy, but that’s hard to find elsewhere. For example, you could look for a product, or create an item, that will solve your customers’ problems or that taps into their passions.
Choose the Right E-Commerce Platforms
Once you have found the right product(s), you’ll need to choose where you’re going to sell it. Various e-commerce platforms can help you to reach your target market, such as:
You also have the option to open an e-commerce store using the likes of WordPress, Shopify, or Oblero. Alternatively, you could buy an already profitable e-commerce business that’s up for sale on the likes of Flippa, which includes Amazon FBAs and eBay storefronts.
If you want to enjoy great success in e-commerce, you must choose a platform that will allow you to sell many products to your target market. For example, Amazon tends to focus on wholesale products, Etsy will feature handmade creations, and a website can feature a combination of the two.
Don’t Rule out Amazon
You shouldn’t rule out Amazon when launching an e-commerce brand, as it’s a leading online retailer that generated $232.88 billion in revenue in 2018. It has also been reported that 2 in 5 customers will receive between 1 to 2 Amazon packages per week.
Unlike with a website, you can tap into a large audience that’s searching for your product and ready to make a purchase. All you’ll need to enjoy success is a great product and the right plan for your business. At present, Amazon has two plans to choose from:
- Paying $39.99 per month to sell an unlimited number of products on the platform
- Paying $0.99 for every item you sell
If you’re dipping your toe into Amazon, paying $0.99 per item might be the best option. However, if you’re hoping to sell many items throughout the year on the platform, you’d be wise to choose the larger plan.
Amazon now also requires e-commerce entrepreneurs to buy GTINs, UPCs, or EANs for their Amazon listings, which will be determined by their country. You’ll be unable to create new product pages without doing so.
Paying for a plan also doesn’t mean you’ll appear at the top of a page for a user’s product search. It’s a search engine like Google and you’ll need to adopt various SEO techniques to boost your visibility on the platform.
It’s also important to note that an Amazon plan can still lead to your account being suspended or removed permanently. Common causes for an Amazon account suspension can include:
- Counterfeit claims
- Trademark or copyright infringement
- Safety complaints
- Review manipulation
- A high order defect rate
- Late shipment rate
- Used but sold as new
It might be a relief to learn that you can appeal a suspension; however, you may need specialist help from the likes of riverbendconsulting.com.
Sell with eBay
It is reported that eBay has approximately 168 million active buyers, who typically spend an average of 6 minutes and 10 seconds on the website. Customers are also likely to have a product in mind when they visit the website, which is why you’ll need to ensure your inventory would fare well on the site.
For example, the site sells an average of 12,342 pairs of women’s shoes and 8,640 handbags every single day. It’s also important to have a firm understanding of its demographic, as 57% of customers are male and 47% are female, with the largest group being between the ages of 34 to 49 years old. However, only 7% of visitors are aged 65 and over, so it might not be the best platform if you want to sell products to seniors.
Also, eBay differs from the likes of Amazon, as it is an auction platform. Yet, this could work in your favor, as it could result in you selling a product for a higher amount than a buy it now price.
You’ll also need to incorporate the following costs into your monthly outgoings:
- Product listing fees – you’ll be charged 35p per listing after you have reached a monthly allocation of 1,000 free listings
- Final value fees – you’ll pay 10% of the final transaction value to eBay that’s capped at £250
- Advanced listing and upgrade fees – you’ll pay a fee for upgrades, such as adding a subtitle, featuring a buy it now price, or including a gallery of larger images
If you plan to sell homemade creations or vintage items online, Etsy is a better alternative to the likes of eBay and Amazon. It’s also important to be aware that you cannot sell items on Etsy that you didn’t make yourself, as reselling is banned.
Etsy also has taken the time to provide various useful tips and advice on how sellers can improve their listings to grow their sales. For example, they’ll provide tips on how to snap attractive product photos and advice for writing engaging product descriptions that convince buyers to make a purchase. Seller membership is also straightforward. You’ll pay $0.20 per listing and you’ll pay a 3.5% fee for every transaction.
Create a Facebook Shop
It might shock you to learn that 15% of social media users in the United States buy products on Facebook. It is, therefore, one e-commerce platform you shouldn’t overlook when attempting to sell items to your chosen demographic.
If you decide Facebook is the right e-commerce platform for your needs, you will have various options to choose from, such as:
- Connecting another e-commerce platform onto your Facebook profile
- Joining the Facebook Marketplace (a mobile-only tab) to list one or more products for sale
- Publishing Facebook Ads to increase traffic to an e-commerce website
- Connecting to buyers via Messenger, which can support payments
Yet, Facebook is a highly competitive marketplace, and you’ll need to develop compelling content and incentives to encourage people to buy your products.
An E-Commerce Website
An e-commerce website will provide a virtual storefront for your many products. However, it can take time to drive traffic to your website and establish trust in your brand.
For your e-commerce store to generate significant sales, you’ll need to:
- Build an attractive, easy-to-use site
- Improve the user experience
- Develop an effective SEO strategy
- Publish unique, well-written, and insightful content
- Market your website to increase traffic and sales
The above tactics can ultimately help you to attract many visitors and increase your sales, but it will require much hard work, time, and effort.
You’ll also need to factor in various costs, such as web hosting, web design, marketing, and domain address fees.
In today’s modern world, you don’t need to be limited to one platform when marketing and selling products to customers. There is no reason why you cannot sell products on the likes of eBay, Facebook, and Amazon, as well as on an e-commerce store, which is known as omnichannel retail.
However, you must aim to provide a seamless experience on every site to do so. It is a wise idea to master one platform before selling products on another. It will help you to build up your visibility, customer base, and sales steadily, which can make it easier to scale your business.
Don’t Ignore Google Shopping
Product promotion is essential for growing your brand awareness, traffic, and annual revenue. While marketing your products via social media and email marketing are a must-do, you also shouldn’t ignore Google Shopping.
It probably isn’t surprising to learn that Google is the leading platform for product searches. Yet, many e-commerce brands tend to overlook the Google Shopping service when selling products online, which is a big mistake.
When you pay for a Shopping ad, your product, its image, and the price will feature at the top of the search engine for a query. It will also sit above text-based search ads and organic results, which can increase the likelihood of a user reviewing your product, visiting your website, and placing an order.
The beauty of Shopping ads is that Google will do the hard work for you. The search engine’s algorithm will pull key data from your e-commerce store to create advertisements that are relevant to a search query.
Many businesses are starting to catch on to the benefits of Google Shopping, as spend increased by 41% in 2019 while search ad spend has dropped. After all, would you rather engage with an ad that describes a product or a high-quality image that features the price upfront? If a product matches a customer’s exact wants or needs, and the price is right for their budget, you can guarantee they will choose a Google Shopping ad over text.
Analyze Your Competitors
Regardless of whether you choose to sell products on Amazon, Facebook, eBay, or Etsy, or all the above, you’ll need to gain a firm understanding of your competitors before you start an e-commerce business.
It’s important to identify your rivals’ ranking for your desired keywords in the search engines, as they could secure customers that could be yours. For instance, you’ll need to research the websites appearing in the top 10 pages of Google and you must aim to knock competitors off the top spot.
To do so, you’ll need to embark on various search engine optimization tactics.
For example, you might need to:
- Optimize your pages to improve your visibility in the search engines
- Build a strong backlink profile – secure guest posts on high-authority websites
- Aim to secure the same or similar backlinks of your competitors
- Audit an e-commerce website – e.g. fix technical issues, improve web crawling, and publish fresh content
You’ll also need to consider your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. For example, why would your customers choose them over your brand? They could separate themselves by providing free shipping, a lower price point, a compelling loyalty program, or an exceptional customer service experience.
It is your responsibility to pinpoint their many benefits, which you should adopt and improve on to attract many customers to your brand.
There also could be an effective marketing platform your rivals are failing to utilize, such as email marketing, influencer marketing, or customer referral programs. By discovering their weaknesses, you could gain a competitive edge and a stronger financial position.
E-commerce is growing in both size and revenue every day, and it is expected to increase with each passing decade. There are also a variety of platforms for customers to choose from, which can range from launching an e-commerce website to creating a store on the likes of Amazon, Etsy, and eBay. You also shouldn’t rule out marketing on all the above channels.
However, you must ensure you discover the right product for your target audience and find out where they tend to make a purchase. You also should weigh up the pros and cons of each platform and have a firm understanding of the competition and your target demographic to make an informed decision.
With a little research, hard work, and effort, there’s no reason why you can’t secure a share of the e-commerce market and enjoy a healthy revenue each year.