If you’ve decided to take the bold move of becoming an online seller, bravo, you’re in for a big treat. This is because these days, more and more consumers are ditching traditional shopping at the mall and turning towards online shopping. It’s convenient, saves time, offers more variety, and most importantly, shopping online saves money (on gas, from discounts, etc.).
However, setting up shop online is also not a walk in the park. There are various things you need to consider and the measures you need to put in place so you can get significant returns from your online selling venture.
This is not to forget that there are many other entrepreneurs like you, some of whom provide the same services or products you intend to bring to the market. It’s even trickier if it’s your first time and you’re a bit gray on how to go about it. However, it’s good to note that one of the areas where most online sellers get it wrong is lacking a reliable shipping and order fulfillment solution.
Phillip O’Brien and the team at Cahoot.ai say that with an optimized shipping and order fulfillment solution, online sellers can become more competitive and maximize customer satisfaction, which is one of the key ingredients of success in e-commerce. In this regard, peer-to-peer order fulfillment networks are being more effective at ensuring orders are shipped and delivered to consumers faster while reducing the costs involved. As your business grows, consider the services of a third party logistics (3pl) provider.
In no particular order, here is a checklist for first-time online sellers.
Decide a Business Type and Name
If you’re planning to start selling online, you most probably have an idea of what products you’ll be selling. One of the first things you’ll need to do is decide on a business structure, come up with a business name, and develop a business plan. As for the business type, it can be a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation.
Once you choose a structure, you’ll want to make sure that you get it registered and obtain the necessary permits to make it legitimate. Online shoppers are savvy these days and will always want to ensure they’re buying stuff from a licensed and registered business.
A Selling Platform
Especially if you’ll be dealing with a wide range of products, you’ll need to create an e-commerce website. There are many e-commerce website builder tools out there, including BigCommerce, Shopify (including upsell shopify apps), Squarespace, Volusion, WooCommerce, Magento, and Wix, just to name a few. When creating your site, remember to choose a memorable domain name and choose a stunning theme or template that will be attractive to consumers and users from the word go.
In case you can’t create your own eCommerce website yet, there are alternative avenues you can use to push your products online. A common option is to sell through online marketplaces such as Amazon, Etsy, and eBay. Also, social sites such as Facebook can be a great way to promote and sell your products, although, for this one, your audience will be limited to Facebook users and your followers.
Add Products to Your Store
If you have a website in place, the other thing you’ll need to act on when starting as an online seller is adding products to your store. For the maximum call to action (CTA) effect, you’ll need to create compelling product pages with clear and appealing descriptions for each of your products, and as you grow you will want to look into the Widen PIM solution to keep all of this product information up-to-date.
Accompanied by images, the description content needs to be professionally written and composed in such a way that it can compel a potential buyer to add the item into the shopping cart. Additionally, product pages need to be SEO-friendly, and this is especially where are professional copywriter comes in handy.
As an online entrepreneur who needs to gain a strong footing in the industry, competitor research is vital. Preferably before adding your products, be sure to conduct research and determine how much they cost at your competitors’ sites.
Once you do this, other things you’ll need to get right include:
- Market your store/brand aggressively
- Always keep track of your inventory
- Conduct research on suppliers
- Ensure business compliance
- Research e-commerce software
- Provide incredible customer support
Selling online comes with numerous perks. For instance, it eliminates the need to rent office space and exposes you to a larger target market. It is also less costly to start, beats time limitations, and is more scalable, not forgetting that you can operate your business remotely from anywhere. With the above few tips in mind, getting into online selling for the first time can be a breeze.