If you are only going to sell a few things, you can keep things simple by putting up the items for sale on your blog or website with prices and shipping costs and inform interested buyers about how you wish to get paid. If you have a lot of products though, and wish to continue selling, putting up your own online store would be the best idea. An online store will be able to help streamline the process and make it convenient for customers to shop. Listed below are the things you need to prepare for when deciding to put up your own online store.
- Decide what products you want to sell. Thoroughly think about what products you wish to sell as they will affect the whole set up of your store. If they are physical products, then you will need to consider different couriers. On the other hand, if they are digital products that can simply be sent through the internet, the need for couriers is eliminated but you would have to equip your system with a fast connection. Aside from that, also consider if you are going to sell a variety of products or if you plan to specialize. It would also help if you are passionate about the products that you wish to sell as you will gain an edge over other competitors. By choosing products that you are passionate about, the success of your business is more likely to happen because not only will you be more focused but you will surely enjoy owning and managing your online store.
- Check out the competition. It is important that you check out other competition first before you start selling a certain product. Make a list of the marketplaces in which you plan to advertise your products and check out the various strategies and advertising techniques of competitors so you can effectively come up with your own that are different from theirs.
- Conduct a small test. When people plan to put up a business in the real world, what they usually do is to try selling their products first through consignments, in bazaars and in craft shows first to see if the products would actually sell before they fully commit in starting an entire store. This practice should also be applied in the online world of business. Before you take the plunge, try marketing your products first on auction sites and take note of the kind of people who buy your products, how much they are willing to pay and if the shipping method you are currently using is reliable.
- Consider your options. If you have the means, you can simply hire a person to set up your store for you. However, if you are on a budget, there are numerous services which you can choose from. If you are selling various products, you can apply for a general e-commerce business merchant account which will allow you to set up a professional-looking storefront. But, if you decide to specialize and want to enhance your store’s features, then you can make use of payment gateway services which are geared towards certain kinds of products. Specific payment gateways or e-commerce solutions take care of mostly everything from storefront design, secure payment, hosting, mailing lists, selling statistics and customer support. There are also services in which they allow you to have affiliates. When you make use of these services, stores which are also affiliated will allow you to resell their products. Having a merchant account is best for a business because not only will it be more convenient for you but it will also be convenient for your customers which increases your chances of selling and maintaining a good business.
- Promote your store. No matter how good your products are and no matter how professional-looking your store is, if nobody knows that it exists, then you will never have a market base. Thus, do what you can to promote your store. Create pages in social networking sites, leave comments when you visit blogs and make sure to include a link of your store and ask your family and friends to spread the word.
- Invest your profits. Before you spend on a success party, decide to invest your profits instead. You may decide to get a more advanced e-commerce business merchant account which can help in increasing sales volume and your bottom line.
Deciding to put up an online store is a great business move. To ensure its success, be sure that you take your time in deciding on the things listed above. Have you thought about putting up your own online store? What were the things you considered before finally put up one? Feel free to share your experiences and stories in the comments below!