It is a surprise that e-commerce has massively expanded all thanks to the convenience of shopping from home in a pandemic-stricken world. However, what you probably didn’t know till now is that you too can become a part of the million-dollar empire, all by starting your own business. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be your own online business. You can simply sell products online via an established e-commerce business website and still mint money.
And how exactly will you do so? Let’s find out!
- Points to be considered while starting to sell online
- Choose platforms you want to sell on
- Thorough mapping of the cost
- Locking in on your product offering
- Identifying the customers & popularity of the marketplace
- Finalize your shipping/order-fulfilment plan
- Advantages of selling online:
- Relatively low cost compared to physical stores:
- Targeted marketing:
- Easier remarketing:
- Quick reach to your website/product:
- Easy upscaling:
- Disadvantages of Selling Online
Points to be considered while starting to sell online
Choose platforms you want to sell on
Amazon is by far the world’s most successful and largest online marketplace. While you can definitely consider listing your products there, also know what other options are available. You can be the master of your own business and not split profits with a marketplace by launching your own website. If you’re starting with a minimal budget, you can also consider opening an account on popular social media platforms because it’s completely free!
Thorough mapping of the cost
No matter where you decide to list your products, it all comes at a certain price. While established marketplaces give you the benefit of more awareness, they also eat into your profit shares. Hosting your own website has become quite easy and budget-friendly thanks to the likes of Shopify. And even social media seems lucrative because it’s free.
However, you must note that till your customers don’t go on your product page, there’s no buying happening. And to get your customers on your product page, you need ads and promotions that cost money.
It is recommended that you define your audience from day one and market your products only to them so that you don’t waste money in reaching the wrong audience. This is where digital advertising greatly helps.
Locking in on your product offering
Selling online is no longer a new trend. It has been tapped by hundreds of businesses that have made much from its potential. Therefore, your biggest takeaway here is the massive competition! It is vital to ensure that either your products bring uniqueness to an existing market, have the potential to create a new market, or offer customization.
Identifying the customers & popularity of the marketplace
While established marketplaces do guarantee a massive audience, it is not always that this audience is your audience. To put it simply, a marketplace selling homeware may have lacs of users. But, it may not be the ideal place to sell your high-fashion brand. Even if both websites sell high-end products, it is unlikely for people to shop for fancy clothes from a website that sells a cookware range.
Finalize your shipping/order-fulfilment plan
Some e-commerce marketplaces come with a contract that offers order fulfilment which makes the seller in charge of only listing the product and not worry about delivery at the door. However, even when you’re hosting your website, you can partner with various shipping companies to handle your logistics. All it comes down to is which service is the most cost-effective, quick and suited to your business. Please note that in the case of perishable commodities, you have to have your own cold storage or pick an order fulfilment centre that has one in it.
The temptation to sell on multiple marketplaces definitely exists because each place has its own benefits and customer base, you might want to read the fine print before signing a contract. Do check twice for selling on rival marketplaces especially when adhering to sale prices and customer incentives. Also, consider the cost of hosting your product on one marketplace vs listing it on many. The cost is only worth it if the revenue lives up to the expectation.
Advantages of selling online:
Relatively low cost compared to physical stores:
When it comes to selling a product, the first thing you need is a place to sell it from. And these days, with websites like Shopify, making that place on your own e-commerce website is relatively more cost-effective than making it with brick and mortar. Plus the cost of maintenance and rent drastically falls when you’re hosting an online marketplace.
Selling online gives you the benefit of spending marketing money on only those leads that are extremely likely to convert. To give you an example, let’s say you put out a print ad about your brand new store in a plush mall. Lacs of people buy the newspaper with your ad and thousands read it. However, you never know who those thousands are and if at all they are the right audience. If your ad for baby clothes is seen by new parents, great.
If it is seen by middle-aged people with grown-up children, they are extremely unlikely to buy it which automatically becomes a wasted ad spend for you. However, selling online changes the game completely. Through the power of social media and analytics, you can make sure that the ads you run are seen only by new parents who are more than likely to make a purchase.
Remarketing is simply showing your product repeatedly to the customer that makes them highly likely to make a purchase sooner or later. Indeed something an online seller cannot do without. While running print media and TV commercials will bill up lacs or crores each time, digital remarketing is far more cost-effective. Remarketing also helps you gather a steady customer base that can be directly targeted for any launch or future expansion.
Quick reach to your website/product:
The good thing about selling online is that people don’t have to walk up to your store. They just have to click. And digital media makes this clicking so simple that they don’t even have to type the website name anymore. Once you run ads, people have the convenience of simply clicking on the ad’s call-to-action and being redirected to your website in seconds.
Adding a new page to your existing marketplace is definitely less expensive than buying the neighbouring store to expand. Plus, you can easily make your website available to global customers and directly start marketing to them without dealing with the additional costs of setting up a store in the respective country.
Disadvantages of Selling Online
Zero to no customer interaction:
While it may sound great to make money sitting behind a screen, it is not so great when it comes to building relations. Brick and mortar stores offer the opportunity to give people a full taste of the in-store brand vibe and a more personal experience with the help of sales representatives. Both of these are missing in an e-commerce store.
This may keep your customers from not making a definite decision or simply become one-time purchasers. And most importantly, customers will never try to contact your customer service to say how good their order is. They will only call to complain or get answers. Therefore, be ready to have your first interaction with them when they’re angry, upset, confused or disgruntled.
Delays with shipping:
No matter how user-friendly and quick shopping experience you provide to your customer, the journey is not complete till the customer doesn’t get the parcel in his hands. And sometimes, delays in shipping are caused by situations out of your control like bad weather, traffic, short-staffed fulfilment centres, or more recently, a pandemic-induced lockdown.
While customers know they have to wait, longer than expected waiting time can spoil your name for your fault. It may altogether drive the customer to a competitor that may sell the same product but deliver faster.
No actual contact with your product:
Unless you’re the manufacturer who visits the factory/workstation regularly, or a small business owner with the inventory right in your house, you’re having little to no contact with your product. More often than not, your products are stored inside fulfilment centres for quick processing, packaging and delivery. Therefore, you have no idea as to in what condition your product was shipped out. More so, you will also be blamed for physical damages to the product when they reach the customer even though the weather may have caused it.
Selling online is highly competitive but also very lucrative. And whether you’re starting with more capital or less, you have ample opportunities to list your products. Amazon and Flipkart are excellent examples of marketplaces. Many small and regional businesses have boomed all thanks to the exposure they received via these giant marketplaces. So what are you waiting for?
Build your e-commerce website today or start listing on one!
- How to sell products online in India without GST
The truth is that irrespective of any product, you simply cannot sell online on any giant marketplace like Amazon and Flipkart without a GST number. However, there are some websites where you can, namely, Infibeam, Craftsvilla, and e-bay among a few.
- How to sell a product online in India for free
Whether you build your marketplace or list on one, there is a fee that you need to incur. However, a partially free option for you can be simply making an account on social media. The reason we say partially-free is because you won’t be charged to create an account and upload pictures of your products, but you will be charged to run ads that get the right users.
- How to sell products online successfully
While there is no one magical answer to this question, there are many possible solutions. Whether you list on an existing marketplace, open your online marketplace or sell through social media, it all comes down to your product being genuinely good, mapped marketing spends that get interested users on board, consistency, and quick delivery.
- How to sell products online from home?
Why just home, with an e-commerce website you can sell your products while you’re on vacation! All you have to do is buy space on the world wide web for your website and operate it from just about anywhere in the world!