Deciding to start an online business and begin selling products online can be an exciting experience. However, this excitement can soon be replaced with overwhelm if the proper process isn’t followed.
There are a lot of considerations and research to be done if you want to learn to sell products online the right way.
Below you’ll learn the proper steps to take before you launch, during launch, and how to set your online store up for long-term success.
1. Decide What to Sell
Choosing the right products to sell will make or break your success online. As a result, you should spend a lot of time during the research phase.
It can be helpful to choose a product or market that you actually care about. With more and more competition every single day, choosing a market you have passion about will give you a leg up, as you’ll be willing to go the extra mile.
- What kind of products would I love to sell?
- What would be my dream niche to serve?
- What industries do I have experience and knowledge in?
- What pain points currently exist in the market?
- Do my products provide a practical solution?
This should give you a list of products or markets that you’d love to serve.
With this in mind it’s time to get a better picture of the existing market, so you can decide how to compete and position yourself.
2. Research Your Market
You probably already have an idea of some of the competitors in your space, but now it’s time to take a deeper dive.
You’ll be looking for companies that sell similar products, what makes their approach unique, the methods they use to market themselves, and how they speak to your target market.
Find your top competitors and make a list with the above elements in mind.
This will not only help you better understand how to market and sell your products, but you might be able to uncover an underserved portion of the market hungry for your products.
Beyond having a deep understanding of your market, you’ll also want to thoroughly understand your customers. This will make the sales and marketing process much easier. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How old is my customer? Where do they live? What’s their gender?
- How much money do they make? What’s their occupation?
- What other interests do they have?
- How do they spend their time?
- What are their beliefs about the world?
- Why do they buy products like yours?
3. Decide How to Ship Your Products
With an idea of what you’re going to sell, the existing market, and your buyer preferences, it’s time to think about how you’re going to ship your products to them.
The first is hiring a manufacturer to create your products for you. This can lead to a more custom product, higher quality control, and less cost per unit. But, you’ll have to spend more time creating your product, working out manufacturing issues, and figuring out shipping.
The second approach is relying on dropshipping. With this approach, you’ll be purchasing other people’s products and selling them through your online store. The drop shipper will also fulfill and ship orders on your behalf. This approach will have lower overhead costs, and less work overall. However, you may have to operate on slimmer margins and will have less quality control over the final product.
4. Build Your Online Store
Now it’s time to start building your online store. You’ll have a few different approaches to take. You can build your own online store through WordPress and a tool like WooCommerce. You can sell products through an existing platform like Etsy, or Amazon. Or you can use an eCommerce website builder to easily build your store and manage your products.
For the sake of this tutorial, we’re going to assume you’re using a website builder. This approach will give you the freedom of customizing your own site while helping manage all of the technical details for you.
With an eCommerce website builder all you have to do is select a theme, customize it to your liking with the drag and drop builder, upload your products, and press publish.
You’ll also be able to manage your inventory, handle tax, and shipping rates, and even integrate a payment processor.
5. Craft a Marketing Strategy
Simply publishing your site online isn’t enough; you need to craft a marketing strategy to help get the word out.
It would be impossible to cover every single aspect of marketing your online store in this post, but here are a few questions and considerations to get you moving in the right direction:
- What marketing approaches will you take? Social media? Content marketing? Paid advertising? Influencer outreach? Guest blogging?
- How will you get customers to buy from you again? A royalty program? Subscriber discounts?
- How will you convert traffic to buyers? Regular promotions? Product and upsell suggestions?
- What will make your strategy successful? Rising traffic? Conversions? Email list growth?
As you can see you have a lot to think about when it comes to marketing your store and ensuring it’s success over the long run.
6. Launch and Execute
The day has come to finally launch your online store and start sharing your products with the world. Even though it probably feels like your work is finished it’s actually only just begun. All of the preparation work, research, and website building has been leading you up to this point.
Continue to execute and experiment with your marketing strategy and optimize your site based on user feedback, analytics data, and the kinds of products they’re actually buying.
Selling products online is a journey and you’ve just taken your first steps. Hopefully, you’re now better equipped to create and launch a successful online store. Get your store up and running quickly with the GATOR website builder.