Starting an e-commerce business can be tricky, but it can also be very rewarding and profitable.In this guide, I show you how to sell online and succeed in 4 simple steps.
Whatever you've heard about starting an online business, it's probably true.
It is a very competitive arena, a challenge even for the most experienced.
It appeals to everyone, though: the idea of having no geographic limits, the ability to be able to sit comfortably at your desk or earn money even while on vacation-not to mention the absence of costs and risks associated with owning or operating a physical store.
In short, a daydream.
Is this really the case?
Yes, you are not wrong: the world of eCommerce, the sale of products and services through the Internet, offers incredible opportunities and can bring great satisfaction.
But at the same time, it is necessary to start with the mindset right-and, most importantly, with some basic knowledge and skills. You need to have a clear strategy if you want your project to last.
So you may wonder, where can I start?
In this short guide I show you in 4 simple steps how to sell online and start a successful e-commerce business.
Ready to find out?
#1 Choose WHAT to sell online
"Don't find customers for your products, find products for your customers," says Seth Godin.
This is the key takeaway: if you want your online business to succeed, you have to offer the right products or services (whether physical or digital)-that is, make sure there is a demand for them.
However, there is one thing I want to tell you: your passion, what you know how to do and what you would like to share with others should be the initial impetus in choosing what to offer your audience. Investing time and resources in something that is far from your nature is not a smart choice.
That said, you need to do some research to see if it is indeed what people need and how you can possibly tailor it to their needs.
You then need to know your audience through simple tools (Google Trends, the Google Ads keyword planning tool, online forums and review sites, social media groups), which allow you to do surveys and find out the popularity of trends and products.
#2 Devise your online sales strategy.
Now it's time to think about your strategy: let's look at some key questions you need to ask yourself.
- What do you hope to achieve? Think about how much money you hope to make and how many products you hope to sell in the first six months. Do your research, compare success stories, and set yourself goals tangibles in your industry. A data-driven analysis Is essential to show you the way forward.
- What margin do you want to have? Don't think that a low price is necessarily more effective; people are willing to pay more if the product is of high quality. You can look at what sellers of items similar to yours are doing, but always remember to be as objective as possible in determining the monetary value of your offer-even based on the costs incurred in making it.
- Who are they and what do your competitors do? Study your competitors, their moves, look at product descriptions, images, read newsletters; ask yourself what they are wrong at and what they are successful at, then think about how to do it better.
- Who are they and how do your customers behave? The more you know them, the better you can meet their needs: identify a specific segment to target and determine its characteristics; do research and surveys.
- How will customers find you and your products? You need to know how to promote yourself: if so, the web marketing offers you multiple possibilities (website, blog, e-mail marketing, landing pages, ads, social media). Think about which method best suits your business.
Finally, remember: the best way to get results is to find your niche: don't think you are meeting everyone's needs and requirements or solving big problems. Identify a circumscribed slice of the market to which you propose a specific solution for an equally defined need.
#3 Choose HOW to sell online
Another crucial point is choosing the best platform for your business: here is a general overview of the various possibilities.
Option #1: Online sale from your e-commerce store
One of the best ways is to create your own e-commerce website, which you can customize to your liking in various aspects. In that case, you do in fact have almost complete control over the management of your offering, and you will also enjoy much more credibility.
There are several platforms that make it very easy for you to automate the sales process. Among them, one of the best known and most widely used is Shopify, with which you can set up your store and perform all the necessary payment transactions. It offers a free trial period and you can use it for both physical and digital products or services.
Option #2: Online sale on Marketplace (Amazon, eBay, Etsy)
These websites allow you to sell products or services quickly and easily. You simply create an account, describe a product with picture and price, choose how it will be delivered, accept payment, and prepare the item to be shipped.
They are definitely a great way to start selling independently, without having to have much knowledge about it and with minimal upfront costs (don't forget about commissions, though). The challenge is to be able to stand out from the crowd-that's why relying only on this mode can be unprofitable.
Option #3: Sale on hosting platforms (Kajabi).
If you want to sell digital products, services or courses online, you can use platforms that allow you to do so without having much technical knowledge.
Among them, Kajabi is definitely one of the best: it allows you to monetize your online business easily and effectively, intuitively managing every aspect and functionality. You can build your site in no time and automate a whole range of activities: e-mail marketing, membership and affiliation management, designing funnels and landing pages, creating and selling online courses.
#4 Promote your products
Now all that's left is to attract your potential customers: here in brief are some useful web marketing actions to market your store. Take note!
- Website, blog, SEO: write valuable content related to your offering, optimize it for SEO to rank higher in searches, share interesting information with your audience to gain trust; and while you're at it check out my bestseller on Amazon.
- E-mail marketing: After building your contact list, send newsletters to your audience to inform them of the latest news, launch your new product, or share valuable content that will entice them to purchase your product;
- Social media advertising: they are one of the simplest and most powerful weapons for increasing engagement and targeting a wide audience (I recommend that you especially take advantage of the Instagram stories);
- Public relations (read here what they are): expose your brand to more people and increase its credibility through actions that can positively influence everyone you target;
- Sponsored announcements: uses Google or Facebook ads to generate traffic and attract customers.
Of course, you don't have to do everything right away: experiment and figure out what tactics work best for you and your clients. Finally, don't forget two key things: take care of the brand positioning, that is, of your brand perception, and invest time on acquiring authority in your industry, aiming to become a real thought leaders.
What do you say?
Yes, there are a number of things to consider as you decide to jump into the world of e-commerce-as well as many more to delve into than we have mentioned.
However, with this guide you have a general idea to get started and know how to sell online; then, as in all things, experience is what will really allow you to get better and better results.
Start one step at a time, don't be afraid to always question yourself and adjust your aim; finally, also have the courage to ask for help if necessary.
Photo by Raphael Lovaski on Unsplash
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