If you’re planning to start a business that involves the sale of products online, you’ll need to do a little planning to ensure that the approach you choose is as straightforward, efficient, and cost-effective as possible. In this article, you’ll find some handy advice on the main elements you’ll need to consider before you make a start.
Choosing Sales Channels
Where precisely are you going to sell your wares? Will you have your own website? Might you consider selling via online marketplaces as well, in order to boost your reach and grow your customer base? You’ll need to take into account any fees this may incur, and streamline the ways in which you will record orders and keep on top of stock levels when juggling multiple outlets.
There are unique challenges when it comes to marketing a business that exists purely online. You don’t have a real-world shopfront you can decorate, and you may not even have a location on Google Maps to which you can direct people. Instead, it’s up to you to build up a strong online presence and get people talking.
Make sure you have a strong, regularly-updated social media presence featuring relevant, on-brand content. You can also try your hand at a little search engine optimization (SEO) and get listed on a few review sites, responding regularly to feedback and actively taking suggestions on board.
To avoid cybercrime and to make sure that your financial details – and that of your customers – remain safe throughout each transaction, it’s vital that you select a secure checkout method. Whether you use a deposit scheme or request full payment upfront in one go, it’s down to you to research and choose the best solutions.
Where will you ship to? If you ship overseas, how will any tax or duty be paid? Who will foot the bill – you or the customer? Then there’s the question of packaging. Are your items easily damaged? How much packaging is required – and how environmentally friendly can you make it? You also need to think about how you’ll send your items.
Will you use a courier or put your own fleet of vehicles together? If you choose the latter, you might want to think about fleet management options from Samsara.com. These solutions can help you to track shipments in real-time, improve the efficiency of your business and even reduce your spending.
Some members of the public can be hesitant about buying certain products online, as they cannot see or test the quality of an item for themselves. There are numerous things you can do to reassure these potential customers for an extra sense of ease. For example, all images of your products should be well-lit and in high resolution.
Items should be photographed from numerous angles. If possible, include a zoom feature so that customers can examine products in detail. Depending on what you’re selling, you might also wish to include a complete list of materials – and perhaps even send a certificate of authenticity with the product when you ship it. Another good idea is to become an accredited manufacturer of items of this kind and display that accreditation on your site.