How To Sell Products Online?
Traditional methods of marketing and selling, though still relevant, are now quite passe. Digital platforms and digital marketing have fast taken over the way people search for their essentials and requirements and primarily, the way people shop. Even basic searches, whether it is for any type of information or for essentials or for daily needs or for recreation, or any other search, they are all carried out via search engines now. That is why most businesses are going online or at least ensuring that they have an online presence too, because consumers are first checking online for any and everything and businesses do not want to miss out on the opportunity by not being online.
E-commerce is developing rapidly globally, and in India too. The increasing penetration of smartphones and mobile data to even the rural areas of the country, along with the rise in digital literacy, has led to an influx of investment in e-commerce startups, pointing out that it is a good time for businesses to either start businesses related to e-commerce or get their business online using digital technologies and marketing techniques. In fact, today digital presence is a must for every business, in order for them to reach out to the consumers across the globe.
Benefits Of Online Presence
Some of the benefits of having an online presence for a business, irrespective of whether it is a goods related business or a service related business are-
- Overcomes Barriers
One of the primary benefits of having an online presence is that the business is not restricted by any physical barriers but can reach out to a large audience crossing all physical and geographical barriers which would otherwise limit the reach and in turn the growth of the business. With an online presence people from far off distant places can also be accessed and made aware of the entrepreneur’s business. Thus, one of the major advantages of having an online presence is the ability to overcome physical barriers.
- Access To Wider Audience
When a business operates offline, it can reach out to a limited audience and those who convert to consumers are even less. This is because people are not aware of the business and the reach of the business is limited. But with an online presence the business can reach out to a global audience and thus draw their attention towards the products or services. Thus with an online presence, the business can reach out to a wider audience.
- Reaches Targeted Audience
A business that is online is easily searchable by an audience that is looking for that particular product or service. Additionally the business can reach the targeted audience via social media platforms, such as via Facebook or Instagram communities and pages that are related to their business and also through search history based advertisements. In fact, businesses can even use certain keywords to reach out to the targeted audience. All of this is possible only if the business is online and has a presence on various digital marketing mediums too.
- Always Available
A business that is online can be available for the consumers to access all through the day, 24 by 7 and any time of the year. This is not possible in a physical store which is open for a limited time period and thus cannot be accessible at all times.
- Allows Flexibility
A business with an online presence can be conducted from anywhere, even from the comforts of one’s home. Since the transactions and purchases are carried out online, the business need not have a physical store and can be accessed and operated from anywhere, even when the entrepreneur is on the go. Therefore an online presence lets the entrepreneur enjoy the flexibility of time and place.
- Eases Making Comparisons
A business that is online can help make the comparison between the different items easily. For instance, if a consumer has to make a comparison between two different pieces of furniture from different stores, owing to the online presence of these stores the comparison can be made easily and in no time, especially without wasting any fuel or resources. Thus whether it is comparing flight tickets, hotel bookings, or even clothing, cosmetics, gadgets, etc. they are easy to make if businesses are online, since the comparison can be done without physically having to go to various stores.
- Helps Display Product Details
An online presence means that the entrepreneurs display their products and services online and while doing so even include the details of the said products or services. These details are otherwise not accessible easily when in a physical store, especially regarding services, or even via certain forms of print advertising. It could be the terms and conditions of a service, the dimensions of a product, the ingredient details of a food item or the usage instructions for a cosmetic, all of the details regarding the products or service are easily displayed along with the items on online platforms.
- Convenient For Customers
An online presence of a business makes it convenient for the consumers as they can avail the goods or the services from the business at their own convenient time and place. This would save the customers efforts, time, fuel and various other resources and therefore customers would choose the online business repeatedly owing to the convenience it provides.
An online presence for any business is thus highly beneficial for its growth and expansion. There are various channels and mediums through which businesses can attain an online presence and sell their goods or services. Selecting the right platform to reach out to the consumers can be found out through the digital marketing checklist, which also highlights the advantages of applying digital mediums for marketing and thus venturing into selling goods online.
However, before a business decides to sell products online, it needs to consider certain essential factors which will make them ready for the online market and ease the process of selling via online platforms.
Things To Consider Before Selling Products Online
- Logistics And Pricing– Selling products online means that consumers from across the world can access the products and buy them. A business planning to sell products online must first consider the logistics of making their products reach to different destinations-is it feasible, will the products stay in good condition (especially for perishable goods), is the transportation and logistics manageable, who will carry out the delivery, what modes of transport will be used, the time taken for the delivery and chiefly, the cost of transportation, including salary of delivery personnel and other expenses related to the logistics and delivery including the storage costs. Logistics is one of the primary factors that need to be figured out and arranged when planning to sell products online.
- Cost Of Products– When selling a product, whether online or offline, its pricing must be decided keeping in mind a number of factors, such as the cost of raw materials, the inventory and resources cost, the salaries of workers, the packaging cost, the marketing cost, the transportation cost, etc. Thus before selling the products online, the pricing of the products must be ascertained after considerable research and calculations.
- Cost Of Shipping– Shipping of products is one of the main concerns of an online business. This shipping of goods can either be done by the business owners itself, where they need to figure out the mode of transport and appoint personnel for the deliveries, etc or the business can tie up with professional delivery and courier companies. Irrespective of the form of shipping, it must be decided whether the cost of shipping will be borne by the business owner or the customer at the other end.
- Cost Of Packaging– Another cost that needs to be accounted for while selling products online from home or elsewhere is the the cost of packaging. This packaging is apart from the packaging of the products and consists of the additional packaging carried out to ensure safe delivery of the products when shipped to various locations.
- Cost Of Marketing– Another vital expenditure that needs to be accounted for and considered while planning to sell products online is the cost of marketing. In order to sell products online, digital marketing strategies need to be applied and the business too must either have a website or must register on an e-commerce platform. To create a website, a website development process is needed that includes various aspects like selecting the content of the website, outlining of website content, logo design and more. Additionally, the business can be advertised at various other avenues such as via Google AdWords, or advertisements on Instagram, Facebook, etc, all of which requires an investment which needs to be calculated.
- Cost of Using Payment Gateways– When selling products online, businesses have to arrange for the consumers to make payments online and this is usually done via any one of the several payment gateways available. Thus, the cost of using these payment gateways also need to be considered when selling products online.
These are some of the factors, and costs that need to be considered before planning to sell goods online. However, there are a number of things to keep in mind while selling online too, in order to make the products more appealing and to make them visible to a wider audience.
How To Sell Products Online
While selling products online there are certain things to consider which will help the business, some of which are discussed here.
Identify Niche Audience
It is vital for a business to identify the audience it wants to target with its products, and pinpoint the demographics the products are meant for. This helps the business to direct its marketing activities towards targeting and drawing the attention of the audience via various digital marketing and advertising strategies.
Invest In Creative Content Creation
When selling products online, one of the main things needed is to have good photographs of the products without which it is close to impossible to sell the products. These photographs must be taken from several angles and preferably with a white background by a good professional photographer. Product images play a vital role in online selling, so its recommended to take help from a professional. Additionally, the content accompanying the images must also be engaging. Therefore, one of the first things to consider is to invest in creating appealing photographs and creative content.
Make A Digital Catalogue
In order to sell products online it is important for the business to create a catalogue of all the products. This can be done by first listing all the products on a spreadsheet. This list is then imported to an e-commerce marketplace or to the businesses own shopping site. The list must include a ‘Product Code’ or SKU, the product name, the category, the description, the selling price, the discount and code if there is a discount, the brand, the colour and any other details and attributes as applicable. This list and the details must be attached with the photographs of the products.
Have An Inventory Management Software
Once the digital catalogue is ready, it is necessary to check that there is an inventory management program in place. When selling products online, the business will be dealing with inventory everyday, and it might become painful to manage inward and outward stock movement manually. Therefore a good inventory management software helps and the software can be linked to the shopping cart itself thus updating itself automatically, without manual intervention. This helps save time and makes the business easy to manage online.
Setup An End-To-End Process
An end-to-end process means from the process when the product is manufactured to when it is delivered to the consumer, covering the entire manufacturing, displaying, selling, packaging, transporting, delivering process of the product. It is vital to cover the entire steps of the business from start to finish to ensure that all the processes and essentials are taken care of and when implemented in real, there will be no hurdles while selling the products online.
Use Keywords To Make Products Discoverable
When selling products via online platforms, along with photos and description, it is important to use the correct keywords. These keywords will direct all the similar searches made to the products thus helping direct audiences towards the business’s products and thereby influencing the sales by helping increase the traffic. The marketing material checklist will further help highlight the importance of marketing, the various means of marketing and the advantage of being discoverable.
Choose Appropriate Platform
Along with making the products ready for the market, it is equally important to choose the most appropriate platform from which to sell the products online.
- E-commerce Marketplace- If you’re wondering how to start an e-commerce business plan, selling products via an e-commerce marketplace is quite simple. It can be done by registering the business at these marketplaces by providing details of the business, including PAN number, bank details, GST number and other details. These established marketplaces are already popular with the audiences and provide access to a large audience and are cost effective marketing methods too. Some examples that follow an e-commerce business plan include Amazon, Flipkart, etc.
- E-store- This implies creating the business’s store on an established platform and selling products via the estore platform. There are quite a few estore developing platforms that help build the store, host it on a server, organise and upload the product catalogue and even help with the monetary transactions by registering the business with popular payment gateways. The business needs to register with the e-store developing platform to create the store.
- E-commerce Website-By creating a website of their own, a business can sell its products independently and create their own distinct identity. In order to create the website, the business needs to purchase a domain and name, set up an entire navigation process, develop the web content and graphics, carry out search engine optimisation and handle all the other processes and details.
These are the steps that will help a business sell its products online and prepare for it too. For further strategies and assistance with selling products online and having an online presence for the business, entrepreneurs can approach deAsra for guidance to stay ahead of the competitors and be market-ready.