We show you the 5 steps you must follow in order to start selling online quickly and without hassles.
Today’s post aims to give you a guide to start selling online. It doesn’t matter if your product is physical or digital or if you are going to sell a service. With the steps we will give you today you will be able to start selling online in an easier and more reliable way.
As in everything, the first thing you have to do is plan, plan, plan. If you already know what you are going to sell, then you have a different path than those who still don’t know. That’s why the best thing to do before you start is to plan and evaluate each of your strategies.
Here are the 5 steps you should follow:
1. Identify which products can be sold online
Surely you have read about the great business of selling online, because it translates into an important source of passive income and that is why you want to start your online business, but you do not have a clear idea of what you want to sell.
To solve this, you have to identify what products you can sell online. So, the first thing you have to do is to identify the needs of the population and check what products can solve those needs, then ask yourself if it is in your possibilities to sell those products. For example, one of the most important needs is to have a house and of course you can start selling properties through the Internet, but you need a really strong investment.
If you already have the idea of what product, check what need it is solving, what market sector it is aimed at; you also have to think if it is easy to sell it online. For example, food is a complicated product to sell online and it is often necessary to resort to specific strategies so you better stop to evaluate whether it is a good idea to sell or not that product.
2. Choose a platform to sell according to your needs
Today there is a wide range of platforms for selling online, from the simplest and most informal to the most complex and formal. Each one requires a different investment of work and money and, of course, they have different results. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each.
- Cheap and quick options to get started. If you are wondering if you can start selling online without investing and without having any idea of how to create an e-commerce, the answer is yes. Today there are different platforms that allow you to offer your products, paying a small commission, or for free and with a few clicks. Perhaps the best known are marketplaces like Facebook where any user can start uploading products at no cost; however, this option although cheap may take time to give the results you expect and the platform does not offer many marketing solutions.
Another option that is ideal if you want to start selling digital products is Gumroad, a platform dedicated exclusively to digital products, where you upload your products and information and the page generates a link for you, which you have to promote on your social networks so that people enter it to buy from you. The page only keeps a small commission of the products you sell, but the problem is that the success of the sale depends on how much you can publish the link for the purchase.
- Online store options. If you already have a more advanced business plan and you are ready to start selling what you need is to open your own online store. For this there are different options, the first one is to build it from scratch programming the whole site; this is excellent if you have the necessary knowledge or you can hire a professional, because you can design it according to your needs, without extra or surprise expenses. The next option is to create it with the help of an e-commerce CMS such as Magento, Joomla, Digistore, Prestashop or Shopify. This option is excellent to have a professional online store quickly and without having a lot of technical knowledge.
If you decide to go with the last option, it is best to opt for the paid version and not the free one, so that you have access to features such as plugins, SSL certificate, more products or sales channels. Regularly with free plans you have to spend on these functions independently and in the end, you may end up paying more.
3. Make sure that the products reach your customers
No matter what business model you choose, one of your main concerns should be that the customer gets the product he/she bought in the right time and spends the minimum possible amount. In fact, according to the Mexican Association of Online Sales, one of the factors that affect the image of an e-commerce is the delay in delivery to the customer.
Therefore, you have to dedicate a good part of your effort and money to plan this strategy, if you do it well it will be the best way to generate trust and loyalty in customers.
There are three ways to organize your product shipments. The first is to buy prepaid waybills. This option is one of the most used by small businesses and consists of contracting some waybills from the parcel service of your choice. Depending on the plan you hire, you can have the parcel delivered by them to your business or you may have to take it yourself.
The second option is to link your store directly with the delivery service, this is an ideal option if you have large volumes of sales because the orders that are generated on your store are immediately registered on the delivery’s site. This option has the advantage of automating the process, however it requires specialized technical knowledge to program your page and link it, so you will probably end up hiring a professional programmer.
The third option is to hire the services of a third party, this option is best for small businesses with local reach, it is about hiring delivery companies that deliver in the same city, for example Motored or iVox.
On the other hand, if your business model is dropshipping you already have half the work done, because your supplier will be responsible for delivering the goods to the final buyer. For this reason, you should choose the one who guarantees delivery, so as not to affect your image.
4. Do digital advertising and marketing
An important part of selling online is to implement a digital advertising and marketing strategy. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting your business and you don’t have a lot of money to invest in advertising, because there are several ways to promote yourself on the Internet at low cost or even for free.
In fact, in a previous post we had already talked about how important a blog is to promote your brand or business: it helps to position you in the search results and better present your products to your potential customers, at a very low cost.
It is also very important that you create marketing campaigns that help you attract new customers, for example offering free products or services such as invitations and coupons to get to know you.
5. Formalize your business
No matter how good your business plan is or how well your online store is designed or how good your advertising is, your business will not be able to grow if you do not start complying with all the legal requirements. In Mexico there are at least 4 steps you must take before starting your online business:
- The first is to create the Articles of Incorporation before the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, where they will establish the name of your company and its line of business.
- The second is to register your trademark, logos and slogans with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), to protect you from future plagiarism.
- The third is to register your domain name to protect your digital identity.
- The last and fourth is that you have to join the Internet Association, to get a certificate to appear on your website, which will help to give trust to visitors and buyers.
As you can see, opening an online store seems complicated but today there are different tools that can help you complete each step a little more easily. The most important thing is that you make up your mind and take the first step.
Tell us, what did you think about this post? Do you think you need something else to start your online store?