Monday, 5 December 2011

Sell, Sell, Sell - Online

Do you want flexibility, to work at home? To work your own hours? Then the internet has opened up a whole range of opportunities for you. Your business idea: to sell goods online. For these types of business you need to be able to spot a gap in the market a niche, a place in the market you can call your own. You need to have confidence predicting markets and a great eye for figures. You will have to buy stock, the right stock and know that you will be able to sell it on for a profit. Otherwise you risk losing the money you invest. Build an online identity that users can trust, this can be much harder than businesses that sell face to face with consumers. You need to keep in contact with customers, answer their queries, provide a great service and this should help you gain the positive feedback that is crucial in increasing consumer trust and therefore sales. Be as informative and open as possible, in a shop a user can see and try any item, you have to recreate this using only words and photographs. Practice your writing and methods of photographing your goods in an interesting way to get customers hooked. Describe how the product looks, feels smell, how and when the customer will use it. What will it add to their lives, how will purchasing your product make them feel?

Selling platforms-

Ebay- The king of online selling. Most of you will have sold a couple of things on Ebay, but how to do it professionally? Buy in bulk, a great way to do this is at auctions. This will give you the volume to sell your products in a range of sizes and styles. List regularly so your items show up at the top of searches and experiment with titles and descriptions see which one works best then replicate this on your other listings. Decide carefully whether to use the auction, buy now or a combination of settings. Open a shop rather than selling as an individual on the site so once visitors have clicked one of your products they can see a full range. An alternative to Ebay is Price Minister.

Amazon- You don’t just have to sell books, Amazon is now a market leader in a range of products. Listing is easy and quick, but it is easy to get lost in the crowd. Pick a niche of books or product to sell. It is easy to see what competitors are charging for exactly the same product so be prepared to be competitive with your pricing and your feedback ratings will be key. Remember to send out a business card or promo leaflet with orders so shoppers remember to search for your store again.

Etsy/ Folksy/ Deviant Art- For the creative amongst you, sell your own hand made products. These sites are great for setting up a small online store to sell your crafts to a world-wide market. Remember to promote your store on other sites, facebook, twitter, LinkedIn or a book marking site to gain a following. And get involved with the online community built into these sites including the blogs, teams, circles, treasuries, and forums the more you put in the more you will get out of it.

Zazzle/CafĂ© Press- Don’t have time to make your own products? But still want to create something unique or never seen before, use one of these sites. As long as you hold the rights to your image or design you can upload it onto one of hundreds of products. Keep strict control of your designs or allow your customers to customize them to their needs, the choice is yours. The best part? These sites handle the order fulfillment, payments, and returns. You just take a commission payment on every sale! You can increase your income by earning a volume bonus on sales or by referring people to your shop or others on the site and taking a percentage of any sale made!

Your Own Website- Want even more control over the type of online store you run? The best option- to set up your own website, you can sell whatever you like and keep all of the profit! Sounds great but remember you may need to pay to have someone design your site, users will have to have confidence that you will fulfill sales, and you need to set up a trusted payment system that customers will be happy to use, paypal for example. But the hardest part? Getting people into your store, it will take a lot of time and dedication to get people to find your site and then even more effort to create interesting content that will make them stay and actually buy something. Consider using google adwords where you can design your advert and a daily budget. The key-EXPERIMENT, find out, which ads work and those that don’t, play with titles and keywords and do your SEO research carefully! But the effort of setting up your own site could definitely pay off in the future!

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