With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing many businesses relying on physical visitors to temporarily close and completely changing the way consumers buy products or services, it’s never been important than ever to be able to sell online.

Whether you already have a store that you’re currently selling your products in and need to move to start selling online, you’re already selling online but want to broaden the platforms you are selling on or perhaps just want to sell off surplus goods and stock, our Inbound Marketing Manager Ayse Kayabasi has summarised the essentials you need to know.

Ultimately, one of the first things you need to do is decide which e-commerce solution is right for your business. There are three ways, or channels, in which you can sell your products online. They are:

  • Your own online shop
  • Online marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy and eBay
  • Social media sites, like Facebook and Instagram

Your own online shop

You may already have a website that has simply served as a shop window, showcasing your offering and enticing people to come to you in person. You need to now re-direct your visitors to order online.

But transforming or building a new website is a big commitment, cost and time consuming to put into place, which we don’t have right now.

If your website was developed using a Content Management System like WordPress, you can integrate plugins such as WooCommerce to start selling online on your website or you can simply include a ‘buy button’ onto your website which takes you through to another marketplace where you are selling your product, like Etsy.

You can also utilise platforms like Shopify, which makes setting up your own online shop easier and quicker, rather than racking up big costs getting web developers in.

Online marketplaces

There are plenty of marketplaces online you can utilise to sell your products online. Top e-commerce sites include eBay, Amazon and Etsy. This a very popular method and it’s not hard to see why:

  • You can access a huge volume of potential customers
  • They have easy-to-use templates
  • There’s no investment or up-front costs
  • They process the payments for you

Here is a brief overview of the most popular online marketplaces:

Amazon

Amazon is the largest e-commerce marketplace, so it’s a worthy option for your business. There are two plans you can use: Professional and Individual. With professional, you pay £25 (excl. VAT), a month to sell an unlimited number of products online. With individual, you pay £0.75 for each item you sell.

To start selling on Amazon and to find out more details click here.

eBay

Unlike Amazon and Etsy, eBay has an option for ‘buy now’ or auction. The dynamic pricing of auctions allows businesses to sell their products and services online for a higher price, but they could also sell for a lot less. Of course, selling on eBay is also not free. You have to pay for insertion fees for getting your product listed, final value fees, advanced listing upgrade fees and supplemental services fees.

To start selling on Ebay and to find out more details click here.

Etsy

Etsy is a unique marketplace for handmade items, vintage goods, and craft supplies. You can also sell services on Etsy, but you have to provide the buyer with a digital download. For example, you could sell logo designs, website templates, custom copywriting etc.

Selling on Etsy is really easy to set up. All you need to do is create a shop account and list your products. For 16p, you can get a product listed. Listings are active for four months, or until they sell. When you sell an item, there’s a 5% commission and a 4% + 20p fee for payment processing.

To start selling on Etsy click here and to read their beginner’s guide on selling on Etsy, click here.

Yourlocal.delivery

Yourlocal.delivery was set up by Digital Beans, a digital marketing agency based in Canterbury, in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This is a new free online store service supporting local businesses to sell their goods online and help them to survive current difficult trading circumstances.

The bespoke free-of-charge package includes a branded web page, individual to each company, enabling them to take orders, online payments and display an unlimited amount of product or menu items.

To start selling on yourlocal.delivery click here.

Social media sites

Selling on social media is a little tricky if you don’t already have a social media presence and haven’t yet built credibility and trust with your audience. Facebook marketplace is the easiest place to start selling on social media. It’s free, easy to set up and reaches your customers in your local area.  Users can log in to find items for sale in their immediate area.

Click here to find out how to start selling your products on Facebook.

Instagram is another good option because of how visual it is. It’s easier to sell to people when you can visual the product in use. They recently launched a ‘buy now’ button to make it even easier to sell your products. However, you will need to have set up an online marketplace elsewhere to re-direct them to buy your product, for example, Amazon, Etsy or your own online store.

Other things you need to think about when selling online

Take high-quality product photos

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and they’re definitely not wrong when it comes to selling products online. Your pictures need to be sharp, convey true colour and scale. Your customers can’t see or touch the product when it’s online, so they will focus entirely on your images (and words) to sell them the product.

Create compelling descriptions

You need a balance of features and benefits. The features are the physical things that describe the product. For example, size, materials, weights, colour etc. The benefits answer what the product will do for the customer, how it will solve their problem, why they should buy it.

Easy shipping methods and a returns policy

You need to ensure wherever your product or service is online, that you include your how long shipping will take and your returns policy.

If you think none of this applies to you

If your business requires you to be out of the house and in contact with people, think cleaning, beauticians, tutors. With a little creativity, you could adjust the way your business runs to reach people online. You could shift your business to sell this service online by offering online tutorials, educating people on a topic, holding virtual events etc.

You can still follow the above tips and use marketplaces like Etsy to sell your new or existing service. But there are also other platforms you can sell your service. For example, you could set up a PeoplePerHour account to sell your service and reach other businesses. You could sell tickets to your online tutorials, virtual events or coaching sessions etc. on Eventbrite.

There are of course many things to consider when selling your products or services online and the above guide is not exhaustive, but rather a starting point. If you’d like further support and guidance on getting started or branching out to other marketplaces online email our Inbound Marketing Manager Ayse Kayabasi at ayse@a4g-llp.co.uk.

Contact me today!

Ayse Kayabasi

Inbound Marketing Manager

01474 853856

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