If you are thinking of starting an e-commerce site in the new economy, it is a good idea to be aware that the online competition is fiercer than ever. That sounds like bad news, but it really isn’t. It keeps on evolving, and as long as you mark yourself out to be a little bit different from your competitors and stay on top of current trends and good practice, you will do well. Here, we look at some of the ways you can market and sell your product online.
The first thing you need to decide on is your product. Whatever industry you are in, your products will be one of two: a commodity or a niche.
Commodity products are the most commonly found items online, and ones that everyone needs and uses. Anything you buy at any of the major retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc, is a commodity product. It can be food, clothes, toys, household goods, sports equipment, anything. A niche product is something made on a much smaller scale, or even to order. This might be handmade jewelry or cakes or prints, so think about the sort of things you might find for sale on Etsy!
Many websites offer a combination of niche and commodity items. Focusing solely on commodity items which can be found in any store, especially major retailers who can more than likely afford to sell at a lower price than you will make it very difficult for your online business to be successful. If you can offer a selection of niche products alongside commodities, you’re going to be in with a much higher chance.
Once you have decided on the products that you are going to sell, you need to think about HOW you are going to sell them. Before, your only option was to open a physical retail store. Now there are many choices available to you.
The most obvious way of doing it is to start your own online store where you sell products directly. While this sounds straightforward enough, there are decisions within that to be made. Will you purchase stock and store it, sending it out directly to customers or will you work on a dropshipping basis? These both have pros and cons.
Drop shipping means that you do not need to outlay a large amount of money to build up your inventory, and it also means you do not have the hassle of storing products, packaging them off and arranging deliveries and couriers. Drop shipping organizes all of that for you, but it also takes some control away from you. You are reliant on someone else’s stock levels and fulfillment times and processes.
Other ways of selling online are through retailers such as Amazon and Walmart. Again, there are different ways of doing this, each with their own benefits and downfalls You’ll need to research 1P vs. 3P selling – whether you are selling to the retailer directly and letting them sell on your behalf, or whether you use their marketplace to sell your products. Again, you need to weigh up which way works better for your business.
As you can see, if you are a budding entrepreneur, there is a lot of homework and research to be done before you start making and selling your products, but if done correctly, you will have a good chance of success.