Selling products online: where do I start?
Selling products online is similar to selling products offline. But you have to adapt to the digital medium which is different from selling in a brick and mortar store.
To succeed selling online, you first need a good e-commerce site. It must be efficient, secure and trustworthy to your customers.
Then, you need to offer a high quality customer experience that matches the expectation of your visitors, from the moment of purchase, all the way to delivery.
Finally, you must take advantage of all the tools at your disposal to make yourself known on the web: social networks, advertising ...
In this article, we present our tips on how to sell and succeed in your online sales adventure!
How to start selling products online?
Before you can sell products online, you need to go through a few steps first.
Here are the points you need to ask yourself in order to get off to a good start and succeed in the online business ⬇️
What products do you want to sell online?
If you're asking yourself this question, it's because you're in one of these situations:
- You already have a physical store and you need to launch your e-shop to diversify your income or open a new sales channel
- You don't have any store or business until now but you want to start a new project and sell the best products
If you are in the first situation, it is rather simple to launch an e-shop. Your website will be a variation of the physical store. You will have to decide which products you sell online or in store.
In the other case, you will have to find an idea of products to sell online 😉
Be aware that in general, web sellers have several options:
- Sell handcrafted products that are made by the piece. This applies to you if you want to start your own store for earrings, knives or even homemade cookies. Here you make everything from A to Z: it's a very rewarding solution for creative people
- You can also decide to sell products that you buy in bulk from a manufacturer or a wholesaler. For example, launch an e-shop for electronic cigarettes or plus size clothing. With this model, you should choose your suppliers carefully because the product must be of good quality. This is crucial for the long-term success of your business.
- It is also possible to sell intangible products: ebooks, training, etc.
Think about the brand identity of your online store
Once you have a clearer idea of the products you want to sell on your site, it is time to find a brand name.
Your brand name as well as the domain name of your website is almost as important as your products!
✅ A successful brand name is one that is simple, easy to spell and easy to remember. If you have a store that specializes in a particular item, it can be handy to include it in the name.
Decide on accepted payment solutions
In online sales, the payment method is a key point. It has to perform well and be trusted by your potential customers.
It's best for a website to offer different payment options: credit or debit card, wallets, Paypal or other popular payment services like Stripe or Apple Pay. This leaves the choice to the customer and they will appreciate that.
If you already have a store where you accept credit card, it is possible that the service that handles your payments will offer you an option for your website.
💡 At Qart, our online store platform gives you the possibility to have a store that accepts many payment methods. A real plus for your business!
Think about the delivery
Another point of attention that should be kept in mind: how will the delivery of your online store be done? Do you offer home delivery? In relay points? If so, which ones? At what price?
Of course, we all have in mind the ultra fast and free service of Amazon. But not all stores can offer such an attractive delivery service.
So be sure to estimate your shipping and delivery costs as accurately as possible. You need to find the right balance between affordable shipping costs for customers and not losing money.
Also have a clear and easy return policy for the customer. This is a key selling point.
Build your website and start selling online
Now that the basics are clearer for you, you can move on to more concrete things: creating your e-commerce or merchant site. You are getting closer and closer to your goal of selling online.
Which platform to choose to create an e-shop?
To create an e-shop, several options are available to you:
- You have the budget and you are ready to hire a webmaster or a web developer: in this case, he or she will be able to create a website designed from A to Z specifically for your needs. This option is very good but you will have to pay an investment from the start, even if you have not made any sales
- You can also join an online marketplace like Etsy or Amazon where it is possible to open a business account. The advantage of this option is that you only pay a commission on your sales. On the other hand, you are competing with thousands of other sellers who are also registered on the platform.
- Finally, it is possible to create an eshop on your own, using e-commerce creation tools like Shopify, Woocommerce, Qart or Webflow. To do so, you will need IT skills, and maybe even outsource the creation and maintenance of the site to a professional. So you better know what you're doing when you choose this option
🔵 Which option is the easiest without computer skills? 🔵
Of all the e-commerce shop builders, Qart is the easiest and fastest solution to launch your online business. Set up an online store in 10 minutes, no technical skills needed.
This will save you time in managing your website to focus on the core of your business: getting your products in the hands of your customers!
Practical advice on developing of your e-commerce site
As you can see, nowadays, developing an online store has never been easier! Whatever you need, you'll find a suitable solution.
Now you just have to get your hands dirty!
The content of your site must be clear and simple. On each product page, remember to offer precise descriptions and photos that appeal to your customers.
Your site must be convincing and trustworthy to your visitors. How to achieve this?
Don't forget the information that it is recommended to include in an online store:
- The price of each product must be visible in the blink of an eye and it must be coherent: there must be a harmony between the products offered on the whole site
- Offer customers several secure and recognized payment methods
- A phone number and email address to quickly get in touch with your customer service
- Clear and professional product sheets
💡 Lastly, think about creating a responsive website that adapts to all media (computer, tablet, mobile). It's a fact: more than 50% of people use their smartphone to shop online!
Tips to sell better: make your online store a welcoming space
Once you have applied all these basic principles to the creation of your store, you should take it to the next level.
The website should present your brand coherently and convincingly. Customers should have enough information about you and your products to make them want to order.
To do this, you should use beautiful photos taken from several angles. If you sell clothes or accessories, organize photo shoots with real people wearing the products. This is an important prerequisite for your customers to visualize themselves with your products.
Similarly, product descriptions must be very detailed: color, material, place of manufacture, dimensions, tips for use... Use your best writing skills to convince!
If you sell your own products in your store, don't hesitate to talk about yourself and your story. An "About Us" page is always a good idea. Detail the genesis of the project, your values, your background.
To give the impression of a dynamic website, make it evolve with the seasons by proposing promotions and new features. Just like a real store window!
Finally, to build trust, be transparent about how your store works:
- What are the manufacturing processes?
- In which country are your products manufactured?
- What are the manufacturing times? Remember to inform the customer of the follow-up of his order by e-mail
Provide a satisfying sales experience from start to finish
Your efforts to sell your products online will start to pay off!
As soon as you sign your first orders, take care of the customer relationship management:
- Make sure you meet your delivery deadlines
- Put a little personal touch in the packages: a flyer, a promotion, a nice packaging, a surprise...
- Be present in case of questions or complaints via a contact number accessible at least 5 days a week
- Finally, collect reviews on your products! These reviews will be precious to encourage other customers to trust you
🔵 Also worth reading: How to increase your online sales?
Communicating and promoting e-commerce sites: a guide
For the sustainability of your business, rely on different communication channels to promote your business.
It is not enough to have an online store to consistently sell products. The work has just begun.
You need to make your store visible on the web to attract new visitors and increase your sales volume.
Here are some avenues to explore:
- Create partnerships with complementary brands or with influencers who might like your products
- Improve your natural referencing by publishing quality blog articles
- Use a social network to get people talking about you: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tik Tok...
- Contact local journalists or journalists specialized in your theme (gardening, lifestyle, fashion, etc.) and send press releases
- Create advertising on search engines with Google Adwords
- Create a Google My Business listing (link to article: SEO google my business: what you need to know) to be referenced locally
- Set up affiliate programs with partners
- Create a Pinterest account and integrate all your products: many people use this search engine to find inspiration before making a purchase online
- Bet on a personalized experience for your loyal customers: send loyalty emailing or SMS (for holidays or birthdays)
🔵 Also read: Developing your online business: our tips
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Frequently asked questions: Selling products online
Which platform should I use to sell online?
Today, there are many platforms to create an online shop. You can choose between different tools. Here are some examples: WooCommerce, Shopify, PrestaShop, Webflow.
What do they have in common? Quality tools that nevertheless require IT skills or at least a good understanding of the web. You may need to outsource your website management to a professional.
Other platforms are more accessible to people who are not at ease with technologies. Qart is one of them. A very easy to use solution to create a store that meets the standards of the web. The design is simple and the platform allows you to manage your online business easily from a single interface.
How do I sell a product on the internet?
That's what this article is all about! Selling a product on the Internet requires several preliminary steps. Here is a short summary:
First, answer these questions: What products will you sell? To whom? At what price? In what way? With which platform?
Then, move on to creating an e-commerce site or joining a marketplace. If you create an e-commerce site, keep in mind that there are some important principles to follow: set the right prices, write clear product descriptions, take pictures of the products you sell, be reachable to answer your potential customers' questions...
Discover the rest of our advice in the lines above.
How do I find products to sell online?
If you're looking for a supplier to sell online, please skip this article because this is not what it' s about.
Instead, we give you some avenues to explore to create your e-commerce site. You can :
- Sell products from your physical store
- Sell personal creations
- Use wholesalers to sell specialized or niche products
In any case, for the success of your e-commerce business, it is important to do some market research. It is necessary that the commercial potential of your idea is interesting, not too competitive and especially that it allows you to make a living from your activity.
To learn more, go to the first part of our article.