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How to sell online: put your business on the net in just 5 steps

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How to sell online: put your business on the net in just 5 steps

Electronic commerce In Spain it has grown enormously in recent years: in 2018, according to El País, more than 10 billion euros were moved in just one quarter. If you want to establish an online business, it is recommended that you consider selling physical products. Selling products online is relatively easy and it is possible to get started in a reasonable time without having to make a large financial investment.

We show you step by step how to successfully sell products on the web, and we give you an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of this form of commerce so that you can get an idea of ​​whether it is the most convenient for you..

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Index
  1. Advantages and disadvantages: is e-commerce right for you?
  2. Step 1. Analyze the market and choose the product
  3. Step 2. Create a business plan
  4. Step 3. Choose the platform and store
    1. Social Selling
    2. Online store or blog
    3. Online markets
    4. Quick comparison of sales platforms
    5. Shipping
    6. Payment methods
  5. Step 4. Find providers
  6. Step 5. Plan a marketing strategy
  7. In conclusion, what is the most important factor when selling online?

Advantages and disadvantages: is e-commerce right for you?

Some of the people who sell online have found their dream job in it. Others, on the contrary, have started the adventure with great expectations only to later realize that electronic commerce, perhaps despite its economic success, is not for them. Make sure you know in advance the advantages and disadvantages of selling products online..

Advantage Disadvantages
You can work from home and you will have flexible hours. Instead of going to the office every morning, you can work from the couch and spend time with your family, working if you want in the afternoon or at night. Creating an online store and getting customers on the Internet takes time. The benefits will not be those of a normal salary overnight. You must have patience, the right product, and a good strategy.
You can increase your income according to your interests. Unlike contract workers, you decide your earnings. You can increase your business according to your time and financial investment. There is no universal formula to achieve the success of an online business. You will have to acquire a lot of knowledge on your own and learn from your own mistakes. Those who are not ready for it may be frustrated and not have a good experience.
You are free (within legal limits) in deciding what type of products you want to sell online, and you can do so based on your interests. Instead of making money fulfilling an obligation, you can have a business related to your tastes. Selling products online does not quickly provide passive income. Depending on how you organize your business, you may have to deal with your customers, organize shipping and accounting, and take care of advertising. Later you can hire people to do all this work for you, but it will never be a completely passive business.
Unlike the traditional way of starting a business, selling products online requires little capital. You can start with a small investment. Are you responsible for everything: finances, marketing, product selection? If you run your business on your own, you will have to take on different roles, and you will have many responsibilities.

If you have decided to sell your products online, it is recommended that you create your website patiently and systematically.

Step 1. Analyze the market and choose the product

The choice of the product and the market is decisive for the success of your online business. Do you already have an idea of ​​the product you want to sell? Analyze how that market is. Use different methods of market research, such as conducting surveys of potential customers, reading studies already carried out, and analyzing competitors..

Many ecommerce beginners are based on their personal interests and research whether there is enough demand for their product.

If you find online stores that sell products similar to the ones you plan, rate it as a positive. A certain level of competition means that you have discovered a lucrative market niche. However, if there are too many competitors, you should think twice. If the demand is saturated, it will be more difficult to achieve success in your business.

When selecting your products, consider the trade margin . If the demand is high but you cannot set high prices, it may no longer be profitable considering the cost of the website and the commissions when putting the products on sale.

To stand out from the competition, it is advisable to look for a small market niche . For example, instead of opening an accessories store, you can specialize in socks with original designs. Instead of selling many varieties of tea, focus only on white tea.

Step 2. Create a business plan

Many entrepreneurs decide to skip this step, some are not looking for investors and do not need this document to request a bank loan. However, it is recommended that you take some time to create a business plan for your online store.

This document will make you think about all the important factors for the creation of your business . If you organize in writing your competitive situation, your business profile, your product, your financial planning and your marketing strategy , you will find the weaknesses of your idea that you still need to improve. You will also be able to better understand the strengths of your project.

The business plan is an important guide for starting your business. If you consult an advisor for your financial planning, you can use your business plan to get a complete idea of ​​your project and make more reliable estimates.

If you decide to request financing or a loan, in most cases you will be asked for a business plan.

advice

You will find detailed information on how to create a business plan in this guide.

Step 3. Choose the platform and store

With the business plan, you will have already determined what sales platform you want for your products. There are several platform models to sell online:

Social Selling

The fastest way to create an online store is to use social networks. It can be sold directly from an Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest profile , you don't even need your own website. IONOS offers the Social Buy Button product, with which you can set up your social media sales system with just a couple of clicks. You do not need prior knowledge.

Online store or blog

Having your own website offers more possibilities to distribute your products . You can organize your online store as you prefer and use more forms of marketing in addition to social networks.

Website builders can save you technical difficulties. IONOS offers an online store builder that takes into account the specific needs of this business model. You can also get hosting , so that you will have a single contact person for everything related to your website.

If you have basic computer skills and want to design your web store on your own , you can use the Wordpress CMS in combination with the WooComerce plug-in , which facilitates the start-up of online stores. You must take care of getting your hosting and registering a domain yourself. If you don't want to worry about maintenance and hosting , you can hire a WordPress solution with WooComerce or a managed WordPress hosting.

Regardless of whether you use a website builder or whether your page is designed by a developer, you should think of a name for your company and a domain name.

advice

In addition to your online store, it is recommended that you create a website. Here you can present your products and your company. You can also do this with the IONOS web builder. If you don't have any design skills, the IONOS MyWebsite service will help you.

Online markets

A third possibility to sell your products online is to use platforms such as Amazon, eBay or Alibaba, known as online marketplaces. The advantage is that you do not need to invest a lot of effort so that customers know your store, but you benefit from the popularity of the chosen platform. The downside is that you have to pay a commission and you can't design your web store to your liking.

advice

We present a summary of the largest online sales platforms in Spain, with their advantages and disadvantages.

Quick comparison of sales platforms

You have different options to offer your products on the Internet, and they all have their advantages and disadvantages . With social selling , for example, you can present your products quickly and easily. However, the functionality of this option is more limited than that of an online store , for example, for shipping processes. On the other hand, having an online store can be expensive and time consuming , even if you have access to useful features.

Platform Expenses Functionality Variety of products Price Suitable for
Social Selling Low Low Low ? Small companies and start-ups.
Blog Low Low Low ? Small companies and start-ups.
Online store High high high ?? Small and large companies
Online markets Media Half Half ??? Small and large companies

In addition to the sales platform, shipping logistics and payment methods also have to be taken into account . There are also different options for it.

Shipping

As the person who manages the store, the shipping of the products is normally your responsibility, unless you use dropshipping , that is, you do not operate from your own warehouse, but your products are stored and shipped by third parties. This happens, for example, if you sell through Amazon.

Logistics through a shipping service

If you store and ship your products yourself, you must choose a shipping company. Find out about the providers of this service to know their rates and policies for online sellers . Some of them offer specific conditions for this type of business.

Instead of filling out data forms, use an electronic submission system . Integrate it through an interface to your online store. In this way, you can read customer addresses from your tool. You can also use other functions to check the process of sending the package and activate the pick-up notices.

Collaboration with logistics providers

If you do not want to send the products personally, you also have the possibility of contracting logistics services . In this way, you will send your products to the supplier's warehouse. The supplier will be automatically informed each time you make a sale, and will organize the shipment of the product without you having to intervene, with the material and branding that you have agreed upon.

Payment methods

When managing an online store you will have different payment options to offer to your customers. It is recommended to offer the greatest number of alternatives , since the payment options greatly influence the final purchase decision of the customers. Several studies show that many consumers prefer purchases on account and online payment services.

In a more traditional way, you can offer your clients to pay on account, by transfer or by card . However, especially with purchases on account, the risk of default can increase.

The payment service PayPal, Stripe AmazonPay and provide more security and to protect various forms to the vendor. In addition, they reduce the time between sending the payment and receiving it, and at the same time they are also very convenient for customers. Many customers prefer to pay through these services because they do not need to enter their credit card details online.

Note

All payment methods have advantages and disadvantages. You can find out which one is the most suitable for you in our article on payment methods for online stores.

In order for customers to be able to use the payment methods you choose, you must integrate them through an interface or a SaaS. Depending on the system you use for your website, plug-ins for online stores usually include a standard payment function.

Step 4. Find providers

If you make your own products, you can skip this step. Otherwise, you will have to face the challenge of finding a suitable supplier for your products. Depending on the objectives and quality requirements of your store, you can hire both national and foreign suppliers.

Through Internet search engines you can easily find supplier directories . Some examples in Spain are the Suppliers and Quick Trade pages.

The choice of supplier is an important factor for the success of your business. The appearance of the platform often says nothing about the quality of the wholesaler. Make sure you know which provider you are committing to:

  • Contact the service by phone or email. Are they easy to locate and respond in a short time? Are they attentive?
  • Ask for a sample of the product that you would like to add to your range to know its quality.
  • Request special conditions for regular purchases. In this way, you will test the flexibility of the provider.

Depending on the product, it may be a good idea to collaborate with a local manufacturer . Many local producers offer wholesale supply from their retail stores. Take the opportunity to personally go to the place and learn more about the product and its manufacturer. A personal relationship is the best basis for achieving positive business conditions.

Step 5. Plan a marketing strategy

Is your store already online and all services are already integrated? Have you already established your social media sales system? Then you just need to create a marketing and advertising strategy for your products.

If you sell products on the Internet, you have many marketing options that you can also combine. When choosing your strategy, you must consider your product and your target group . For example, a lifestyle product for a young audience can market well on Instagram. Home maintenance products are best sponsored on GoogleAds or with the help of SEO techniques.

Learn about online marketing methods and learn about ways of marketing that may be suitable on a low budget before investing large amounts of money.

If you feel like you're not getting good results, you shouldn't hastily dismiss your marketing approach. Instead of spending your budget on ads, it can be useful to hire a specialized service that knows how to help you achieve your goals.

A profitable way of marketing is to keep your profile up to date on social networks like Instagram or Facebook. Form a network of contacts with people interested in the subject of your product and take care of the content of your profile. Do not publish only advertisements for your articles.

You can also publish detailed, informative articles on your website to reach users who are searching for information on the subject on Google.

Once potential customers have visited your online store, you can try to keep in touch with them through newsletters . This will also increase the chances that they will buy from you again.

Don't underestimate the importance of offline marketing to sponsor your store. Present your business at trade shows, for example, and distribute brochures or cards with a QR code to your website in places frequented by your target group. Cafes, doctor's offices, libraries? There are countless possibilities. Carry business cards with your website address with you when you attend meetings and conferences in your industry. Organize original events like flashmobs . You can post them later on the Internet with the possibility that they go viral.

In conclusion, what is the most important factor when selling online?

The process to sell online is simple. By following the steps described and taking the necessary measures, you will be able to offer your products on the web very soon. However, will you be able to sell them?

The success of an online product store depends on many variables. As simple as the fundamentals of this type of trading are, the hardest part is its implementation. You must have a good eye for the market, the most demanded products and good opportunities .

Selling products over the Internet doesn't pay off overnight. However, if you don't mind spending time learning and are easily accepting of outside opinions, you have some of the characteristics you need to create a lucrative online business, either as a primary or secondary occupation.


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