The Inverell Times

Starting your online selling journey: A beginner's guide

Photo by Shutterstock.
Photo by Shutterstock.

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Are you keen to start selling online?

E-commerce businesses can be lucrative, especially if you set up your processes correctly.

So, where do you begin? First, you'll need to take certain steps to ensure your success.

Steps like deciding on your business idea and niche, formulating your selling plan, designing and building your online shopfront, and ensuring you're promoting your business to attract new customers, will get you well on your way toward a profitable online selling journey.

Let us guide you through the process.

1. Decide on your business idea and niche

The first step to starting your online selling journey? Deciding what your e-commerce niche will be.

So, what's a niche?

In essence, it involves identifying a segment of the market you will be focusing your selling efforts on.

Why is this important? If you want to stand out, you need to be specific about what you're selling - especially in an oversaturated online marketplace.

Choosing a niche takes some market research. The best idea? Identify which products are trending, or if there are any gaps in the market. Most important?

What do people actually want to buy online?

Whether it's dog food, baby products or skincare, identifying your niche will also help you target the right audiences with your business offering. This is key to promoting and driving sales.

2. Formulate your selling plan

Next, you'll need to figure out how you'll actually go about selling your products to customers.

Do you plan to dropship? Being a successful drop shipper is all about setting up your processes correctly, so that you can quite literally make money while you sleep.

How to do it? First, locate your product manufacturers and suppliers.

Who's going to be making and shipping out your products to your customers? Ensure to establish a solid working relationship with these suppliers, as in the end, your business model is dependent on them to carry out the work.

Prefer a more hands-on approach? Perhaps you want to be more involved in the delivery of products to customers, as well as building a genuine connection with your client base.

Just like drop shipping, however, you'll still need to source your manufacturers and suppliers.

The main difference? You'll need to account for your own storage space for stock inventory, as well as figuring out your delivery process.

Perhaps you'll go for a local carrier, like Australia Post.

Shipping internationally? A global courier service such as Toll or DHL may be more appropriate.

When choosing a postal service, it's a good idea to research the market and choose a carrier that can provide a reliable service for your customers.

3. Design and build your e-commerce platform

So, you've figured out your processes. Now, you need to build your online store.

Just like a bricks and mortar shopfront, an e-commerce site needs to be both welcoming and inviting, and also, entice customers to 'add to cart'.

There are several different e-commerce platforms you can choose from to build your online store.

Some online business owners go with pre-formatted Shopify builds, while often more tech-savvy e-commerce entrepreneurs will look at other web platforms like WordPress or Magento, for example.

Most important? If you want your customers to have the best possible user experience when visiting your site, consider engaging the services of professional web developers to build your online store for you.

For instance, a local digital agency can assist you with Magento development in Melbourne and support you in designing and developing the best online platform for your e-commerce business.

Photo by Shutterstock.
Photo by Shutterstock.

4. Promote your business offering

Finally, what's a website without traffic? For your online store to be a success, you'll need to encourage customers to swing past and check out your wares.

How? Promote your business via digital marketing.

Some elements of digital marketing to consider? Social media marketing, online advertisements including user-generated content (UGC) and search engine optimisation (SEO) can all be of assistance.

Most important? Getting people to click through to your site. This is often the hardest part.

Once they're there, the website you've built will help sell your products to customers for you.

If you're keen to start your online selling journey, the steps outlined today will get you well on your way.

To recap

First, narrow down to a specific e-commerce niche.

Next, decide how you're going to source, sell, and ship your products.

Interested in drop shipping? You'll need to do your research. Want a more involved approach? This requires you to identify where you're going to locate your products, and how you're going to get them to customers.

Once you've done the research, building a user-friendly, enticing e-commerce site is the critical next step.

And finally, don't forget to promote your business. This is the best way to get customers to visit your site and ultimately, get your products flying off shelves.