Selling products online has never been easier. Gone are the days when you needed to code your own ecommerce website or pay a fortune to have someone build it for you.
In this guide we’ll look at how to start selling products online.
1 Identify the product(s) you want to sell
If you don’t already have a strong sense of what kind of product(s) you want to sell, then your first step is to come up with some ideas.
You’ll need to identify products that are in demand and that you can sell on for a profit.
You might also want to focus on selling a limited number of products initially, before expanding your store in future.
If you already have a strong idea of what kind of product you want to sell, you can begin researching demand, profit margins and competitors.
But if you’re starting completely from scratch, you’ll need to brainstorm some product ideas. Try starting with a broad category that you find interesting and then narrow it down to a specific niche.
For example, if you’re interested in fashion you might want to focus on selling a limited line of necklaces in the earlier days of your business, with the goal of expanding in the future.
This guide is aimed at helping you brainstorm product ideas.
2 Identify suppliers
If you’re planning on buying products to resell at a profit, you’ll need to find a reliable wholesaler, while if you’re planning to bring a completely new product to market you’ll need to find a reliable manufacturer who can create what you want.
On the other hand, if you’re planning to create products yourself, you’ll need a reliable source of raw materials.
You’ll have to make sure any supplier you decide to use can provide you with what you need when you need it and at a price which allows you to make a profit. You may want to identify backup suppliers in case there’s a problem in the future.
There will also be logistical issues to consider. For example, where will you hold the stock you buy from a wholesaler?
Make sure you have a full picture of how you’ll get the products you’ll sell and the total cost of acquiring your products before you start selling online. That way, you won’t accidentally sell products at a loss.
You’ll also need to know how you’ll fill any orders you receive, how long this will take and how much it will cost you.
3 Decide how you will sell your products online
To sell your products online you’ll either need to get your own ecommerce website, or use an online marketplace, or do both.
Getting your own ecommerce website may sound intimidating. But thanks to recent advances in DIY website builder technology, it’s now easier than ever to build a fairly large ecommerce site without any technical knowledge.
For example, GoDaddy’s Online Store package allows you to add up to 1,500 products, which should be more than enough for most new online shops.
It’s also possible to build your own ecommerce website using a different platform, such as WordPress or Magento. Picking one of these options will require more technical knowledge, but it can allow you to include advanced features on your site.
It’s a good idea to research potential ecommerce platforms before committing so you can be sure the one you pick will do what you need it to do.
You could also consider selling on a third-party online marketplace, such as eBay, Amazon, Facebook, or Etsy.
The big advantage of using a third-party marketplace is that they have a built-in audience, which means that you could find it easier to start making sales.
The big drawback of using an online marketplace is that competition is fierce, and you may not have full control over how your product is presented.
Having your own website and using third-party marketplaces isn’t an either/or choice. You can do both.
By combining your own website with third-party marketplaces, you can take advantage of the reach offered by sites like eBay and also use your site to build customer loyalty.
4 Add your products to your chosen platform
This step may seem obvious, but it comes with a huge number of hidden pitfalls.
For each product you plan to sell you’ll need:
- A unique product name
- A unique product description
- High-quality product photos
- Product specifications
- Pricing details
- Shipping details/cost
You may also need product videos (these are especially helpful if you’re selling a complicated product) and size/colour options (or details of any other options the product may have).
This is the basic information you’ll need for each product page (we’re assuming that things like availability and a “buy now” button will be handled automatically by the ecommerce platform you’re using).
If you fail to include the information that potential customers want to know about a product, then that will damage your chances of making a sale.
This guide explains in more detail what makes a great product page.
It’s also important that you factor in search engine optimization (SEO) when creating your product pages, that way you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of attracting potential customers via search.
5 Market your products
It’s unlikely that people will just stumble across your products, so you need to actively market them.
Note: If you create an ecommerce website using GoDaddy’s Online Store, then you’ll have access to a range of marketing tools through GoDaddy Websites + Marketing. This includes an email marketing package and social media image-creation tool Over. These tools will help you with techniques outlined below.
Here are some brief ideas on how to promote your products:
As already mentioned, working on the SEO of your product pages increases the chances of attracting potential customers through search engines. But SEO isn’t just a one-time thing. You need to work at it regularly. This guide will help you get started with ecommerce SEO.
Search engine ads
Search engine ads offer a quick way to get to the top of search results. However, search ads can be expensive and if you’re not sure what you’re doing you could make a loss on your campaigns.
This guide explains how to get started with search engine ads.
Social media marketing
Social media offers a variety of ways to market products and to a variety of audiences. You can work on building an organic social media audience by posting high-quality content. You can also try paid social media advertising, which may help you make sales more quickly albeit at a cost.
You could also try influencer marketing, where you partner with people who are already popular on social media and have them promote your products.
Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with people who’ve already bought one of your products and people who’ve visited your website but aren’t yet ready to buy.
You’ll need access to a tool like Email Marketing from GoDaddy so you can start building your email list and send out campaign emails.
Using giveaways to promote a new business is a great idea, particularly if you use it in conjunction with email marketing.
The idea is that you attract the attention of potential customers by offering them something for free, and then follow up with the aim of making sales.
This guide explains more about how to market your business with customer giveaways.
The steps we’ve looked at here should help you on the path to making your first sale. But if you need more help with getting started selling products online, you can speak to a GoDaddy Guide for advice on getting your online venture off the ground.