The Internet has opened up so many doors for business enthusiasts. Never before, have sellers had access to so many people in an instant, across such a large geographical area. If you have a good product, it will most certainly sell. There have been many people who have found immense online success, based on strategic planning.
See Also: How to Start a Creative Business On Etsy
If you want to hit the online market and be successful, you’ll need to figure out what to sell and where. If you choose wisely, you can experience financial freedom based on your independent e-commerce website or through other online distributors. So, how do you know what to offer potential buyers? How do you know where those items will sell?
1. Do Your Homework
Is one approach superior over the others? Not exactly, however, there will be a superior plan for your specific products. For many individuals who begin their business as a hobby, they tend to fail because they never make the shift from their hobby to a serious business. If you continue viewing your hobby as a hobby, you’ll struggle to find success.
With that being said, a personal hobby of yours can allow you to bring something important to the table: passion. If you are passionate about what you’re selling, it will be tough for others to emulate your energy. Based on that passion, there’s no reason why a hobby that’s viewed as a business, cannot be successful.
If you want to offer handmade soaps, for instance, you need to do effective homework, looking for outlets that will bring you business. You have to focus on your specific niche, targeting websites that support your vision and have the customers you need. Etsy would be an ideal choice for a handmade soap business, however, you could also offer your soaps on your own site. You could blog about the benefits of your soap, as well as other current news, promoting your products and supporting overall sales. You will also begin to build an online community, helping to increase profits through your sales and through other potenial revenue streams, such as ads or affiliate links.
2. Understand What a Good Product is
You do not necessarily need to settle on one product within one niche. There are plenty of profitable products out there. As you develop experience, you can experiment across multiple niches where products are on demand. Before you can do that, however, you need to understand what a good product is.
Here are some guidelines, especially when dealing with online sales:
- Think about shipping costs: Packages should be easy to pick-up, preferably being light and small. Why? Well, shipping costs are a major reason, as well as storage. The larger and heavier items are, the harder and more expensive they will be to ship, accept returns, and store inventory.
- Sell to consumers within a reasonable price range: Although there’s plenty of money being spent out there, focus on products that will be around $200 or so. Anything over this price and you’re going to need a significant amount of capital to start. Also, there are plenty of products that are less than $10, yet sell enough volume to yield high profits.
- Select something that will have a consistent stream of buyers: The best products will be needed all year round for the foreseeable future. Unless you have a highly unique idea, stay away from seasonal, unless seasonal options can be tied into your pre-existing product.
- Understand your buying price: The best products can easily be marked up 100%, meaning a 50% profit margin. If you cannot easily double the price of an item, there are more profitable options out there. Don’t short change yourself.
3. Be Unique
When deciding what to sell, you need to focus on the current markets already in full swing. What’s being offered? Is what you’d like to offer an overcrowded market to begin with? The best products and items you can sell, aren’t what everyone else is selling. You need to find a unique product that will meet customers’ needs.
Don’t sell items you can find at any department store either. You want your product to be something unique, something you can’t just pick up in any store. Make a list of a few potential ideas and then utilize a keyword search. See what’s out there. Google Adwords is a great place to start in order to search keywords relating to your products.
4. Look for Opportunity Gaps
Focus on a specific product, industry, or niche, and then focus on its weak points. Where is there a gap and is there an opportunity to capitalize that missing gap? It’s not uncommon for online entrepreneurs to scour products, focusing on negative comments. From there, they offer superior products based on the feedback they’ve learned from others mistakes.
As you focus in on a potential opportunity in terms of a product, you should also focus on where you’ll sell that product. Can you think of multiple revenue streams or at least one substantial revenue platform? Without overwhelming yourself, try to stay a couple steps ahead.
5. Choosing the Right Place to Sell
Understanding where to sell your products is critical to your success. Although there are thousands of websites out there, not all of them have substantial traffic. You don’t want to waste your time and money, investing on every website you come across. If possible, utilize your own website, selling products directly from your site to your customers’ addresses.
If you would like to branch out, here are a few great options:
- ShareASale: Whether you want to sell e-books, clothes, or food, ShareASale provides the support you need to launch and continually sell your product(s). Through ShareASale, you provide an affiliate percentage in order for others to push the products you offer. Some are weary about this, as they don’t want to give away a percentage of their sales. The truth is, many are far more successful through affiliate programs than they would be on their own. Giving 50% of a sale to an affiliate means you’re still making 50% more than you would’ve without them.
- E-Junkie: This website offers you a shopping cart and buy-now buttons, allowing you to sell a wide range of products from your website, social media outlets, Craigslist, eBay, and more.
- Etsy: As mentioned, Etsy, is the best choice for anything handmade, as well as vintage and unique factory-manufactured items. It is a peer-to-peer e-commerce site that can also help bring traffic to your personal site.
- Amazon: If you’re only selling fewer than 40 items a month, you can take advantage of a free to set-up seller’s account. For those that are selling larger amounts, there’s a monthly fee that’s still reasonable. If you would prefer less customer interaction, this is a good choice. You simply fill orders, while Amazon handles most of the transactions and communications. If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach, eBay is another option.
See Also: How to Create Your Own Website
When it all boils down, you need to know and stand behind your product. Select a product that you believe in; a product that will also sell. You also need to know when something isn’t working. If you lose money on one product, you’re not alone and it doesn’t mean you’re not cut out for the world of online sales. A good entrepreneur isn’t necessarily the one who makes the most. Instead, they know when they have something and when to let go of a ’flop’ idea. Once you find a product that you can stand behind, explore revenue streams that will support your product and sales. There’s a world of opportunity out there so don’t be afraid to take a leap of online faith.
Have you ever tried to sell your product online? Share your experience in the comments section below.