Today I introduce you to some of the ways you can start selling your products online.
Whether you have a physical shop or not, selling online is so important for small businesses, especially in these current times. Indeed, covid and all its implications has forced small businesses to adapt and evolve in ways they never thought they could. And all of this pretty much overnight! Who knew a year ago that we would have gone through several lockdowns, questioning what are essential businesses and making things on a regular basis such as masks? It has been quite a year!
Why Sell Online?
If you are still undecided about selling online, here is why you should definitely give it a try.
It is a lot easier than you might think! With so many platforms taking care of many aspects of it such as shipping and the various online processes, all that is left for you to do is create your account and start posting your products.
There are many selling platforms to choose from, you just have to pick the one you like best.
It is so convenient, both for you, and your customers.
You can sell from home, without having to commit to a commercial lease. It also means you are not limited to shop opening hours, wondering whether you ought to physically be at your shop in the evenings, on weekends…
It is easier to manage around family life or other daily activities such as a 9-5 job, for example.
Your sales depend on people finding you online, rather than actual people walking through your door and making a purchase in person.
Helps you Reach New Clients
Having an online presence will help you extend your reach. You no longer depend on just your local clients.
Whilst having local clients is amazing, by being online, these clients can then share your products with their contacts and you can sell your products to clients all over the world if you wish. It opens up a whole new world to your business.
What You Need
In order to start selling online, these are the main things you will need:
If you look at some of the popular online shops such as Etsy or Instagram, you will note that their products are always beautifully photographed. There also have a consistent way of photographing their products, which helps identify the brand as well as show off the product in the best light.
It is worth researching how other business owners photograph their products, and then experiment with your own. Perhaps you have a nice background in your home or garden you can use. Alternatively, you can get some large coloured cardboard to sit behind your product. Just a few relevant props can make a big difference.
If you can, investing in some professional shots can make a huge difference (and get some photographs of you and you working whilst you’re at it, to be used as part of your branding).
If you have consistent, eye-catching photos, your online selling will be off to a great start.
Having great photos is essential for selling online. You then need to write a relevant description to go with it. I am a big believer in keeping it short and to the point.
Depending on what type of product you are selling, you will want to list what is important to your customer: this can be ingredients, type of fabric, dimensions, colour, personalisation…
You must also clearly set out the price of your product, and what it includes. Don’t forget to calculate post and packaging, that means what it costs to send it but also the packaging needed to send it: envelopes, tissue paper, boxes, etc. It all adds up so make sure you include it in your costings.
Make it clear whether returns and exchanges are possible or not. If you state this clearly from the start it will avoid issues later on. If you cannot allow returns and exchanges, make sure you provide your clients with as much information as possible before they make their purchase.
As much as influencers have a true marmite effect on people, hear me out first.
Having great photography and a killer description will be an amazing start for your online business.
However, imagine clients seeing people actually using and showcasing your products too. This will highlight your products in a whole different way, and help you reach a wider audience too. Win-win!
Whilst we may not all have influencers that have millions of followers as part of our contact list, you can still apply a similar process closer to home.
This is where a little research and networking can really help. Look into people you know, better still, people who you already know and use your products: your clients! Encourage them to share photos on social media of your products in use, making sure they tag you in the process.
Alternatively, they can send these to you directly for you to share. A perfect example of this is the Instagram account @kemitelfordqueens, which is a place for women to share photos of their purchases from the amazing @kemitelford.
Where to Sell
The easiest way to start selling your products, is simply to get online and say “I have this for sale”.
Whether from Facebook or Instagram, you can share great photos of your products and get people to contact you directly for payment. From there, with their email you can send them an invoice to pay via paypal.
One of my favourite accounts that does this is @sew.colourful.uk, from whom I just bought these beauties as a Christmas present.
Instagram now has an online shop setting that can link in with your Facebook shop and even your website depending on which e-commerce platform you use.
The lovely Lou from @spark_social has recently shared a guide to Instagram shopping with some great advice.
In order to help you sell more on Instagram, make sure you engage with your community. Follow other accounts you like, leave them comments and interact with their stories. Instagram is truly magical for that, I love it!
Don’t be shy to recommend other suppliers you like. I am not saying to share posts from all your competitors, but do support other creatives and business owners.
You can also encourage your clients to share photos of their purchases, tagging you in. Why not create a hashtag linked to your business, and have clients include this tag when sharing their photos. A great way to start your own community around your products.
Setting up a Facebook business page with a shop is another great way to sell online.
Make sure you set up a Page, and not a personal profile. I get so frustrated when a business tries to add me as a Friend on facebook. I choose to keep my Facebook account private, so I do not want to accept friend requests from strangers. A Facebook page however, allows people to like and follow you, without having to share your personal page. It also provides the business with many business tools you will not have on a personal profile.
Make sure you activate your Reviews option, and encourage your clients to leave you a review and share their photos with you.
The advantage to Facebook is that it is easy for people to share and tag other people in their comments.
When setting up on Facebook invite all your friends to like your page and ask them to share and invite their friends.
Find ways to encourage people to comment on your posts and share them onto their pages. If you don’t yet have a website there is so much you can do with a Facebook Business Page.
Another platform available for online selling is Etsy. Whether you sell physical items or downloadable products, Etsy can be a great place to sell your products.
It can be a little overwhelming though as there are so many different shops and products already listed on there. A great place to start is by following the above advice concerning the photos you use and the descriptions for your products.
For a more in depth look at how to successfully sell on Etsy, I recently found great advice on this website (https://blog.fuzzyandbirch.com/).
Whilst it is not essential to have a website to sell your products online, a good website with an online shop will help make your business look more professional and serious.
Whilst there are some costs associated with having a website (domain and hosting fees mainly), you can then set up an e-commerce platform fairly easily.
My favourite to set up and use is Woocommerce on WordPress. Whether for physical goods or downloadable products, I personally love using this platform.
You can have your products up on your website, and set up everything directly from your WordPress dashboard.
You can choose how you get paid, my favourite being linking your Paypal account to it.
So there you have it, some pointers for you to start selling your products online. The above is just scratching the surface, as I could elaborate so much more on each point. But it provides you with a starting point.
Do you already sell your products online? Which platform is your favourite?
If you don’t already, have I convinced you to give it a try?
If you need a hand with setting up your business online, and getting your shop up and running, get in touch with me today for a one to one consultation.