Online selling is a sure path to wealth creation. The e-commerce landscape is rapidly expanding, and its potential is astronomically immense. Now stay with me and look at these figures by Statista– $4.9 trillion retail e-commerce sales worldwide, 242.7 million online marketplace visitors from Nigeria in 2019.
It is time to take advantage of the internet and build wealth through selling products and services online. Don’t let opportunities pass you by; position yourself and your business for what is already among us. You can find practical tips to sell anything online on our shop that will help you sell online.
In this article, I will walk you through online selling; you will learn everything you need to start selling online. Here are some of the topics I will be covering:
- How to choose the right products and services to sell online.
- Niche products you can sell online.
- Benefits of selling online.
- How to increase sales online.
- Online marketplaces you can sell on.
- Challenges of selling online and how to overcome them.
Before we go on, we are going to define online selling.
What Is Online Selling?
Online selling or e-commerce is simply buying and selling goods and services using the internet. There are multiple channels on the internet, for instance – e-commerce websites, mobile apps, social media platforms, etc., that can be used to market and sell products and services.
Online Sales Channel Options.
There are three main sales channel options you can consider:
1. Personal E-commerce Websites.
This option involves building your e-commerce website with the numerous free or paid web design platforms available. This will give you complete control over your site’s look, feel, and functionality.
However, it is strongly advised that you use a paid web hosting platform with adequate security guarantees and fast page loading speed to host your e-commerce website. It will deliver an optimal shopping experience to your customers.
A personal e-commerce website offers you the advantage of product/service delivery channel customisations. However, it is more expensive to implement and involves more time implementing and setting up.
2. Social Media Platforms.
Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the rest have inbuilt tools that enable your audience to purchase your products and services directly from you. In addition, these platforms provide the opportunities to build leads which can convert to sales.
The downside to using this sales channel is that you have limited control over your online store’s branding and checkout customisations.
3. Online Marketplaces.
These platforms allow you to list your products and services on a subscription or commission-based arrangement.
Online marketplaces already have an existing audience pool and robust site structures for online sales. And as a result, it is easier for you to start making sales upon signup.
The disadvantage of this type of arrangement is the limited control over your products and services assortments, branding, order fulfilment, and delivery, as well as the stiff competition with other sellers on the platform.
Examples of marketplace platforms include Jumia, Konga, Amazon, Jiji, etc.
What To Sell Online
These products are high-demand or fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and are generally considered goods everyone needs — like toiletries and provisions.
These items usually have a high regular demand rate and stiff competition with other major retailers and low-profit margins. Major wholesale brands may take advantage of economy of scale to undersell you if you are playing on a smaller turf than they are.
Niche products are unique or custom-made products and serve a specific customer base. For example, these items can be exclusive fashion crafts, gadgets, or memorabilia items that serve a niche audience.
It’s easier to define your target audience and reach your customers when selling niche products. And the exclusivity of these products also means that you can charge more and make more profits.
These are products in digital formats, and they include eBooks, computer games, apps, courses or; other materials in a document, audio, picture, and video formats.
Digital products do not require physical logistics investments like warehousing and shipping, but they do require an upfront investment in time, knowledge, and skill in producing them.
They are usually stored on your website servers. They are set up so that once an item is selected and paid for by a customer, a download link/button will be made available for that customer to get the particular digital product delivered. Entrepreneurs.ng have invested heavily in digital products. You can see all the digital products we have in our shop.
You can also check this exciting piece on 15 High Demand And Fast Selling Products To Sell Online In Nigeria.
Online Business Models.
Business to Customer (B2C)
B2C is the most common e-commerce business model and the traditional retail business model where goods are sold directly directly to the general public. This model benefits from a shorter sales cycle, high order count, and broader brand awareness.
Business to Business (B2B)
The B2B model involves a business selling to another business and not to the individual consumer as a person. Products transacted under the B2B model can be physical items, like wholesale or digital products, like software.
How To Choose The Right Products And Services To Sell Online.
There are factors you should consider before you sell online. We will look at some of the things you should consider before selling online.
1. Nature of Products – Physical or Digital.
The nature of the products you intend to sell is a key determinant of the online sales channel and the whole business structure. Physical products, for instance, require sourcing, warehousing, and delivery arrangements upon purchase by customers.
2. Business Delivery Model – B2C or B2B?
Your preferred online business delivery model is another important consideration in arriving at the products or services you wish to sell online. For instance, if B2B is your preferred service delivery model, then; digital products like SaaS (software as a service) are your best bet.
3. Regulatory Compliance.
Health and pharmaceutical industries are examples of tightly regulated industrial sectors, and as a result, products from these sectors are constantly under heavy scrutiny by the government authorities.
To sell products under these categories, you must make sure that all regulatory guidelines are strictly adhered to, including getting special permits to avoid penalties.
How To Deliver Your Online Products And Services
When you sell directly to consumers, cutting out middlemen, you are a D2C business owner. As a Direct-to-Customer business owner, you can manufacture your products or outsource production. And selling directly to end-users allows you to control branding costs, pricing, and customer experience.
Private Label or White Label.
When you apply your name, brand, or images onto generic products, such products are called white label products. Private label products refer to when a manufacturer creates something exclusively for you to sell. Adopting any of these models means less time in design and production, giving you more time to market products.
Wholesalers sell products in bulk at cheaper rates (less than the retail price). The profit-making opportunity comes through large orders or economy of scale.
Dropshipping is a popular delivery model among online sellers. In this model, you can source, market, and sell items to customers through shipping agents or courier service providers.
Most people on online marketplaces like Jumia are drop shippers. We have a comprehensive guide on a step-by-step guide to starting a dropshipping business.
Consumers pay a certain amount either weekly, monthly, or annually with subscription services. This model works well with digital services like SaaS, and it provides a regular income with minimal running costs.
Niche Products You Can Sell Online.
- Arts and Crafts
- Health and Wellness
- Hair Wig and Extensions
- Customised Jewelry
- E-books and courses
- Customised Phone Accessories
- Fairly used clothes
- Customised Leather products
- Bulk foodstuffs
- Fashion products
- Homemade Foods
Benefits of Selling Online.
1. Low Barrier Entry.
As a productive means of income, online sales business offers a very low barrier-entry for new entrants.
For instance, you don’t have to study or train for five years to start your online business, nor do you need to amass a huge capital to hit the ground running. You need a working smart device, a stable internet connection, and some money to source the products you intend to sell.
2. Low or Negligible Business Running Cost.
Online stores do incur far lower running costs in comparison to brick-and-mortar outfits. This is because your rental cost is replaced by subscription fees to either an online marketplace or your web hosting service provider if you are running a personal e-commerce website.
Your utility bills, taxes, and staff costs are also significantly minimised, and these will lead to a healthier bottom line for your business.
3. Wider Customers Reach 24/7.
Online businesses are open 24 hours a day and have a global audience reach. Unlike brick-and-mortar businesses, your online shop is not limited by time or geography especially if you sell products and services with international appeal.
4. Instant Feedback Mechanism.
Instant feedback from rating systems that your customers leave after transacting business with you online provides valuable insights as to how well or not your products and services are doing. And if these pieces of information are acted on swiftly, your business will always be on the path to profitability.
How To Increase Sales Online
1. Quality Images.
I guess you have heard the saying “perception is more important than reality”? Now is the time to start paying closer attention to it because appearance affects how we perceive things.
Quality image create an impression on your visitors. It is also nice to have multiple images of the product with different angles.
Most times, people love to “get acquainted” with multiple angle-views on the products they intend to buy before making the purchase decision.
2. Provide Multiple Payment Options.
Providing multiple seamless payment options – cash on delivery, debit cards, USSD codes, etc..
This might seem an insignificant consideration on the surface, but has a huge impact on both return business opportunities and recommendations from your customers to other prospective customers.
3. Don’t Wink In The Dark, Smile On The Rooftop Instead.
Congratulations on setting up your online business platform… It’s now time to leverage your social capital – friends, family, and relations. Get on your social media platforms and post your product offerings and let people know what you are doing.
Remember to start small within your circle of influence and expand your reach with paid advertising on popular social media platforms.
4. Implement Tiered Pricing.
Tiered pricing is also known as decoy pricing. It is a psychological technique you can use in nudging customers toward the mid-range priced offers (the offers you truly want them to buy) and away from the two extreme ends of low-priced and high-priced options.
You can leverage this principle to increase sales online as multiple price options on products and services provides that subconscious feeling of freedom of choice for customers while also giving you the seller the opportunity to make a profit either “head or tail”.
Do you want to become an online Sales Champ? Find the Secret To Selling Anything Online Explained In A Video
Online Marketplace Platforms You Can Sell On.
- Jumia Nigeria
Challenges of Selling Online And How to Overcome Them.
1. Online Security Breaches.
Cyber security is a major concern for online businesses because the whole structure of e-commerce rests on data and lots of data.
Any technical issue with data arising from a security breach or compromise can cause severe damage to the retailer’s daily operations as well as brand image.
Solution: Back up your data always and maintain high-level security vigilance. You also need to install security plugins onto your website to prevent it from getting hacked as an e-commerce site owner.
2. High Rates of Returns.
One of the major drawbacks of online selling, especially for those dealing with physical commodities, is high rates of products-return. Often returned items arrive back severely damaged, tying down business capital and disrupting cash flow.
Solution: Make sure that the exact products shipped to customers match the same images and descriptions attached online.
3. Products Delivery Delay.
Your prompt delivery of ordered products (especially pay on delivery items) to customers means that they are more likely to be accepted and paid for by those customers. Delay in product delivery eventually hurts businesses so try as much as you can to avoid it.
Solution: You can warehouse your products at a location very close to or on the same grounds as the fulfilment centres as this will fast track their delivery process.
In conclusion, learning how to sell online comes with its own unique challenges and opportunities, but the opportunities far outweigh the challenges. At Entreprenurs.ng we are ready and available to guide you through setting up your online business. . Reach us on Whatsapp- 08038874148 and we will surely respond immediately.
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