Running an online business is an attractive proposition. You can work from home, be flexible with your hours, and avoid the huge commitment of business contracts.
Plus, retail platforms such as Etsy, eBay and Amazon make online selling accessible to everyone.
Tempted? Here’s 10 Top Tips for starting an online business.
1. Have a Plan
Ok, this might sound obvious. But many people plough in without thinking first! The process might be simple, but turning a profit isn’t.
Don’t fret – it doesn’t need to be a formal proposal. Think about what you are selling, who you are selling to, how you talk to them. What are your budgets?
Chat to friends or family who fit your target market and test out ideas on them first.
2. Stand Out
This is a tricky one, but on sites like Amazon and eBay you will be surrounded by competition.
You need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. What’s your USP? Is it product related? Delivery speed? Price?
Find out what makes you different. And make it known!
3. Be Consistent
Selling multiple items might improve the possibility to make sales, but don’t diversify too quickly. Having a mixture of different items doesn’t show credibility in your field.
A cohesive listing will show that you have experience and expertise. Important qualities for your buyer.
4. Photo Attraction
Use high quality photos in your listings. This gives you a professional edge, plus your buyers will get a real chance to see the product.
Good photo listing rules:
– Have a unifying look (e.g. same background colour)
– Photograph in natural light
– Shoot and show multiple angles
5. Content Counts
The right product listing is important. Spend time crafting the content. And be accurate – you do not want to receive complaints that your product is not as described.
You will also need to do some research on keywords. These are the search terms people use to find your products.
Including these words in your title and product listing will improve the likelihood of your product being found. There are tools to help you do this – try merchantwords.com for Amazon keywords.
Be relevant, accurate, interesting.
6. Listen Up
Listen to feedback. Read the reviews. It is important to hear what your customers are saying so you can learn and adapt. Your business must evolve to your customer needs.
Positive reviews are also the lifeblood of your business. Go the extra mile. Be responsive. Give your customers a good reason to leave positive feedback. This will encourage new buyers.
Social media is obviously great for promoting your business, but don’t spread yourself too thin.
Focus your marketing efforts on a platform that will get the best return. Instagram is a great channel for promoting sales so set up an Instagram account that resonates with your online presence.
8. Help & Support
You may want to keep the business for yourself, but don’t be afraid to reach out when you need help. This may be getting a professional photographer to help with photos, or a content writer to help with listing and keywords.
It’s ok to tap into other people’s expertise to make your business grow.
9. Play by the Rules
Each platform has their own policies and requirements. Be sure to read the rules for Amazon, eBay or Etsy.
What are their requirements? Do you need an individual or professional account? What are the fees you will need to pay?
Make sure you stick to the rules and behave accordingly!
10. Find Some Space
The downside of a virtual business is not having a physical space.
Ok, your garage, spare room or living room might double up as stock room when you start up. But it’s not a viable answer in the long term.
Many online businesses use self-storage units. You get the secure extra space you need, without complicated business contracts. You can also move between unit sizes as your inventory levels vary.
Plus, access 7 days a week means it can fit your schedule. Simple, hassle-free and accessible storage for your online business.
Want to learn more? Find Shurgard Self-Storage near you. Contracts can be made remotely over the phone or after online reservations.
Ready to start selling? Remember it may take time and effort, but you can be a success. Good luck!