When It’s Time to Move Your Sales Online
If you’ve been selling your products in a local shop and you’re thinking of selling them online, there are various factors that you need to consider. There are things that you need to prepare before starting to operate your business on the web. Once everything is ready and your business is up and running online, you’ll have better chances of getting more clients and increasing your sales, since you’ll be able to reach more people. So when can you start selling online? You can do this once you have these things prepared.
Have a Website
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Yes, there are sites where you can post your products for free. However, this is not enough if you want to build an online presence and you wish to grow your business on the web. Having your own website enhances your credibility as it gives the impression that you’re professional. People are more likely to do business with you if you have your own site.
This is also where you can direct them if they want to know more about your brand and products; and to make purchases as well. It’s one of the most important things that you should have before you can start selling online. You have the option to use a hosted e-commerce site or have one created using a website builder.
There are several e-commerce platforms that offer hosted sites that are easy and convenient to use. You can choose from their available templates, which you can customize to fit your brand. Since the template is ready, it’s quicker to have the site running. Coding is also not needed. Some of the best platforms include Shopify, Bigcommerce and Volusion. These sites often come with additional tools that you may find useful, including social media integration and reporting, built-in SEO features and coupons.
You can also have a website built and customized for your business using a website builder. Some of these software may require coding or programming experience. However, there are also those that do not require technical knowledge like IM Creator. You can even use them for free.
Ensure That You Can Handle Online Payments
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Your website is where your products are posted. Aside from posting items for sale, including their descriptions and prices, it’s equally important to have an option for buyers to make their purchase online. Make sure that you’re using a secured connection to give buyers the confidence that their personal and account information are safe on every transaction. Most hosted e-commerce platforms offer this. You can also purchase a security certificate for a fee from services like VeriSign.
In order to process online payments on your site, you would need a merchant account, which you can open from a bank or use a third party merchant. Some of the most popular third party merchants that you can use are PayPal and PaybyWeb. Other e-commerce platforms like Volusion, also allows setting up a store on your own website even without getting their hosting service. Make sure that the third party merchant you choose supports several payment methods to make it more convenient for your clients. Most of these merchants have forms that you can add to your site to allow online purchases. Since there are still clients who are not comfortable giving out their account information online, have a phone number posted on your site, which they can call in case they wish to make their orders through this method.
Be Ready with Your Shippings
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Investigate to know about the best shipping options that you can use for your business. It should be reliable to deliver your products on time and in perfect condition, as well as have competitive rates that your customers can afford. Shipping vendors like DSL and UPS have varying terms. Visit their sites or contact them for more information about their service. Comparison sites like Consumer Search make it easier to compare your options.
It would also help if you study about the shipping methods and requirements of trusted e-commerce sites to have a better idea when creating your own shipping terms. It’s better to get even on shipping rates, than to earn some money, but not be able to keep your customers because of high shipping fee or lose money because of shouldering most of the shipping expenses. Once you’re earning, you may consider free shipping from time to time to make your clients happy.
Once you have these three things set, you’re ready to start selling online. Do remember, though, that the process doesn’t stop there. You should continue updating your site to give the latest information and products to your customers, as well as to keep them engaged..
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Erez is an experienced web designer and also the founder of website-builder.com. He writes for dizyne.net and IM Now.