Online stores have been around for a long time. But the landscape has slowly changed, it used to be that big box stores, companies, and brands had online stores, but we are seeing more and more small businesses go into the e-commerce market.
The internet and selling online have allowed more people (especially women) to become entrepreneurs and sell their products online. The barrier to going into sale/business has gone down; you no longer have to have a physical brick and mortar store. That brick and mortar store can be online, and if you want to interact with your customers, you not only have social media, local markets, such as Market Collective or the Inglewood Night Market, that you can attend!
There are multiple ways to sell online; you can sell through online marketplaces or set up your store. But, before you do any research into that, you need to know about the three S’s of eCommerce.
Three Things to Keep in Mind
Before choosing an online platform from which to sell your products, there are three things to keep in mind, the three S’s of eCommerce:
1. Storage Space
Some eCommerce site builders put a cap on your sales. Which can impact your revenue and profit margins. When choosing, choose one based on the bandwidth and inventory space, a great eCommerce platform will allow you to sell online without limitations.
2. Safety Protocols
We know that safety is essential, not only to us but to our customers too. The internet is a wonderful space, but it also susceptible to attacks and fraud. So when choosing an eCommerce site, ensure that the one you select offers Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption and fraud protection.
This is not only for your customer’s protection, but yours as well. SSL encryption makes it, so online payments are sent securely!
3. Site Design
Having a user-friendly site is essential! If your website isn’t easy to use and navigate, you will lose sales and customers.
When choosing the platform, you will sell on; each tool should be easy and clear and take you to your desired option. A great eCommerce site builder will make it easy to build your online store.
When creating your online store, keep your customers in mind. Think about what they would want, what you want when you are shopping online. Ensure that your website has a robust FAQ section, a well-designed menu, sorting options, and filters. All these things will ensure a pleasant experience for your customers.
Selling on Online Marketplaces
An online marketplace is a type of e-commerce site where multiple third parties provide product or service information.
Different marketplaces have different requirements, listing fees, product categories, and audiences. So there is some research that you’ll have to do before choosing one. Amazon may be the right platform for one business owner but the wrong one for another. You’ll need to know the different selling strategies for each marketplace, which are the best for the product you are selling, and what you’ll need to make your start as smooth and uncomplicated as possible.
Here are 3 of the best online marketplaces that you can sell on:
Amazon is probably the best known online marketplace. With over 100 million Prime members, Amazon is a platform that you should seriously consider if you want to sell on an online marketplace.
Their 100 million Prime members spend about $1,400 every year on Amazon, making it an excellent place for retailers to sell.
Amazon has a professional and individual selling plan, so it is worth it to figure out which would be best for your business. If you are more of a niche business, the professional plan may be what you need. If you are a third-party seller, the individual plan may work for you.
- Professional Plan: $39.99 per month.
- Per-item selling fees which vary by category
- Variety of closing fees and referral fees
- Individual Plan
- $0.99 per sale
- Selling fees depending on each category
This is an excellent option for when you are just starting out. With no listing fees or selling fees, Facebook Marketplace has a massive appeal for new or well-established business owners and entrepreneurs.
With more than 800 million users, who buy, sell, and browse monthly, getting set up on Facebook Marketplace is a relatively straightforward process. Sync your up-to-date inventory, then wait about a week for Facebook to review your products and deem them suitable to sell on their online marketplace.
Another well known online marketplace is eBay. Most know it as an auction website, but it is much more than that. While you can place items on there to bid on, you can also sell items for a fixed price!
This marketplace has 168 million active buyers worldwide who generate $95 billion in annual gross market value, and with 190 markets worldwide, you will have endless opportunities to expand and grow.
Selling on eBay:
- A final value fee when your item sells
- an insertion fee when you create a listing
Set Up Your Own Online Store
Unless you know how to code or can afford to pay someone to build your website, using an eCommerce website builder is the best option when opening an online store.
Many eCommerce website building sites don’t require you to code, and some have templates that you can use! The website builders allow you to build, customize, and run an online store.
They are easy to use and will often come with tools that will walk you through the entire process; from hosting to designing to pricing and payment, and more.
Three things to keep in mind when choosing an eCommerce builder site:
- How Much You Will Sell.
- If you think you will have a high volume, you’ll want a website that provides a lot of online storage space, inventory, and bandwidth.
- Level of Customization
- Some websites provide ready to use templates, while others have HTML for those more who are more experienced website builders.
- Payment and Shipping
- Not all websites offer the same amount of payment methods, and some charge more for extras. You’ll want to have a wide range of payments and shipping options!
Here are 3 of the best platforms that you can sell on:
Probably the best-known eCommerce builders and one of the best platforms for small businesses.
Not only can you use this website for online sales, but it also serves as a Point of Sales (PoS). With an easy drag and drop interface, you can quickly build your page with no need for coding knowledge.
Shopify Basic includes your website, blog, abandoned shopping cart recovery, SSL certificates, social media sales channels, and many more tools.
- Basic Shopify: $29 per month
- Shopify: $79 per month
- Advanced Shopify: $299 per month
Many know and have heard about Wix, as it is known as a website builder. But it also has Wix Ecommerce, which is one of the best eCommerce website builders for new businesses.
Similar to Shopify, Wix Ecommerce also has a drag and drop theme when building your online store. This platform is excellent for businesses on a budget and has 50 or less unique items/products.
- Business Basic: $23 per month
- Business Unlimited: $27 per month
- Business VIP: $49 per month
Square Space is known for having sleek and eye-catching website designs that are easy to customize and bring attention to your product. It also has built-in search engine optimization (SEO), which can help increase your website’s visibility on search engines like Google.
With Square Space, you can ensure that your website looks and fits with your business’s brand. Change the colors and fonts to match the look and feel of your brand. You can also manage your email list, offer coupons, and more, which gives you control over your website!
- Personal: $12 per month
- Business: $18 per month
- Commerce Basic: $26 per month
- Commerce Advance: $40 per month
- *These prices are in USD
There are so many online marketplaces and eCommerce website builders, many more than what we listed here. Before choosing one, do your research, know what you want your eCommerce store to look like, what you wish to say, and think about your own expertise level. If you have some knowledge of coding or using HTML, then a website that offers that is a great option, but if you don’t, a drag and drop website builder will suit you better.
Making the move to online can be stressful enough without having to learn how to do basic code. Try these websites out; many offer a free trial. You want your online store to be one that you are proud of and one that your customers can navigate with ease.