How to Start Selling Online: From the Occasional Item to Your Own Full Online Shop.
When it comes to selling items online, the way you go about it depends on your circumstances. Are you selling one or two items, regularly buying and selling or an already established shop?
One or Two Items
If you just looking to sell a few second-hand items, then you could consider Ebay or other local listings, for example, Gumtree.
Regular Buying and Selling
If you are planning on buying and selling items on a regular basis, then you could investigate setting up an Ebay shop or looking into the Amazon marketplace. Other sales platforms are available, make sure you research the cost – they typically take a percentage of sales value.
Your Own Online Shop
If you are a shop that currently sells in the offline world and you are looking to start selling your goods online – there are many e-commerce systems that vary in price and functionality.
Blog or CMS Add-Ons
Some content management systems have add-ons that enable e-commerce. But they don’t tend to offer a complete shop online.
Online E-Commerce Services
A specialist online shop provider will usually charge an ongoing monthly fee (and sometimes transaction costs). They provide a robust fully functioning online shop.
There are many of these types of self-service systems about. You will tend to need a decent level of technical knowledge and support is very often call centre or live chat based.
These self-service systems are great for the higher volume shops that can justify the ongoing monthly price. They will also have an in-house resource to set-up and customise the shop from the offset.
A typical local shop with limited time and experience of setting up online systems might sometimes struggle to get their e-commerce shop online. For stores looking to first service their local market, these systems are probably a little too pricey. They are also not as customisable as a coded system.
Online Customer Solutions specialise in helping smaller shops start selling online. We are experts at implementing e-commerce websites based on the OpenCart platform. This allows a bespoke solution for a one-off price, excellent support and training and ongoing help if needed. Our aim is to grow your business by providing the right online system.
E-commerce websites can be set-up from £750 + hosting (£65 p/a) + design (£80), if you are interested please contact us using this form.
How to Start Selling Online with an E-Commerce Website.
With the right partner, running an e-commerce website is simpler than you may think. After the implementation and customisation, there are a number of tasks that need to be done to get your e-commerce website working:
Adding Products and Stock Level Control.
Using a simple web page, you will be able to give your product a name, price, stock level, images and many other attributes to present your items in their best light.
The simplest and most secure way of taking online payments is to use a payment gateway. Online Customer Solutions recommend PayPal, but there are other systems that can be just as easily integrated.
For a local shop then click-and-collect might be the most simple shipping option. But printing shipping labels and estimating shipping fees is all built in. All you have to do is wrap the items and post! (For higher volume retailers there are other shipping integration and fulfilment options).
Built in already is how to handle returns and refunds. Just set your policy terms and conditions and it won’t be something you haven’t dealt with before in your offline shop.
The advantage of having an online shop is that you get to capture email addresses. Apart from being able to automatically send order confirmations, you can update the customer when and item has been shipped.
Once you have people’s opt-in and email address you can keep in touch with them. Let them know about special offers, vouchers or just regular marketing updates. For example, new products or seasonal trends. Enable customers to set-up wish lists, write reviews and share their experience with social media sites.
Also built in is Search Engine Optimisation. Describe your products well. Enter a few bits of information and the system will help you start appearing in the Google search results.
Keep up-to-date with the number of customers, orders and sales. Which items are selling the best? Which items are being viewed but not bought? Who are your best customers and how can you incentivise them to buy more. All built-in.
How to Start Selling Online with Your Own E-Commerce Shop.
An e-commerce website is a fantastic next step for a local business.
Contact us today for how we can help grow your business and get you selling online.