How to Start Selling Online FAST
Ecommerce has come a long way since Amazon started selling books out of Jeff Bezos garage in 1994. Today, there’s still room for niche players in the ecommerce space who want to start their own online empire. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend years or even weeks getting your ecommerce store up & running. You can do it quickly & easily in a handful of steps. Here’s how to start selling online fast.
Choose a Niche
The sweet spot of picking a niche is finding a topic that already has a following but isn’t so saturated you can still stand out in the marketplace. The process is far easier said than done but is possible. The idea is to pick a sub-niche.
Instead of selling health products for on-the-go professionals with little time to prioritize health, narrow down the options. Pick health products that are proven to boost energy and improve productivity for busy on-the-go professionals. The more you can refine your idea, the easier it will be to launch your products.
Pick Your Products
The good news is there are millions of products to choose from for your ecommerce store. The bad news is it’s overwhelming to figure out which products to sell. Leverage tools like Jungle Scout to help you find viable products & research keywords. You can also spy on competitors. Although the tool is designed as an Amazon research tool, you can still use that knowledge to build your Shopify store or presence on other seller’s platforms.
You may need to do a little testing to figure out which products your target audience will buy. Don’t get discouraged by some lackluster sales and instead focus on finding what works. Choosing a white label product service like CustomCat allows you to experiment with new products, adding your designs, and we take care of the rest. If your product doesn’t sell, you’re not stuck with excess inventory. And if your products take off & go viral, you never have to worry about keeping up with demand.
Decide How to Handle Fulfillment & Shipping
Speaking of products & inventory, you need a rock-solid plan on how you’ll handle shipping & fulfillment. Running everything on your own could mean a higher profit margin. But it also means renting out storage space & potentially hiring extra help to fulfill orders, and shipping it out. If you handle it all on your own, you’ll need to factor in additional fulfillment & shipping time.
CustomCat can also produce, fulfill, and ship all of your items for you. We’ll even send out the tracking information to your customers, so they enjoy a seamless experience.
Get Your Online Store Up and Running
Getting your online store up and running is surprisingly easy with the right tools. Platforms like Amazon’s FBA, Shopify, and Etsy can get you up and running in less than an hour. No coding experience is required, although a developer can help you take advantage of more of the flexibility platforms like Shopify offers.
You can also get the core of your store up & running to get your products launched quickly. Over time, you can integrate time-saving apps and work with a web designer and SEO strategist to start scaling your site.
Outline Your Customer Service Strategy
Offering a satisfying customer experience perhaps the most critical part of online selling. Without happy customers, your ecommerce store won’t have success or longevity. To avoid disappointing your customers, start by outlining how you will service & connect with them. Here are some areas to consider:
- How many communication points will my customers receive from my store?
- How fast will orders go out?
- Will I allow returns? If so, under what conditions?
- How will I handle unhappy customers?
- How will I reward loyal customers?
The more you focus on customers & what they want, the more likely your store will find its audience & develop the loyal following it deserves.
Give Your Ecommerce Shop a Test Run
Ensuring a smooth customer service journey requires putting yourself in their shoes. Give your ecommerce shop a test run by going through the entire purchase process. What happens when you click on a product, and how long does it take you to receive notifications? You may discover some communication lags & other areas that need more work.
It’s also wise to ask a friend or current customer to test run your ecommerce store for you. Ask for their honest feedback in exchange for a free product or discount code.
Market & Advertise Your Ecommerce Store
Now that your store is up & running, it’s time to get the word out to potential customers. With few exceptions, you’re not going to have immediate sales without some time, effort, and resources dedicated to marketing & advertising.
Figuring out where your target audience hangs out is the best way to market to them. For example, 75% of 18–24-year-olds use Instagram, and so do 57% of 25-30-year-olds. Fewer teens are using Facebook than in previous years, but users 65 years & older are the fastest-growing group on the social media channel.
Do a little Google research & brush up on where your competitors are the most active on social media. Beyond social media, you may find advertising on B2B blogs & podcasts are effective ways to find your unique customers.
Create Valuable Content
Give people a reason to keep coming back to your online store beyond your product offerings. Creating valuable content helps engage & educate your customers on your products & give your SEO a boost.
Creating value also doesn’t mean you need to put together lengthy or detailed case studies, although they can be beneficial for some audiences. Instead, your valuable content can be a gift shopping guide or round-up of the best products for the season. Focus on what problems you can solve & questions to answer to keep your audience happy.
Nurture Customer Relationships
Retaining a customer is usually more effective & lucrative than continually marketing to new ones. Nurture customer relationships by sending out period newsletters, updating your blog, and launching a customer online chat function. Or you can stand out from your competition by picking up the phone & speaking to them directly about which products and services they need.
Prepare to Scale
If you’re happy with your current level of business, you can focus on keeping things steady & refining your processes. Otherwise, it’s time to prepare for growth. Scaling too soon could lead to a financial downturn in your business. Spending money on inventory and infrastructure you don’t need is an easy way to burn through your reserves. Instead, focus on slow growth. How much of your profits can you reinvest into your business?
You can also explore how you can scale without creating extra work for yourself. Selling printables, digital downloads, and cloud-based products could increase your ecommerce revenue without the need for additional overhead and workforce.
Starting an ecommerce store & starting to sell can be a fast process. However, it does take time to see success & test what works and what doesn’t. What are your best tips for getting your online store up & running quickly? Leave a comment below!