You’re probably asking yourself why would I want to invest in doing something online like an e-commerce shop and what are the upsides as well as the downsides of selling products online?
As I am writing this we are in the mists of the COVID19 virus and businesses are suffering the effects of the necessary stay home orders that are being issued all over the world to stop this pandemic from spreading.
So what can you do to save your business from perishing during this worldwide crisis? Could online presence with a shopping cart be the answer to your needs now as well as giving you another way to make money that is not dependant on foot traffic? If you are not a service business and you actually sell a tangible product that can be shipped then you are one of the fortunate ones that could create another revenue stream for yourself by selling online.
What Types Of Businesses Can Benefit From An E-Commerce Website?
Any business that sells products that are either a tangible product or a virtual one like software, for example, are perfect candidates for selling products online using an e-commerce platform to do so. While SEO for e-commerce can take a while there are plenty of ways that you can leverage your website and shopping cart especially if you are a long-standing brick and mortar business with an existing client base.
The types of businesses that are perfect examples for selling products online:
- Any business that sells a product that can easily be shipped
- Any business that has a product that can be sold and does not require a client to come to your brick and mortar.
- Even businesses that sell industrial goods like warehouse equipment or heavy equipment can benefit from a website that is set up for e-commerce.
I did not list specifics but for example, if you sold
- Health Supplements
- Smoke Shops & CBD Shops
- Paint & Hardware
- Medical Supplies
Just to name some of the top of my head that I have seen to be very successful online. In short, if you have a product you can ship or setup drop shipping for you are in good shape.
So What's Involved in Setting Up An SEO Friendly E-Commerce Site?
If you have some basic knowledge you can easily use Word Press in conjunction with WooCommerce and set up an online shop to sell your products online. Or you can hire someone like us to build you an SEO Friendly Website that uses WooCommerce for the e-commerce side of things and have it all set up and ready to go in no time.
Your other option is to have a custom shopping cart solution built which can take some time and be costly so if you need it fast WP and WooCommerce is the way to get it done. This out of the box solution has many options in the form of plugins that you can use to enhance it. Some are free and others will require you to purchase them. Ohh did I mention WP and WooCommerce in its base form are free! Where cost usually come in is in configuring the platform to be search engine friendly as well as having the web design done to make it look nice and functional.
What All Do I Need To Start Selling Online?
Look at our quick checklist of what you will need to start selling your products online. Some you may already have in place and others you may have to set up so you can start selling online.
- A Website that has a shopping cart
- Product pictures and descriptions
- Data Entry to enter your products into the cart.
- A merchant account that allows you to process transactions online. You may want to use Paypal or Stripe to start with. They are easy to get set up and plugin with most carts for processing transactions.
- A way to ship your products. This usually requires setting up an account with FedEx, UPS or USPS and getting shipping supplies
Those are the basics as to what you will need to get started.
Alternatives to Having Your Own Online Store
Now you do not have to have an online store to start selling you could easily use a third-party platform like Amazon or eBay for example. There are more out there but I would say those two are the biggest and the benefit is that your products are available immediately after you sign up and since these sites get a lot of traffic you could immediately start selling products on their platform.
So why not just do this you may be asking yourself? Well, there are a few reasons the biggest ones being:
- What you are going to have to give up from your portion of the profits is much higher than you would like.
- Also, in order to get a really good listing, you will have to pay.
- While they may have a lot of traffic you will also be competing against many other providers of the same our like products.
- Due to many people selling the same items the price at which you may have to sell to be competitive could be much lower than you would want it to be.
- On platforms like eBay if you are new you will not have any ratings which make people leery of dealing with you until you build up a positive reputation. On Amazon, you will need some reviews of your product to shine.
While those are quick and very inexpensive ways to get started selling your products online they are not necessarily the best option all by themselves. Many online merchants will open up an eBay store as well as one on Amazon and combine this with an e-commerce site of their own which is one of the best ways to go especially if you want to get as visible as possible online fast.
If You Are An Established Brick & Mortar How Can You Fast Track Your Online Sales?
As I write this the Coronavirus is devastating local business, especially the restaurant and service industry and event-based businesses. While those businesses are in a situation where online will not help them many businesses that sell a product could switch their current operation to operating online and selling products.
The advantage of being established is that if you have been collecting contact information on your clients you could leverage this by setting up an online store and they could come online and shop with you.
The main thing is to set up the e-commerce shop to be easy to use and to then in the form of email, text or a call announce that you now have an online presence where they can buy from you and get the same great customer service and products as when they walk in the store.
Things You Can Do To Fast Track Your Online Sales As An Established Business.
- Reach out to your current client list via an email blast or text blast or even phone calls if it is feasible.
- Leverage any Social Media channels you have and announce your online store.
- Do a local Press Release to let people know your now online this will also start to help a tiny bit with your e-commerce SEO effort.
- Get a sign made and hang it outside of your store in the most visible area possible with a simple slogan like ” You Can Now Buy Online At WWW.YOURSITENAME.com
- Have your sales staff if you have any reach out to all their regular clients and let them know they can now buy your products online.
- Start an SEO E-commerce campaign and start working towards ranking in Google Organics.
- Buy some PPC (Pay Per Click Ads) to get some traffic going and get visible. You can dial the campaign in locally which will make it a bit more affordable. PPC can get expensive to see an ROI so it might not be for everyone.
- Get on Google Shopping for immediate exposure of your products to shoppers but be warned it is not free. You can dial it in to spend as little or as much as you want but remember small spending means small exposure and big ones mean more. Its renting space to be visible which we as an SEO company do not recommend in the long run but it is a great and instant short term solution while you build out a long term internet marketing strategy.