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First Steps to Selling Online

More than 2 billion people shop online today.

If you’re not selling online, you’re missing out on reaching over 25% of the world’s population this way. Ecommerce sales are only expected to keep growing, so now is the time to launch that online business you’ve been dreaming about.

Here are a few steps to get you started with selling online:

Find a need

Many new businesses make the mistake of finding a product first and a need second. Don’t let this be you. Instead, look for the need before you think about the product. This elevates your chance for success because you’ll know you have a market for your product, rather than it becoming a guessing game.

To go about this, consider the problems you’ve run into in your own life. Think about the challenges the people around you are facing. Spend some time on social media platforms like Twitter or Reddit to see what problems other people are talking about. What needs do they have? What pain points are they trying to resolve? Narrow it down to a specific group of people who are looking for an answer to their problem, but not having much luck with a solution.

Decide how to fulfill the need

Once you’ve identified a need, the next step is to determine how you’ll fulfill the solution. Map out how best to resolve the need and make your customers’ lives better.

Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Is the best solution a physical product? A service?

  • Who’s going to provide the solution? Can you create it yourself or do you need to work with a supplier? If you’re using a supplier, will you source from wholesalers or manufacturers? Or will you use dropshipping?

  • How will you deliver the solution? If you’re selling a product, will you offer shipping or local pickup?

Man working on mobile phone with laptop in background

Research your competitors

Spend time exploring what other businesses and individuals are already doing in this space. See if anyone is already fulfilling the same need or something related. If so, check out how they’re doing it and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Scroll through their website and social media profiles, sign up for their newsletter, browse their products and pricing structure, read their reviews, check out their blog, and see what promotions they’re currently running.

As you peruse your competitors’ online (and, if applicable, offline) presence, pick apart what they’re doing and make it a learning experience for yourself. Pinpoint which areas they’re doing well and where they could improve.

Then ask yourself the key question: “What could I do better?” You need to be able to name what sets you apart from your competitors and why your solution is a better alternative, whether that’s pricing, features, positioning, customer service, delivery, or another factor. If you don’t stand out from your competitors, you’ll get lost in the noise.

Choose your eCommerce platform

Now it’s time to choose where you’ll sell your products. With the abundance of ecommerce platforms available today, this can be an overwhelming task. But you can make it easier on yourself by creating a list of your must-haves first. What things do you need to have in a platform to be successful?

Some items you might consider are:

  • Website builder themes and layouts
  • Ease of website creation
  • Number of products supported
  • Social media integrations
  • SEO and data analysis tools
  • Pricing and payment options
  • Customer support
  • Mobile optimization
  • Overall cost of the platform

As you evaluate ecommerce platform options, revisit your list of must-haves frequently to compare and decide which platform best suits your needs.

Determine your marketing strategy

You found a solution to a need. You did your research and are ready to prepare for your first customer. Now is a good time to flesh out the branding and positioning for your business if you haven’t already.

Consider the copy on your website and marketing materials. Is it clear what problem you’re solving for the customer and why you’re uniquely positioned to solve it for them? If not, spend some time clarifying your messaging.

Also consider what marketing channels you’ll use: social media, a blog, paid digital ads, email campaigns, etc. Identify your goals for each and how it fits into your overall marketing strategy for your business.

Hand resting on computer keyboard with mug in background

Need a jumpstart for your online business?

Workify is a white-label program that can help you get started with your business and scale quickly. Our white-label solution enables you to resell marketing services under your brand name using an ecommerce platform we provide. We handle the service fulfillment entirely for you, so you can focus on client acquisition and retention. Check out more info about the Workify platform and see if it would be a good fit for jumpstarting your business today.

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