7 Steps to Start Selling Online and Finding a Niche Product

7 Steps to Start Selling Online and Finding a Niche Product

Do you want to develop a successful business in manufacturing or sales? Then you need to know that in today's world, without online commerce, it will be difficult to do so. Why? There are objective reasons.

Ecommerce Growth Facts

  1. In all progressive countries of the world, the audience of the Internet is constantly increasing, approaching the maximum limit. Statistics show that by early 2018 in the U.S., Germany and the UK the number of these people exceeded 95% of the population.
  2. Mobile accessories are increasingly penetrating our lives, and we can no longer do without shopping on the go, which can be done whenever and wherever. Consumers have become accustomed to saving time and no longer want to waste it on trips to the store and endless lines at the cash register. Now you can buy anything you want over the Internet at any time. For example, at leisure, on a lunch break, in a traffic jam, or at night, when all the offline stores are closed.
  3. The scale of online sales is steadily growing, which is only natural. The reason for this is the emergence of new types of business, the expansion of companies, the transition to the online mode of conventional firms and B2B-B2C stores that aim to sell goods online, both wholesale and retail.
  4. Slowly but surely, online stores are taking customers away from offline outlets, gradually increasing their share of total retail revenue. As service and service quality improve, legislation is adapted to online commerce, and delivery services improve, this trend will not only continue but also accelerate.
  5. More and more customers, whether they are in the "business to business", "business to consumer", or "consumer to consumer" segments, prefer to find goods and services exactly on the Web. This is due to the expansion of the audience of web users and the intensification of the development of e-commerce, that is, the entry of sellers online.
  6. World globalization has simplified trade between countries. Long distances and language differences are no longer a barrier to the sale of goods and services. Moreover, language localization of online stores and service translators instantly adapt the content and prices in different currencies to what the visitor is used to. Everything is done to make it comfortable for the customer to place orders from any country in the world.                                                                     
  7. Now almost all purchases can be sent to the customer anywhere. Many ways of delivery (by courier, post, postal, pickup) allow the customer to choose the best way to receive the goods. Personal delivery in postal terminals, where the consumer does not need to stand in line and talk to the seller, is gaining popularity.
  8. The World Wide Web has provided merchants with a host of effective ways to attract, retain and entice potential customers into transactions that cannot be done in brick-and-mortar stores. These are tools such as targeted contextual advertising, mailing lists, retargeting, content marketing in social networks and blogs, mobile applications, promotion in messengers, coupon sites, bonus programs and much more, which allows you to be in constant contact with your customer audience.
  9. If offline stores don't have their resource online, their margins will gradually diminish. Online platform can be the firm's website, online showcase, a personal account on the Marketplace. In this case, all trading platforms (stationary, online) should be linked by a common customer base and a single warehouse to sell goods through the online store and establish an effective delivery service consumer orders.

As we can see, a company's representation on the Web will give the business two important advantages:

  • Accessibility to a wide target audience around the world.
  • Effective ways to promote its products (services) and communications with the consumer, as well as new sales or deals.

But all this will require a lot of effort and new knowledge, without which success in commerce is impossible. 

The first steps in the preparation of online sales

To understand how to trade on the Web, it is necessary to break down the launch procedure, starting from the business model all the way to setting up the site and its web analytics. Those who are not interested in the legal side of the issue and further development of the company can launch their sales in 1-2 days. If your goal is to create a reliable long-term business, look at the problem deeper.

Step 1: Choosing a niche

What does the word "niche" mean? It is the name of the business area, which is characterized by a range of goods, a set of services or processes, or a list of regulations. Usually the direction of the business is chosen based on personal experience, as well as a thorough study of the market.

Understanding the concept of the future direction of work is much easier to start your own business. At the same time, it is very important to back up your aspirations with information.

To understand how to sell on the Internet, it is worth to read the latest data on the niche of interest to you, to search for information on the Internet, to talk to experts who attend industry seminars. If you have gathered a lot of information, you will be better prepared to implement your future plans.

If you haven't chosen a niche for yourself yet, monitor the most in-demand areas. You may want to look for solutions based on keywords and popular trends.

Then, having expanded the tentative vocabulary to a full semantic core, you can expertly create the structure of your online resource.

Step 2: Develop a business plan and financial plan

If you are not planning to take out a loan and ask for help from venture capitalists, who are called business angels, you need to develop a financial and business plan to determine the profitability of sales.

Having a calculation of revenues, costs, and payback on the project, you can plan for future expenses and eliminate the cash gap.

Step 3: Choose a sales model

You can cooperate with suppliers and customers in different ways:

  • packaging and delivery of products;
  • dropship (direct delivery), when a manufacturer, dealer or wholesaler stores and transports the goods;
  • fullfilment, where the seller buys the goods and outsources the storage and delivery to the contractor.

Put the appropriate method into your financial plan and analyze the future benefits. 

Step-by-step instructions on how to quickly start selling online

Step 4: Evaluate your own resources

Or rather, calculate your financial potential, mobility and time reserves. It is at least not rational to start a business with insufficient funds, which will be needed at the most crucial moment.

Trading business, as we know, is based entirely on partnerships. And so, in each case, it is not difficult to adjust to the starting problems associated with finances and lack of time. By the way, money is not the key factor here.

Moreover, with a smaller amount of investment, you can get to the bottom line faster. The more money spent, the harder it is to get it back. Useful advice: do not invest the maximum at once, it is much more profitable to invest in personal experience.

It's pointless to spend money increasing advertising budgets if the sales department doesn't work out the applications properly and simply "drains" them. It's like trying to pour water into a leaky bucket.

You can endlessly fill the department with leads, spend money on marketing and product packaging, but if you don't have a sales department, but a salesperson or cashier department, they will still lose leads.

Remember an important thing! Until you have your business processes set up, you won't get profitability. But to set them up, you need to organize them, which means launching sales.

Do not try to build a super business in a hurry - it will not work. How and where to make a profit will be clear in the process. Listen to sound advice: start small, gain experience, get the results, and then based on them make an adequate and practical business plan for your business.

Step 5: Find a partner or partners

Few people know how to launch sales without the assistance of partners.

There are two reasons for this:

  1. Some have the financial resources, but not enough time for the business. Others are completely free, but have no money. However, both factors are necessary for a successful startup. This is where two opposing options can partner and get good results. Even if at first they will be satisfied with meager income from low turnovers. You can, of course, and act separately, wasting their resources: one - money, the other - time.
  2. If you do everything yourself, you will have to solve several problems simultaneously - to contact suppliers, work on advertising and assortment, to communicate with customers, etc. If you don't do something for lack of time - other successes are reduced to zero.

Deciding how to sell over the Internet, you need to understand that together the partners will earn much more, even taking into account the division of income.

Let's say you rent a warehouse, set up transportation to TC, organized self-delivery and courier delivery. Despite the number of orders, the daily costs remain the same.

That is, at this stage of development you benefit from the interaction with a partner who will sell products on your customer base. The same principle is applied by all merchants - wholesalers, large chain stores, marketplaces.

There is another side to the question: the wider your range, the easier to promote the product. More precisely, the higher the probability of a consumer to see your product during a search on the Web. And so the return on investment in the advertising campaign increases. 

But there is one problem. When you start sales from scratch, when there is no turnover, no stable sales channels and no set up processes, the profit divided between three partners is a pittance. But it is mutual assistance that will give you access to a high turnover and help make a lot of money.

If you act independently, the chance to adjust the entire trading mechanism and receive a large income is negligible. That is, in theory all of this is possible, but in practice you will have to "beat your head against the wall" every day, and no one knows how long your efforts will be enough.

Step 6: Find product groups with active demand

What kinds of products to sell on the Internet? The more popular the product, the easier it is to launch it from scratch and work out the basic mechanism of the business.

Here it is important to understand that the products that are in demand are not those that give a high turnover or have huge markups. These are products that are regularly purchased by consumers even in the absence of a retail outlet or a widely known IM.

An assortment with active demand is a great choice for a startup. It can quickly show an increase in sales dynamics with a minimum of initial investment.

You can start with the most popular goods. Of course, they will not bring super profits, but they will help to run a business "from his knees. Then, as you gain experience, you will move on to more substantial income.

Step 7: Choose an acceptable sales channel

There is an unspoken rule here:

  1. The more costly sales avenues should produce high sales. However, they are difficult to master, much less to make a profit.
  2. All bulletin boards have a common advantage - there you can start trading even with one product. Do not wait for a huge number of orders. A simple ad gives no more than 4 implementations every month, or a little more, but that's not the main thing. The point is different: the first sale covers all costs and brings a small profit.

As you can see, an easy start will not bring substantial profits. But you will have the opportunity to gain skills and switch to complex topics. Remember that and have the courage to start from scratch for the sake of valuable experience.