The internet has changed the face of commerce forever, with current trends suggesting that we are moving towards a world where offline stores will become obsolete and online shopping is the norm.
There are two primary reasons that this change has been able to take hold:
Convenience for the customer. It seems odd to contemplate now, but in the early days of the internet, people were highly skeptical about buying products from a website. However, 20 years on from the earliest e-commerce efforts, online shopping is something that most of us do without a thought: it’s simple, convenient, cost-effective, and often a lot more fun than traipsing around an offline mall in the vain hope we may see something we like.
Accessibility for sellers. Before the internet age, if you wanted to sell a product, your options were hugely limited and would rely almost entirely on buyers (commercial buyers, not shoppers) liking your product and being willing to stock it. E-commerce, however, has empowered sellers to go direct to customers.
When a concept is beneficial to respective parties and has become standardized, it’s fair to assume that it’s here to stay. If you have been seeking an idea for a business, choosing to enter into this prosperous world is almost certainly a positive choice; customers want to buy products online, and it’s easier than ever for you to sell to them. If you're going to give it a try, then here’s what you need to know…
Step One: Raise your startup costs
To sell a product you first need to buy a product, so you will need to either use your own funds or find start-up funding to proceed with your venture. The method below does not require substantial startup finance; you can start with just one product if necessary.
Step Two: Decide what you want to sell
Buy products from a distributor or wholesaler to sell on behalf of the brand
Make your own products to sell
Buy vintage or second-hand items offline and then sell them online at a profit
Step Three: Plan your shipping
You’ll need to determine:
How you are going to ship items to your buyers
The materials you need to do this
The cost of shipping each product that you wish to sell.
Step Four: Decide where you are selling your product
The simplest way to get started selling products online is to sell through established e-commerce stores, with the retail giant Amazon being the most obvious choice. You can sell as a third-party seller on Amazon with relatively little effort; just register an account, use tools such as WordTree to ensure you rank well in the listings and wait for the customer orders to roll in. This is a great approach that is far simpler than creating your own website and allows you to get up and running in a relatively short space of time.
Step Five: Determine your profit per product
This is a simple calculation. Add together:
The cost of the product to buy or make
Your associated costs to sell it, such as listing fees, packaging, and shipping costs
Then subtract that figure from your retail price.
Your product costs you $5 to buy
You will spend $5 on listing fees, packaging, shipping, and tax (if applicable) to deliver the product to the customer
Your retail price is $20
So you calculate:
$5 cost to make + $5 cost to sell item = $10
$20 retail price - $10 costs = total profit of $10 profit per product sold
Step Six: List your product for sale
You’ve got your product, you’ve got your packaging, and you’re signed up to a third party site to list your products - so you’re ready to get started.
You may have read through the steps above and thought… “is that it?”. It seems so simple, but the above steps are genuinely all you need to list your first product for sale online. After your first success, you can begin to build your inventory and range, repeating the same process and, all being well, enjoying ever-increasing profits as a result.
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