How to Sell Merchandise Online: 5 Tips for a Successful Store
Do you want to get into the ecommerce game? It’s a growing industry with a lot of opportunity. Here are 5 tips to help you learn how to sell merchandise online.
In the US, eCommerce makes up 10% of annual consumer spending. That growing market share shows no signs of slowing down.
What that means for you is that if you can find ways to maximize your online sales presence, you stand a very good chance of capturing a massive amount of the $60,000 per year the average consumer spends on goods and services.
Therein lies the aim of this article, to teach you how to sell merchandise online.
In it, we will share some practical tips that will take your eCommerce success to incredible heights!
1. Pick a Great Niche
There’s no micro question that’s more important to answer when addressing the macro question of how to merchandise online than, “What is my niche?”
Your niche is the area that you’ll be focusing on to figure out what products to sell and who to sell to.
For example, if your niche was “pets”, right away you have ideas as to who your consumers are (pet owners) and what products you could sell (food, toys, etc.).
When selecting your niche, we recommend that you pick something you’re passionate and knowledgeable about, something that has good market potential and finally, something that is not too broad.
Again, to our pet example, you could have your niche be just “pets” but that would open you up to a wide variety of products and customers. Lizard owners, dog owners, cat owners… you get the picture.
What if instead, you narrowed your niche to the organic Dog market. Targeting that market you’d be selling to health and eco-conscious dog owners and instead of investing in broad products you could focus your efforts on natural, fair-trade toys and healthy pet food.
Being specific with your niche lets you build a brand, refine your package design and inventory and makes your online journey a lot simpler.
2. Choose Your Sales Platform
Now that you know what you’re selling and who you’re selling to, you know need to figure out the “how” in how to sell merchandise online.
Fortunately, there are a lot of options out there in the way of sales platforms.
You can use eCommerce plugins like WooCommerce on a self-hosted WordPress site. You could sell through marketplaces like Amazon or eBay. You could even look into a variety of easy online store builders like Shopify, Squarespace, and others.
At the end of the day, you’ll want to pick a platform that is a match for your technical skills and offers you the best deal as far as fees are concerned.
Are your online store grows, do your best to move towards selling through your own self-hosted website if you don’t start there from the get-go. Self-hosted platforms give you the most flexibility as far as your store is concerned and will cost you the least amount of money in fees.
3. Make Your Checkout Process Seamless
No matter which sales platform you use, you’ll want to make sure that its checkout process is as fast and as easy as possible.
Online sales juggernaut BigCommerce estimates that something as small as a 1-second delay can lead to a large company losing millions of dollars a year. For that reason, you’ll want your shopping cart to ask a minimum amount of questions and get people to complete their purchase quickly.
4. Offer Outstanding Customer Service
There are almost 30 million small businesses in the United States alone. That means cut-throat competition and a ton of other people offering the exact same products and services you do.
In order to stand out among all of that clutter, it’s important to knock people out with superb customer service.
When people want to return something, make the return process seamless. When they have questions, answer them in a timely fashion.
Even if difficult customers grind your gears, it’s important to do everything in your power to make their buying experience as beneficial to them as possible.
Happy customers mean good reviews. Good reviews can make or break your business.
5. Market Like Crazy
Our final and perhaps most important point on how to sell merchandise online is to be prepared to market yourself like crazy.
When people approach the question of how to sell merchandise online, they often think that it’s as easy as having a quality product and putting themselves out there. While those are both important pieces of the puzzle, given the fact that there are 1.9 billion websites online, it’s extremely hard to cut through the clutter without a solid marketing plan.
For that reason, you’ll want to get antiquated with SEO, develop a solid social media strategy and even invest in PPC ads to really maximize your business’ growth.
A little bit of time and money in marketing can equal a whole lot more in sales. Because of that, you should never be afraid to invest when it comes to marketing your products.
Wrapping Up How to Sell Merchandise Online
If you’re looking to find out how to sell merchandise online to take advantage of the tremendous opportunity in eCommerce, we recommend taking seriously our list above.
Our tips, when leveraged correctly, can give you the foundation you need to get online and dominate a market fast!
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