Sell Online 101 – Part Four: What should I sell online?
Previously in this blog series, we covered Lisa’s story of how she started to sell online. Read her story here.
You want to sell online. The next question is – What should you sell?
Picking out the right item to sell can be a hard decision, but it doesn’t have to be! How can you decide?
Here’s how Lisa did it –
Lisa has a business selling women’s clothing. Year on year, her business has grown – and now it is a profitable store.
After a while, her sales stopped growing. She wanted to grow her profits, scale up her business, and reach more customers. She decided that the best thing she could do was sell online.
When Lisa decided to sell online, she knew the products she wanted to sell. She used these factors to zero down on the right product:
• Know your audience: As every seller worth his salt will know, the first step for a successful online business is to know your target audience.
Lisa analyzed the demographics, buying behavior etc. of the people she wanted to target before selling to them. Lisa’s Fashions was primarily targeted towards upper middle-class women, who wanted to buy modern, trendy clothes, which were affordable.
• Analyze the market for your product: Maybe you want to sell handcrafted leather bags to Indian middle-class women. Or maybe you want to sell pumps to B2B customers.
Is there enough demand for your product? It is worth thinking about the target market for the products you wish to sell. How will you reach out to your customers? How will you market your products and run promotions? The Global Retail E-commerce Index 2015 shows the hottest selling products –
Identify your business strategy – What are your objectives and do your products fit them? Either you sell niche products and command higher margins but with a limited audience or you sell mass-market products and command lower margins, with a bigger target segment.
Lisa decided that the best strategy for her was to sell fashionable apparel to upper middle-class women with comparatively lower margins, but a greater customer base. She promoted her collection in several ways, ensuring that she used her promotions were her customers were most likely to see them.
If you sell mass-market products, you will find high levels of competition online due to the volumes of products on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay etc. Not only that, margins will almost always be lower.
On the other hand, selling niche products is a good strategy if you can stand out from the crowd, which brings us to the next point.
• Brand yourself – To stand out from the clutter a customer finds online, you need to brand your products – giving them the edge that makes them stand out. For e.g., brands like Happily Unmarried stand out, because of their unique products and quirky identity.
• Pricing – Price your products as per the comfort level of your customers. If you are planning to sell high margin products, ensure that your customers get the pre-sale support they may need to make the purchase decision.
• Shipping – Are you going to be shipping your products yourself? Or are you going to be outsourcing your shipping to marketplaces or third party logistics companies? Shipping can get complicated for beginners. The smaller the products you plan to sell, the lower the shipping costs associated with the products and the lesser the impact on your margins.
These are the factors you should consider when picking the products for your store or marketplace. Like Lisa you can use this list to narrow pick out the products you want to sell online.
Here’s some advice from Industry leader Hadi Curtay about how to select products –
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Any tips or comments for us? Let us know in the comments below.
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