Selling online is a great way to make money, but it is not as simple as it seems. From marketing your product, to accepting returns, there are key things to know prior to engaging in an online sales endeavor.
1. Learn the marketplace
Every marketplace is different. Do your research prior to posting your product, and learn where people are shopping the most. A simple search helps you check how marketplaces rank in terms of customer satisfaction, popularity, and sales.
2. Mind the aesthetics
Aesthetics are everything. Whether you are selling on eBay, or out of your Instagram page, be consistent on how you present your product. Keeping a consistent filter, showing pictures with clear graphics, and using backgrounds of a solid color will make it more appealing for customers to visit you than if you present them with a catalog that is, literally, “all over the place.”
3. Transparency is key
“The product is not as described.” This common nuisance is one of the top reasons why products get returned. While returns are, indeed, annoying, there are state laws that protect buyers from potential scammers. Consumer transactions are closely looked at by the law, for which it is important that you fully describe your product in all three categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly. De-fluff your product description. Say what it is, what it is for, who could be using it, and state the condition of the product from top to bottom.
4. Make the rules. Keep the rules
Check your marketplace’s policies for returns and exchanges and have a copy of the rules for unruly or difficult buyers. If you are operating on your own, be sure to write your return policy under every single product description. Also, state whether you will be flexible about your policy. For example, make the decision of whether you will consider a return/replacement when something you sell is broken in transit, or gets lost or stolen.
• Shipping charges
• Shipping company
• Payment method
• Average wait time for the product to arrive
• Type of packing you will use (bubble wrap, fabric)
• Insurance charges
5. Expect anything from buyers
This sounds somewhat argumentative, but it is a realistic statement to make. As much as you may know your target market, you do not know the individual that is purchasing your product. You also do not know if the buyer is plain difficult and likes to complain or change his or her mind after making purchases. Do not take it personal or feel let down if a buyer suddenly turns on you. Expect the unexpected and keep on going.
6. Broadcast Yourself: Be your product’s biggest fan
Yes, you want to make some money. However, you are ultimately the primary motivator to move your product off the shelf. Be its biggest “cheerleader.” One of the most effective ways to sell is YouTube. A YouTube channel showing your products will help increase sales. However, you can get the same out of a regular video showing how the product works and how much you recommend it.
7. Someone out there is selling cheaper than you are
Keep in mind that, for a variety of reasons, someone out there has the capacity of selling more for less. When deciding a value for your product, research the market and be willing to offer it at a competitive price, albeit lesser at first, just to speed up the movement. Therefore, consider throwing sales, offering half price items, or perhaps a BOGO (buy one, get one half-price or free) sale here and there. Sometimes, in order to get more, we need to give a little more than we expect.
8. Keep it basic
When conducting business, just follow the basic steps of good communication. Be concise, transparent, professional, and provide accurate descriptions. The best way to attract buyers is by using clarity in language and a sincere approach that lets the buyer know that you are not in it for the scam or to get rich off them. You are going to sell a product, and that should remain your focus throughout the process.