Have you ever wondered how people are making so much money online by selling products or services they don’t even own? I want to show you how to open a free online store, help you get started right away and get a good grip on the processes involved in running your own successful online business.
If you are a successful online store owners then please share with us your experiences in the comments section below.
Why Sell Online?
Selling is one of the oldest occupations on the planet and goes back to early civilisations before there were even currencies, people would trade items and produce for something of similar value between one another on a daily basis. The monetary value of these item came a lot later on.
Ecommerce was first invented back in 1979 but was actually used in 1981 by a travel company. Obviously in these early years there were literally just a handful of people that had the ability to use these new methods so it wasn’t very popular at all until gradually more and more people started to have access to the internet in the early 90’s.
The internet would dramatically change the way the whole world did business and so online selling started to take hold.
Today, more and more high street stores are suffering as a direct result of the effect of online sales.
Benefits of buying online.
Cheaper Prices. Online sellers do not have the same outlay that high street outlets have on a month to month basis and now with smart phones being an additional tool for online selling, both buyers and sellers can have instant access to millions of online stores and even run their businesses from the palm of their hands.
Convenience of being able to shop from anywhere.
The downside of online sales
Although incredibly efficient and convenient to be able to buy online, the downside is that you cannot see what your are actually buying until it arrives at your front door. This can be quite frustrating especially when it comes to buying clothes online.
Delivery times are one of the major problems here. You can find some incredibly cheap products online but you need to know where they will be sent from. In some cases the delivery times can be weeks.
Open to fraud.
How Do I Start To Sell Online?
Before I get into this, there is something that I want you to be aware of here right from the start, this will not be an easy ride straight out of the gate!
Please don’t think that you can just set up a website, throw a few well-chosen items on it and then start selling straight away, that is the easy part, believe me! The tough part is to get traffic to your site and to build trust between you and your customers, without trust, you will never make your first sale. More about that later.
Do I Have To Hold A Lot Of Products?
No, contrary to popular belief, as an online store holder you absolutely don’t need to hold an inventory of products to sell them, in fact you never need to see the products.
There are a few methods in which you can do this but by far the easiest is to use supplier integration that comes with your store building software.
To simplify this, you decide what you want to sell, you then find a supplier of that product, you then add their product to your website then when you make a sale, you send the supplier the customer information and they will send the product and pay you a percentage of that sale, in some cases this is all done automatically. Simple right?
This not only gives the supplier new customers and sales but it also makes you a nice commission for literally doing some marketing and letting the rest take care of itself. Now if you do this right, then a few hundred sales a month can make you a nice little income.
How Do I Build A Site?
Don’t worry, this is the simple part. There are a few ways you can do this and as you get into it you will probably want to look at the alternatives but for now I would like to recommend that you open a free account with > Shopify.
Shopify is an all in one platform that will let you build a beautiful ecommerce website, load it with products and set up PayPal for payments so that you can start to earn money right away.
Shopify has come along in leaps and bounds over that last few years and you can set up a free account for the first 14 days to learn how it all works.
Here is the price plan after your 14 day trial expires.
The $29 package is the next one to choose for your store until you start to make more sales further down the line at which point you can upgrade as you need to.
The site is very easy to use and you will have a new website up and running in just a few minutes. There are many templates to choose from and once you are up and running you can choose your own domain name to personalize your new store.
What Do I Sell? – Choosing A Niche
While you are setting up your store you will need to choose a niche market that you will be aiming your products at. Ideally there needs to be a demand for what you are selling so that it will be easier to sell your products.
There are a number of ways to choose a niche and a few things you need to know first. This is a massive subject and if you do your research online then you will soon know that many people believe that you should stick to one niche while a lot of others believe that a store with many products is better.
You will have to decide this for yourself and don’t restrict yourself at the beginning. I would advise building a general store to start with that can be changed further down the line because you will find that you will want to try out different products to sell.
There are literally hundreds of Niches to choose from and some people do better in certain niches than others. Here are some popular examples:
- Model Trains
- Arts & Crafts
- Doll Houses
- Home Brewing
- Deep Sea Fishing
These are just a few but if you do your research you will find that there are many more to choose from out there. Once you have chosen your niche you can then start to add related products to your new site and start to play around with the design.
How Do I get My Store Noticed?
The next thing is to make your first sale. This is not as simple as you might think and this is where literally hundreds of new store owners fall down.
You have to understand that there is a process that people go through before buying online. People will research a product first then the will visit around 3 to 4 different websites before deciding to buy.
People will be more likely to buy from a website that they have bought from before and if you are completely new to this then the chances are your new Shopify website will look very amateur in its design which will put people off.
Your site will develop over time and as you start to add content and products with reviews, you will start to get higher rankings in search engines which will start to generate you more sales. Unfortunately most people will expect this to happen overnight but of course it will not.
It will take some time before you start to get noticed and make sales so be patient! There is something you can do.
This is where you can start to talk about your products and even write reviews that others can search for online. I mentioned above that people research products before they commit to buying so why not start to write reviews on everything you are selling in your store.
At the bottom of your review you can add links to your store so that your readers can buy if they like what they read.
Set yourself up a dedicated page for your store on Facebook and start to add links to your reviews and store from there. Write engaging posts that get people’s attention and that will start discussions.
Open up accounts in all the following social media platforms and start to post links to your reviews and online store.
These are the most popular social media platforms right now and if you start to post regularly, they will serve you well in time.
Just a small point to note, with social media postings, try not to just post website links all the time, they start to look at this as spamming and you may have your account revoked.
Post regular comments about your niche and how they have benefited you and other so that it is not obvious that you are trying to make a sale. Make them interesting and engaging.
Most of the social media platforms above will allow you to advertise with them for a small fee. By far the best at the moment is Facebook and Pinterest for traffic generation.
Facebook will allow you to target specific audiences and demographics which is incredibly powerful for generating sales. Be careful to set up monthly budgets for these adverts to start with and if you don’t make any sales in a few days then modify the advert and try again until you find a combination that works.
Maintaining good relationship with your customers is so important not just in the early stages of your new site but throughout the life of your site. Replying to any queries immediately will get you good reviews, repeat sales and recommendations.
Write your email to you customers in a personal and polite manner and always use the customers name.
My Advice For Your Success
Please be patient, as I said earlier, this will never happen overnight. Some of the most successful people online are those that have been consistent in the approach to the online stores. They know there is a market for what they are selling and when they don’t make sales they absolutely know that they will as longs as they stay in the game.
Stay in touch with other sellers. Get yourself involved with seller groups on Facebook, there are loads out there and start to ask questions. Post your results and be accountable for what happens in your business.
Use the right tools
Having the right tools at your disposal is essential here. As you set up your site you will notice that there are a lot of different tools that you can add to your site to make it a better experience for your visitors.
Email capture software is a great one to use and you can then send regular emails to your growing customer base for new products and offers as they come in.
The Future Is Ecommerce
More and more people are now shopping online and you have started this at the right time. There are people that say that ecommerce and Shopify is dying out, look at who these messages are coming from, it is mostly from those that have failed to make a success online because they gave up so soon.
A large percentage of worldwide sales is done online these days and you just have to look at the shops closing on the high street to see that this is true.
I wish you all the best in your new business and if you need any advice in setting up your new store then please do drop me a line or add your comments below.