Selling online can be among the easiest businesses to go into. After all, one needs only a computer and a reliable online connection to be able to launch one. One avoids the huge capital expense of putting up or renting a brick-and-mortar store. In fact, you may be technically savvy enough to design your own digital shop.
However, you are sadly mistaken if you think it is a walk-in-the-park.
There are pitfalls to watch out for:
According to Business Gateway, customers will be put off by:
- out-of-date or incorrect information
- difficult site navigation and purchasing processes
- poor customer fulfilment and late delivery
- lack of customer support
- lack of business information
- poor visual design
To make customers feel secure about buying from your site, you should:
- make your site easy to navigate and user friendly
- make sure photographic images on your site are accurate and show products in their best light
- hire a customer service representative who can give advice on the phone to customers on more complex or expensive products
- make ordering procedures straightforward and quick
- confirm orders immediately by email
- be honest, i.e., tell the customer if you can’t deliver on time
- provide a way for customers to track down the progress and availability of their order.
On the other hand, Automatic Finance.com urges aspiring e-preneurs to be wary of the following potential pitfalls:
High marketplace fees
Big name marketplaces like Amazon and eBay may provide you with a swift and easy way to sell your items, but high visibility can come at a cost. Large marketplaces like these charge you a percentage of each sale, and the fees can vary widely from site to site. Be sure to read the fine print carefully so that you understand the fee structure and the bite it will take out of your profit margin. If you compare options, you may choose a localized marketplace like OLX (formerly known as Sulit), Lazada or Zalora in the Philippines.
Scam responses to ads
Online selling inevitably involves dealing with the occasional scam email. Whether you’ve set up an official ecommerce website, are selling products on your blog, or have listed an old smartphone on eBay, you may end up with fishy emails to sift through. If you receive an email that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Delete these types of emails, and never ship an item without payment.
Restrictions on marketing
Selling a product online allows you to share your listing with your social networks, or list it on multiple marketplaces. Yet it’s also possible that you could limit your marketing efforts by sticking with a large vendor like Amazon, who could restrict your listing or your ability to communicate with customers.
In addition to listing fees, always check to find out what the cancellation policy is with any listings site you’re considering. Some will allow you to write your own policy, and decide whether you will allow returns or not. The location where you’re selling will also have an impact on whether or not the customer is allowed to cancel a purchase at the last minute..
Photo credit: http://www.100tech.in/2015/11/sell-online.html