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How It Is Difficult To Get Started E-commerce
The market share of purchases via the Internet has been growing for years and is becoming increasingly noticeable at the expense of traditional retail. 76% of Germans now buy goods and services online, which means that the share of online trade in total retail is constantly increasing. More and more brick-and-mortar retailers are considering entering online trading and expanding their businesses.
The goal of many retailers is to increase sales through sales outside their regional catchment area. Another advantage can be better utilization of the business. Even if inventories have become too high and certain purchased items have not sold well, it is much easier to sell them on the web than if the sale is limited to the customer base of the stationary shop. Online sales can also pay into the existing brick-and-mortar store, for example by making customers aware of the store up close or by negotiating better terms thanks to higher purchasing quantities.
Anyone planning to get started as a retailer faces a whole series of questions. In this series of topics, we would like to address the most important questions about getting started in online trading. We start with these three important questions at the beginning:
1 Which products are suitable for online trading?
2 How do I find the right sales channel on the web? Does an own online shop make sense or should I offer through marketplaces or should I combine both?
3 What information do I need about my products?
1. Which products are suitable for online trading?
If you want to get started as a stationary retailer in online trading, you should first check which products in your own range are suitable for online trading. To do this, you should first analyze the situation using the usual online sales channels. These include eBay, Amazon and online shops.
So in order to find out which products you should start trading with online, sales in the offline business could provide you with the first clues. Create a list of products that sell well offline and also list their procurement costs for the items.
It is fair to assume that products that are rarely bought offline tend to be bought less online. Nevertheless, you should keep the products in mind and take a look at the situation in online retail. Because, via the Internet, niche target groups can be reached much better, so that some shopkeepers can certainly have potential.
In addition to the popular products from your own store, it is worth keeping track of sales trends and popular items on Amazon and eBay. On eBay you can see the best-selling products and product trends under the item Most Popular Products . On Amazon you can see the bestsellers for the different categories. At the same time, you can assess the popularity of individual products at the Amazon bestseller rank.
An important aspect for the analysis is the price. Look for the market prices of the products you have targeted for online sales. Compare the prices on the different sales channels. Price search engines such as Google Shopping or idealo are also suitable for this. Check if you can keep up with the existing price level.
In addition to the product price, also note the costs for services and packaging and shipping. Is it common for the products (and platforms) that you want to offer that the shipping costs have already been included in the sales price? A free shipping for the customer may set you apart from the competition and also offers you better positioning in the search results in some marketplaces (e.g. eBay). Think about how quickly you can ship after placing an order and compare how quickly your competitors do.
2. How do I find the right sales channel on the web? Does an own online shop make sense or should I offer through marketplaces or should I combine both?
Next, you should ask yourself the question of which sales channels you want to use to offer your products.
In many markets there is already great competition, with the result that it is often not easy for individual smaller providers to assert themselves. Even if there is great potential for retailers in e-commerce, you should position yourself as a beginner with intelligent software solutions that support all of your online trading. With the right tools, you speed up and professionalize your trade and ensure that your sales are increased effectively.
When considering where you want to sell on the Internet, you should consider the cost of acquiring new customers. Depending on the items you sell, it can be difficult with a limited marketing budget to gain enough customers for your own online shop.
At this point, it may make sense to sell your products through well-frequented marketplaces. A sale via such a platform costs between 4.5 and 10.5 percent on eBay and between 7 and 20 percent on Amazon of the sale price. The advantage that this brings is that this approach almost automatically brings “walk-in customers” to their own offers. After all, the first two places in e-commerce are occupied by Amazon and eBay, with a clear gap to other companies.
In addition to selling through online marketplaces, your own online shop is also suitable for a sensible and easy entry to test your own products or your own price and marketing strategy online. Here you have no competitive products right next to your products, but you also have to take care of your visitors independently. There are no marketplace fees for this. And you can completely define your own rules of the game: how long the delivery time is, how long it takes you to answer customer inquiries or how you handle returns.
If you sell through different channels, it makes sense to cleverly divide the range across the channels. There may be products from your range that can be better sold on eBay, and a separate web shop might be more suitable for others. As a rough guideline, you can state that for all items that you need to sell in large quantities, selling through a marketplace is more suitable - if only because of the high reach.
In order to generate sales for sales via multiple channels, such as stationary business, your own online shop and marketplaces, you should use powerful software (such as VIA-eBay). Such a system helps you to save time and customer-friendly sales through your own online shop and at the same time on eBay with no additional effort for listing on eBay and no effort for inventory matching between the channels.
3. What information do I need about my products?
Now that you know in step 1 which products you want to sell at which prices and in step 2 you have considered which channel you want to sell them through, it is time for the next step.
If you want to sell on eBay or in your own online shop, you need photos and descriptions for your products. You do not need photos or product descriptions to sell on Amazon, because sales are controlled on this platform via product codes (more information on this later).
If you want to sell via your own web shop or, for example, eBay, you must also be able to present your products clearly. We recently published a detailed article on what optimal offers look like on eBay . Since, unlike in your shop, there is no direct contact person in the online shop and an interested customer cannot touch the product, try it out or study the packaging texts, the images and the description texts must fulfill this task. In addition to the orientation that this offers, good descriptive texts also help with search engine optimization (eBay SEO) .
If you work on identifiable product codes and sell them on Amazon, for example, your own photos and product description texts are superfluous. For products already known from Amazon, there is only one product detail page on the platform, to which the various providers then attach themselves. So photos and descriptive text already exist and cannot be customized on Amazon - unless you are the only provider of this article.
These unique product codes have long been mandatory for trading on Amazon and eBay is also converting to them. If several retailers sell the same product via Amazon, they must use the same product details page and compete for the shopping cart field (Amazon SEO) , also known as the buy box . Without a corresponding product code, articles can only be listed with an explicit exception by Amazon .
Basically you need clear product codes (such as an EAN or GTIN number or an ISBN number) for the listing of new goods at Amazon. Articles can be "mapped" for a listing of standard products (catalog products) using the EAN / GTIN code on Amazon, ie if an article already exists on Amazon, you have to attach to the offer using the ASIN.
In a further step, you need available quantities of goods for your products. How often do you have a certain item in stock? You should think about how you can make sure that you don't have over-sales and upset customers. When selling through multiple channels at the same time, it can easily happen that if you order in a timely manner via different channels, you have sold more than you currently have in stock. Customers, but also marketplaces, are very allergic to such circumstances. If this happens to you more often, this can also mean, for example, the exclusion from a marketplace, because they pay close attention to good seller performance.
This great article is written by the expert Marketing team of Folio3 which is one of the top bigcommerce agency in all over the World.
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