Getting your business online has never been easier than it is today. And making sure your customers can purchase your products online has never been more important - especially during COVID. But just because you want to sell online doesn’t mean you need an e-commerce store. There are many ways of using digital platforms you’re already on to sell your products. Here’s a list of ways you can start selling online.
Using Social Media
Posting items on Instagram and asking people to DM to purchase. Many businesses post new products daily or weekly and ask their followers to message them to purchase. This allows you to showcase your products, keeps you top of mind for customers, fills your social media feed with relevant visuals and also increases your engagement.
Posting items on Facebook and asking people to comment or message you to purchase. Similar to Instagram, this method drives engagement and allows you to target people who are already following your business.
Having website visitors fill out an order form or call you on the phone. If you have traffic going to your website add an order form or contact form to your website or encourage people to call to order. This might lead to some back and forth messaging or calling to confirm exactly what they’re looking for, but it’s better than not making a sale!
These options work best for local pick up, because you won’t need to worry about getting shipping addresses, going to the post office or looking up shipping pricing.
Ecwid. This lesser known e-commerce platform is a powerhouse of user-friendly features and compatibility that makes getting your products online relatively painless. It seamlessly integrates with Wix stores as well as many other platforms (Note: Ecwid is not compatible with GoDaddy websites) and also allows you to sell directly on Facebook, Instagram and a bunch of others. You can create a free account and list up to 10 products, though the upgrade to their $15 or $35 package is well worth it considering their extensive list of features and exceptional customer service. Ecwid stores also come with an ‘instant website’, so if you don’t already have a website you have space to tell some of your business story without having to make a separate website.
Shopify. Shopify is a leading e-commerce platform designed for businesses of all sizes that allows anyone to set up an online store and sell their products. Merchants can also sell their products in person with Shopify’s POS system. Shopify stores come in a wide variety of attractive and professional themes, some free and some paid. Shopify offers a free 14 day trial, but it’s paid plans start at $29 a month. Integrating Shopify with your website will usually take more technical knowledge, but they make it easy to use Shopify as your website as well with great looking themes that you can adapt to your brand.
Wix, Squarspace, Weebly, GoDaddy e-commerce. If your website is already built on one of these platforms and you’re looking for something that is fairly easy to use and already integrated with the platform, you could use their built in e-commerce. These platforms are usually a bit limited and have fewer options for product variations, but if your product listing is straightforward it might be all you need.
Facebook Shop. Facebook has built in e-commerce called Facebook Shop, so you can sell directly on their platform and reach all of your existing followers, or advertise to reach more people. Facebook Shops make it easy for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram. Creating a Facebook Shop is free to do, and relatively simple. Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalog and then customize the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colors that showcase their brand.
A few notes about e-commerce:
Do your research before choosing a platform - If you plan on setting up a proper e-commerce store and listing all your products, don’t underestimate the time it will take to set up your store. Once you’ve taken the hours to upload products, details etc, you won’t want to do it again on a different platform, so think carefully about which one is best for you before starting.
Plan your shipping - One of the trickiest parts about starting an e-com store is setting up the shipping. If you sell to people across the country, (or beyond) make sure your shipping settings make sense. The last thing you want is to get an order that ends up costing you money because your customer paid too little for shipping. To encourage customers to buy more, consider having a flat shipping rate for orders over a certain amount.
Start Small - You don’t have to list all your products to begin with. Start with your best sellers, or the products that are easiest to sell online, and add more as you make sales.
Looking to start an online store and not sure how to get started? We can help.