If you’re new to business, selling products can seem like a daunting task. And to sell products online can seem even more daunting.
We hear you and you’re at the right place. If you have a product to sell or want to know about selling online, this blog post will guide you. You’ll know everything from choosing a product and setting up a business to getting your first customer with examples. This blog is also packed with free resources to help you sell products online profitably.
Benefits of selling products online
Selling online has many benefits ranging from flexibility to customer reach. As compared to a physical store, you have many advantages of starting an eCommerce business.
Selling products online in India has immense potential because more consumers prefer online shopping. And this rise in eCommerce will grow exponentially in the coming years, according to recent reports.
The market value of the eCommerce industry in India is estimated to reach 200 billion dollars by 2027.
Some benefits of selling products online include:
- A 24/7 shop
- Lesser investments
- Wider customer base
- Location flexibility
To know more about the advantages and disadvantages of eCommerce, read this detailed guide.
How to sell products online in India?
These are the steps you need to take to start selling products online easily:
- Choose products to sell
- Create a business plan
- Decide where to sell online
- Create an online store
- Set up social media
- Market your products
Choosing products to sell online
If you already have products to sell online or looking to sell handmade products online, you can skip this part. Read on to find out how to select and source products for your online business.
What type of products can you sell online?
You can sell mainly three kinds of products online: physical, digital, and service-based. Physical products include any material commodity — clothing, cosmetics, furniture, home decor, etc. To know more about each of these categories, check out our blog posts on selling different products online.
Digital products are a profitable category of products to sell online. They include non-tangible items such as ebooks, courses, and templates. Read our detailed blog on how to sell digital products online to know more about this.
As for service-based businesses, online platforms are a good way to find leads and customers. You can sell a service-based business on your own online store or build a landing page for the same. Here’s a resource to guide you on starting a service-based eCommerce business.
Choosing products for your business is a challenging aspect, especially if you don’t know where to start. If you’re confused about how to choose a product to sell online, consider these factors:
- Trending products
- Profit margin
- Require less capital to start
- Product-market fit
We’ll discuss more about doing market research to find the best product for your business.
To give you some ideas for products, here’s a blog on the trending products to sell online in 2022. Also, if you’re looking to sell on the government e-marketplace, here’s a quick guide to help you choose products.
Source your product
Your next step is to obtain products. You have many options when it comes to sourcing products for your online store. To get products in bulk, you can go for a wholesaler such as Alibaba and IndiaMart. You could also search on marketplaces such as Etsy and ExportersIndia.
Another option is to manufacture your own line of products. Although the upfront costs will be higher, you will be able to produce unique products that are under your label. Also, if you want to create products on a small scale, you can sell your handmade products online.
Planning your business
Turn your business idea into reality by planning it out with market research and a proper business plan.
Do market research
To determine if your product idea has enough scope to succeed online, you need to conduct a market research before you start business. This means to study the market and your ideal customer. And you need to analyse if your product will be a good fit in the market. This will further help you in marketing your product and save you a lot of trial and error when selling.
Conducting market research before selling will help you find out if the market is oversaturated for your product and whether or not it has potential to scale your business.
Here’s what you need to do a basic market research:
- Keyword research to determine what your customers are searching for
- Define your ideal customer: Narrow down who you will be selling to
- Does your product solve a pain point of your target audience? The best products are the ones that solve a problem.
- Research your competitors
Create a business plan
Now that you have decided on what products to sell online and done your market research, put all that information down as a business plan. Here’s what a business plan for an eCommerce store should include:
- Target market research
- Marketing and sales
- Finance and funding
- Here’s a resource for free business plan templates to help you get started.
Decide where to sell products online
You have three main options to sell products online:
Your own eCommerce website
One option to sell online is on your own eCommerce website. Here, you can upload products, collect payments, manage orders, and shipping. In short, like a physical store, you will have a digital storefront where you can handle all business functions.
As a physical store will have staff for different functions, your online store will have eCommerce tools and features for tasks such as customer service, marketing, invoicing, and shipping.
There are many advantages of selling products on your own website:
- Helps your brand to become DTC which drives more sales than other business models, according to recent studies.
- An eCommerce website helps increase customer loyalty
- You will be able to provide multiple payment options, including cash-on-delivery, which is favoured by many online shoppers.
- Offer customers a smooth and secure online shopping experience.
Evidently, many online shoppers favour and trust businesses with their own websites where they can shop easily. So, having an online store is crucial to sell products online.
Here’s how you can set up an online store on Instamojo for free:
- Sign up on Instamojo with your email address
- Name your store and select a category
- Fill in details of your products
- Choose a theme that goes with your brand (more themes are available on premium store version)
- Add products, product images, and descriptions
- Customise your store by adding logos and other pages
- Launch your online store and start selling.
Here’s a short video to help you get started on your online business journey:
How Pulpbrew sells beverages online with an online store
Pulpbrew, founded by Vakula, sells nutrition-packed, preservative-free smoothies through her online store. As you can see, the Pulpbrew store is as vibrant as the products they sell.
Want to start your own beautiful online store easily? You can get started for free on Instamojo and create the store of your dreams!
Selling on Social media
Social media has evolved beyond just a platform for networking and entertainment. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are used by brands to connect with their audience and make sales online.
Selling products on Facebook
The easiest way to sell on Facebook is by creating a Facebook store and list your products. Facebook shopping and Facebook marketplace were launched to help small businesses start selling online easily. So, this is a good option if you’re new to the online market.
Another way to sell on Facebook is to use an online store and automatically link your products to your Facebook store page.
Many small business owners have conquered the online market by selling on Facebook. For example, Sangeetha, founder of Sangeetha Kalamkari Studio shows her viewers beautiful sarees on Facebook live and gives her audience a LIVE demo. Soon after this, orders start pouring in. And Sangeetha has managed to build a successful business with just Facebook.
Here’s a quick guide about selling on Facebook to help you get started.
Selling on Instagram
Instagram has evolved beyond just a photo-sharing app and has become a place for business. In fact, 81% of people sell products on Instagram use it to research products and services.
Many businesses have grown with just an Instagram page. So, you can also sell your products online with Instagram if you follow the right steps. Here’s a resource with a list of Instagram content ideas for businesses.
Here’s a basic check point of what you need to sell your products on Instagram:
- A business account
- High quality product images and videos, optimised to appropriate dimensions
- List of hashtags to use for small business and gain followers on Instagram
- Ability to collect and manage orders through comments and chats
To fast forward your growth on Instagram, you can also do influencer marketing. Also, creating engaging reels related to your business is also a great way to reach new customers.
Want to know more about growing your business on Instagram? Enrol for this free MojoVersity course.
Selling on Instagram can become inefficient as more orders start coming in. So, it’s always best to have an online store where your customers can easily look up prices of your products and purchase them, instead of going back and forth.
An online store takes away the task of managing orders and payments from your hands. This leaves you more time for other business activities. Here’s what Sharon Isaiah, founder of TheUpperRoom has to say about selling on Instagram:
“Selling on Instagram was working out well at the beginning. But once orders started pouring in, collecting payments manually and answering customer queries became inefficient. That’s when I decided to create an online store. I tried out the free version of Instamojo online store. Later, I upgraded to the premium store version, which took my business to a whole new level!”
Want to make selling products online easier? Sign up on Instamojo for your free online store.
Selling on Pinterest
Selling on Pinterest is a good option if you have a highly visual product. Pinterest users love browsing clothes, jewellery and art. So, start a business account on Pinterest and start pinning your products aesthetically.
The key to converting your Pinterest followers to customers is by linking your pins to an online storefront where they can make the purchase.
Selling on Marketplace
Platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart where different brands sell their products to a common audience are called marketplaces. Online marketplaces attract millions of shoppers every month and are undoubtedly the platforms where the most online sales are made.
Also, nine out of 10 consumers will check Amazon for a product, even if they found that product on another site. This means that online shoppers trust Amazon more.
According to Marketing Charts, 63% of shoppers who head to Amazon at the start of their product search journey. This points to the fact that if you don’t sell on Amazon, you’re missing out on many customers who will discover your product.
The disadvantage of selling on marketplaces is that you will need to pay a margin to the platform (ranging anywhere between 5% and 30%). This cuts into your profit margin and also doesn’t give you pricing freedom.
To make your online selling strategy more inclusive, you can opt for different channels to sell products. We would recommend having an eCommerce website as your main channel and online marketplaces as subsidiary channels to spread brand awareness.
What you need to sell online: a checklist
Now that we have covered what you need to know to start selling products online, here’s a checklist that summarises everything you will need to get started:
- A mobile device or laptop with internet connection
- An eCommerce website
- Social media handles
- Shipping services
And that’s it! These four things are all you need to start selling your products online.
Among these, setting up shipping might be the most difficult task. But with the correct strategy and the right shipping partner, you can easily set up shipping for your eCommerce business.
Here’s a list of affordable courier partners to help you get started.
If you have an online store, you don’t have to worry about finding a shipping partner. On your Instamojo online store, you will get access to top courier services and link it to your store. And you don’t have to worry about timely delivery of products.
Get started and create your own online store.
To set up your online business and profitably sell products, here are some other tasks you need to take care of:
- Write good product descriptions
- Take proper product photographs
- Figure out a pricing strategy
- Prepare an emergency fund for your business
- Ads and marketing
Get sales and customers
Once you set up your online business, the next step is to get your first sale. Now, if you’re selling on an online marketplace, you don’t have to worry about marketing as thousands of people shop there everyday.
But for any other platform, you need to take measures to market your products and bring in customers. Here are some methods to get more customers to buy your products online.
SEO (Search engine optimization)
For customers to buy your products, they need to find your business. And how exactly do you make your online store ‘findable’ to the millions of online shoppers out there? That’s where SEO comes in — search engine optimisation.
Although the name might seem complicated, it’s actually a simple concept that can make your store reach a wider audience.
SEO is about optimising your online store to make it search engine friendly so that people who search for products related to yours can find it easily. The basic process of SEO includes:
- Finding keywords that match your products
- Writing product descriptions with those keywords
- Optimising image size
- Solving technical issues of your website
- What is the strategy for backlinks?
- Will there be any on-page optimization?
- What tools will be used to perform audits, keyword research, and reporting?
- What is the content strategy?
- Any previous references?
In simple words, implementing SEO best practices gives your online store more chances of ranking. To know more about ranking your store on Google, here’s a quick guide on eCommerce SEO to get you started.
Emails are one of the most effective conventional ways of engaging your customers when it comes to eCommerce. Here are some tips to use emails to acquire and retain customers:
- Send out educational content
- Consistently send out a series of emails instead of one
- Personalise your message
- Employ the art of storytelling
Read this blog about email marketing for your online business to know more.
Even if you don’t intend to use social media to sell products online, your business needs an account on major social platforms, especially where your target audience are. And this will help you build your brand and connect with potential customers.
In fact, according to a study by BigCommerce, online stores with a social media presence have an average of 32% more sales than those that don’t. So, social media will help you build a long-term business.
If you want to know the step-by-step process of setting up social media for your business, read this blog.
Start selling products online
Once you know the basics, it’s very easy to start selling products online. And you’ll figure out the rest along the way.
The key to starting a profitable business online is to identify the right kind of products and set clear goals. Once you’ve done that, you just need to decide on which platform you want to sell products. Although you can choose multiple channels to sell, it’s best to have one channel as your priority.
And the channel that enables you to grow and scale your business online is your own online store.
Unlock your business potential by signing up for a free online store at Instamojo!