Going out shopping has become a thing of the past, and with the shift in consumer habits, sales have now become impersonal. The technology we possess today make buying and selling merchandise in person an increasingly-outdated activity. With sites such as eBay, Quibids, Beezid, and Craigslist, all it takes for someone to sell something is an account at one of these sites, a bank account to deposit transaction amounts, and a box or envelope for shipping items.
Over the past decade, it’s become easier for businesses and individuals to sell things online. With the internet’s endless variety of outlets, selling online comes down to what site suit your preference and needs.
Things to consider when searching for the right online outlet:
- Are they safe?
- Does the site cater to your company’s brand or your product
- What kind of payment plan do you accept?
Safety has to be the first issue for merchants looking to sell online. They have to make sure that they are not being cheated out of their money, but at the same time they have to make sure they are giving the customer what they ask for to ensure repeat business.
Merchant sites get attacked with malicious viruses quite often, and usually occurs in order to obtain information about the site’s customers. You want to make sure to choose a safe eCommerce platform and that you have a secure internet connection. You can never be too safe these days when it comes to online security. The things to look for when choosing the right security are:
- Is the company reputable?
- Will you have access to information once you post it?
There are many ways to know if sites you are using are reputable, such as:
- How well does the site draw in people?
- Does the site have typographical meaning?
- Does the site use high quality clear photos?
Does the Site Cater to Your Company or Your Product?
Certain sites cater only to specific merchandise. Etsyis is a popular site for merchants who create hand crafted goods. Some people choose to create their own website. As Miva Merchant explains, having your own website for your product isn’t a bad idea for some retailers because you have control over the entire look and operation of the site; you can concentrate on your product and what you are selling without other products appearing in the same sales space.
Creating a Site
If you find that there is no third party site that matches your needs, then create your own online storefront. For a small amount of investment, any business owner can transform the most basic of websites into an eCommerce site that allows consumers to purchase directly from them. Some of the ways to become a high quality eCommerce site are:
- Have a product that is in demand
- Make sure you have a reliable gateway or merchant account
- Set up a website that is inviting and will entice your potential customers to buy from you
- Make sure to set up a reliable delivery method that ensures your client receives their product
One thing that you have to work out when selling online is the matter of payment options: how are you going to receive payment on products that you are selling? These are the things to consider when building your shopping cart:
- Credit cards
- A third party service, such as PayPal.
- Personal checks
- Money orders.
Most merchants use credit cards (or even entities such as PayPal) as their source of payment for the merchandise they sell because their site is safe, and the way they deal with the merchants and customer information is confidential. When you deal with a third party site like PayPal there may or may not be charges for transactions made through them.
When using a credit card machine, there are usually charges made to the merchant facility per swipe (in other words, a service fee paid to the company whose machine or equipment you use).
It might look like a lot of work to set up your own eCommerce site, but the time and effort you put into setting things up correctly will pay off once your business is running. In a lot of situations it’s a case of having to spend money to make money. When you create your eCommerce site you have to keep active in maintaining it; making sure that the site is up and running and always updated is one of the primary roles of being an online merchant.
Making money through sales, especially if it’s online retailing, takes a lot of research. Remember to always check the demographic trends those who define your target market. Set up a safe, secure way of selling the product, and use Search Engine tools to help generate constant traffic. Ensuring you have a reliable and inexpensive way to secure transactions will be a life saver to your prospects and your pocketbook.