Possibly the oldest business model of all-time is also the most familiar: Selling your physical products. It’s a concept we’re all familiar with, and we see it play out from the corner lemonade stand to Mrs Fields Cookies. I have something you want, so I sell it to you. Simple and straightforward.
When selling online, however, there are a few questions to answer: 1. What am I going to sell? 2. How am I going to accept payment? 3. How will I let people know about my products? 4. How will I handle fulfilment and customer service?
Let’s look at each of those questions in turn.
1. What am I going to sell? Choose a product that is of interest to the majority of your readers. For instance, if you have a Hawaiian vacation blog, your readers won’t necessarily come to you for the brand-new flea collar you invented. A few might be interested, but keeping synergy between your blog theme and your product is essential. Any disconnect will lead to confusion on the part of your blog readers, and confusion leads to distrust. Sell those Hawaiian vacation dreamers your ukelele music CD, or your audio guide to the Big Island, or posters you’ve made from photographs you took on your last excursion to Maui.
2. How am I going to accept payment? Ten years ago, would-be online entrepreneurs would have had to dream up some complicated workaround for customers to get the cash. Now, we’ve got some options. The easiest is PayPal, which will allow your customers to pay using their credit card, debit card, or PayPal balance. Go to www.paypal.com and click on “Business” for more information. PayPal can help you create “buy now” buttons for your site, issue invoices, and more, and it is easily integrated into your blog.
If you outgrow PayPal, there are some shopping cart services you can check out, including 1shoppingcart.com, Thrivecart.com, and many more (we’re not affiliated with any of them). These services are more expensive than PayPal but will add functionality you may eventually desire, such as affiliate management.
3. How will I let people know about my products? Marketing your wares is an essential part of your business plan. No matter how good your mousetrap, ukelele CD, or homemade cookies are, if no one knows about them, no one can buy them. You can spread the word through forums, search engine optimisation (SEO), Google AdWords, Facebook advertisements, and some other methods. The key is to know beforehand how you’re going to tell people about your products.
4. How will I handle fulfilment and customer service? Unless you enjoy making numerous trips to the post office and answering calls 24/7, as you grow, you will need to have a scalable plan for shipping out orders and handling customer questions and complaints. You can outsource fulfilment to a local business or individual or through a service like Amazon’s amazonservices.com. Likewise, you can outsource customer service to a virtual assistant, or to a company that specialises in customer service.
Selling your goods online can be a profitable and satisfying way to make your mark on the online world – and to make money! Many businesses of all sizes incorporate a physical sales component to their offerings.
If you need help in setting up your blog or promote your blog via SEO, Facebook, Google Adwords, or even setup an eCom store, give TaagMe a call today. We have in-house experts who can help you.