How to sell online?- An Ultimate Guide

Indian eCommerce sector is booming. According to research conducted by Statista, there were 224 million online shoppers in India in 2018 and it is expected to cross 280 million by end of the year 2019. Internet and the explosive growth of smartphones have fueled this growth further. If you have a product to sell, this is the best time to put it online.

For new entrepreneurs, deciding to start an online business is an exciting journey, but it can also be overwhelming and difficult to navigate. Every new business will present its own unique opportunities and challenges. From choosing a product, evaluating it, validating the market, sourcing inventory, building your online storefront, marketing, and fulfillment, there’s a lot to learn.

One of the biggest hurdles for e-commerce entrepreneurs starting their online business is the very first step of figuring out what products to actually sell online.

Look for Product Ideas

Coming up with a great idea for a product to sell online will occasionally strike when you least expect it, most of the time though, it’s something you need to be proactively on the lookout for. The internet contains a wealth of ideas and inspiration, but where exactly should you begin?

Go through all the resources you can find to look for your product ideas. There is heavy competition in the most common and popular product categories, choosing a different or unique angle can be a way to your success. Try not to just look at products, rather look at new ways the product can be used and new markets for it.

  • Local Community: The idea for your perfect product to sell online might be closer than you think. Traditional brick-and-mortar businesses have been around much longer than their e-commerce counterparts. Paying attention to trends locally in retail just might help spark product ideas you can take online.
  • Online Consumer Trend Publications: Following trend publications is a great way to begin getting interesting product ideas or curate new consumer products. Following these publications can also expose you to new product categories and industries that you previously didn’t know about. Start looking at some of the popular online trend publications like Trend watching, trend hunter, etc.
  • Consumer Product Review Blogs: Product review and discovery sites can also be a fantastic source of ideas and inspiration. It’s a better way to get a daily glimpse into the new and interesting products that other entrepreneurs are bringing to the market.

Choose the right platform

The process to market your products online starts with picking the right platform. You can either start with putting your products on marketplaces like Amazon Seller Central, Flipkart Seller, PayTM Smart Seller etc. or create your own e-commerce website using CMS like Opencart, Woocommerce, StoreZigo, and Magento.

Setting up your own eCommerce store is a good way to enter the market. If you have a unique product that only you can source then it can set you up as a brand. However, it is a bit technical and requires expert knowledge to set up the store.

  • Setting up your E-commerce site. Setting up an e-commerce store is a good way to enter the market eCommerce store development platforms allows you to create your own web store and sell online. You have to register on their websites, avail their packages, and upload your product catalog. From organizing the product catalog to ultimate web hosting, everything is taken care of. The interface is easy and no technical knowledge is required. You customize the look and feel of your store. Some of the best platforms include Storezigo, WooCommerce, Opencart etc.
  • Marketplaces. The marketplace model is the easiest and fastest way to sell products online in India. Flipkart and Amazon are the leading marketplaces in India. Other marketplaces include Snapdeal, ShopClues, and Paytm. You can save a huge investment in Marketing cost. You also don’t need to worry about the payment gateway and shipping.

If you are planning to sell your products on marketplaces. You must read our blog: Why sell on a marketplace like Amazon and Flipkart?

Evaluating Market Demand

To begin understanding market demand, you can start with using Google’s Keyword Planner Tool. The Google Keyword Planner Tool allows you to search for keywords to determine how many searches per month are being made for that term on Google, how much competition there is and related search terms. This is a great start point for understanding potential demand.

  • Validating Geographic Demand: We know that people are searching for product information for their use, but who exactly are these people are where in particular do they live? Products and trends can be very specific to geographic regions. So you must investigate where and which geographic region the demand is coming from for your product.
  • You can use Google Trends that will display the overall trend for your keyword it can also show you the top countries and cities that are searching for your particular keywords.
  • Social Media Verification: It’s time to look at interest and demand on social media. Twitter and Facebook are effective sources for looking at market potential and product interest. Using social media to research your product reveals the volume of conversation surrounding your product idea.

Design an eCommerce Business Model

The business model should contain the details of the business concept, market research, marketing plan, operations plan, and financial planning. Find out products that have good margin after considering all those costs. Few important costs that you must calculate are Taxes, Shipping Cost, Packaging Cost, Payment Gateway Cost, Storage Cost, and marketing Cost.

Create a digital catalog of your products

Create a list of all products in a spreadsheet that you can import to eCommerce marketplaces or self-hosted web store. This list should contain Product Code (or SKU), Product Name, Description, Category, Selling Price, Discount (If any), Brand, Colour and other applicable attributes.

It is better to get organized from day one. You can also create a simple checklist for doing quality checks, packaging, invoicing, etc. This will all help you when your web store is ready and running.

Use A Good Inventory Management Software

Inventory management systems are used to monitor inventory levels as well as orders and deliveries. The system tells you when you are likely to run out of stock so that you can order items in advance. This reduces the chances of stock outages and ensures you always have enough goods in hand to serve the needs and demands of customers. Some of the software even provide inventory sync option with your shopping cart or marketplace account.