Every day there are more entrepreneurs who join the digital age to create their businesses on an online platform . In addition, according to the V Annual Study of eCommerce in Spain 2019 carried out by IAB Spain and Elogia , it reflects that 7 out of 10 Internet users purchase their products online. This is equivalent to 19.4 million Spaniards aged between 16 and 65 years. (You can see the results of this study here)
But running a business , regardless of whether it is physical or virtual, is not an easy job. You have to know the market where you are going to market to know how to sell online..
In this article I am going to talk to you about online commerce, so that you know what the advantages and disadvantages of this type of business are and you can choose the best option for you. In addition, I will teach you what are the products that you can sell online and how you should do it.
The advantages of having an online business
At this point, surely you already know that an internet business has a number of benefits, hence the success it has achieved. I will mention the most important advantages:
Fast and cheap service
Of all the benefits that the cyber age has, this is the determining factor that drives a person to create an online business. Either starting one from scratch or moving the one you already have to the digital market.
The initial investment to create a traditional business can be impossible to afford. However, new entrepreneurs look for the online option to create their businesses, since they will only have to cover the expenses related to the connection to the web, the purchase of the domain, its digital hosting through a server, the design of the online site and platform maintenance.
These expenses, compared to a physical store, are much lower because it will not be necessary to pay the rent for a place, buy the equipment to equip it or have employees to take care of it. These are fixed expenses that you must pay from time to time and that the online business does not have, which makes it an economical service.
In addition, if your business is based on the sale of digital products, you would be saving storage rent, expenses in the mass production of items, as well as the cost of inventory management, packaging and shipping services.
Therefore, as the initial investment costs are lower and the market is broader, you will be able to recover the capital invested in an online business much faster than in a physical business.
Its opening is faster than the traditional business , since it can take days or months while the necessary documents are processed (building licenses, opening license, etc.).
On the other hand, for an online business, you will only have to click on it several times and in a matter of minutes, you will already have a completely online business.
Open all day
Internet offers you the possibility that your business is available to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. That is, accessibility at any time and on any day, completely eliminating working hours and business hours.
Nothing better than being your own boss , since only you decide how to manage your business. You will impose the rules to follow and you will not have to depend on employees or third parties.
Without a doubt, the internet opens the doors to a market where geographical barriers do not exist. Therefore, your business will be available to anyone anywhere in the world. It will only be necessary to connect to the internet through a computer or a mobile device so that your potential clients can easily find you.
This advantage will allow you to have a greater reach, exploring new markets and increasing the number of potential customers. Physical stores do not offer this benefit, since their market is more limited.
To manage your online business you will not need to be a computer expert or have advanced knowledge of software. Nowadays, the internet offers you endless tools so that you can create your personalized digital business according to your preferences, and also to help you keep it constantly updated.
Once you choose the platform where you will establish your business, it will also provide you with a series of templates. Those that will allow you to take advantage of all the properties of online businesses through simple and uncomplicated management from the comfort of your home.
Access to new and extensive distribution channels
With the beginning of the new cybernetic era, advertising through local newspapers, brochures or pamphlets was left in the past to give way to advertising through social networks. These form a wide information channel that will allow you to obtain a greater reach to your target audience through completely free advertising.
By having an online business, you can have unlimited access to the opinion of your public . Therefore, you will be able to know instantly what your clients like and what they don’t, and thus you will be able to make the pertinent changes to improve your services, as well as maintain and/or optimize those elements that are positive for your business.
In addition, through this medium, you will be able to better understand the behavior of your potential customers. Carrying out a much faster, simpler, more reliable and free market analysis. This will lead you to create a business plan according to your target audience and thus increase your sales.
The ease of automating all the processes carried out in your web business will allow you to earn income passively . In other words, the platform where your business is hosted will continue to register sales automatically without having to be in front of the computer all day. So you will earn money while you are sleeping.
Disadvantages of having an online business
Like any business, apart from the positive part, you should also know the disadvantages, in order to have better control:
One of the biggest problems with having an online business is that everyone has an online business.
There is great competition in the cyber market. So you must find a niche in this market that makes you stand out from the rest so that you can be successful in it.
Like any system, online businesses also have their flaws. One of the most frequent technical problems is the blocking or crashing of the web page when it receives many visits at the same time.
It is also normal for there to be electrical failures or a breakdown in the internet. This would translate into economic losses because no sales would be recorded while the page is failing.
Although the ease and comfort of working at home is appealing and convenient, using your home as an office offers endless distractions such as cleaning the house or spending time with family. None of this is related to work and can have negative repercussions on the productivity and quality of your business.
Distrust in the system
Despite the great reach of the Internet, there are still people who have mistrust about purchasing products through this means . That is why they prefer physical stores. Not only because having the product in their hands gives them more confidence, but also seeing the seller’s face guarantees a satisfied customer.
There is no guarantee of success
Just like a physical business, online businesses do not escape failure if they are not well managed.
In this case, in order to be successful on the internet and to be positioned at the top of web search engines, it is important to carry out a previous study of the market and an exceptional digital marketing job. This requires time and money, and even then, you have no guarantee of success.
What to sell online
After having seen the advantages and disadvantages of having an online business, are you still here? I’m glad, it means that you continue with the plan of creating your own business. So, I won’t make you wait, these are some of the products that you can sell online.
Digital products, as their name indicates, are completely virtual items whose way of using them is solely and exclusively through digital equipment. Therefore, they are products that are marketed only online and do not require physical delivery.
Generally, these products are based on your knowledge, through courses, e-books, seminars, etc.; or in your art, through songs, works of art, videos, photographs, etc. These will be sold through downloads so that the client can put them into practice (or enjoy them) quickly and easily.
Apart from not needing to rent a space to store these products, another great advantage is the possibility of mass production without having to pay a penny. It is enough to create a copy of each article and these can be reproduced and sent hundreds of times automatically at no cost.
Physical products are those that we usually already sell in a more local market, either in a physical store, from our homes or even from a digital business. Therefore, we use the web as a channel for their distribution to a more distant market so that they can then be obtained through an actual delivery.
Here you must find the niche where you can stand out so that the business of selling online is productive . Remember that you would be competing with large platforms like Amazon. So the key to success to sell this type of product on the internet is to have a specific item and give it the corresponding publicity with good digital marketing.
Online services are also based on the use of the internet to carry out the marketing of certain skills or knowledge. How to offer what we know how to do through counseling or coaching sessions, which will be offered through Skype sessions.
On the other hand, the online business can be used as an advertising channel so that our services can be used in the real world. A very frequent example of this is the use of social networks to promote catering or event planning services, which are the most sought after by Internet users to acquire their services.
Dropshipping is a marketing method where we can sell any of the above three products without having to do anything with them.
How? You will only be the intermediary between the client and the suppliers in exchange for a commission for each purchase made. Through negotiations or prior agreements with manufacturers or suppliers, you will sell their products in your online business. Limiting yourself only to the sale since they will be in charge of sending the product directly to their buyers.
With this online business model, it will not be necessary to have a stock, be aware of an inventory, fix bugs or design new models, simply because you will not have the physical products or own them.
How to sell online: the keys to success
Below you will see some keys that you must take into account to know how to sell online and be successful!
Choose the product
Deciding to create an online business is easy, the problem comes when you have to choose which product to sell . Choosing the item that could lead you to economic success is not easy. Therefore, you must identify what you are most passionate about so that there is always interest in investing your time and effort in it.
If you’re not passionate about something, disinterest can bankrupt you in the blink of an eye. So decide the area that you are most passionate about and write down at least 3 related items that you can sell or create to sell on the web . Remember to be as specific as possible so you can stand out in the niche.
Once you have your three options, think about do people need these products?
It is useless to market some articles that, despite the fact that you like them, others do not need them. It is important that you identify the problems of your target audience so that you can offer them a useful and necessary product, which they will buy quickly.
Analyze the market
To know how you will handle yourself in the online market, it is important that you do a study and analysis of it. This will allow you to make the best decision about what to sell and how to sell your products online.
One of the tasks covered by this study was mentioned in the previous section: the identification of the problems of the target audience, also known as buyer personas .
To do this, you must study in depth the niche you have chosen to sell online, and collect all the information regarding your potential buyers: their tastes, habits, needs and problems. Make surveys with the information you need, in this way, you will know exactly what product to sell on the web.
If, on the other hand, there are already many products that can offer the solution to your buyer personas , you should find a way to make your article different and distinguish you from the others.
Within the market analysis, it is also important to study your competition to know what they do and how they do it. This way you can be inspired by their way of running their business, without actually copying them.
Choose where to sell
On the internet you will find a variety of platforms that will allow you to create your digital business where you can market your products.
Before deciding the place where you will make your sales, make sure that it has a large storage capacity, is automated, is accessible by mobile devices, offers purchase options in other currencies, has a good affiliation system to create a group of your potential clients and that is completely free (or with low commissions).
As I mentioned before, there are two ways to sell online : through your own website such as e-commerce or through a platform that acts as an intermediary in exchange for commissions called marketplaces .
Both options offer the advantages and disadvantages of an online business discussed above. So your decision will be based on the time you have to devote to maintaining a website.
If you have enough time to invest in the creation, management and updating of a website, platforms like WordPress are ideal for you. Since they offer you a wide range of tools that will allow you to easily design and adapt the website to your needs in a matter of minutes.
On the other hand, if your time is limited, the best option to sell your products online is through a marketplace that will be in charge of promoting your items and being the intermediaries in the transactions. Websites such as Amazon or Etsy that have an international reach, offer these services in exchange for commissions for each sale made.
Promotion and publicity
They are the most important elements to sell online , since they will offer visibility to your products so that they can be found by future buyers.
Every day we are bombarded by ads so clever that they lead us to buy those products, and that is the type of advertising that you should invest in to promote your business online.
What identifies these successful advertising campaigns is the quality of their content. It is not easy to create quality content that is useful to our customers. To do this, you must investigate and learn about graphic design, as well as SEO to create visually attractive, informative content that can be positioned in web search engines.
If you’re new to content creation, the smart thing to do is hire a digital marketing expert. This professional will be in charge not only of creating that content for you, but also of doing a complete market study so that they know which audience to impress.
After having the material to be published, it is time to select the channels where they will be promoted. Social networks are great allies in the advertising of an online business , since they offer a wide variety of ways in which we can promote our content.
The most popular are Facebook , Instagram and Twitter , where you can publish the content created through images, infographics, videos and banners. On the other hand, you can also create informative articles that can be published on blogs, as well as use email for email marketing .
Conclusion: how and what to sell online
Starting a business from scratch, or even moving your existing business to another market, can be intimidating and challenging. However, the internet offers you many opportunities so that your foray into the digital age with an online business is successful from the beginning. In this article I have given you some keys so that you can learn more about how to sell online and get those good expected results.
Remember that every day there are more people who decide to make their purchases online, so you can not stay in the past with the traditional. You just have to decide the product and the platform where you will make the sales to start with digital commerce.