So, you’ve got a brick-and-mortar store but want to start selling online? With so many platforms out there, it can be hard to decide which one is best for your business.
In this article, we break down five ways you can start selling online, touching on essential factors such as creative control, cost, and usability, to help you put your finger on what’s best for your business.
Why sell online?
Before we get into the different ways to sell online, let’s first talk about why it’s beneficial.
eCommerce exposes your products (and business) to a much higher population of customers who may never cross your physical store otherwise. Having an online store can allow you to:
- Increase brand awareness
- Sell more products and generate more revenue
- Make sales 24/7, not just during traditional opening hours
- Leverage customer data insights for scalability purposes
- Meet customers where they want to buy
1. Build your eCommerce website
The most traditional option for selling online is setting up your eCommerce website. To do this, you’ll need to establish a website domain, design a layout, integrate an online payments system, add products, and fill the pages with content that connects with your customers.
With an eCommerce website, you have complete control over how it looks and operates, giving you the creative freedom to hone in on what makes your brand unique and allows your business to stand out among a sea of competitors.
However, this freedom does come at a cost – building a bespoke eCommerce website is likely to be your most expensive option for selling online.
2. Hosted eCommerce website
The key difference between developing your eCommerce website and using a hosted site is the amount of work you have to put in to get it up and running.
With a hosted eCommerce website, a lot of the work is already done for you, with a selection of pre-existing templates, themes, and online payments systems for you to choose from. Shopify, BigCommerce, and BigCartel are popular choices when it comes to hosted eCommerce websites.
This option is ideal for small businesses with little eCommerce experience because you don’t have to start from scratch and, if you get stuck along the way, you’ll have access to dedicated tech support teams who can help you troubleshoot.
While it is often less costly than setting up your website, monthly fees may exceed basic hosting fees over time, which is something to be mindful of.
Marketplaces include platforms like Etsy, Amazon, and eBay (and even Facebook has its shopping hub), which allow businesses to sell their products alongside other sellers. While this competitive element may seem like a negative, it’s often not.
With these marketplaces, it means there is already an established audience that businesses can leverage – millions of users visit these marketplaces each month – with Amazon receiving nearly 59 million monthly visitors, eBay 27 million, and Etsy 16 million.
Although less personalised, this option requires less time than setting up a dedicated website and can still provide an effective platform for customers to explore your products.
The key to success in this space is standing out from competitors. You can do this by creating eye-catching listings using professional photos and engaging descriptions, which helps establish a definitive brand voice and look to gain trust and a loyal customer base.
If you’re considering this option for your online products and payments, it’s essential to know that marketplaces incur a transaction fee, so be sure to do your research before you sign up. It’s also worth considering the potential to operate a website alongside your marketplace listings to expand your customer reach.
4. Social media
Akin to online marketplaces, social media sites have built-in audiences that your business can connect with (20.5 million Australians are active social media users, after all). You’ll likely need to do some extra work to convert these users from browsing to buying then you would on an eCommerce website, so having a solid marketing plan in place to move prospects through the funnel is crucial.
There are two ways you can sell on social media – solely on the page you set up (manually managing orders and online payments) or by connecting your page with an eCommerce website through links and product tagging. The critical difference between the two is time (and money) and how much of it you’re willing to invest.
To make the most of selling products on social media, ensure you post fresh content regularly, run promotions, and use high-quality visuals that encourage people to watch and reshare.
5. Google Shopping
Google Shopping is a function in Google Search that allows users to browse a particular type of product and compare prices between vendors.
Keep in mind that to use Google Shopping, you will need an established eCommerce website to fulfil orders and a budget to invest in advertising to ensure your products are seen.
Deciding what online platform to start selling your products on can be tricky.
Taking the time to consider the different options out there to make an informed business decision and enter the online marketplace with confidence is critical to setting your business on the path to success.
Need an online payments solution for your business? Tyro eCommerce makes accepting payments simple, fast, and secure and gives your customers more ways to pay with Invoicing, Virtual Terminal, Tokenisation, and Subscriptions.
Find out more by visiting the link above or call 1300 00 TYRO (8976).
Tyro may from time to time provide links to other websites for information purposes. The inclusion of links does not imply endorsement or support by Tyro of any of the linked information, services, products, or providers. Tyro does not accept any responsibility for any errors, omissions or reliability of such content and any use thereof is solely at the user’s risk. Please undertake your own assessment before relying on it.