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2. There’s More Than One Route To Market
Different types of e-commerce channels to consider
Relying on just one place to sell, such as your own website or just eBay or Etsy, can sometimes be a risky strategy. For example if eBay change their pricing or terms and conditions and you have built your entire business around them, it gives you little room for manoeuvre if their new way of working doesn’t suit your business model. So it’s always wise to have a few places where your potential buyers can source your products.
- Marketplaces are a great way of getting started and also growing your business, as they have a ready-made audience for you to sell your products to. eBay is the largest marketplace, then Amazon, but there are also niche sites such as Etsy for craft products, Prelovedfor selling second-hand items and Gumtree for small classified. And you can even sell through Facebook with adverts. You need to consider what your products are and where you think they will sell most effectively. There are also plenty of books and websites such as Tamebay.com which will help you make the most of selling on sites like these, with useful hints and tips.
- Your own website can also be a great way of selling
your products. Although there isn’t the ready-made audience, you can control how you sell your products
and the whole look and feel of the site. There are some great e-commerce platforms and CMS which can make
it easy for you to get up and running. Shopify is used by entrepreneurs across the UK and is a popular choice, but there are also some great CMS such as Magento, Volusion or Opencart.
• Multichannel management software is also important as your business grows and you are selling on multiple platforms. It can be difficult to keep track of what you are selling and where, as well as managing multiple listings on multiple sites. Therefore products like Linnworks, ChannelAdvisor and eSeller Pro can be a lifesaver, helping you manage stock control, shipping, listings and much more, giving you a toolkit of resources to make online selling simpler for you. Software like this takes away the more repetitive tasks by automating them. So no matter whether your customers come from eBay, Amazon, or your own site you get to interact with just one interface.
As an online retailer you need a variety of channels. You need to build your online portfolio just like you would an investment portfolio to minimise risk and maximise sales. Some of your channels will be higher or lower margin than others, and some will drive acquisition rather than retention. Some products are best sold through certain channels rather than others too. So it’s important to take some time out of your business regularly to assess which products sell best on which sites and which give you the most profit. By doing this you can make sure that you are gaining the best from each channel and managing your risk.