Essential Reading: How to Sell Products Online
Conceiving an idea. Executing your business plan. Generating sales. These are the three fundamental steps to a company’s success. And if you run, or are set to run, a UK-based e-commerce business, then you need to educate yourself on how to sell online in the UK before, or after, completing your company formation.
Whatever type of products you sell, you have to master the art of how to sell online in sync with ever-growing consumer trends and buying habits.
Companies of all shapes and sizes continue to leverage a range of new opportunities to sell their products and services online. That’s why researchers at Statista predict a 246.15% increase in global e-commerce sales by 2021. That equates to a worldwide spend of approximately $4.5 trillion, with an estimated $99 billion worth of trading in the UK each year. In the UK alone, 19.2% of all retail sales are made online.
Essentially, the answer to the question of how to sell online in the UK is that you must be proficient in some key areas. Firstly, you don’t need a huge upfront investment, and with a global customer base (if you can deliver internationally), you simply need to take note of the following points in order to successfully reach a paying customer and sell online.
Conduct Thorough Market Research
Before making your products available online, be sure to utilise every marketing avenue available and carry out meticulous research in to your product’s market; you can conduct surveys, analyse current market trends, and study competitors.
Remember, if your product is already available online and sells successfully, consider this to be a positive! It shows that there is a demand for your business. You can then alter your strategy to attract existing customers. However, if the market is oversaturated, you may find it difficult to penetrate the sales pie — you’ll either need to be wholly original with your revised product design or consider re-evaluating the entire product.
Create an Effective Business Plan
An effective business plan will create an important blueprint on which you can carefully execute your selling strategy. Think of it as a guide or manual when assembling a piece of furniture. You can reference the “manual” whenever you become unstuck in order to check you’re on the right path.
Additionally, your business plan can be an important reference when you’re consulting a start-up advisor or tax consultant for financial planning, as it will help form reliable predictions about your sales trajectory.
Choose the Correct Selling Platform
How to sell online in the UK successfully will be heavily reliant on your choice of online platform. Your business plan should determine which online sales platform is the best option for you.
Sell on social media
One of the easiest answers to how to sell online in the UK is to use a social media platform without the need for your own website. You can effectively use social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest as your selling platform. Simply upload your products’ ads and then share with the community.
Sell on your personal online domain
Unlike social media platforms, where you do have your “own space” within a wider space, a personal blog or website gives you credibility as a conventional seller since it’s undeniably your space.
You needn’t be a super-pro to construct your own website: using a content management system such as WordPress allows you to create a bespoke feel in combination with the WooCommerce plug-in to swiftly get your shop online. However, you must handle the hosting and domain registration yourself. If you don’t want to worry about maintenance and hosting, it’s ideal to get a ready-made WordPress solution with WooCommerce or managed WordPress hosting.
Sell via online marketplaces
Using online sales platforms such as Amazon or eBay is another answer to how to sell online in the UK. The advantage here is that it takes little effort to attract customers as you will benefit from the traffic of the respective platform. However, the distinct disadvantage when compared to your very own website is that you often have to pay commission for sales, and you’re limited to the design of your product pages.
Select the Most Effective Shipping Methods
Don’t forget, although customers come to your online platform, you still have to send your products to your customers. Unless you use drop-shipping, you’ll usually be wholly responsible for all shipping matters.
Note: Drop-shipping is where you do not operate your own warehouse but have goods and products stored and shipped by third parties, for example, when selling via Amazon Marketplace.
Offer Several Payment Methods
There are many options for receiving payments from your customers. It’s wise to offer several options, such as PayPal, debit/credit card payments, or AmazonPay. According to statistics gathered by SpendMeNot, PayPal currently has 325 million active users — 14.39 percent of whom are based in the UK.
Payment providers such as PayPal or AmazonPay provide a safe option for vendors as they offer seller protection. They also provide the shortest delay between outgoing payment from your customer and you receiving the payment. Additionally, these services offer a peace of mind for customers who may be regular users of “big-name” providers.
Note: Regardless of which payment methods you select, you have to integrate them via interfaces or SaaS. Many online shop plug-ins already include a payment function as a default.
Although you will be expected to observe a number of regulations, selling products online is an incredibly effective way to reach national or global customers, even if you’re looking how to sell online in the UK. Hosting platforms and e-commerce plugins now enable you to swiftly form inexpensive dynamic online stores from scratch.
As always, be sure to take your time and do your homework since there are number of options available. Create the best marketing plan possible and then select the most effective selling platform, payment avenue, and shipping methods that work for you.
If you want help with selling products online, or would simply like to find out more about how to get started, contact our professional and experienced company formations team for a fast, friendly, and comprehensive service.