Selling online

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Payment gateway
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Wordpress plugin
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eBay, Amazon, Alibaba

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SSL capability, e.g. credit card

Product distribution
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Online sales professional

Selling online is a fantastic way to increase the reach of your business and boost your total sales. Once you have determined whether selling online is right for your product or service, you can begin exploring the different online selling options. From simply installing an eCommerce plugin on Wordpress, to utilising an interconnected set of software that automates the entire sales process, you can select the level of sophistication necessary for your business.

If you haven't used eCommerce systems before, you may find you need to familiarise yourself with new software and your business practices may have to change to incorporate your new digital store.

What questions should I be asking myself before I sell my product online?

Before you start selling your product online, you should consider the following:

  • Am I familiar with the state, federal and international laws regarding the distribution of my product? If you are selling internationally it is imperative you ensure your product is permissible under import/export laws in both the sending and receiving countries. It is also advisable to determine if any special licenses or permits are required to sell your specific product online.
  • Does my website host have SSL capability? If you want to support credit card payments, this is a must – luckily, most web hosts have it as a standard feature these days.
  • Is my product appropriate for sending via post or courier? Specifically, is it a convenient size, is it hardy enough and will it keep well in transit?
  • Is my product within the right price range to attract online sales? When it comes to online selling, your price can't be too low or high. The sweet spot is $40-$200 per unit. Unless they are difficult to find locally, products that are too cheap may cost themselves out of the competition when you factor in extra fees like postage or couriers. Meanwhile, people willing to spend thousands of dollars online at a new online store are few and far between.
  • Will I be able to process and dispatch orders in a timely manner? If you are accustomed to selling in-store, you will need to make sure you devise and implement a process to ensure all orders are processed efficiently.
  • How will I handle complaints and refund requests? Determine what circumstances will result in a refund and include a clear notice of your policy on your store. Always attempt to bring a purchaser back on side to minimise the chance of them complaining to others about you or your product. In most cases, it's possible to get the complainer speaking positively about your business by treating them with respect and offering a replacement or refund.    

Common ways to sell online

If you are starting from scratch, here are some common options:

  • A wordpress site with the WooCommerce plugin
  • Shopify
  • BigCommerce
  • Volusion
  • Weebly
  • An eBay, Amazon or Etsy store

If your business and website are already up and running, you should discuss your options with your web designer and developer – they will be able to inform you what systems are compatible with your existing site, and what the associated costs would be.

If your business requires a sophisticated, interconnected eCommerce solution, you will want to talk to a web developer who may recommend enlisting help from a software or applications developer as well.