How To Sell A Website Business – In an increasingly digital age, it’s very rare that those with a physical product or street presence don’t take advantage of the many channels that allow you to sell online. Selling products online allows you to reach a wider audience and new pockets of customers, and statistics show that over 2.14 billion people will buy goods and services online by 2024. In addition, e-retail accounted for 14.1% of all retail sales worldwide in 2019, and these figures are expected to reach 22% by 2023.
If e-commerce is an area you’ve never explored, trying to get a handle on it can be a bit overwhelming, however, there are many benefits you can take advantage of. Maybe you started with a local store but want to reach a much wider audience. Or you already have an online presence but want to explore other platforms where your product could be seen.
How To Sell A Website Business
Whether you’re self-taught, a beginner or just curious, this guide will give you a comprehensive overview of where and how to sell your products online. So stay tuned as in the article below we will cover:
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But first, let’s give you some quick answers to the 2 most burning questions most readers have:
When it comes to selling products online for free, the options are limited. The most popular free platforms are Craigslist and Geebo. However, they have a limited audience and there is a limit to how much you can grow there as an online seller. If you’re in it for the big bucks, let’s look at some options that will allow you to create and run a full-fledged e-commerce business.
First, there is no shortage of websites for selling items online. The difficulty is choosing the ones that will best suit your brand and enhance what you may or may not already have in place. When choosing a physical store presence, your first thought would be to find the best location to attract potential customers. The same is true for online sales, which requires a lot of research. Off the bat, our first recommendation would be Shopify. Here is one of the top tiers to consider before you start looking at the many online selling platforms available:
Let’s start by saying that if you want to set up a full website where people can come to see your products and only your products (as opposed to marketplaces like Amazon or eBay), then you’ll need to choose between a hosted or an e-commerce platform which is self-hosted. To help you make this important choice and see the difference between them, we decided to list the pros and cons of both of these hosting options.
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A common analogy used to understand the difference between self-hosted and hosted e-commerce solutions is the difference between buying and renting a house. When you rent a house (host), you are bound by the landlord’s wishes. You can live there, but you probably can’t paint or physically change the look and feel of the property. If the landlord decides to sell or change the property, you could lose access or be forced to leave. The advantages of renting a house, however, are that you can test the waters before you decide to buy and you can change houses with minimal fuss or expense.
When it comes to hosted platforms, the pros and cons are mostly the same. A hosted platform, such as Shopify or BigCommerce, is like renting a space to sell your products, hosted on someone else’s server. The advantage of this is that the platforms are usually very easy to use, even for beginners.
In comparison, owning your own house (detached house) means you have the freedom and advantage of choosing exactly what you want your house to look like, where it is located and how quickly you want to extend or build on what you have. However, owning your own home is also expensive and means you are responsible for improving and fixing anything that breaks.
For self-hosting on platforms like WooCommerce and Magento, you would run the software from your own platform or machine (for example, inside WordPress). This gives you far more room for customization and allows you or someone you hire to make changes to the look and feel of your online store. The downside is that if you don’t have experience with the code, it can be difficult and/or expensive to manage and understand.
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Now that you understand the difference between hosted and self-hosted eCommerce solutions, let’s compare some of the best self-hosted and self-hosted platforms out there right now.
Shopify, perhaps the best platform for online sales, is a Canadian commerce company that reportedly has over 120,000 merchants and retailers using it for their online stores. The Shopify platform makes setting up a professional online store quite simple, with a large selection of designs and a strong technical infrastructure to build on.
Now let’s take a look at some of the parameters that will help you determine exactly what Shopify offers and whether it’s right for your business.
Shopify makes it easy to choose and install a theme that will determine how your online store will look. Most themes are ‘mobile responsive’, meaning your store will adjust its size and shape depending on whether the user is viewing it on a mobile, tablet or desktop computer. This ensures that they have a great experience with your store and can purchase products regardless of which device they use to view.
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Shopify’s basic package starts at $29 (there is a lower level plan than even this, but it doesn’t give you the ability to create a full online store, just a Facebook page or button). This allows you to get a full store up and running with unlimited support, however, many of the core features you may need to run your store are then charged as add-ons to the price.
Shopify offers a decent capacity for SEO optimization, which helps to increase traffic to your storefront. This includes rich snippets (the text that appears below the web page when you search on Google) and optimization for speed and responsiveness (both aspects that Google takes into account when deciding whether or not to display your page).
They also offer access to their Shopify Picks Twitter page and marketing campaign, which is a daily product stream designed to help Shopify-powered businesses sell products online to their nearly 267,000 followers.
Shopify offers a strong level of support for its customers, via email, phone, and live chat, as well as forums and tools like “E-commerce University,” which make it easier for beginners to learn the ropes. The Shopify support team is available 24/7 via live chat and phone in English only. However, they offer email support in 20 languages.
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Shopify processes all transactions and customer credit card information with 256-bit SSL encryption and is also PCI Level 1 compliant. This means customers can safely shop with you without worrying about who has access to their information. It also automatically backs up your website, ensuring nothing is lost in the event of a technical failure.
In addition to strong online product retention, Shopify also offers an offline version with a point-of-sale credit card reader that plugs into your phone, allowing you to sell on the go. This can be paired with a barcode scanner and receipt printer where required. The Shopify mobile app also lets you track orders and manage inventory, ensuring you’re not tied to an office to manage your store.
Best for: Small businesses that just need a set of features and a well-designed theme to start selling online.
BigCommerce is an extremely popular online shopping platform for small and medium-sized businesses. It started as a hosted e-commerce software, but has since evolved into a hosted shopping platform.
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BigCommerce used to be known for having designs and templates that were a little dated, but they recently fixed that with an upgrade, meaning it’s easier than ever to get a smooth looking store on the platform. There are over 100 themes available, some of which are free (similar model to Shopify) and mobile friendly.
BigCommerce’s basic plan starts at $29.95 per month, which is about the same price drop as various other e-commerce sites. The benefit of using BigCommerce is that it offers many more free features in its basic package than other sites like Shopify. With other online selling platforms, additional tools and upgrades are available but must be paid for, all of which can lead to a higher monthly fee. Additional features BigCommerce offers include built-in shipping dates, gift vouchers, and 24-hour support, as well as some email marketing tools.
Bigcommerce has a strong SEO selling point, with fast page load speeds that are vital for customers and search engine optimization. BigCommerce also allows you to integrate with Google Shopping to attract customers as well as use your product
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