09/05/2022

eCommerce & MarketPlace: How to Sell Online

E-Commerce platforms are for the most part very simple to use for both buyers and sellers, but they may also have some pitfalls. Let's see together how to sell online, from the choice of the platform to the fulfillment phase.

The global dissemination of the internet and globalisation have created countless business opportunities for all those interested in marketing their products, be they big corporations or just normal people looking for an alternative source of income.

The countless eCommerce platforms that have sprung up in recent years allow buyers and retailers to get in touch with each other and to make purchases quickly and intuitively. From books to technological devices, from clothing to basic necessities, online commerce is suitable for all kinds of purchases.

In 2022, revenues from online commerce are expected to reach $ 5.5 trillion. In fact, according to recent research by Global Web Index, over 9 out of 10 users visited an e-commerce in the month under consideration and more than three-quarters of them actually purchased a product.

Regardless of the size of your brand and the type of product or service marketed, a digital platform on which to sell your products represents a possibility that should not be missed.

However, sellers should not make the mistake of underestimating some of the more insidious aspects, such as warehouse management or shipments. In this article we will present everything a seller needs to do to start sell their products online, from the choice of the eCommerce platform to the after-sales services, as well as paying close attention to the fulfillment phase.

Before going into detail, let's see together the different types of eCommerce available.

Choosing the right eCommerce platform

In addition to identifying your target audience and the market niche in which you will operate, analysing your products and competitors and creating a business plan, you will also have to choose the type eCommerce platform on which you will rely.

The choice depends on many factors, such as the type of your business and the characteristics of the product you want to market. For simplicity, we have grouped the sites for online selling into 3 macro-categories.

  1. General sale. Most eCommerce platforms allow the sale of goods by paying for a subscription or by applying tariffs to each product sold. Some, such as Shopify, also allow you to choose between different programmes, based on the expected volume of sales and the price of the goods. These platforms also usually provide a management portal to optimise fulfillment and tools to promote products.

  2. Sale of hand-made products. Other platforms are specialised on the online sale of small quantities of artisanal products. The Etsy portal, for example, does not require a subscription and only applies a fee on the ads and the transactions, therefore it is particularly suitable for those who want to sell their hand-made products and secure additional income.

  3. B2B sales. This type of service is aimed at those brands whose target audience is made up of other companies and not end users. Usually, these eCommerce platforms allow you to apply special discounts in the event of large sales volumes, invoice via VAT and indicate the amount net of it.

As mentioned, the choice of the online sales service and the specific programme will depend on the characteristics of the business and also on the objectives set for it. However, each type of eCommerce offers different plans with dedicated tools.

However, you may sometimes need to meet certain requirements, such as a minimum number of monthly sales. Furthermore, various countries have different local eCommerce portals, so the choice between the available services is very wide.

Once you have identified the most suitable service for your online business, you can finally start selling your products.

4 things to do to start selling online

The time has finally come to start selling online. But how to do it? Let's start with the basics.

Create the account

The first step to start selling online is to create the seller account. Depending on the chosen eCommerce platform, you can choose between some plans and account types. Finally, it will be necessary to provide some personal data.

In addition to a phone number and email address, through which it is recommended to activate the two-factor authentication to ensure the security of the account, it is also necessary to provide some information about the brand (company or person) and add a method for receiving payments.

In this case, you need to pay particular attention: most sites allow you to link a credit card and a bank account, but some do not accept prepaid cards.

Create the product listings

Once the registration has been successful, it will be necessary to draw up an inventory of the products that you intend to sell on Amazon and add the relevant pages and listings to the eCommerce. In some cases, the addition can be done both manually and automatically, by uploading a spreadsheet containing information on each individual commodity showcased platform.

It is also important to add multiple high-resolution images for each product (4-6 images is the recommended number), detailed information on the goods, as well as the possibility of adding other products or selecting alternative packaging and shipping methods.

It is equally important to use clear phrases that contain keywords related to the product in the title and description, in order to maximise exposure on search engines. For more tips on how to set up your eCommerce site, we suggest checking out our article on how to create a successful eCommerce.

Manage inventory and shipments

Once the pages dedicated to the products on sale are online, it is about time to start preparing the orders. This is the most delicate phase, because it does not only involve the packaging and shipping of the product to the address designated by the buyer, but also all the various processes that fall within the broader definition of fulfillment.

Fulfillment also includes the management and control of inventory, the preparation of shipping documents, the compliance with bureaucratic regulations and the management of returns. These processes require time, precision and specific skills that could be underestimated by those entering the world of online commerce for the first time.

Therefore, relying on an outsourced professional fulfillment service such as IFS Italy brings numerous advantages and is often the quickest and easiest choice to ensure that orders and requests are processed in a professional and timely manner. By integrating the management system of the eCommerce platform with the one of IFS, it is possible to immediately transmit the orders received to our warehouses and automatically process the goods, which will be delivered as quickly and economically as possible.

Guarantee after-sales services

But that's not all. Some customers may leave comments and reviews on the page relating to the product they have purchased. These reviews are very important for the success of any online business. Consequently, it is necessary to keep them monitored and also apply all the other customer care strategies, so that these comments could become an excellent promotion and loyalty tool.

Conclusions

eCommerce platforms are an excellent solution for selling your products online. However, we must not be fooled by the simplicity with which we can set up an online store sell our products to a huge pool of users: fulfillment and customer service still represent an aspect that should be carefully considered and that could involve additional costs damage our brand image if not managed correctly.

Choosing the right eCommerce platform, creating an account with the plan that best suits your needs and setting up product pages are just some of the sales stages. Without a good management of orders received, warehouse storage, packaging, customs documentation, shipping and returns, online selling could prove to be much more difficult, expensive and time-consuming than initially expected.

With over twenty years of experience in this area, IFS promotes the economic growth of the countless businesses that rely on its services, from the small artisans who wish to market their hand-made products to businesses that need to ship large quantities of goods all over the world.

For more information on the fulfillment services offered by IFS Italy, you can download the brochure or visit the fulfillment & e-commerce section directly.