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Easy Options for Selling Products Online

Easy Options for Selling Products Online

There are plenty of ways of getting your product out there, but you can’t really argue with the fact that online stores are probably the easiest way of doing business with a wider range of people. This is especially true for those that don’t really have the funds or the need for a traditional store. Running a store requires quite a bit of effort – there are numerous hidden costs, monthly bills for everything from electricity to heating, a store requires regular maintenance, you need to stack the shelves and hire additional staff, you have to deal with said staff potentially stealing from you or just being generally lazy and rude to customers, etc.

On top of all of this, you have various forms of digital media that can be easily manipulated, paid for and downloaded from across the world and in such cases selling products online is the only viable option. The greatest thing about offering your products in such a way is that the whole process of setting up a web store, and even offering items on your existing website or blog, can be a quick and painless process.

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Selling products on your blog

A good blog with plenty of well-written and informative content is a great way to gain some serious exposure. If you are talented and have unique skills, a lot of experience and useful insights regarding a particular topic or several related topics, then you can be sure that you will slowly develop a devoted fan base. As a blog grows and you start putting out more content, you will be able to come in contact with people who care about the same things as you do – be it you music, relationship advice, travel stories, DIY and home improvement tips or fashion. At this point you can offer your audience some of your work. For instance, you can use your blog to offer:

  • Digital copies of your album
  • A book you have written
  • Cool t-shirt designs and other apparel
  • Paintings
  • Crafts and fashion accessories
  • Various products related to your niche

Using your blog is the easiest way of selling products online, as blogs are relatively easy to set up, they offer a good deal of exposure and allow you to seamlessly integrate shopping opportunities and useful information. You have a couple of standard ways of going about this:

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  • Having a dedicated store page – a page specifically dedicated to various products that you offer that can be linked to from other areas of your blog. A standard layout with images, short descriptions and a shopping cart seems to work best for people.
  • Displaying recommended products in the sidebar – you can have products related to the subject on a particular blog page featured in the sidebar which allows readers to jump from reading to buying in a matter of seconds.

You can offer different payment options like PayPal or Credit Cards, but as far as downloadable content goes (audio and video material) Selz is a great, quick and painless option and charges a per sale fee of 5%. You can enable a short preview of the files and the customer can have the file on their computer within a minute after the payment has been made. All in all, a blog with a decent amount of traffic can allow you to make some good money off product sales.

Selling on social media websites

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    Let’s face it; a lot of people of all age groups spend a good part of their day browsing through social media websites. They allow a lot of versatility – from networking and keeping in touch with friends, to getting the latest information on your favorite bands, companies, shows and even doing some shopping. There are a ton of options available when it comes to F-commerce and even the likes of Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber offer their merchandise on Facebook. Even websites that can’t really feature an online shop per se, like Pinterest and YouTube, can be used as a means of promoting products and linking to blogs, websites and your Facebook storefront. The shopping process is a pretty standard affair – you have images with prices, a cart and options to organize the products according to categories like most popular, recent, special deals, etc. Your little Facebook shop can also get some great exposure when people like the page.

    Creating an online store using WP

    WordPress is a very user-friendly platform that will allow you to set up a great looking website in a very short time, as well as customize it to suit your needs without detailed programming knowledge. There are a lot of free themes you can use to customize your website, but premium themes will cost a bit extra. You can use plug-ins to quickly modify your website and turn it into a shop, so you can start selling products online as quickly as possible. A popular option is WooCommerce, but the standard payment option with this plug-in is PayPal and switching to other payment gateways will cost you. Going through PayPal can be a bit clunky as it requires a bit of extra effort on the part of the shopper, so those looking to sell some digital content quickly could check out options like the Selz plugin or something similar.

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    A shop like this will require some effort to set up so it looks good and you will need to engage in a bit of Social Media Marketing to help you spread the word. It takes a bit more work and time than the other options in this article.

    All in all, selling your products online can be a fairly simple affair just as long as you use the right tools and choose options that best suit your specific situation. The benefits are multiple – including access to a larger audience, the ease with which you can set up shop and lower operating costs – and there aren’t many drawbacks, so if you have some products to offer be sure to look into these simple e-commerce options.

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    Ivan Dimitrijevic

    Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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    Last Updated on September 2, 2020

    How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

    How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

    Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

    In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

    4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

    Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

    1. Be Clear About the Objectives

    Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

    It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

    Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

    2. Keep Goals Realistic

    It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

    It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

    3. Account for Inflation

    Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

    Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

    For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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    4. Short Term Vs Long Term

    Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

    As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

    By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

    How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

    Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

    • Ensuring healthy savings
    • Making smart investments

    You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

    Ensuring Healthy Savings

    Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

    This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

    1. Track Expenses

    The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

    Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

    If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

    2. Pay Yourself First

    Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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    Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

    The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

    Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

    3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

    Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

    Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

    At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

    Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

    You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

    4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

    In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

    Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

    • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
    • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
    • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

    The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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    5. Talk About It

    Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

    Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

    6. Maintain a Journal

    For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

    If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

    When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

    Making Smart Investments

    Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

    1. Consult a Financial Advisor

    Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

    Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

    2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

    Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

    Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

    As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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    3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

    Einstein once remarked about compounding:

    “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

    Use compound interest when setting financial goals

      Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

      Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

      4. Measure, Measure, Measure

      All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

      If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

      Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

      The Bottom Line

      Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

      and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

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      Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

      Reference

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