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.
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
- 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:
- 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
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.
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.