Are you a brick-and-mortar business that isn't selling your products online? Do you have an online store but don't think you can expand your digital footprint? E-commerce is a massive component of all online traffic, and if you aren't capitalizing on every online avenue, you are missing out on big opportunities for more sales. Fortunately, the ways to build an online store or get your products on one of the big e-commerce vendors is easier now than ever before. There are several steps to follow to prepare your business to start selling on Amazon, eBay, and even big daily deals sites like Groupon. It may seem overwhelming to begin the process, but doing this work in the beginning will help create a process that will have you reaping the rewards for years!
First and foremost, you need to have a handle on your entire inventory. Is it all in your business or do you get supply from a warehouse somewhere? If you're already selling online, what is your process for fulfilling orders, and will it be overwhelming to add orders from a variety of new vendors? How long does it take you to get new product from the minute you order it to the time the truck pulls up in your parking lot? Are you sourcing the best boxes to ship your product in and minimizing the time it takes to pick and pack orders?
Next, consider your options for shipping. Do you offer a couple different options for sending products on your site, or do you have a flat rate? Have you shopped around to see what different carriers are offering to ship? How often are orders being picked up from your store or warehouse?
Before you even begin to start thinking about expanding to selling on Amazon or Groupon, you need to have good answers to all these questions. Finding ways to aggressively price your products will earn you less, but e-commerce is made in pennies, dimes, and quarters. You want to move volume at the right price to make it worth your while and makes money for your vendors as well. Knowing how much it will cost you down to the cent to get a product from your factory when you order it all the way to the customer who buys it will provide you the framework to know what you can charge and how you can go to market with a competitive price and product.
Now let's look at some individual vendors and how each one handles e-commerce. Getting your products on Amazon is as simple as creating a business profile, uploading your products, and managing sales. Much like your own e-commerce site, it just gives you a massive user base to reach, but obviously the competition for views and sales is pretty high. Pricing your products aggressively and following Amazon's vendor guidelines to the letter are my best two pieces of advice. If you start getting dinged for bad customer service, sending incorrect or slow orders, or other questionable practices, Amazon will shut you down, and it can be difficult to get back in their good graces. Handle orders quickly and correctly, reach out to your account manager at Amazon, and you can see lots of great revenue roll in.
Daily deal sites like Groupon and Choxi are different. Here's where you put together your best price to give users a nice discount to encourage them to buy. Working closely with a buyer from a site like Groupon will help you understand the margins that each site expects, how they want you to handle shipping, how quickly orders need to be turned around, etc. Some deals go live for a matter of hours, some go as long as you'd like. There are a lot of small variables to finding daily deal success, and it's different for all kinds of vendors and products.
Obviously, there are tons of questions you need to find the answers to before you start pursuing e-commerce through Amazon and Groupon, but when you see the first glimpse of success from your efforts and start projecting how much extra profit and brand awareness you can achieve through e-comm, a little work is worth it. By creating or streamlining these processes, you will not only build a structure for e-commerce success, but you'll find ways to improve current sales and cut out unnecessary costs. Doesn't that sound worthwhile? If you're interested in starting or expanding your e-commerce presence, talk to us here at Revenue River. We handle relationships with e-commerce platforms and vendors like Amazon and Groupon every day, so we'd love to help you design a blueprint for growth and take your web sales to the next level!