Ok, deep breaths everyone. We all know the situation were currently in. We’re furiously googling “how to sell products online”, and were super anxious about what the future holds. Watching Tiger King and sharing photos of people trying to cut their own hair will only do so much to alleviate the stress.

Youre here, which means you already know the best thing to do now is to take action, and youre putting your business in the best possible position to survive the pandemic by researching what you need to do. Any good business owner will tell you that you need to adapt and evolve with the times. This situation is no different.

Youve got this, and weve got your back!

Want Some Great News?

Of course you, do!

  • Your clients haven’t disappeared, they’re just at home. It’s just a matter of reaching them.
  • It’s never been easier for small businesses to set up an online shop and deliver their products to their customers. Imagine if this had happened 20 years ago? Now THAT would be tough.
  • There are currently no restrictions on trade and cargo routes in the US
  • There’s camaraderie in the business community right now, and lots of people are offering free advice to help small businesses through these times. It’s like the 60s, only instead of people handing out flowers, they’re handing out 90 day free trials.

If you haven’t already got an online store, now is the time to set one up. Before COVID-19 was even a thing, e-commerce was already an unstoppable trend. Worldwide e-commerce retail sales in 2019 amounted to $3.53 trillion and is projected to grow to $6.54 trillion in 2022. Pandemic or no pandemic, your business can really benefit from going online. So let’s get you set up.

Platforms for Selling Products Online

Right now, speed is everything. You’ve got to get up and running quicker than if someone coughed in line at the drugstore. That’s why in these times selling on a third-party e-commerce platform is your best option. Further down the line, you can look into integrating a shop into your website, but for now, lets not complicate things. Most platforms have created offers to help small businesses. Here are three popular platforms you might want to consider. Open the sections below to read more about each platform:

  • Shopify is a widely used and highly trusted third-party platform.
  • Shopify is offering a 90-day free trial during the COVID-19 pandemic to help support businesses like yours start to sell products online. This goes up to $29 a month for their basic plan.
  • They’re also making gift cards so that loyal customers who want to support your business can give you money in advance to free up cash flow.
  • They’re hosting live webinars to help their clients optimize sales in these tough times.
  • If you’re a small scale business offering handmade products, Etsy is a low-risk option: instead of paying a monthly fee, you pay per each sale made.
  • Etsy functions more like Amazon, but it’s popular with people who want to support small creative businesses. Users go to Etsy.com and search for the product they want.
  • Right now they’re updating advice for their users, including how to print USPS shipping labels to avoid a trip to the post office while self-isolating.
  • They’re giving all their clients a one-month grace period to pay outstanding fees.
  • Amazon is the world’s largest e-commerce platform. In other news, the Pope is Catholic.
  • If you’re more concerned about making instant sales than building your brand, then selling on Amazon is a good option. After all, it’s where most people go to make a convenient purchase.
  • However, it might take a while for you to get approval to sell on their store. You have to prove that you are a Trademarked seller in your country and await approval.
  • If you plan on selling under 40 units, it works like Etsy, with a fixed $0.99 fee on each unit sold. Upwards of 40 units, you’re obliged to pay $39.99 a month.
  • If business is really solid, and you’re shifting plenty of units, you might also want to opt for their “Fulfillment by Amazon” plan, which has its own fee structure. This could be a great option during the pandemic. You ship your units to an Amazon warehouse, and they manage storage, delivery, customer service and returns. Your products will also be eligible for Amazon Prime.
  • There have been some reports that Amazon is struggling to keep up with demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they’ve also announced their intention to ramp up hiring and opening up 100,000 new positions. It’s a clear sign that online businesses are not doing badly at this time.

You’ve Selected Your Platform, Now What?

Once you’ve chosen (and been approved by) your e-commerce platform, it’s time to upload your products.  Since your customers can’t see or touch your products you’ll need to give them as much information as possible.

  • Make sure you’ve got some high-quality photos of your products. Include pictures with them in use if possible. Most platforms recommend uploading at least one image of each product on a white background. This can be hard to accomplish if you don’t have professional equipment.
  • You could hire a photographer, but sending them one of each of your products (especially these days) can be trickier than a Times crossword puzzle.
  • These is an alternative: you can do a pretty good job photographing small products yourself with a light tent and some strategically placed pixar lamps, then hire a good graphic designer to tweak the images for you.
  • Write detailed descriptions of each of your products. The most important details are the size and materials.

Once you’re up and running, you’ll need to make sure to get the message out there that you now sell products online. Next week, continuing our COVID-19 series, we’ll discuss how to stay connected to your customers in spite of social distancing.

In the meantime, there’s work to do before you begin to sell your products online. If you need help setting up your online shop, JDP can help you throughout the process, from deciding which platform is the best fit for your brand, to adding and editing your products. We can also set you up with a marketing plan that will boost your online success and keep it soaring long after the chaos of COVID-19 has subdued. Give us a shout, and we’ll be happy to help in any way we can.