Whether you’re the owner of an existing brick-and-mortar retail store, or a budding entrepreneur looking to get involved in the retail space, your greatest chance at success is this: sell your products online.
The e-commerce space is one which is taking over the retail industry at an aggressive pace and unless you want to watch your retail store’s revenue decline over the coming years, or open a new retail store and give it a greater chance at failing than succeeding, you’ll put some time and resources towards building an online store and making the most of the opportunities which e-commerce makes available to you.
According to statista.com, 25.9 million people made online purchases in South Africa in 2017 and just two years later, in 2019, that number grew to 30.5 million. To put that into perspective, 45.5% of South Africa’s population purchased a physical product from an online store in 2017, whereas 52% of the country’s population made an online purchase in 2019. Forecasts show that by the year 2024, 62.7% of the population will be familiar with online shopping. That’s huge!
The data is there and the way forward is clear – make it easy for customers to purchase your products online, or get left behind.
In this article, we’ll go through 4 easy steps which need to be taken if you’re going to sell products online.
Step 1 – Have A Product To Sell
It’s all good and well recognising and believing that you have an opportunity to generate an income through running an online store, however this is not possible unless you actually have a product, or a range of products, to sell.
If you currently run a retail store, this part is already taken care of because your online store will simply contain the same products which are already available in your retail store. However, if you are starting from scratch, you’ll need to find a product or brand which is either already in demand, or for which you believe you are able to create a demand.
Pro Tip: Try sell products which are relatively small and light, especially if you are just starting out. You want to avoid needing a large amount of space to store the products you sell, and you want to keep delivery costs to a minimum (large, heavy products are more expensive to courier around the country.)
Step 2 – Build An Online Store
Now that you have a product which you can sell online, you need to build your online store so that you can display your product and make it available for purchase through the internet.
Thanks to a variety of cost-effective tools which are available to us in today’s day and age, this is a relatively simple step to complete, provided you have the time and patience to do so. By spending some time on the internet, you can teach yourself how to build your own online store using a platform such as Shopify and if you exercise some patience and put effort into it, you’ll be able to build an inviting, well-presented, user-friendly online store all on your own!
If time and patience is not something you have right now, you can of course opt to hire someone to develop your online store for you, so that you can just ‘open the doors’ when it’s ready and start selling your products online.
Step 3 – Integrate With A Secure Payment Gateway
Just like you would not open a retail store without offering your customers a way to make payment for the products you sell (you’d generally accept cash or have a credit card machine on hand), you cannot open an online store without integrating with a trusted, reliable and secure payment gateway to process all of your online payments.
When selling products online, it’s generally accepted practice to dispatch your customer’s order after they have completed payment, but they will only do so if they know that their payment is being processed securely – no one wants to give their credit card information to a person or business they cannot trust.
PayFast, for example, is a very well-known and trusted payment gateway in South Africa. They give you the ability to accept many forms of payment, such as credit card, instantEFT, MobiCred, etc, and they integrate seamlessly with most e-commerce platforms.
Step 4 – Partner With A Reliable Courier Company
Now that you’ve got a product which people want to purchase, an online store where they can purchase your product, and a secure means of them paying for their purchase, you need to be able to deliver their order to them as quickly as possible.
There’s a good chance you’ll want to open your online store up to people all around South Africa, which means you’ll need to make use of a courier company to deliver your orders because you can’t drive around the country delivering them yourself.
When choosing a courier company to partner with, you want to go with one which has a reputation for being reliable, on-time and cost-effective. You also want to ensure that you’re working with a courier company which handles your orders with care, so as to ensure that your customer is pleased with the condition of the package they receive.
The Courier Guy is an example of a reputable courier company which offers courier services to the whole of South Africa. They have cost-effective packages specifically suitable to small e-commerce stores, so consider getting into contact with them.
There you have it! A list of 4 easy steps which you should follow if you want to start selling products online. If you’d like some more advice on running an online store, or want to look into hiring a company to build an online store for you, feel free to get in touch with Level Up Media – we’re more than happy to assist.