Online sales: where to start?
If you are starting to explore the world of online sales , you probably have doubts about logistics, payments and the platform you are going to use.
Would it be better to start selling on Instagram or Mercado Libre? Should you create an online store? How do I ship the products to other provinces? Do I send my CBU to the clients and have the money transferred to me?
They are perfectly reasonable questions and in this article we are going to answer the elementary questions to help you take the first step on this path of entrepreneurship .
To start selling online you have to define:
- what product or service are you going to offer,
- who are you going to sell it to,
- where are you going to sell it.
Depending on the answers to these three questions, you only have to establish how you are going to attract your first customers , by what means you are going to charge them and in what way you are going to make the shipments.
Let us begin!
What to sell
In this first point there are as many answers as there are entrepreneurs .
If you have already resolved what you want to sell because you are an artist who wants to market their works or you already sell products in a physical store and you would only like to offer the same online, you can go directly to the next subtitle referring to the audience you want to conquer.
Now, if you came to this article wanting to diversify your income and undertake, but you are not clear about the product or service, you may be interested to know that, according to a study by the Argentine Chamber of Electronic Commerce (CACE), the 10 categories that were sold the most online in Argentina during 2020 were:
- Clothing and sporting goods
- Clothing (not sports)
- Food and drinks
- Cell phones and telephones
- Appliances and Air Conditioners
- Audiovisual content and Software
- Electronics, audio, video and TV
- Education: courses, careers, seminars, etc.
- Home, furniture and garden
As you see in the list, in addition to physical products, you can also take advantage of your knowledge and offer your services as advice or create your own online course with different topics, modules and levels.
How to define the ideal customer?
As tempting as it may be to think of a business where the customer is “almost any human being,” it is best to focus on a well-defined buyer persona .
Of course there are products that can respond to massive interests such as an app in the best Facebook style, but don’t forget that there are those who prefer Twitter. In that sense, you can be as creative and ambitious as you want, but even Mark Zuckerberg – founder of Facebook – defined an ideal customer when launching his idea.
If you haven’t started selling yet, you can have a preliminary version of your buyer persona by following these steps:
- Study your competitors to know who their customers are today.
- Access audience studies related to your field. For example, if you want to sell clothes online, a good source of information is the Argentine Industrial Clothing Chamber .
- Analyze the statistics of your brand’s social networks , in case you already have a presence on those channels.
If you have already started selling online but have not yet defined your ideal client, to the three previous steps you can add interviews with your current clients to get to know them better.
8 online sales platforms
These options that we share below are also usually called online sales channels and, despite being quite differentiated, it is possible to offer your products and services in more than one, as they are not mutually exclusive.
The purpose of this list is to provide you with an introduction to each platform; If you want to delve into them, click on the specialized guides and the banners that you will find at the end of each one.
1. Own online store
It is a personalized virtual showcase where you display and sell your products or services.
With your e-commerce you can:
- Have a business available 24/7.
- Sell to any part of the country and the world.
- Appear in Google when a person does a search related to what you sell.
- Professionalize your brand.
To create an online store, you can request a personalized design and programming service or use an e-commerce platform such as Trendenube , which has templates that you will be able to adjust to your style, without the need for technical knowledge.
A marketplace is a website that connects buyers with sellers to conduct a business transaction. Imagine this online sales platform as a large shopping center where you can find various brands, products and prices.
To start selling in a marketplace you have to open an account on the platform and publish photos and descriptions of your products .
Through this channel, it is possible:
- Take advantage of the visibility of the platform; think of marketplaces like Mercado Libre that receive millions of users daily.
- Easily publish your products.
- Sell more than one product in each purchase order.
How many entrepreneurs do you know who started selling through this social network? If your first impulse was to open an Instagram profile for your brand , you have a very good intuition, as it is a platform that has more than 4.6 million monthly active users who spend 17.3 hours a month consuming its content.
To sell on Instagram you need:
- Have a company profile on the social network.
- Post relevant content for your followers.
- Get quality followers.
- Offer your products through Instagram Shopping.
Did you know that this is the most used social network in the world ? In Argentina alone, it has 4.8 million active users per month who spend 19.3 hours a month on the platform.
On Facebook, the largest number of people belong to the group of millennials (25 to 34 years old) and generation X (35 to 55 years old).
To sell on Facebook you have to:
- Create a page other than a common profile.
- Create a store within the social network, which you can integrate with your e-commerce.
- Link collections with Instagram to take advantage of the potential of both social networks.
Through the “Business” function, WhatsApp allows businesses to insert business information in their profile status , create automatic responses and separate conversations by topic.
Although it is a platform that is often used as a customer service channel , you can create distribution lists and send exclusive promotions that help increase your sales.
To create a profile in WhatsApp Business you have to access the application store of your smartphone (Android or iOS) and follow these steps:
- Install the app;
- confirm your phone number to create an account;
- inform the name of your brand and the category of your business and click on “Advance”;
- finally, in “More options” (three dots icon on Android) or “Settings” (gear icon ⚙️ on iPhone)> Settings, I included some extra information such as address and hours of operation.