The internet has given many businesses a much larger customer base than other personal selling methods. It is standard in today’s e-commerce world for someone selling soap in Georgia to sell to a customer in California. Marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy provide a great outlet for sellers of niche products. While many businesses are small, there is great opportunity for growth. Creating a business online can be simple to very difficult based on the size of your online businesses and detail. Setting up a decent website doesn’t have to be painful. Once completed, it may be the right answer for you.
You will have to choose how you want to sell online.
Decide on your platform. eBay, Etsy and Craigslist are well established online marketplaces. You can find many more with some online research. Africa Imports products are great for online auctions because many of our products are one-of-a-kind, so you can offer something exclusive. Exclusive products have greater value to customers. Shopify.com is another emerging marketplace for new businesses to get an online store with ecommerce capabilities. If you want to have your own website with ecommerce capability. You can set up a simple website through Africa Imports here, or find a separate company to host your website, like Shopify.com, godaddy.com and more. For any of these solutions, setup will require time and patience from you in getting through the setup process.
How will people find your store.
Once your online store or product listings are setup, you will need to find a way to get people to your site. Using your social media contacts (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest) is a great start to letting people know your store exists. There are many other techniques for gaining new online audiences. You will need to research various tactics and decide what is right for your business.
When I first started Africa Imports, the internet was much younger and smaller. eBay (the largest internet auction company) had just started. I set up auctions on eBay for a few of the items that we carry; and sold almost every single one: often for more than they would sell for retail on our website. Since then, internet traffic has increased dramatically. This means that there are more potential customers for you at online auctions than ever before, and more competition.
At one point, my then 14 year old son decided to sell D'jembe drums on eBay. He would buy them from us for $125. each (they now sell for $100. each); and he would sell them on auctions for as much as $400. He was spending 15 minutes setting up each auction; and maybe two hours through the week checking the new bid prices every half hour or so. He seemed to be making more money per hour than an average medical doctor at first; but over time, many other people started selling D'jembe drums on Ebay too. Now you can find them for the same $125. that we sold them to him for - and sometimes even less.
What this means to you is that you need to find a product niche. You also need to build your own group of customers who are interested in what you sell; and who trust that the items you will send them are the quality they need.
There are now thousands of online auctions available on the internet. The products from Africa Imports are marvelous for this because many are one of a kind, so you will offer something exclusive and of more value than most other products. If two bidders both decide they want what you are auctioning, they will have to bid the price up, because it is the only one. Other items that are available in larger quantities can also do well. Not only can you sell items to multiple buyers in one auction; but almost all of these items are still unusual, and difficult to find at any retail outlets.
Free Classified Ads
Free classified ads are another opportunity. You can place ads on free classified ad boards; use the photos that are already published for you; and modify the text to fit the ad size where it goes. You can even buy programs for $50. to $100. that will automate the entire submission process for you. You can then post to hundreds of classified ad locations at the same time.
Your own website
You can set up a website where you sell things from Africa, but you may be a lot more successful if you set up a website that gives visitors another incentive, like something free. You can provide valuable hard-to-find information; or you can give people something entertaining; or you can come up with something else. The goal is to get people (people who would be interested in one or more of the products that you have to offer) to visit your site for any reason that works. This is the same theory behind television. People don't turn on their TV to watch commercials; but they see commercials when they watch something else (for free).
When visitors come to your site, you can offer related products for sale. You can do this with items that you purchase for resale; or you can do this through the Africa Imports affiliate program. To learn more about our affiliate program, Click Here