E-commerce can be extremely lucrative, if you know how to do it. However, if you don't know the fundamentals, it can also make for a very frustrating, and not very successful, endeavor. Here you will find some of the fundamentals you should know when setting out in e-commerce.
Planning To Succeed Means Planning
When it comes to fundamentals, the most important thing you need to do is have a plan; specifically, you should have plans for your accounting, your marketing, your inventory, your customer relations, and your shipping. There are other areas to consider, but if you focus on setting up these main sections, you will have a good start in planning.
Set up a bank account solely for business purposes. While you will certainly use your income for more than business expenses if you're making a profit, having an account where you solely handle business expenses will help you at tax time, and help you organize yourself. Make sure to keep detailed records of your sales. It doesn't help to sell if you don't know what you're selling, when you're selling it, what sells best, and so on. The best thing to do, to start, is to keep an Excel spreadsheet. The things you can do with Excel are absolutely amazing, and what seems like just a standard spreadsheet can turn into a functional report generator with a little planning.You will want to learn a lot about taxes! It would not be unreasonable to find a tax professional to help you out with your taxes since you are now your own online business. There are many state and federal regulations for small business regarding taxes; learn them in advance so you aren't caught off guard later.
Marketing is key to running an online business selling merchandise. Lots of people sell lots of things, even things similar to what you are selling, so creative marketing is key. Make sure you know who your target market is and you research them. Learn about SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Knowing which keywords to use, how to use them, where to place them, how often to use them, and so on, will be hugely beneficial to your online business. Have a website. Even if you sell on an e-commerce website, you should have your own ".com", as well.
Have enough supply for your first set of orders, whether it's 50 or 100. Whatever you project to sell in 3 months, have that aside. Be sure to manage your online inventory. Always make sure your online inventory reflects your true inventory. Have a system for this in place in advance.
Your Customer Relations
Your customers are your lifeblood; have a system in place to handle communication from them, like Constant Contact .Develop a system for tracking customer information so you can send out thank you cards, holiday cards, or anything else you see fit. Use social media.
If you are selling a physical product that has to be shipped, make sure to set up your shipping center in advance. Whether it's a guest room or a table in your office space, have one area where you ship. Order pick-up from the United States Postal Service.
When you plan for these basic fundamentals of e-commerce, you will be so much more prepared for the everyday business of online selling. Putting systems in place in advance to deal with the main areas of your business that will be ever-present and ever-changing will ensure that you can handle orders, customers, and marketing with ease and will only have to make simple adjustments as you go along. Good luck!
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Lina Stakauskaite works at Click2Sell (www.click2sell.eu) Affiliate Programs Network. Sell digital products online and run your affiliate program. Accept payments via Paypal, Google Checkout or direct credit card payments. Get paid instantly via PayPal, Payoneer, wire provide easy payment options for customers, recruit and manage affiliates successfully. Visit www.click2sell.eu and become successful seller.
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