In addition to handling the Marketing Operations at TWP Marketing, I have a side-hustle. I crochet, a lot, so much that 2 years ago I started selling my stuff online because there are only so many blankets, bags and washcloth sets you can give family and friends as gifts!
But selling online, whether it is a small business selling crafts or a medium to large sized business selling products, is tough. There are so many options, and it is crucial you find an option that works for you and your needs and isn’t too costly.
Online Shopping Has Grown
In 2020, online shopping and e-commerce grew by 3.4%, and e-commerce sales are projected to grow from $792 billion in 2020 to 1.6 trillion in 2025. Thanks to the pandemic and lockdowns, people began shopping online for just about everything. If you are selling anything, from crocheted hats and scarves to building materials or bicycle parts, an online presence and purchasing option are crucial to your success.
Selecting an Effective Sales Platform
There are several options when it comes to selling products online. Whether you have a small budget or a large amount of money to work with, there are a few options that can help you generate some sales.
1. E-Commerce Website
E-commerce websites are terrific. Most platforms are easy to set-up and design. Additionally, these sites will typically track inventory and with the click of a button handle shipping and postage for purchases through the site. There are a few different platforms that offer online e-commerce sites.
I personally have used Wix.com for my side hustle, Uniquely Yours Creations, but it is very pricey for a small business I run for fun. I sold just enough the two years I had it up and running to pay for the hosting fees and some more yarn to make more stuff.
WordPress also offers a great option for an e-commerce site; with several different plug-ins you can install to make the purchasing journey easy and painless for you to manage.
The downside to a dedicated e-commerce website is that they can be pricey and time-consuming for a smaller side-hustle. If you are selling many products and running a full-on business an e-commerce site that will handle all aspects of the purchasing process is a great benefit and worth the cost.
There are also a host of other platforms that can assist with creating an e-commerce site, including Shopify, GoDaddy, etc.
In addition to the price of these sites, you will need a strategy to allow people to find your site. You will need to invest in some advertising and marketing so that you can find an audience of potential customers.
2. Facebook Shops
A Facebook Shop is an “online store that lives on Facebook and Instagram and allows users to browse, shop, and make purchases either directly on Facebook.”
Facebook and Instagram users can find businesses on Facebook Shop via their personal Facebook page or their Instagram profile. In addition to finding Facebook Shop through ads or organic marketing campaigns.
With Facebook Shop you do not need a stand-alone website (though if you have one you can integrate it into Facebook Shop.) Customers can go through the entire purchasing journey right in your storefront on Facebook Shop, including:
· Browsing items
· Adding items to a cart
· Checking out
Facebook Shop does not charge any fees to set up a storefront, however they do collect 5% per shipment, if your shipment is under $8.00, they will take a flat-fee of 40 cents.
3. Online Craft Fairs/Vendor Sales
One interesting addition to the lockdown was the increase of online craft fairs. Because everyone was unable to get together in person craft fairs were stopped for over a year. Even a few aren’t hosting their in-person events this year (I tried to sign-up!)
Online Craft Fairs are great because after paying an entry fee most of the online marketing and advertising is done by the Fair Host. They will generate the customers and direct them to your site, some online fairs even offer a storefront on their website, which is great if you don’t have a website.
I sold several items using the online craft fair option. It was an inexpensive way to get my products in front of a whole new group of people without the opportunity to sell at an in-person craft fair.
While life has returned more towards normal, the online events have decreased, but there are still a few out there to be found with a good Google Search.
Just Get Online
No matter how you choose to sell your items, pick the option that will work best for you and your business. Even if you have a brick-and-mortar location or do in-person craft and vendor fairs, an online presence and availability for people to purchase will only increase your potential sales.
The team at TWP Marketing can help you get your products online, whether it is a dedicated e-commerce website or a Facebook Shop, let us know and we can help you get started.
Personally, I have decided to use Facebook Shop to set up a new online store, it is much less expensive than a dedicated e-commerce website and as I am on Facebook all day for our clients I am there to monitor it along with all the other accounts I keep track of and I can easily set up Facebook Ads to generate interest and find customers.