5 Tips for Avoiding the Potential Pitfalls of Online Business

5 Tips for Avoiding the Potential Pitfalls of Online Business

The following article is a guest post.

Online businesses are a tempting modern alternative to the tried-and-true method of setting up a shop to sell your chosen wares, because they offer the lucrative gains of a shop without many of the problems associated.

No rent to worry about, no employees needed (until your business gets large enough to require shipping employees), and much lower costs all contribute to the allure of online businesses, but it’s not all good on the information superhighway.

There are many dangers connected to running a business online, such as scamming, loss of internet, and loss of product through the mailing system. At least for the loss of internet you can always get IT support in Sydney, but for help with the others you may need to read on.

1. Scamming.

Online scamming has been occurring for many years, and has gotten more subtle since the beginning of the internet.

Where once you would get an email from a “Nigerian Prince” asking for some money which they would repay tenfold, now you could lose your bank account details from something as simple as signing up to a gaming service through a verified program.

Data security is very important in this modern age, and protecting yourself is one of the key steps to having a successful online business.

2. Advertising.

One of the unfortunate pitfalls of online businesses is the much lower levels of “random” advertising success.

With a physical storefront, you could design a window display and draw some people in via that method, just randomly. With people searching for what they specifically want, it’s harder to accidentally find a rare gem of a store in your online travels, and therefore your random draw-in can be harder to find.

That being said, online advertising does reach a much, much larger audience, so the benefits may outweigh the negatives.

3. Shipping.

You don’t have to worry about the travel time of a package that makes it’s way from the counter of your store to the hands of the customer in front of you, but with an online store shipping is always an issue.

Maybe you find a person who is good at organizing shipping and postal services, and they handle the sending-and-receiving side of things, but then you have an extra employee to pay.

It’s a balancing act, ensuring all of your packages reach their destinations in time.

4. Physical Presence.

Some shops, and some wares, really benefit from having a place for a person to visit.

See the items, try them out, talk to the shopkeeper, etc. Online businesses suffer from a lack of this, and some things get sold at much lower regularity due to this missing connection from shopkeeper to customer.

That’s not to say online businesses aren’t flourishing in general, it just happens to mean that some products aren’t as good for online businesses as others.

5. Customer Base.

Finding your customer base in an online setting can be tricky, unless you ask your customers to fill out membership forms when they sign up for a mailing list, and that step alone can dissuade people from buying from a particular online store.

You have to know your product well to be able to effectively market it without that crucial piece of information, so make sure to study up on the many uses of your product before taking it to the online marketplace.

The online business can be a great asset to anyone willing to put in the effort to bring out the best in their product and themselves, as a business owner. Provided these things are looked out for, the business shouldn’t hit any potholes along the way.

Get The Lifestyle Designer's Digest

Sharing my adventures in lifestyle design, building an online business, and growing this blog. Join me for weekly updates.

Previous ArticleNext Article

Becoming an Online Merchant: 4 Tips to Find the Perfect Product to Sell

Becoming an Online Merchant: 4 Tips to Find the Perfect Product to Sell

E-commerce is a booming industry and will only continue to grow in the coming years. That’s why it’s not so surprising that there are plenty of people who want even just a small slice of the proverbial pie.

But whether or not you are looking to establish a full-blown online store or would simply want to supplement your income by buying and selling items on the side, you have to pick a product to sell that would, well, sell.

With the right marketing strategy, one can argue that anything and everything can be sold online. However, the real challenge is finding a product that is conducive to success. How do you find that product? Here are a few pointers.

Finding The Ideal Product to Sell

1. Target Hobbyists and Collectors

You’ll be surprised by just how much money hobbyists and collectors are willing to spend to fuel their passions.

If you have a knack for finding rare items, you’ll be a big hit with collectors. Whether they’re interested in action figures and toys, lapel pins, first edition books, stickers, sports cards, or even antique dinnerware. Just make sure that everything is legitimate.

Meanwhile, there is no shortage of hobbies on which people willingly invest their time and money.

Some of the more popular ones include biking, fishing, knitting and crocheting, calligraphy, model building (including radio-controlled vehicles), and handicrafts. Look for a leisure pursuit where you can act as the product-based solution and you’ll easily enamor yourself to these customers.

2. Something Hard to Find or Can’t be Bought Locally

There are some things that can be easily found in a local grocery store or a specialty shop — say gardening or baking supplies. But what about specialty foods, magician’s accessories, eco-friendly products, and fandom items?

Most likely, people will go online to find these. You can enlist the help of Google Trends and Google Keyword Tool to get a glimpse of what kinds of products people are searching for online and use the results as a guide to pick a niche product to sell.

You can also try to sell products that can’t be bought or difficult to procure locally, like Japanese Kitkats, the “three-story” alfajor Oreos, or Asian beauty products. The latter, in particular, is a good place to start since a lot of products are only available in select countries or regions but are available through wholesale Asian cosmetics websites. Do the hard work of sourcing these products (and offer them at reasonable prices) and see just how much your customers will love you.

3. Star with The Accessories Before The Big-Ticket Items

When people buy big-ticket items such as 4K TVs, high-end smartphones, and gaming laptops, they buy them only once. Their next purchase of these kinds of products will probably be in the next two to three years.

These are big investments, after all, and people are much more reluctant to spend huge amounts so often. However, accessories are much more common purchases and people are relatively more agreeable to spending more often on these items. Especially when they’re meant to increase the performance or ensure the longer life of the bigger product.

Think about HDMI cables and switchers for TVs, charging cables and power banks as well as cases and protectors for smartphones, and gaming accessories like a mouse, a keyboard, and a good pair of headphones.

If you already sell the big-ticket items, then it’s a wise decision to add the accessories to your online catalog. If you’ve yet to choose what to sell on your online shop and/or you have a limited capital, you should consider selling these kinds of accessories first.

4. Consumables Mean Customers That Keep Coming Back

Consumables mean that you will have a steady customer base and a rather reliable revenue stream. What’s more, when people need to order products from you regularly, it’s much easier to build a loyal customer base.

Think about specialty cooking ingredients (Himalayan pink salt, anyone?), supplies for arts and crafts, and even cosmetics. Just make sure you’re able to deliver each and every time, since you don’t know when your customers will run out of their stock or order in bulk in advance.

Of course, choosing which product to sell is just one part of a thriving online business, since you should also take into consideration the demand, potential competition, and reliable suppliers, among others. However, it’s also undeniable that finding a saleable item is a huge contributor to your business success. Good luck on your journey as an online entrepreneur!

If you're into ecommerce, you might be wondering what product to sell on your online store. Here are 4 great ideas that are sure to make you money and bring you loyal customers: #ecommerce #onlinestore #makemoneyonline #sidehustle