Selling Stuff Online – What to Avoid Doing!

Last time, we talked a bit about auctions and eBay.  For creating a real ecommerce business online, auctions can be quite useful but the days of Making Millions on eBay are long gone.

I hate to tell everyone this, but easy online money is really not around anymore.  Sure, there are a few quick shot strategies that may work temporarily, but they catch on quickly these days and make them obsolete quickly.

If you are going to sell stuff online, it should be a business.  There is a lot more to making money online than creating a website and sourcing some products (that is actually the easy stuff).  Its finding customers and getting them to buy that’s the difficult part.  We’ll talk about that another day, but right now we still need to figure out the website and philosophy of your website.

Now my first MAJOR tip is simple:

SELLING PRODUCTS CHEAP USUALLY ENDS IN FAILURE.

If you are like me, I scour the internet for one thing:  cheap stuff.  And therefore, you probably assume that offering products the cheapest will make you a winner.  This is false!  Little to no margin is NOT going to make you money, it is going to make you busy working for nothing.

Do you really think you are going to beat out Walmart or Amazon?  I have my Prime membership with Amazon and when I want something, I usually go there first, get a product that is typically as cheap or cheaper than everyone else and it will be shipped to my house in 2 days.  I just bought a 60 pound barbell set with Amazon Prime and it cost me $20.  (The shipping alone probably would cost you more than that!).

Don’t go into a price war!  You won’t win.  You can’t (unless you create an Uber-mall like Amazon).

Speaking of malls, this brings up my next point:

STAY AWAY FROM MAKING A MALL ONLINE!

I know it sounds like a great idea at first.  When I first created “TheWebReviewer” I kept it a generic name because I was going to review EVERYTHING.  That was a mistake.  From a marketing point of view, it is really hard to promote a mall unless you have some serious resources behind you.  In this case, it is about a brand rather than a product.  I know, there are some nifty product feeds that will give you everything you need to set up the mall on a website, but promoting it is going to be nearly impossible.  Plus, what can YOU offer these shoppers that Amazon cannot?  Not much.

Finally, one more big thing to think about:

SELL WHAT IS SELLING

I know, kind of a “Yoda” saying here.  But it makes a really good point.  In my career, I have come across some rather cool gadgets and toys.  You know, some of the weird stuff you may find in SkyMall on your next flight.  Now with SkyMall, it works because of its distribution.  But for you, you are going to find these “inventions” tough to promote.

IF NO ONE IS LOOKING FOR IT, WILL IT BE BOUGHT?

Maybe, but the marketing strategy is very different and can be very difficult.  Now, exploring niches can be good.  Let’s say diamond-encrusted dog collars.  People are looking for dog collars and some even be interested in high end dog collars.  It is probably a small niche that has some demand.

But what about a self-cleaning fork.  Might sound cool.  Does anyone know about it?  Probably not.  Who would be looking for it?  I don’t know.  See the problem here?

Market research must be a part of your product selection.  And don’t be afraid of entering into markets that are already doing well (that just means people are making money in it…that is a good thing!).

So next time, we’ll talk a little bit more about how we are going to sell stuff and how we are going to structure our website to do so.

cheers…matt

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