Do you even need a website to start selling online?

Do you even need a website to start selling online?

The connotation of the term ‘e-Commerce’ is that a retailer has launched their own website off which to trade. However, the set-up and launch of a website requires a fair bit of housekeeping…before you can get up and running and making money! Domain names, hosting, site design, and tests must all be sorted before your website can begin to reap the vast rewards available from successful online business.
Due to this an increasing number of entrepreneurs and start-up businesses are utilizing various social networks and online marketplaces in order to initially set up shop. This tactic is useful for start-ups in discovering the viability of their businesses and the nature of customers.
There are several benefits of launching a business through another website, however as with other methods of e-Commerce, if this is a route you plan to go down in establishing your brand or service online, it requires sufficient planning. It is essential to extensively research the various platforms for business that are present on the web, determining which site is best suited to the needs of your potential business. Typical factors to consider when deciding on a site to use are your target demographic, product and payment options.
By far the most thriving e-marketplace and haven for small business is eBay and its potential for successful e-commerce is immense. The UK site attracts over 17.7 million unique visits per month, and the site has more than 90 million active users. Retailers are undoubtedly utilizing the exposure the site accommodates as at present over 30 million live listings can be found on the site. The site has shifted away from its auction house roots, with fixed price goods being sold by 160,000 registered businesses and over 100 high-street retailers.

Recent graduate Kelly Smith utilized her obvious entrepreneurial flair on the site, selling a variety of items. Asserting that as a student she had accumulated possessions she did not need she decided to try her hand at shifting excess belongings online. Also, utilizing positions at various fashion magazines—she sold cosmetics purchased at sales price, for significantly higher prices, often making up to 2000% profit. She attributes her successful venture to understanding the mentality of her target demographic—an essential business practice, stating: “Just listing items is not enough—having a catchy and convincing description, as well as an appealing image is essential.”
Other notable platforms for online business include Facebook and Gumtree. The former, a championed favourite in bridging the gap between social networking and online business, also allows businesses to tailor adverts, which will drive consumers to their sites. Security in trading on the site is ensured by using PayPal services, as is custom with Ad listing service Gumtree. The site founded by entrepreneurs Simon Crockall and Michael Pennington started as a resource for finding places to live in London. Eleven years later the site houses some 34,000 new adverts a day, and spans 48 cities across the UK and Ireland. The sites 13.7 million visitors per month trawl through adverts for cars, furniture, electronics and more; establishing the site as a thriving online marketplace.
Fashion-retailer ASOS who have already innovatively launched their entire product range on Facebook have also made waves with the recently added ASOS Marketplace on their site. The service allows fashion lovers from anywhere in the world to sell their original creations and unwanted items to fellow style enthusiasts. The benefit of the service being instant access to a niche market on an already buzzing platform!
Taking the bold step into the e-commerce world can be daunting, if needs be easing into the action via an established marketplace is a clever tactic.
Written by Malachi McPherson, Digital Consultant @ JulianHall.co.uk

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