How to Sell Online
Interested in starting e-commerce for your business? Don't know how to begin? NBDC has experience helping Nebraskans start and grow small businesses. Check out the information and resources offered on this page specific to creating ways to sell goods or services online. When you are ready, contact an NBDC consultant in your area to help you take your business online.
NBDC No Fee, Confidential Consulting
- Develop a business plan including detailed financial projections
- Refine your target market
- Define your business goals
- Structure the administrative and operational aspects of your business
- Compare your financial estimates to industry standards
- Conduct a cash flow analysis for your business
- Complete a financing package using your financial data
- Contact a Consultant
Learn more about starting a business from NBDC’s on-demand training modules.
Why Should You Consider E-Commerce?
In today’s marketplace, shoppers are changing their purchasing habits. The chart to the left is from August of 2018, when only ten percent of U.S. consumers between the ages of 18 and 70 were shopping only offline (in stores).
The COVID-19 pandemic spurred even more online shopping and online ordering for restaurants. Nationwide, after stores began to re-open, shopping online did not decline but continued to increase. According to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, in March 2021 U.S. consumers spent $78 billion online, a 49% increase over March 2020, the greatest growth since July 2020.” Adobe expects U.S. e-commerce spending in 2021 to reach between $850 billion and $930 billion, with expectations of spending over $1 trillion in 2022.
Shopping on social channels also increased, by 25% from 2019 to 2020, according to an Insider Intelligence report from eMarketer. In early 2021, nearly 80 million consumers buy items through apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, with the number of social channel shoppers expected to increase to over 100 million by 2023.
Even in Nebraska opportunities are taking shape. While Amazon is seen by many as a large competitor for brick-and-mortar, some stores are finding success by selling on Amazon. Check out this story from the Lincoln Journal Star, Nebraska Small Businesses Seeing Booming Growth on Amazon.
Still not sure if you are ready to take the online leap with your business? Experts say the pandemic is a time for small businesses to try out online sales and experiment with what works for the needs of the business. Check out tips from Bloomberg Businessweek on why selling online doesn’t have to be intimidating and how you can get started.
The retail landscape is changing. Is your business ready to make the shift and capitalize on new opportunities from online sales?
Perhaps we’ve convinced you that creating an online selling platform is worth your time and financial investment, but what should you know to get started?
We recommend starting with the basics and getting a general overview about what to expect and what platforms to use before diving in. Check out the articles at the links below to learn more.
Tips and Tricks for Online Success
After you have a good understanding of the basics to getting your business online, dive into additionalcontent, focusing on what others did to be successful. The chart from Statista demonstrates what consumers need to make a great online shopping experience, the indicators likely align with what you look for as well. Notice that product images and reviews are equally important or more important to consumers as product descriptions when shopping online.
We researched to find best practices from successful online sellers. Best practices provide an excellent framework for improving and expanding your business. But also make sure to highlight the things that YOU do best. No one knows your and your business’ strengths like you do; how can you capitalize on the things you already do well to support this new aspect of your business?
Instead of trying to compete with the e-commerce giants (and their giant budgets), try to tailor your customer experience very specifically to the narrow target market you are after. Get just one thing exactly right for the customers who urgently need it, instead of many things sort of right for customers who are lukewarm.
Those customers will tell their friends, and word-of-mouth advertising can go leaps and bounds beyond your marketing budget. Social media makes an excellent – and often inexpensive - companion to e-commerce.
Make your business personal by sharing about the time and possibly even the money you have invested (and continue to invest) in your product or idea. This transparency can turn customers into friends. Solicit their feedback to improve your product but also to build relationships.
Follow the links below to find more great content with articles on shipping, marketing, challenges you may encounter, and how a small business owner in Georgia tripled her sales while her storefront was closed during the pandemic.