Selling on Etsy, Amazon, eBay, or other aggregate marketplaces is an excellent way to start making money online. However, novice merchants tend to fall victim to common pitfalls, which is why we wrote this guide. Before you start selling online, you need to know how to avoid them.
Know the Rules
You’ll lose your privileges on the platform quickly if you don’t follow the marketplace’s rules. Otherwise, you might have your account suspended after having invested tens of thousands in goods. Even the smallest details count, such as keywords and the size of your pictures. Awareness of the different policies and rules will help you protect yourself when selling.
Protect Your Data
Make sure your payment gateway is reputable. If you’re going to use a third-party provider such as PayPal, Wise, or Revolut, you will need to comply with local standards for data protection. Within online purchases, strict measures must be taken to protect your identity, credit card information, and personal data. It’s important to be PCI compliant as well.
Recognize Common Scams
A common scam may involve a customer asking you whether you’ve sent the item they ordered or when you plan to do so. When you tell them it’s been shipped, they will cancel the order. In the end, they will receive the item and also get a refund. In fact, most scams involve refunds. A buyer can return a completely different product or a damaged or used one. They might also use the item, then claim it wasn’t as described, and request a refund.
Protect Your Goods
Regardless of what you’re selling, you should have proper protection for it in place. This might mean having an exchange policy or delivery insurance. In addition, you can implement a feedback and service review process or simply inform customers of your cancellation policy in advance.
Those new to selling online are prone to underpricing their goods. The true cost of holding, obtaining, and shipping goods is all too easy to underestimate. In turn, this can eat away at your profit more than anything else.
Physical item costs are only the beginning. You need to factor in shipping and delivery, payment processing fees, marketplace fees (which can be very high), and product shelf life. Profit has a cost, too. It’s the price you pay for your and your employees’ time. You’re missing a key cost element if you’re not factoring in a profit that compensates the time it takes to execute orders and process items.
Proper Interaction with Customers
As a new seller, it may be tempting to overreact to a difficult customer. However, business is business and you shouldn’t take it personally. Don’t threaten, blame, or otherwise confront a customer. In addition, you should always answer calls and emails politely and professionally and try to reach an amicable resolution to a conflict.
It’s important not to go to the other extreme, either. Getting too friendly with your customers can lead to a colossal waste of time. Eventually, the buyer might also develop a sense of entitlement.
Don’t Expect Huge Profits Overnight
Some online sellers invest years in developing trust, earning regular customers, and generating effective mailing lists. They are typically the most successful ones. Buyers are wary of unproven and new sellers. While e-commerce is in its heyday now, you shouldn’t reckon with an immediate spike in demand for your products or services.
Research Your Competitors
You should also do some research into the competition before you launch. At the very least, you need to get an idea about pricing. A critical view of your main competitors will provide crucial insights into marketing as well. Ideally, you should do this before you order the goods.
A new online seller should always have a plan B. Otherwise, you may find yourself unable to reply to inquiries, upload tracking numbers, or fulfill orders. It is also important to consider unplanned but common occurrences such as lost Internet connection, a flood, or illness. In turn, having a partner or spouse who can fill in for you can help you run the business during these unforeseen events.