Do I Have to Have My Own Product?
|August 5, 2008||Posted by Business4Moms under E-Commerce||
The internet has become an invaluable marketing tool for virtually any product or service, so much so that many people first make the decision to start an online business, then consider what items to offer for sale. There are a number of approaches that can be considered, and the options are not limited to offering merchandise alone.
Merchants who choose to sell a selection of products use their website as an online catalog and order-taking center. Software, books and music top the list of most widely purchased products through online venues.
Things to keep in mind while deciding what products to offer include size and weight, which will affect shipping; durability of the product, since fragile or perishable items also present shipping challenges; and the existing supply and demand in the market.
Rather than produce a product of their own, some business owners choose to act as a broker or distributor for products produced by another individual or company. Crafters and other artists often seek such channels through which to sell their wares. Other venues for obtaining products include trade shows, wholesalers, and local businesses that would like a wider customer base.
Services can also be sold over the internet. In fact, the web offers a convenient, cost-effective way for service providers to tell their story, link to samples of their work, and allow a method of contact for consumers who would like additional information.
Information continues to be one of the most sought-after products that consumers purchase online. Ebooks, white papers, special reports, and ongoing subscriptions can generate substantially higher profit margins than product sales, since associated costs are minimal.
It is wise to research both demand for a product or service as well as existing suppliers before making a final decision on what to sell. Search tools such as Google Overture and Yahoo allow merchants to test keywords to determine how popular those search terms are. Highly sought-after items are likely to be bigger sellers, provided there isn’t already a lot of competition for that business.
Some website owners generate revenue without actively selling any product or service. A website devoted to providing information about a particular topic, for example, can earn income by selling ad space to merchants with related products.
Cost-per-click (CPC) advertising is similar, but instead of paying a flat fee for ad space, merchants pay the affiliate a small amount for each visitor that clicks the link.
Affiliate marketing is another way to earn income with selling. Affiliates display ads or links for a merchant on their site. When visitors use the link to make a purchase from that merchant, the affiliate is paid a commission.
There are many options that business owners can consider beyond selling a product online. A wide variety of opportunities today make it possible for any business owner to succeed in ecommerce.