Frequently asked questions of online sales (for beginners)

E-Business Development
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These are the questions and answers for the one who just starts online business. Even they have opened the online shops, but the business goes very irregular. It is the time to know what has happen to the sales clearly. In addition, in the early stage, the owners can be bolder; they can be more creative in creating styles, taking the picture and writing the text. They should try to taste the market and find the original point of their products.

Q1: I am still an office worker, I never sale anything online. Am I able to open an online shop?
A: It is better for you to try to buy some things from different online platforms. Firstly, you have to know what kind of problems you may experience when you buy and how sellers deal with these problems.

Q2: If I never sell anything online, I should not open an online shop directly, shouldn’t I?
A: If you already own an “entity shop”, you can open an online shop directly, but first of all, you still have to be very clear about the online shopping flow, or you should find assistants who have idea about online sales to help you manage the shop.

Q3: Should I dedicate to do online business full-time?
A: It is better to start it as part-time work. If you find “tricks” and feel great interest about that, then you can decide whether you want to do it with all you efforts or not.

Q4: If the products I sell cannot be purchased directly, I should not open online shop, should I?
A: Besides selling products, online shop always brings advertising effect. Some products are custom-made or very expensive and the deals cannot be made online. Although online shop doesn’t support directly transaction in this case, the advertising effect it brings is still very great.

Q5: What are the intrinsic requirements of online shops?
A; Online shop is a 24 hours shopping tools. The business is non-stop, but this also means the working hour will be very long, and the work can be complicated and trivial. Therefore only the one has not only great passion on E-business but also the great patient towards the inpatient online customers can run the business well in the end.

Q6: If I don’t want to open the shop on online platform, can I make my own website to sell products?
A: Better not. Same as in the real world, it is better for you to open the shop in the place which has great crowd. Although most of the online platforms charge money, it fulfilled the purpose of “gathering people”. It is more difficult for the independent website which has low expose rate, low popularity to earn money at first place.

Q7: How much I should prepare as the initial capital?
A: The sum of initial capital is related to the product you sell. The owner can refer to your “half year running and store up expense” as the standard.

Q8: What kinds of product suitable to sell online?
A: The products which is difficult to find in the market. Although online market grows 30% every year, the competition among the popular products is very fierce. The shop can only find the ground to stand unless the products are special and price is reasonable. Therefore developing new type of products is the way to brings more chance to win.

Q9: Is it still a good idea to sell ready-made clothes or products?
A: In recent year, really-made products business is not as good as before, because the competition is great. In this case, the business is always involved in price war. Even the sales goes very well, the profit is still very low. But it doesn’t mean there is no way to do it, there are still new shops which try very unique way in combination achieve great success. It is because they create the new value of the really-made clothes.

Q10: which kinds of product have the highest profit?
The same as in the entity world, the products which is creative and unique or hand-made have high profit. But the atmosphere of online market is still more like a parity market. It is difficult for the customers to make the orders just through few photos and texts. The acceptable price for own created brand in online market normally is below 1,000 dollars.

Q11: Does selling foreign products have high return on online?
A: This is a very subtle situation. If certain foreign product is very popular in e-market, that means the demand is great, but it will also lead to price war. If owners develop new products, then it needs to expand the popularity of the products, the time to earn profit may be delayed and risk is higher. However the profit will be good and this business can last longer as well. Therefore we need to evaluate the situation according to the market of individual products.

Q12: How to set the price?
A: Because the price of each product is clearly revealed on the sales pages, through searching and comparison, it is not difficult for the owner to know the average price in the market. According to the fact that an online sale has saved the store management cost, product price should be 10%-30% cheaper than that in the entity market.

Q13: How should I take the picture of the product?
A: In the early stage, owner should try best to save the cost; the main standard for the photos should be “clear in detail, lightness is appropriate”. It is not necessary to use professional camera in this case. When the business grows bigger, when more details are needed to be shown in the photos, then you should consider changing to professional equipments. But, the premise is the one use it must be professional as well, or it may look even worse.

Q14; Do I need to hire model to take picture?
A: When the amount of the products is not that much, you can just find some friends which look good as your models. One famous online model once said:” The best model for online business is the one just looks like your neighbors, people feel trustworthy to see this kind of faces.” If the amount is great, using professional model can help to reduce the time to take photos and make the work become more effective.

Q15: Is the online customer service is the same as that in entity shop?
A: You can say it is the same, you can also say it is different. Basically, to be nice and kind is very important. Moreover, because the most common online communication is sending text messages, your way of expression has to be gentler. It is important to do the emotion communication (for example, using the symbol like “:)” to get them feel your kindness) when you face your online customers.

Q16: How to do free sales?
A: You can do it through joining the activities your platform provided, joining more forums and participate the discussion actively. It is better for you to set your signature as your web address.

Q17: How to write the title to let the products to be found more easily?
A: Use “hot key word” in product title. Pay attention to the hot key word in this products category. Also you can search good product keyword from some top-ranked website and then put them into the product title skillfully.

Q18: How to do blog sales?
A: Blog is also a very popular sales channel. One method is to discuss your own products and tell your brand or products story. Other way is to attract the fans or users of certain products through providing the related knowledge of the products.

Q19: Is that worthy to buy charged advertisement?
A: When goods supply and sales are not stable, it is better not to buy long term advertisement, but you can try as short term sales.

Q20: Can I avoid paying the platform trade fee?
A: You should not avoid it or you will lose the guarantee of your trade and the risk of having dispute will increase. If you want to keep your business longer, it is better for you to provide the true trade fee information to the platforms.

If you feel difficult to manage online business by yourself, you can always find the related services even the agents since e-business has development so well in recent year. But it is better for you yourself operate the business for a while to have some basic ideals first.

Edited By Vicky Yin

Eight types of online business for the gold diggers

E-Business Development
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Internet is very fair to everyone; no matter you are a big boss or an office worker, you can always find the chance to open your on-line shop and dig the gold. However, since the capital, and abilities of each person is different, the business types they choose are also various. Find your suitable business types, do some preparation for that, and then, you can start your new business on-line.

1. On-line auction
On-line auction is the easiest on-line business type for people to get in. Normally, the people who post the products for on-line auction mainly are individual sellers who just want to have a try or the owners of small scale shops. Because the barrier to enter this business is low, the competition is great relatively. Moreover, on-line auction customers love to compare the price, normally they will choose the products has lowest quote among the same.

To the sellers have big amount of products, the fees to post products is also very high. It is very common for the sellers to spend thousands dollars one month just for posting and advertisements. Plus the procedure fee charged from on-line auction platform, the cost of on-line auction business won’t be much lower than to rent an entity shop.

However, some sellers build their reputation through on-line auction and then set up their entity shop or company. To the one who is lack of capital, on-line auction is still a sound way to start the business gradually.

2. Community business
This type is for the one who starts their business from running on-line club and managing the on-line community. So far they are more like to be network engineers or the related experts who involved in Internet in the early days. At the time when they involved in web world, although they have abilities to build up their community forum, instead of having a practical mode to earn profit, their management and expectation is a bit unrealistic.

Nine out of ten on-line companies set up at that time had declared to withdraw when the initial capital was used up. And the remain ones had sort of “belief” towards the Internet world, and they also had some sense of mission towards their community. Later on they found that it is a really good way of earning by providing products to the community users according to their needs. And gradually they started to build their reputation and became the key person in certain field in their on-line community. Firstly, they boost the traffic and build reputation and then they provide the professional information which the community interested about following the Internet principle” Content is King”. If their words really carry weight, the product they sell surely will have high customer trust as well.

3. Making own brand
It is the dream of many designers to create their own brand, but the talented designers are over abundant. To become the next LV or Armani is nearly impossible in this situation. However, Internet provides the possibility for the designers to create their own brand. The good thing for the Internet is, it can gather scattered individuals through web. Therefore the designers can find the chance to display their talents to their net friends who has interest. Since it sounds possible for them to manage their own brand with limited capital, many designers started to join this trend. No matter the students in design colleges or many “silent” designers are all busy with building up their own brand on the web. Compared with the era which unknown designers have to work for the others to live, Internet has given all the small brands new hope of survival.

4. Business for special needs
To open an outdoors shop, it is very important to find a good location. Therefore the competition for the shop owners to get the primes location is always fiercely. However, to the shops who sell the products which are not that popular, even it is located at the best area; they still cannot attract many customers to earn enough for the rental. But on the Internet, you don’t need to worry about the location. As long as the owners can call the customers who have needs to come to their own websites, they can always find the way to do the business.

On the web world, no matter what is it, you can always find someone provide it. To the owners, they don’t need to worry that the rental is too high for they to afford; To the customers, they don’t need to complain that the things they need are too difficult to find, the Internet has given both of them a hand.

5. On-line branch
Although many owners consider that their services are better than the big companies, their business has been undercutted by the big shopping malls and their chain stores. But through web, they can find back customers who has recognized their products and their services.

To the owners of small scale shops. Internet has helped them to find their customers in this fierce market competition. While more and more customers rush to the big shopping malls, CBD, the one visits the small shops which is located in relatively outlying area is less and less. However, Internet helps another type of customers who don’t go out that much to find the shops provide good service and run by reliable, friendly owners, to both customers and sellers, this is no doubt a win-win methods.

6. International sales
To most of the people, running international business through Internet is still unrealistic. Although Internet has no boundary, if you cannot speak their languages, how can you do the business with the foreign costumers. However, to the one has international trade background, Internet is a really good tool. They don’t need to go oversea to be international traders; they can just make the deals through the web. In the past, owners need to send the samples to oversea for the customers to check, but now they have their own space in the websites to display their products. The oversea costumers can just browse the pictures and then counsel the companies with mail or telephone. It makes the deal easier to be done.

Nevertheless, through Internet, the sellers can do retail business directly with their foreign costumers. Of course there is one premise: owners need to know at least their language first, they should have the ability to read the message their oversea costumers send to them. If they can write their product introduction with their languages the chance for them to earn money out of their country is much higher.

7. Supplier direct selling
Facing too many competitors, the suppliers always have to consider the channel flows. Moreover, the cost of whole channel flows also raise up, it is not easy to strengthen the band nowadays. In the past, the supplier can only know the market reaction through the retailers, the deviations in between makes it difficult for them to adjust their product positioning.

However, through Internet, suppliers can hear the voice of costumers directly and communicate with them as the manufacturers. It helps them to know the market needs and produce the product which fit the needs of the market more. For the suppliers, to sell product on-line is totally different from making a big order, the profits from selling one or two products is very small, but it opens a new sales channel and a new web costumers service system which can face to the consumers directly.

8. Vertical portal website
Building up a one-stop shop is the ambition for many on-line business owners. But the requirement of setting up this type of business is really high. First, owners should have sufficient capitals and then they need very powerful platform and technology to serve many costumers at the same time in one website. Managing a vertical portal website is like running an on-line supermarket. The running cost of a supermarket is much higher than that of a small shop; this business type is definitely not for everyone.

Currently the most powerful vertical portal e-business websites are the e-market run by few big portal sites, only few owners who have very strong technology and professional knowledge can find the way to involve in this business type.

Edited By Vicky Yin

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