There are many possible reasons for wanting to launch an ecommerce store in this day and age. Some merchants launch an online store to supplement already existing brick-and-mortar retail sales. Others choose to run a website-only sales business because of the relative flexibility of this revenue stream. Some sellers are motivated by the potential in ecommerce—some estimates predict online retail will grow by 20 percent to surpass $4 trillion by 2020.
One thing is clear: As online shopping becomes increasingly normalized around the globe, there’s more potential to reach a variety of audiences with an array of products. Even after entrepreneurs have decided they want to enter the ecommerce game, they must ask themselves what their store should sell. And even after the launch of a store, it’s always worth auditing your product lineup from time to time to ensure your product catalogue is as strong as possible.
Find Your Ecommerce Niche
The first rule of thumb when you’re setting a product lineup is to avoid trying to sell “everything but the kitchen sink,” as the saying goes. While this strategy works for some of the ecommerce giants, most entrepreneurs find more success selling fewer products to a more specific target audience.
According to marketing expert Neil Patel, one way to determine your ecommerce niche is to define your unique selling proposition (USP). Your USP is what distinguishes you from other online retailers; it informs customers why they should buy from your shop as opposed to a competitor’s. Patel notes a solid USP takes into consideration the passion and strengths of the seller plus current market needs within a niche.
In other words, effective niches tend to arise and evolve from a combination of the seller’s interests plus consumer demand, as determined by market research and keyword search volume.
Look for Cross-Selling Opportunities
Modern cloud-based ecommerce solutionsfacilitate more personalized shopping experiences to meet evolving customer expectations. One example of this is utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning to make intuitive cross-selling opportunities to shoppers based on past and present behavior. By making personalized suggestions, sellers can boost their average order value and impress customers in one fell swoop. However, doing so successfully means you must sell complementary products on your site.
A furniture seller might suggest a popular table lamp to accompany a side table, for instance. An electronics website could suggest charging accessories to a customer who adds a certain device to their shopping cart. A cosmetics company may find suggesting consumers bundle lip products with eye products at a slightly discounted price boosts sales in both categories. Selling networks of related products is a solid way to expand your product catalogue over time.
Consider Fulfillment Logistics
Last but not least, it pays to consider the actual logistics of selling various products. For instance, the aforementioned furniture store may be tempted to sell big-ticket items like couches or beds. But they will only be able to do so successfully if they can figure out how to ship these items quickly, securely and inexpensively.
In other words, figuring out what your ecommerce store should sell is sometimes a matter of determining what your online store cansell. Consider the order fulfillment timeframe and cost. Make sure you know local, state and national laws pertaining to the sale of certain products. Consider the cost of stocking your inventory. These behind-the-scenes logistics often make or break your bottom line.
What should your ecommerce store sell, exactly? Only you can decide. But it’s important to consider logistics, your USP and your overall product catalogue when you’re making such decisions.