Selling things online is a pastime that many everyday people partake in. Maybe a deceased relative has a stash of designer purses you have no use for, or you decide to clean out your extensive shoe collection. Whatever the reason, selling items online is a common practice that even the most un-tech savvy person can figure out how to do. Online auction sites like eBay have been around for so long now that it’s a household name. However, once you start selling online, you may find that you enjoy it. On top of that, if it’s started to generate a substantial income, then you’ve got yourself a business. Here are three tips about how to transition from a hobbyist to an eCommerce entrepreneur.
Signs Your Hobby Has Become a Business
You might be stuck on the fence about whether or not your online selling activities are frequent enough to be considered a business. The best way to evaluate this conundrum is to consider how much time you put into the task of selling online every week, and how much of a return you get for your efforts. If you spend the majority of your free time during the week dealing with your online sales, rather than just an hour here or there, you’re bordering on having a business. Another sign is that you’ve started to rely on your online sales as a second income and it’s changed your lifestyle. These are all indications that what started as a hobby has become a full-fledged business.
Tips to Keep Your Business Growing
Once you’ve established that you’re running a business, you want to keep it growing. If up until now you’ve just been focusing on selling your merchandise, up the ante by really investing time in finding newer and more exciting items to offer for sale. For example, if you’ve been dealing mostly in designer fashion, try adding items to the mix you didn’t before. This can also be a great way to learn more about your industry and what you’re selling. If you’ve focused mainly on apparel, for example, try adding in items that complement your preexisting stock, like shoes or accessories. This is a great way to keep interest alive in your product and engage customers in a more complete way.
Advertising and Marketing Tactics
The beauty of having an online business is all the innovative things you can do with social media, marketing, and advertising. Social media is one of the fun parts of running an online business, because you get to find creative ways to use the content of your online store and translate it into interesting and valuable information for your customers. This might include hosting themed pinboards of certain outfits, or simply hosting a product of the day and touting it as something to share on Facebook. The top thing to remember about marketing and advertising, though, is that you should be looking for ways to monetize the attention you generate. While a new “like” on your Facebook page doesn’t mean that you’re receiving a direct monetary conversion, what it does mean is that one more person with an entire network of friends has become interested in your company. This is what leads to loyal customers who actively engage with your content, both by purchasing your product as well as participating in the online communities of which you’re a part. The best way to generate new, long-term customers is to engage them intellectually.