Here’s Why Online Selling Is the Answer to a Bigger Audience

What is the main purpose of your business? Answer — to make money.

With this in mind, it’s imperative that your operation is built to serve the largest possible audience. Otherwise, you’ll be limiting your potential before the business has even opened its doors. While very few businesses can target a universal audience, there’s no need to restrict yourself to a single niche.   

Thanks to the beauty of online interactions, working multiple demographics is easier than ever. So, how can you reach and satisfy a bigger audience to boost the hopes of increased sales? Let’s take a closer look.

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1. Target Multiple Locations

When starting an offline venture, it’s almost certain that you’ll be limited to hitting a localized audience. Given that the world now feels smaller than ever, this outcome is ridiculous!

 Working online doesn’t only create a chance for people around the world to find you. With smart localized SEO strategies, you can gain a strong presence in multiple cities or countries at once. Master the Google My Business platform, and you won’t go far wrong. When added to the generic optimization, your web content should reach a far larger audience than a traditional store ever could.

There are many pitfalls to look out for, such as copying pages and only changing the location tags. If this all feels a little complicated, there are experts who can help too. Oh, and if you are ready to hit a global audience, it’s imperative that content is presented in multiple languages.

2. Diversify Your Products

With most traditional stores, you only have a limited amount of selling space. As such, you have to make very clear decisions on what you are going to sell. Mixing different products aimed at slightly different niches can leave everyone feeling alienated. When working online, that simply isn’t an issue.

Thanks to the navigational aspects of e-business platforms, you can sell a far more eclectic mix of products. Menus and similar tools can be used to separate your online stock catalog into specific sections. You only need look at giants like Amazon to see how this can be used to promote different products to various audiences, even on the same website.

 Of course, the alternatives can include setting up several websites all under one umbrella. However, most modern consumers are happy to shop on a website that also targets other audiences. Rather than feeling disconnected like they would in the real world, it only further cements your reputation. After all, it makes the business look far bigger.

Person Using Black And White Smartphone and Holding Blue Card
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3. Consumers Have Fewer Inhibitions

In many cases, products ranging from home accessories to clothing can appeal to several audiences. Sadly, the branding elements of a high street store may deter secondary demographics from entering the store. It’s all about the key demographic because losing them would be disastrous.   

As an online audience, you can still create a strong brand. However, secondary demographics may still visit the site, even if it’s only to buy that one product that they want. It’s a far less daunting prospect than entering a traditional shop where you don’t belong. This can be a telling factor.

Thanks to social media, it’s possible to make up alternative accounts that work those secondary audiences too. If it leads additional customers to the web store without reducing the volume of visits from the target market, the impacts can only be positive.   

4. Customers Don’t Even Need to Buy

It sounds crazy, but online business also offers a chance to generate revenue without even selling directly to the customer. With the use of affiliate marketing, people can bring new clients to the business in return for a commission. In turn, you are essentially hitting their networks without actively doing anything special. This ultimately allows the company to grow at a far greater rate than any offline venture.

Meanwhile, there are opportunities to make money without even selling stock. Website advertising and promotions can bring in serious levels of income. Great content will have audiences visiting the site even when they have no interest in buying. In fact, many people use blogging or vlogging as their main source of revenue.   

Then again, familiarity is crucial for winning the trust of potential customers. Those regular visitors can soon encourage readers to become clients too. Subsequently, you’ll be working two audiences at once. Best of all, the money generated from that content is 100% profit. Not only will it boost your hopes of sustained success, but it’s also something that traditional companies can’t utilize.   

So, there you go. If you want to earn more money by reaching a larger audience, adding online facilities to the venture is vital.  

Here’s a Quick Guide to Getting Your Product on and Flying off the Retail Shelves

Some people might start selling a product themselves after they come up with it. Even if you do choose to sell as well as make your own product, looking for retailers who will put it on their shelves (or in their online store) can help you to sell more. For some products, it makes much more sense for you to have other people sell them. Distribution is one of the best ways to drive sales. At the moment you might only have one or two products, so it might not make sense for you to have your own physical retail outlet. If your goal is to have other people sell your product(s) then there are a few things you need to take care of first.

Know Your Numbers

Before you start asking people to buy your products, you need to ensure you have a good head for the costs and figures.

How much does your product cost to make? What’s the cheapest you can make it, and the cheapest you can reasonably sell it? When you work out your cost per unit, you need to consider a range of factors, not just the manufacturing costs.

Don’t forget to think about packaging, shipping, and other expenses involved in producing your product. Work out whether it’s possible to sell more units for less too, as this can appeal to retailers.

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Make Sure It Looks Good

Your product needs to look good on the shelves, or in photos if it’s going to be sold online. You’ll need to think about its packaging and do some research into labeling systems to come up with a design for your product if you haven’t already.

You need to consider what your product looks like, how it might need protecting, and the costs of packaging. You should also think about it from the retailer’s perspective. They only have limited amounts of space, either on their shelves or in their storage space.

Packaging your product as small as it can be means they can put more on the shelves.

From Good Relationships with Retailers

Of course, you need to have good relationships with retailers if you want them to sell your product.

You might not convince them to do it right away, but having them in your contacts will help you. You might meet them by going to trade shows and even visiting stores, as well as networking both online and offline. You can also do independent research into the retailers you would like to sell your products.

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Sort Out the Technicalities

Make sure your product is ready to go on the shelves by taking care of all the official matters. It needs to be appropriately labeled within any regulations, and you need to think about whether you need to protect your product.

Sometimes, you might want to file a patent or perhaps register a trademark. This is always important, but could be especially so if you’re worried about retailers making their own version of your product.

Get your product out on the shelves by presenting it well to retailers. You need to show them your product is worth selling.

Drawing Up Plans for a Creative Business

If you have any creative skills, you might simply enjoy doing it as a hobby. However, some people decide they want to use their creativity to start a business. If you make things in your spare time, it could be a business you want to run on the side, or maybe you want to take it full time. Whether you want to sell your things casually or take it more seriously, there are a few factors to consider before you launch your creative business. Even though you’re turning your passion into a business, you still need to take an organised and official approach.

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Get the Right Equipment

If you’ve been crafting things at home, you might have a selection of equipment to help you. It might range from something as small as knitting needles to equipment like a 3D printer. However, if you want to turn your craft into a business, you might need something that’s capable of doing more.

Perhaps you need to buy a laser engraver that’s more suitable for a small business, instead of just for your hobby at home. You might want to buy a sewing machine that can take on more heavy-duty tasks, or buy a serger to go along with the machine you already have.

Price Your Products Correctly

One of the problems many people have when they launch a creative business is that they don’t price their items correctly. They might look at how others are pricing their things or even how much similar items cost in chain stores. But remember that your products are handmade or homemade, and they’re individual and unique.

You need to take a range of costs into account when you price your items, from the materials you use to the time you put in, to the bills you pay to keep your workshop running. It’s possible you should be charging a lot more than you think.

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Explore Different Channels for Selling

Deciding where and how to sell your products isn’t always easy. Some people will immediately put their products online, perhaps using sites like Etsy or eBay. It might also be useful to create your own website or have a Facebook page where you can advertise and sell your things.

However, if you own a small creative business, it’s worth considering ways to sell offline too. Some avenues to explore include craft fairs, as well as local independent stores. Some people are also lucky enough to get a studio in a craft center or art gallery.

Build a Brand

You might make beautiful, unique products. But you can almost guarantee you can find other people who are doing similar things. If you want to get your products noticed over other people’s, you’re going to have to do something to stand out.

Building a brand helps you make sure that your products have personality. You should start with things like creating a logo and a name and build your brand by marketing your products and communicating with customers.

If you want to run a small creative business, you still need to treat it like a business. You might enjoy making things to sell, but remember to take care of the business side too.

Everything You Need to Consider for Your Shipment Packaging

There can be many things to think about when you need to send out your product to your customers. It’s the way that many businesses operate, with customers ordering online or over the phone and expecting a delivery with their order. Some business owners might sell things directly in stores, but even they might also ship their products to other locations. If you need to ship your products, you should think about how to package them effectively. There could be a lot of things to think about, depending on the products you sell. Some products require special consideration if they’re to arrive at their destination in top condition. Before you just drop something in a box and stick an address label on it, take a look at this guide to make sure you have all your bases covered.

Protecting Your Products

Your first consideration is likely to be how you can protect your products when you ship them. Some items are more fragile than others, so they’ll need more protection and careful handling. There are various ways you can protect the items you send out, using different packaging designs and materials.

From bubble wrap and packaging peanuts to specially designed pieces of foam and cardboard that hold your products in place, you have a number of options to explore. Before you think about sticking your product in a bag, box or envelope for shipping, think about the packaging you use to present it. That too can feature elements that help to protect your product.

Practical Packaging for Shipping

Next, you might think about the right type of packaging for shipping that will work for your product. You need to think about what you’re sending out, and the quantities you’re shipping too. For example, perhaps you print t-shirts, and you have an order for two t-shirts from a customer. A plastic envelope is a practical choice to send out the order.

But if you receive an order for hundreds of t-shirts from one customer, you’ll need to box them up for more practical packaging. Some items might need to be packaged in a box, whereas others might already be packed into a box as part of their primary packing, so they don’t need another one surrounding it.

Read also: This Dutch Bicycle Company Created the Best Hack to Ship Their Bicycles

Get Familiar with Packaging Types

It might seem boring, but if you want to determine the best packaging for your products, you should consider what’s available. There are many standard types of packaging that will work for various products, from plain cargo boxes to side-loading envelope boxes.

Furthermore, there are more specialised packaging products designed for specific products, such as boxes for shipping wine bottles, storage files for documents, or insulated boxes. You should have a good idea of what’s out there so you can consider what’s best for your products.

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Eco-friendly Packaging Solutions

The environment is a concern for many business owners and, perhaps more importantly, for many customers too. If you get through a lot of packaging, you don’t want your company to appear wasteful. Many brands have turned to more eco-friendly packaging solutions so that their packaging can easily be recycled or renewed.

Cardboard boxes and envelopes are widely recycled, and people often reuse them for storage, as moving boxes, or perhaps to send a package in the future. Some brands like to make unique packaging that can be turned into something else, from practical items like clothes hangers to works of art.

You might want to reconsider using packaging like plastic envelopes, which isn’t so simple to reuse or recycle. Then there are the other materials you use. Shredded paper or card can be better to use than polystyrene.

Packaging and Sending Restricted Products

Sometimes, you need to ship a specialist product, which has requirements for how it’s packaged or labeled. First of all, there are some things you can’t ship using certain shipping methods, so checking the rules on that is always important.

How you must package or label things can be dictated by the law, as well as policies from shipping companies. For example, you need to properly label and classify any packages that contain hazardous materials.

There are also rules for packaging products correctly so that they’re safe and don’t pose a danger to the people transporting them.

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Maintaining Cleanliness and Hygiene

For some businesses, it’s also necessary to maintain high standards of cleanliness and hygiene. Most businesses make some effort to do this, even if they are only small. For example, many crafters will make a point to say that their items are made in a pet-free and smoke-free environment.

However, for some businesses, it’s even more important that high standards of hygiene are maintained. Many manufacturers make sure they use clean room procedures so that they can produce and package products in the right conditions.

This is ideal for products like computer parts, medical devices, and other sensitive items that can’t risk contamination.

Packaging for International Delivery

If you ship your products internationally, or you intend to in the future, it’s another factor you should take into account. It’s important to be aware of rules for exporting and importing to make sure you get it right.

First, you need to know whether your products are not allowed to be imported in some countries. When it comes to packaging and labeling for international shipments, it’s not just restricted items you have to think about. You might need to have a label declaring the contents of a package for customs purposes.

When you ship internationally, you might also need to think about more robust packaging to ensure that what you send can last the journey.

Affordable Packing

The cost of the packaging you use is also important to think about. Most business owners don’t want to spend a lot on their packaging, but you need to make sure you don’t spend too little either. You need to pay enough that the packaging is robust, without overspending on a product that isn’t any better quality than more affordable options.

Working out the cost of your packaging, as well as shipping, and how you can lower it could save your business a lot of money. You might save money by using recycled packaging or reducing the size of your packages. In fact, changing the design of your product could help you create smaller packages or ship more in one package.

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Package Design

Of course, you should think about what your packaging looks like too. When it comes to external packaging for shipping, many businesses don’t bother with anything beyond a plain box or envelope. However, it could be a good idea to consider branded packaging instead.

Adding branded elements to your packaging can make each package more personal and help to further your brand. Some brands will design unique packaging with their brand colors, while others might add a logo or something simple for a cost-effective way to have unique packaging.

The materials you use inside could also add a more personal touch. For example, you might wrap a product in tissue paper in one of your brand colors and secure it using a sticker with your logo on it.

In addition to using branded colors and images, some companies might benefit from custom designed packaging with unique constructions. Some products will benefit from having boxes or other packaging designed to fit them, whether it’s to protect them, tessellate (checker) several products neatly, or just make sure that an item fits snugly into its packaging.

Packaging could also be designed so it’s neatly folded and easy to store before being used or so it could be configured in a variety of ways to hold different products.

Consider Your Shipping Methods

Think about the method you use to ship your products if you want to choose the right packaging. Are they simply going to be delivered by the postal service? Will you use a courier or perhaps a specialist delivery service?

Some businesses need to use services such as refrigerated trucks. Your packages could be traveling by road, rail, air, or even boat. It’s important to think about the method of transport and how your packages might be handled, as well as the conditions they might be in and how long it will take to deliver them.

Included in Your Package

As a final consideration, you might want to think about what else to put inside your packages, apart from your products and anything to hold them in place. For example, you probably want to include an invoice, although you could also tape that to the outside.

You can also include some extra items, such as special offer vouchers and other printed materials for your business. It’s also a great way to include special offers and advertisements from other brands that you have formed a partnership with or perhaps belong to the same business group.

There’s more to think about than you might think when it comes to packaging and shipping your products. Before you just put everything in a box, give some careful thought to the practicalities and the aesthetics of your packages.

Your Food Retail Business: What Customers Want

Of all the many kinds of business that you can run, it can be difficult to choose between them. This can be especially true when you are just starting out, as you don’t have the necessary experience to know what is likely to work and what is not so likely.

However, there are certain industries where you have a fair chance of going for something that will at least from a reputable business pretty quick. One particular example of this is the food and drink retail industry. People are always going to need food, and as long as you can provide a relatively competitive framework, there is no reason your business won’t succeed. Let’s have a look at how to ensure your food business really booms.

Decide on a Model

There are a million ways to sell anything, and that definitely includes food. When you are setting out in this, you will need to know quite clearly what kind of model your business is going to use. It is only when you know your model that you can expect to begin selling. You want to go for something that you have faith will work in your area. All businesses begin local, and thinking locally will help ensure that yours gets off on the right foot. It might be that you want to run a budget supermarket, catering to those who are unable to afford some of the upper class supermarkets. Or you might just want to run a little bistro selling only your own goods. Whatever way you do it, decide on it early and stick with it.

Take Care of Your Products

The food that you sell is paramount for your success to really happen, so you need to take care in your products from the very start. Treat each product well, and you will find that it makes a huge difference. Try not to rush anything through the development stages — if you do this, you might find that you end up with products which are not really suitable at all. One of the most important parts is the packaging — you need to make sure that you have got it just right for each product, keeping it as specific as possible. This means using proper coffee pouches for your coffee, the right shaped pods for ready meals, vacuum packed bags for crisps, and so on. Everything has its own kind of packaging for a reason, so be sure to remember that and treat each product with respect.

Listen to Your Customer

As we all know, the customer is always right and it was actually in the world of food retail that this idiom began. It’s true — if you want to succeed, you should run your business as though the customer is always right. You will find that this makes a huge difference to how well you do on the whole, and you can make it much easier to keep your customer happy. With any luck, you will soon be booming like you never imagined.

Marketing Product? A Photography Lightbox Makes All the Difference!

Whether you’re selling product on eBay, Amazon or Etsy or better yet, your own website, having great pictures makes all the difference.

In my instance, if you’re a graphic designer hired to create a promotional flyer for a product, it’s imperative you achieve the best results for your client or clients. After my little do it yourself (DIY) cardboard lightbox that cost a whopping US$2.31, my flyer design featuring flag-themed sunglasses speaks for itself.

At the end of the day, all you’re after are positive results. Step into the light!

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How $2.31 Can Get You a Super Cheap Photography Lightbox

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You know the famous expression “necessity is the mother of invention”? Well it tends to ring true when it comes on to design. Every time I’m hired for a graphic design project, I always make sure to under-promise and over-deliver, because some projects are just harder than others. I’d like to point out that I’m a Graphic Designer who just happens to like and appreciate the art and science behind photography.

My latest project involves aviator sunglasses and not just any aviator sunglasses, flag-themed ones in time for the World Cup. This presented an obvious challenge for me as there was no way I could find these particular design online to download some images. The focal point of the design is the sunglasses so I had to find a way to get quality images, ergo reading about shooting product.

In one of the articles I read, I came across lightbox (hyperlinked) and clicked that link to see a short tutorial on making your own. This led me to reading as much material as I could find and equally as many videos via YouTube with really detailed tutorials. For a grand total of US$2.31, I created my very own, fully functional photography lightbox. All it took was an hour’s worth of effort.

If you want to make your own, here’s what you’ll need:

  • a cardboard box at least 12″l x 12″w x 12″h — (I endorse reuse and upcycle)
  • a box cutter (or scissors or knife)
  • a metal or wooden ruler
  • one sheet of tissue paper (the gift wrapping kind!)
  • white cartridge paper (for the background)
  • a roll of masking tape
  • pencil or pen or marker (I like Sharpie)

That’s pretty much it and all you need now are some lamps to get started. Fluorescent light works well, but if you have LED lamps then more “power” to you (saw what I did there?)! In actuality I can’t see this costing you more than US$10.00 and makes for a really fun project and a fantastic tool to take better and brighter photographs of small to medium objects. If you sell products on eBay or Amazon or Etsy, using your own photography lightbox will definitely help improve your odds of scoring some sales. Heck, go nuts!

Right now, I’m just excited to get these photographs into Photoshop for editing!!

Fun tip: Play around with the positioning of the lamps!