Management consultant, blog writer, dreamer
Adding products to your website is a very important step when establishing your eCommerce website. Indeed, not having products for your customers to buy on your sites will result in no income.
The products that you can add to your website may be physical, stuff you use or enjoy daily, such as clothing or ornaments. Or, adding products that are downloadable, such as software, eBooks or games may suit your business model better.
Let’s have a look how you can add these two types of products to your website.
Adding products that are physical to your site
Most of us are familiar with physical products. It’s like visiting the local shopping mall to buy a pair of jeans (a product that you can touch). However, the way we shop for physical products has changed.
Nowadays you’ll most likely first have a look online to see if the jeans is in stock, or what price other stores are asking for it. Most of ecommerce websites are trading with physical products.
Al Davis (Torque) suggested the following preparation that newbie eCommerce website owners need do when adding products to their sites:
The product image is the visual representation of your product and your store as a whole. Al recommends to use a professional photographer take product images whenever possible. However, if you can’t afford a photographer, and need to source images elsewhere, you may find these tips helpful:
- Make sure all your images are the same size. By having your images all the same size, you will get a nice clean grid when it comes time to display your images.
- Make sure your images have the same orientation. Having the orientation of your images all the same (either landscape or portrait) is another way to make sure that your display is clean and crisp.
- Make sure your backgrounds are consistent. If possible, you want to have a clean white background for your product shots.
A product category is a way to organize products in your store by the type of products you sell. Indeed, categories are one of the main strengths of an eCommerce website. “It’s not only better for the search engine crawlers to understand your site, but it’s also better for your potential customers”, according to Unamo.
Your customers will navigate more easily if you have product categories when they visit your site. It’s similar walking around in a department store with products in the same category that can be found at the same place. Hence, eCommerce stores with an orderly product category system will enhance your customer’s online experience.
Product categories can with little effort be created in eCommerce platforms such as woocommerce.
When your customers visit your eCommerce site, the first thing they’ll do after looking at image of your products, is to glance at the prices. There’s a number of pricing strategies that you may consider to get your customers to buy your online products. However, for now it may be best to consider these two strategies – suggested Victoria Elizabeth in Ometra:
- Market-oriented pricing. With this pricing strategy, you should position your products against that of your competitors. You should therefore offer the most value at the best price for your customers.
- Consumer-oriented pricing. Here you are considering your customers instead of the market. Who are they? Why would they visit your store? What motivations do they have to buy your products? You can then personalize the pricing of products to a specific customer’s profile.
Other important aspects that go with pricing are:
- Shipping fees – can be included in the price, or a flat rate or priced where the delivery takes place. The shipping fee usually shows when a customer adds a product to her cart.
- Return fees – if you decide to charge the customer for shipping and handling when she returns the product, you need to tell her so (return policy);
- Taxes – make sure you add taxes and duties where needed, especially if you sell across borders.
- Currencies – most payment gateway apps (e.g. PayPal) only accept the major currencies as payment. This is an issue when you use dropship suppliers such as AliExpress or Oberlo and try to do business in South Africa…
Managing your products
After adding products to your site, the customers will stream to your site and click on the order button and the big money will pour in… Wrong!
Now the big job starts:
- Marketing your products – use digital marketing tools such as social media, emails, banners and search advertising to tell customers where to find your products;
- Analytics – use Google and Facebooks analytics to see who visited your site; what did they like (and what not); and where are they living.
- Trends – Google Trends is a super tool to see what people are looking for on the web.
Adding products that your customers can download from your site
Downloadable products are not physical products. Indeed, according to Magento is a downloadable product anything that you can deliver as a file, such as an eBook, music, video, software application, or an update.
Because the actual download doesn’t become available until after the purchase, you can provide samples, such as an excerpt from a book or a clip from an audio file that the customer can try from the product page.
So how does the online selling of downloadable products compare with the online selling of physical products?
|DOWNLOADABLE PRODUCTS||PHYSICAL PRODUCTS|
|Instant delivery||Delivery may take weeks|
|No packing and shipping costs||Additional costs for packing and shipping|
|No returns (no place to return to)||Returns can be as high as 30% of sales|
|No reorders||Customers may return to reorder|
|Licencing and reuse rights may restrict what downloads you can sell online.||High entry barriers – because of advertising and return costs|
Presenting downloadable products on your eCommerce website
When you are busy with a CMS platform such a WordPress, there’re a number of 3rd party ‘plugins’ that you can download on your site to help you presenting the downloadable products. WordPress’s woocommerce plugin are used by millions of eCommerce businesses, to sell both physical and digital goods in all shapes and sizes, offer product variations, multiple configurations, and instant downloads to shoppers.
Adding products to your eCommerce website must be done after you’ve established what your customers need and how your products can solve their problems, or give them information and make the feel good.
Once the sale is made, it is up to you to deliver the product on time, at the right price and place. Not doing so can harm your brand.
Remember, you need a well researched and written Business Plan to get your business off to a good start!
Read also: 7 Steps to Start an Online Business