4 Things to Consider Before Selling Physical Products Online

Here are 4 things you have consider before launching a website selling physical products online. Easy to check off, but easy to forget too!

Allow me to diatribe a profound statement:  People like stuff. Boom. Let that genius-ness illuminate your mind. Amazing. Insightful. This is why I am paid the big bucks.

In all seriousness, however, there is something invigorating about purchasing a physical product online. It’s something you can hold, keep track of, and measure. Even if it’s something small, people often like to have something physical to show for their money. It’s one of the many reasons people get into the business of selling physical products. Starting a physical products e-store, however, isn’t quite as easy as buying a domain and setting up a sale site. Or is it? Today, let’s take a look at some things to consider before you begin selling some physical products.

1. What Are Your Shipping Cost and Methods?

The first hurdle you will have to consider is your shipping cost and methods. The weight and size of your product can greatly swing what it cost to transport it. When planning a product, make sure you consider the whole transaction process. When purchasing materials or stock, mass and volume are often overlooked. Just remember that what you bring in you are trying to send out as well.

Another thing to consider is what you are going to offer your customers. If you want to offer free shipping then you are going to need to factor the cost into your overall price. The last thing you want is to ship your profits in the mail. Without free shipping you need to figure out travel times of your product. Both so your customers know when to expect it and to make sure nothing gets lost. Then you’re down a sale and a product.

2. How Will You Package Your Product?

In the same vein as shipping, you also need to consider how you are going to package your product. When a customer receives your product in the mail, their opening of the box is their first tangible experience of your product, and you only get to a first impression once. Are you using a plain cardboard box with some packaging peanuts? An envelope with bubble wrap? A custom box with tissue paper? Gift wrapped with a person note?

Any of those are functional options. What’s important is making sure you leave an impression. Some products speak for themselves out of the box. Others can benefit from some added flare. One sale is good, but earning a return customer is even better. Your packaging can go a long way to making sure you are remembered.

3. You Need Product Photos.

This option can also be classified as “advertising”. Unless you are a top notch wordsmith, most customers would like to see a physical product online before they buy it. You also don’t have to worry about breaking the bank paying for professional photos. Search around to find some similar products to yours. Use these to get some ideas on how to stage your products, and see what pictures you can get yourself. A quick google search can even show you how to make your own light box, which can go a long way to boost the quality of your photos.

4. How Will You Handle Returns and Refunds?

Sometimes bad things happen. Shipping can get lost or stolen. Products can break in transit. Customer come down with a sudden case of buyers regret. When these things happen it’s up to you to make it right even if it’s at a loss because it’s more important to keep the customer and lose a sale. It’s also important to understand that in the life of your business, this is not an “if this happens” but “when this happens” scenario. Before you sell a product you should already have a plan for how you are going to accept, reject, and process returns and refunds. The last thing any business wants is an angry customer who feels cheated going on a tirade of reviews and forum messages.

Three Problems to Solve Before You Sell: Postage, Presentation, and Processing.

In a perfect world, running an shop for physical products online would be as easy as posting, selling, and shipping. Unfortunately, even the most basic parts of sales are often much more complicated than we want or expect them to be. With the right preparation, however, you can tackle many of these problems before they ever arise. Do you have some things you prepared for before you ever started selling, or things you wish you had prepared? Be sure to share your experience in the comments below.

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About the Author

James McCluskey

James is an English teacher and content writer for WP Ninjas. His daily motivation is to constantly look for something new to learn. This has tragically turned him into a living encyclopedia of largely pointless information. When not teaching, writing, or learning, James is usually working with his wife, Megan, on fundraising and support for several nonprofit organizations. Excelsior!