When creating an e-commerce website, you gain the flexibility of offering your products to a much larger audience. Truly though, many who sell liquidation goods are a little timid when it comes to going online – they fear that they have neither the technical know-how to run such an operation and that the costs of starting up will be too high to make it worthwhile. However, although that may have been the case at one point in the past, today’s reality is that an impressive, well converting website can be set up both inexpensively and with little technical knowledge.
Here’s what you will need to establish an online presence for selling your liquidation merchandise:
- Choose and Register a Domain Name
If you’re confused on where to start, well, first thing’s first – you need a domain name for your website (you know, a web address such as www.yoursite.com). Probably the most advertised and popular place to find and register a domain name these days is GoDaddy.com. There you can see if your desired domain name is available, and then proceed to register it. Also, unless you’re also looking to get hosting or other products from Godaddy, you can skip all the upsells that they will try to offer you. Keep in mind that your domain name should not cost more than ten dollars, unless you’re going with a rare extension – e.g.: .biz, .mobi, etc.
- Pick a Web Hosting Provider
All website owners require web hosting, and there are lots of inexpensive, high quality web hosts that can provide more than enough resources and features for building a new website. I suggest seeking a host that offers 24/7 365 phone support, as it’s best to be able to receive assistance via voice (rather than live chat), if you should need technical assistance. Also, search around for a host that offers complimentary templates as well as shopping cart service. It’s best to contact potential hosts ahead of time, especially if you foresee requiring significant assistance, so that you can confirm that the site you have in mind can be supported as well as to discover whether any tools or advice are offered to help you along.
- Put The (Shopping) Cart Before The Horse
Some of you may be looking to simply have a website as an advertisement for who you are, and for prospective customers to read about your wholesale product offerings. However, I would think most of you would also like to give potential customers the opportunity to purchase goods directly from your website. This is better than operating by phone, as it means that you can make sales even while you sleep. Your web host may offer a free shopping cart or be able to recommend one to you. Be aware that most of these shopping cart applications offer a wide variety of features, but if you have specific needs, verify that they are indeed supported by the software you choose. Common shopping cart software include Zen-cart, Volusion, CoreCommerce and a host of others.
- Apply for a Merchant Account
Now if you’re going to sell online, you’re obviously required to accept payments, and most customers will prefer to pay by credit cards, which means you will need a merchant account. Merchant accounts can be obtained through your banking institution or via various companies online. Once you purchase a shopping cart software, their representatives will be able to provide you with assistance and detailed information on integrating your merchant account with your shopping cart. Also, keep in mind that you may need a payment gateway provider (such as authorize.net) to properly process your customer’s payments online.
- Unique Product Descriptions with Photos
Clear, professional photos and unique text that describes your products will provide a huge advantage in how well your site converts visitors to customers. Take the time to write exciting descriptions and provide as many details as possible, as this will help users find you using search terms and will also make you stand out from competitors.
- Don’t Forget Customer Service!
This means not only having a very easy to find “Contact Us” page but also letting customers know when is the best time to contact you (your business hours) and alternative contact arrangements (such as email). Remember, by using the Internet your customers may originate from anywhere in the world and, therefore, contacting you during what is considered the norm in your local timezone may not be convenient for some of your prospective clients.
These are the main requirements for offering your closeout liquidation merchandise through your very own website and, when done right, should result in a significant boost to your sales.
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