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Question
Hi there,
My name is Liza. Please sort one of the query of mine. I will be grateful to you for that. I am planning to start an online store. I have done a good deal of research on online selling.
I have good knowledge of online marketing, but still l don't have confidence to start it. My doubt is that suppose I want to sell some product like "kitchen appliances " then for doing that I have to compete with other websites and I have to be on the first page of the search engine or at most second page because when people buy some product online they use searh engine like google, type the name on that and start with the first website of the results page. First page is normally occupied by big websites like amazon, flipkart,Snape deal etc. Then how it will be possible for someone like me A very small scale seller to sell goods. What if I share links in my blogs, do Facebook and twitter marketing. Will that be sufficient to get customers, because after all, all this is done to be on the first page of search engine or am i missing something.
Also, please tell will it be possible for me (a small scale online seller) to sell goods in India or selling on small scale online is possible in some very developed countries like U.S.A. only.
I know my mail is bit long but please advice.
Thanks.

Answer
Hi Liza

This depends entirely on the market you wish to sell into, as it will depend on how much competition already exists in the sector, how much demand there is, and how unique your product offering is.  You don't mention what sort of budget you will have for ongoing marketing once you launch a website, so honestly it's quite difficult to give you any specific advice.

Your best bet, is if you are going with kitchen appliances, is to do a lot of competitor research and then find out how you can offer something different to make you stand out. Perhaps you can offer faster or cheaper delivery or will carry ranges that customers might not be able to get elsewhere for example. This will give you a USP that will help to differentiate you and will give you a fighting chance of being able to compete with the large established players.

Competing online largely comes down to how well you rank in organic search, which means SEO will be very important, and it would also be useful if you have a budget for some PPC advertising. As you mention, selling through established retailers like Amazon can also help, but they will often eat away margin as there are various associated costs to thhink about.

You will never rank as well as say Amazon, for a kitchen appliance, but you can still rank well as long as a long of time and effort is put into search optimisation. This is an ongoing cost and expect it to take many months before you start ranking well, particularly if your domain name is new.

Writing blogs (content marketing) is a critical component of SEO and it is vital that you do this as a small start-up to help you gain visibility. Social media will also help you to build up an audience, but again, you need to have a USP and ensure that this comes across. Don't make all of your blogging or social media activity about sell, sell, sell though as people will get bored.  Work out what interest your customers and help them. For example, write articles that answer common customer questions, tips to get the most out of their appliance, caring for their appliance, reviews of several similar appliances and so on. You then have owned content you can talk about on social media that will be of interest to people. You can of course also tell people about new products, offer voucher codes etc. on social media, and generally just chat to people and ask them questions to find out more and understand them so you can tailor your activities to them.

You can sell goods all over the world, but you would obviously need to consider how you will handle payments in multiple currencies, as well as deliveries and returns from different countries and how you would price your delivery accordingly.

Personally, i'd say kitchen appliances is way too broad, especially for a start up. You'll need to invest millions off dollars into buying stock to have a range big enough to compete with the big established online sellers and it will take you many months to start ranking for search terms in Google, so you would also have to set aside hundreds of dollars a week for Google AdWords or other pay per click advertising to get people to your website in the short term before you start ranking in organic search.

I hope that helps.

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Shell Robshaw-Bryan

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I can answer questions on anything relating to online marketing, content creation, content marketing, social media engagement and strategy, organic SEO, web design and conversion optimisation.

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Over 14 years of working in the area with small businesses and start ups right through to massive international brands including Samsung, Logitch, MSI and Microsoft! Check me out on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/surefireShell to see some of my endorsements.

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http://www.ubermarketing.co.uk/ http://socialmediatoday.com/user/347171 http://www.business2community.com/author/shell-robshaw-bryan http://www.socialmediatrainingcheshire.co.uk/pro/index.htm

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Professional blogger for the past 18 months contributing regularly to a number of professional websites including Social media today, UK Marketing network and Business 2 Community.

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Microsoft Logitech Redbull (current, new client we are doing a web development project for)

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