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Selling Electronics Online Can Charge Up Your Business
Since the dawn of the personal computer, the electronics business has been booming. Technology is a hot item these days, and that's why people are learning how to sell online. With the emergence of new software, it's a lot simpler than it used to be. In fact, anyone with a basic understanding of the web can get started selling.
The eCommerce explosion of the past couple of decades means there's a gigantic market waiting right at your doorstep. If you have a passion for electronics, why not turn that love into a living? If you start out on the right foot, with a good plan, you can achieve success. Take a look at some of our tips for learning how to sell electronics online.
How to Start an Online Electronics Business
Before starting a business, you need to build a solid foundation in the form of a business plan. If you plan everything out well enough before you get started, you'll find more consistent results without making mistakes that end up costing you money. One example is to do market research early in the process to learn what your competitors are doing and what niche would be best for you to enter.
Most importantly, planning will help you prepare for the challenges you might face. Here are some of the details you should think about as you plan your business and bring it into its early setup stages.
Choose an Area of Interest
Electronics covers a lot of different areas — portable music players, computers and parts, smartphones, and much, much more. Which area does your experience lie in? Starting small and building up is the best way to break into the game. Choose a specific area of expertise where you can really shine rather than trying to sell everything at once. A narrower focus makes it easier to stand out.
Audience research will help you learn how to speak to your customers, and what they want from a business selling the products you'll be focusing on. Your business name should also fit both your niche and your image, with room to expand to more products later if you get a good opportunity to do so.
Partner Up with Distributors
You won't have any problems finding an electronics wholesaler or two to supply you with products. The relationship between your store and the manufacturer or distributor is an essential part of your business. An important question to consider is whether you'll buy products from your own country or import from a foreign manufacturer.
You also need to decide on whether you'll focus on a specific brand (like Sony), or include multiple brands as to give your customers more options. Both have advantages — the former helps keep your focus narrow enough to ensure you can be an authority on your products, while the latter can help attract more shoppers.
Decide on Your Fulfillment Model
All products need storage as they await purchase, and electronics can have specific needs like temperature control (and of course, security, as these can be very expensive products). Warehousing costs for electronics can be pretty high. As an alternative, you can use the dropshipping business model. The advantage of dropshipping is that you won't need to invest in inventory ahead of time (nor need to store it), but the main disadvantage is that the products will never pass directly through your hands, making quality control difficult unless you really trust your supplier.
For that reason, you may decide dropshipping isn't right for you. Just be aware that if you do want to keep inventory on hand, you'll need an appropriate space. Another option is to buy wholesale up front and use a fulfillment company like eFulfillment or ShipWire to store and ship your products for you. A direct integration between your shopping cart software and your fulfillment partner alerts them of new sales so they can get your orders out the door.
Give Your Brand the Spark of Life
Earlier, we briefly mentioned picking a business name that fits your brand image. This is just one part of building a brand that customers will find appealing and memorable. Consider your target audience and how best to approach them. For example, if your products are most interesting to a younger demographic, they'll find your brand more relatable if you use a casual tone of voice on your site.
While you should remember the tried-and-true strategies of growing a business, you'll also need to stand out from the crowd by being unique in your own way. There's plenty of room for creativity when it comes to what makes your business special.
Pick an Industry-Leading Software Solution
A strong software solution is the cornerstone of a successful online business. Learning how to sell electronics online is simple when you have a platform with all of the tools at your fingertips. Choose shopping cart software that comes with essentials such as a website builder, inventory management, and built-in SEO to help boost your visibility.
In addition to SEO, other marketing features like coupons and promotions, daily deals, and email newsletters will also be a big help. Electronics are one industry where customers are always eager for a discount, so you'll have an advantage if your eCommerce software includes these features.
Understanding the Electronics Industry
Main Product Categories
As we've mentioned, electronics can cover a wide range of products — and they probably number into the thousands. As you plan your business, put some thought into which types of products you want to focus on. Here are some examples:
Computers and parts
Computers and parts
Computer peripherals (keyboards, mice, etc.)
Portable music players
Home CD and record players
Speakers and subwoofers
Televisions and monitors
Video players (Blu-Ray etc.)
Roku, Chromecast, and other devices
Programmable LED lights
Chargers, cords, and adapters
Phones (smartphones and home/office phones)
Modems and routers
Smart home devices
Cameras and camcorders
As you can see, electronics have a lot of categories, many of which don't have much to do with each other besides being an electronic product. This is one reason it's so important to focus on a niche (as we touched on earlier). It would be difficult to build your authority as a trustworthy expert on so many types of products at the same time. So, at least at the beginning, pick your favorite electronics niche and focus on that. You'll still plenty of products available to round out your selection.
Some electronics have a wide range of accessories that may or may not be "electronic" themselves. For example, smartphone accessories include cases and screen protectors (which shoppers will often want to buy together with their new phone) as well as Bluetooth headsets, speaker addons, and others. You can increase your order sizes by offering accessories as "Related Products" on the main item's product page. Also, it's very helpful that accessories can have such a wide range of pricing (e.g. inexpensive plastic phone cases versus high-end, more costly accessories), because more customers are likely to find something they just need to add to their order.
Of course, all these items need maintenance and, when needed, repairs in order to remain useful and usable. This is an industry in itself, and one that you could easily join while also being in the furniture business. In addition to retailing the furniture itself, your store could also offer replacement parts for the pieces that make up the furniture.
Besides accessories listed as related items, you can upsell in different ways when selling electronics online. One way is to offer a product bundle that combines a selection of accessories together, such as a starter kit for a new iPhone including the phone itself, a case, and a screen protector. Bundles are usually offered at a slight discount to make them more appealing for customers without overly reducing your profits. Another method is to offer warranties for replacement within a certain timeframe, as an expansion to your normal return policy. In most instances, more customers will choose to buy warranties than ever actually redeem them, so the cost of replacing a warrantied product is covered by the number of warranties sold.
Online Store Themes for Selling Electronics
Build Your Own Online Electronics Store with Modern Templates
Corded is a free electronics website template that uses modern design and colors to let your customers know your store is on the cutting edge. The front page can draw attention to new releases, promotions, or anything else you choose, with an eye-catching carousel banner and featured product sections. The default color scheme is slick and up-to-date as it is, but can also be customized to match your brand.
Click Flash is a great theme out-of-the-box for camera stores, but can also be customized to work with any other types of electronics or other products. The homepage hero banner will capture immediate interest, and can also rotate between images as a carousel to alert customers to multiple promotions, products, and more. As with all our themes, all images and colors can be adjusted to suit you
How to Get Your Online Electronics Business Started
Once you've finished your business plan and figured out the details of your suppliers and warehousing, it's time to start building your online store. Shift4Shop is the right eCommerce platform for you, with everything you need to successfully sell electronics online. Built-in tools include unlimited product and category management, tools for creating product bundles and following our other upsell strategies above, marketing automation, and much more. Best yet, you can have it all with no monthly fee — and we're the only eCommerce platform that offers a completely free plan with no limits.
Shift4Shop includes everything you need to sell online
Where else can I sell electronics other than my own website?
It's a good strategy to expand your business onto multiple channels. Besides your Shift4Shop website, you can also sell electronics on popular sales channels like Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Instagram, Google Shopping, and more. Shift4Shop is fully integrated with these sales channels to let you manage them all from a single dashboard and keep your inventory consistent across marketplaces.
I want to dropship electronics. Isn't Shopify the best software for dropshipping?
Shopify dropshipping is quite popular and many people assume it's the best solution. But the truth is that Shopify worked hard to market their platform as a dropshipping tool and have built this reputation through their marketing strategy, not by any proof of better performance. Dropshipping on Shopify has some serious limitations described in the linked article. Shift4Shop has many advantages over Shopify when it comes to dropshipping, making Shift4Shop a better choice for your business.
SWhat are the differences between foreign and domestic suppliers in the USA?
If your business is in the US, foreign suppliers are any manufacturers or distributors outside the country, while domestic ones are within the US like you. Generally, foreign suppliers can offer cheaper products, but they often take much longer to arrive (which is especially problematic if you're dropshipping, as customers don't want to wait weeks for their order). American brands often have a higher reputation for quality, and many customers will want to buy American anyway. However, if you do want to sell foreign brands, you can find a distributor within the US who has already imported the products for you, which cuts down significantly on the time it takes them to arrive (the long wait times only come into play when buying directly from a faraway manufacturer). You can also sell both foreign and domestic products together, unless part of your brand image involves only selling American products.