hat a year 2020 was right? For all the terrible things that happened, there was a lot of good that happened too! One of those things being the boom in E-Commerce sales. In 2020, over two billion people purchased goods or services online. During the same year, e-commerce product sales surpassed 4.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide.
Pretty amazing right? Makes sense that people want to get in on the action. If that person is you, you're in the right place! In this blog, we’re going to cover the first step in getting your E-Commerce Business started. It all starts with figuring out details beyond your physical product.
How To Figure Out Your E-Commerce Products
Figuring out your E-Commerce product is more than figuring out the product itself. There are many other factors to consider like:
Made-To-Stock vs. Made-To-Order
We’ll cover the essential points for each of these elements starting with Shipping.
When it comes to shipping your E-Commerce products there are a lot of things to consider. Here are some crucial questions to ask yourself when deciding your shipping strategy.
Your Shipping Rates & Methods - Are you going to charge the full cost of shipping to your customers? Will you offer free shipping and pay for shipping yourself? Will you charge a flat shipping rate? If you’re hyperlocal, will you hand-deliver your products
Product Weight - Do your products all weigh the same or does weight vary with each product you create? Knowing this information can help you streamline your shipping process. It can also help you provide accurate shipping prices to your customers
Product Packaging - Will you use free, plain packaging from carriers like UPS, USPS, or DHL? Will you invest some money and hire an agency to create beautiful branded packaging? In the next section we’ll cover why we think the second option is best!
These are great questions to ask yourself when strategizing your shipping method. But what about when the product arrives to your customer? What is that experience like for your customer? Let’s talk about it!
With online shopping constantly evolving, so are the expectations of online shoppers. The days of stuffing products into a cardboard box and sending them off are quickly going away. Online shoppers are looking for an experience. Your product’s packaging can provide that, but only if it’s done the right way.
Here are some helpful tips that will help you create a one-of-a-kind experience for your customers:
Make It On Brand - Ensure that things like your fonts, logo, and color palette are cohesive. Doing this will help start building brand recognition! (we’ll cover how to build a beautiful brand in a separate blog)
Create Packaging That Protects The Product - No one likes a broken product, especially one they’ve been excitedly waiting for. Make sure that your packaging does more than hold your product.
Use A Quality Printer - As an E-Commerce business, you already know how expansive printing can be. We highly recommend that you use a high-quality printer for your product packaging. Even the best-designed packaging could be wasted when low-quality printing is used.
Include Instructions - They say when you assume you make an ASS out of U and ME. Never assume that your customer will know how to use your product. Make sure you include instructions in your packaging so that the product seems easy. People love easy and easy sells!
Tailor Packaging To Your Target Market - As an E-Commerce business, it’s easy to forget sometimes that your customer is an actual human. All humans like certain things and dislike other things. This is something that should be kept in mind when creating packaging for your product. Does your customer like neon colors? Do they hate boxes within boxes? Take these things into account when creating packaging for your customers.
When your E-Commerce product’s packaging is great, your customer’s experience is great! Now you have your shipping process thought out, your packaging strategy strategized. The next question to tackle is do you stock your products ahead of time or do you make them to order?
Made-To-Stock vs. Made-To-Order
To make ahead of time or to wait for orders to come in? That is the question! And it is a very valid question indeed. Which way is better for your business? Let’s talk through both options!
Made-To-Stock - Made-To-Stock is all based on producing products based on anticipated demand. It is a great solution for E-Commerce products that may take a little longer to produce. This is the most common form of production, but it does have some drawbacks. Production is entirely based on forecasting. Just like the weather app on your phone, sometimes it can be wrong. Forecasting the wrong amount of sales can get expensive for your business. It’s crucial that if you choose to produce your products this way, you make sure you forecast correctly.
Made-To-Order - Made-To-Order is simple. When someone orders a product, it is then made. This production process is great for products that can be made rather quickly. The greatest benefit to this production process is that wasted product is zero to none. Unless of course, you’re a bit of a perfectionist! The drawback with this process is if a massive amount of orders come in, it’s very easy for production to get backed up.
When choosing your production process it all depends on what is most important to you. If being able to ship out orders quickly (even the day of) is most important, go with a Made-To-Stock process. If saving money and not ever wasting any product is most important, go with a Made-To-Order process. Now let’s get into the most misunderstood concept, price.
Price is the most foundational decision you will have to make for your E-Commerce business. Price impacts all aspects of your business, from your cash flow, to which expenses you can afford to pay for. Thankfully, pricing your product is as easy as 1, 2, 3:
Add Up Your Variable Cost (Per Product) - When creating products it’s crucial to know and understand how much it costs for you to create the product. What is the cost of every piece of material you use? Don’t forget that time is money too! How much time does it take for you to create the product? Add up all these numbers together and then you will have your Total Per Product Cost.
Add A Profit Margin - Everyone wants to make a profit right? Well, now that you have your Total Per Product Cost it’s time to build your desired profit into your price. If you’re looking to make a 15% profit on each product take your Total Per Product Cost and divide that by 1 minus your desired profit percentage, in this case, 15% or 0.15.
Don’t Forget About Fixed Costs - Variable costs aren’t your only costs when selling your E-Commerce products. A fixed cost is a cost that remains the same no matter how many units you sell. It’s crucial to know your fixed costs and to ensure that your price covers both your variable and fixed costs. An example of this is your monthly payment to Canva or your hosting fees on your website. No matter how many products you sell, these costs will always be there and will remain the same.
Working through these three steps will help make sure that you are pricing your E-Commerce products in a way that covers all your expenses and even gives you some profit. At the end of the day, profit is how you keep the lights on.
To Sum It All Up
To truly discover your E-Commerce product you need to go beyond the product itself. You need to have a strong shipping strategy for your product. You need to ensure that your packaging is a captivating experience for your customer. When it comes to Made-To-Stock vs. Made-To-Order, you need to decide which production process suits your business best. Lastly, pricing is a lot more than throwing numbers together that end in 99 cents. You need to consider all of your costs and desired profit and make sure that your price covers all of that. If you’re able to do these things, you’re on your way to truly discover your E-Commerce product!
ACTION STEP: Download the Free Template below to figure out and solidify these 4 areas of your E-Commerce product. There’s even a hand-dandy calculator to help you figure out your pricing.