Click here to purchase: Why selling your product online is a smart move.

The worldwide web is the first port of call for today’s retail junkies, and for very good reason. From half a dozen eggs, to a 12ft tall wire sculpture of a chicken, there’s little you can’t find, and buy, in an instant, from the comfort of your sofa. This isn’t great news for the High Street, but for start-ups who need to maintain a close eye on the purse strings, there’s no better way to get your new wonder product racing off the shelves. Whilst there are options to sell products through third party sites; these can be expensive for a new business, and with the plethora of payment processing options available, and the ability to build high quality merchant platforms on your own site, this is probably the most cost-effective way to bring a new product to market. Combine an excellent product, and a great shopping experience with some smart marketing through social media channels and you have yourself a nice little virtual shopfront, with the look, feel and content controlled by you.

Like any form of DIY, you may find that a professional can do it better, so creating your store may require the services of a web developer or designer. However, if you are a creative type, with sufficient technical knowledge to have a go yourself, most website building software applications incorporate a ‘store’ option. Once you have selected the template which will breathe a bit of life and style into your site, you can play around with all manner of tools to make your site the best it can be. If you do choose to do it yourself, you can still benefit from a bit of professional help. There are people out there who will tweak the template you’ve chosen, to give it all the functions you need, as well as making sure the end product is a worthy vehicle for the products you are selling.

The key benefit of selling via your own website is the control it offers you over how your brand is portrayed. In addition to the sales function, using your website to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in your chosen sector will bring added credibility to your offering. Anyone looking to buy a product, particularly a technical one, needs to know that they will receive the same level of customer support from a web sale as they would when buying from a physical store, and the power of a blog, gallery or knowledge base on your website  is immeasurable when convincing buyers to choose you over your competitors. SLR Joe, one of our Catalyst winners demonstrates this to great effect. His website is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in cameras – not only does it act as a one-stop-shop for essential camera related products, but he has also populated it with great quality content, which really sets him apart from other retailers in that space. His site includes a series of YouTube videos where potential customers can watch his reviews of the cameras and ancillaries available through his site, as well as links to his other social media channels, and has regularly updated photography-related news items which indicates his passion for all things photographic. A visit to his website leaves you in no doubt that here is a true enthusiast, with a great depth of knowledge of his subject. Who wouldn’t want to buy from someone like that?