BUSINESS

How Can I Sell Online in Sri Lanka?

For many Sri Lankans, the thought of online selling can be both easy and hard at the same time. You have to figure out what products to sell, where you find them, and most importantly, how to sell them online. Luckily for those who are interested in this business venture, there is plenty of information on how to get started available in this article that will make your online selling business easier.

Are you ready to learn how to sell online? You’ve come to the right place. If your concerns are that it will be too technical, take a long time, or cost too much, don’t worry: we’ll walk through it step by step with you.

Selling online is easier than ever before!

How to sell online in Sri Lanka

STEP 1: Do market research.

It’s no secret that most eCommerce stores and startups end up failing. The lack of a plan at the start is what causes most people to fail.

But, consumers are still demanding online shopping services more than ever before. Today, almost anything can be delivered right to your door.

As a business owner, before you commit to any decisions for an online store, it’s important that you do market research.

Here are some tips:

  • Browse the items that are on fast selling at online marketplaces.
  • Aim to solve a customer problem using a product or service.
  • Try to capitalize on new trends early.
  • Try to find products with higher profit margins.
  • If possible, test the product before lunch.

Step 2: Decide What Products to Sell Online.

Since there is too much competition in the Sri Lanka eCommerce industry, finding one that sells well can become a struggle. Also, selecting the right product and customer base is crucial in determining your success in this new business venture.

After using the first step to find products, you are ready for the next steps. Make sure that it is something worth your time and effort.

Here are some Ideas on finalizing products:

  1. Research product trends on Google Trends.
  2. Find recent market data to see if the industry sales are growing.
  3. Collect data such as the number of “monthly searches,” “how difficult it is to rank for a keyword,” to see whether you are choosing the right product.
  4. Select products with low competition and the highest possible income within growing industries.
  5. Compare all your ideas using actual data and finalize your product/s.
  6. As a new seller, we encourage you to stick with the same products and avoid any major changes in your strategy. Success will not come immediately!

STEP 3: Choose How to Sell Online

1. Selling on a marketplace like Daraz.

daraz

For new sellers who want to start selling quickly, we highly recommend the method “using an existing marketplace” like daraz.lk and wasi.lk that will allow you to start online selling fast without any hassle.

UPSIDE: 

  • You can start selling faster than any other method.
  • You can focus on the business, while the marketplace will take care of the rest, like the technical side.
  • It’s easy and low cost for maintenance than other methods.

DOWNSIDE:

  • They are not your customers; you will lose many of your customers when you move from this method.
  • The marketplaces have commission rates. So, you have to pay for every transaction.
  • You will have to compete with other sellers who are selling the same stuff as you on the same marketplace.
  • Not all new sellers will be accepted to the marketplace, and you’ll need to meet their requirements.
  • The marketplaces are unpredictable for sellers because they could end your business overnight if not follow guidelines or rules, but there are plenty of opportunities to get ahead too!

2. Ecommerce store builders like Shopify

shopify

Running your own store page, like shopify is another best way to sell online because you’re in complete control over any aspects of it. You can create an environment that feels like your own idea and showcase your products exactly how your customers deserve to be seen.

Many sellers enjoy making their products accessible by putting them in their own storefront without another seller’s product or offering to compete with yours.

UPSIDE: 

  • The ability to have a store on your own name and domain.
  • The store builders provide hosting.
  • Your customers will be in your hands. (Of course, you need to know how to keep your customers)
  • You can design and customize the interface of your store.
  • The company will take care of the technical side so that you can focus on business.
  • You can have your own shipping methods and payment options.

DOWNSIDE:

  • You have to pay a fee for the store builders
  • You’ll have to find customers instead of waiting for them to come knocking at your door.
  • The store needs to be set up and styled.

3. WordPress with the woo-commerce extension

wordpress

WordPress and WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform that gives you the freedom to customize it as much as your desire. 

You can start a new store in just a few days and add, remove features at will. 

No matter what sort of shop owner you are – whether building your first online store or looking to improve on something old and looking for an open-source method (means no fees), then WordPress with woo-commerce is a great choice.

UPSIDE: 

  • You don’t have to pay any fees for your sales or builder monthly subscription.
  • You can have your own store with the name and domain as you wish.
  • You have the power to customize your store and user interface. You can add new themes, tweak colors, add new features, or create a unique look.
  • Still, most of the backend coding will already be done for you, like the core and backend codes.
  • You will be the one in charge of your customers.

DOWNSIDE:

  • You have to manage and pay for the hosting.
  • You have to get out there and find buyers instead of waiting around for them.
  • The whole website needs to be set up and styled.

4. Social media sites like Facebook

fb

With the Facebook, you can sell products with ease without having a store at all. Just build a new Facebook group or find and join groups where your audience is already doing business. Then contact whoever wants the product to arrange payment or negotiate a price!

But there are limitations in the Facebook, Such as No payment processor supported, so you will have to go back and forth with the buyer for any payments.

Note: Facebook Marketplace feature is not available for Sri Lanka (as of 2021)

UPSIDE: 

  • You don’t have to pay any fees: it is completely free.
  • A great way for new entrepreneurs and startups to test out their products or services.

DOWNSIDE:

  • You depend on Social media, and they are not your customers.
  • You cannot have your own store with a domain.
  • You cannot customize your store or user interface.

5. Own eCommerce Store from scratch like PHP, Ruby on Rails

ruby

When you decide to develop your own online eCommerce website site from scratch, things may get confusing. If it’s custom eCommerce development, then there are many decisions and considerations to take into account- some more than others, depending on what stage you’re at with this process!

If you are not sure and have no experience in the development of a website business before, I recommend not to go for this method, as it can take years to build something profitable.

UPSIDE: 

  • You don’t have to pay any fees for anyone for your sales. (Except banks for traction costs)
  • You can build your own eCommerce platform with a name, brand, multiple sellers, etc.
  • You have the power to be creative in your own ways.
  • You will be the one in charge of your whole project.

DOWNSIDE:

  • The whole website needs to be done from scratch, and it can take a lot of time, sometimes years.
  • You also have to keep your eye on the big picture and make sure you’re making sound decisions that will affect business down the line. Simple failures can ruin the whole business, especially at the beginning.
  • You need different skill sets for each one, so it can be hard work, but somebody has to do it!
  • Once you are ready to go online, you have to get out there and find customers, build your brand, so on.

Step 4: Build your online selling strategy.

The most important step to having a successful online store is taking the time and energy necessary to build your strategy. Know what you’re selling, how it works, what your customer needs, social media marketing, and SEO, so on.

This section is huge, which means it can be another few more articles on its own. 

So, here are some tips on building an online selling strategy:

  • Understand your target audience what they need in and out. 
  • Use analytics to learn more about your customers, such as gender, age, and location.
  • Use high-quality product descriptions and images that work for your audience.
  • Find the sweet spot. And keep doing it more and more as long as it works.

Step 5: Build and improve your online business

Well, no one becomes an overnight success. It will take a long time to get there, and it’s not easy, but if you work hard on improving your overall business, the rewards are well worth it in the end.

Again, This section is huge too, which means it can be another few more articles on its own. 

So, here are some tips on improving your online business:

  • Try to simplify the customer experience.
  • Provide a chat feature on your website. And also collect customer queries, which can be used to improve your business.
  • Focus on customer service.
  • Get well organized.
  • Be ready to serve more customers with ease.
  • Hire more people to work with you. And plan to expand your business.

SO ON…

FAQ

What Products Are in High Demand in Sri Lanka?

A recent market forecast has shown that there’s been high demand for health beauty products, kitchenware, and all types of electronics.

There are many categories you can choose from when selling your products on online. The above-mentioned ones were just a few of the most popular options, but there is no end to what you could potentially sell in this time and age where anything goes!

Is It Profitable To Be An Online Seller in Sri Lanka?

Yes, it is profitable to be an online seller! It’s like any other business, where you need to take risks and learn on the job.

It’s important to be educated about online selling before jumping in. Set specific goals and limits for your business, work toward them with the support of a mentor or coach who has done this successfully themselves, and you will start seeing success pretty soon!

Final Thoughts

As covering the basics of how to sell online, We hope this guide has helped you to get started in the world of eCommerce. If you’re looking for more information on how to sell online, we recommend doing some research or checking out our blog for other articles and resources about selling online.

Thank you for reading this blog post. If you have any questions, type a comment below, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. We are happy to help!

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