Friday, September 20, 2019

Where are you planning to sell your perfume? Online?

    The most obvious points of sale for your perfume are retail stores and online. In my last message I wrote about the basic requirements for making sales in stores. Now I want to address the online option. There are alternatives to both of these that fall under the heading "guerrilla marketing" but it's hard to explain these opportunities as a good deal of imagination and energy are required to recognize and exploit them.

    Anybody can offer their perfume online. There are no restrictions, no gate keepers. You control your online presence. What is essential is that you have a device to take orders. This eliminates Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram although they can be highly effective for promoting sales. Typically selling online involves having a website, although there are alternatives such as eBay, Etsy, Shopify and "Etsy alternatives" (do a Google search for "etsy alternatives" to find them.)

    The cost of having your own website can be (realistically!) less than $60 a year -- if you are able to prepare your own pages. The $60 includes both web hosting and domain registration. For shopping cart you can use Paypal which is free. But, as Shopify warns, "Marketing your store is ultimately up to you, and is your responsibility as shop owner."

    So to sell online you need a store, you need to market that store, and you must be prepared to ship orders promptly (and be familiar with regulations for shipping perfume.) In short, you need to become a merchant but, as mentioned, there are no bars to prevent you from setting up your online store.

"Marketing your store is, ultimately, up to you."

    A platform like Shopify takes pains to educate its clients. Other platforms often make vague promises of marketing support. They want your business and the truth about how unlikely you are to sell any perfume with them unless you, personally, work at marketing it, does not encourage sales of their hosting services and it is the hosting services that they are selling, not your merchandise. You may need a hosting service but, just like having your perfume in a store, getting it into a store doesn't mean you're going to make sales.

    Sometimes the solution is a marketing partner, a person who can take what you have and make sales. It is not easy to find an individual who can take this role and, of course, it means that profits will be shared. "Sharing" is the key here. You don’t want to pay someone a fee to market your perfume based on promises alone but you certainly might make a commission arrangement with someone who can make sales for you that you otherwise would not have made.

    What it all comes down to is your overall plan. Having a product (your perfume), having a market (people who will be receptive to your perfume) and then deciding how to best connect with that market. If your market is local, a retail store makes sense. If your market is scattered across cities and states, an online store makes sense. But the key will always be how well you sell your perfume.

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