How to start selling online: guide for SMEs with an artisanal spirit

In the digital age, expanding your business online is no longer an option but a necessity. This article is dedicated to all those SMEs who, thanks to significant offline potential and an authentic artisan spirit, aspire to explore the universe of online sales. We will guide you through the strategic, operational and marketing steps essential for a successful entry into e-commerce, offering advice on when it is appropriate to outsource services or manage them in-house.

How to start selling online

1. Define the Online Strategy

Before venturing online, it is essential to define a clear strategy. Understanding your target audience, the strengths of your product and how it positions itself in the online market is the first step. Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based (SMART) goals for your online presence.
In the world of digital commerce, starting to sell online represents an immense opportunity for SMEs that boast a strong offline background and an artisanal soul. However, to turn this opportunity into success, it is essential to start with a solid business strategy. This first step is crucial to establishing the foundations of your online business and to successfully navigate the vast ocean of e-commerce:

  • Market and Competitor Analysis: First of all, it is essential to conduct a thorough market and competitor analysis. This will allow you to understand the dynamics of the sector in which you operate, identify your target customers and analyze what your competitors offer. Tools like Google Trends, SEMrush, and SWOT analysis can be of great help.
  • Detailed Business Plan: The business plan is the key document that describes your business vision, short- and long-term goals, and how you intend to achieve them. It should include a financial projection, cost analysis, chosen sales channels (own e-commerce, marketplace, social commerce, etc.), and digital marketing strategies.
  • Price Calculation and Sales Policies: Defining a competitive, or extra-luxury, but sustainable pricing policy is essential. Consider production costs, management costs, shipping costs, marketplace commissions (if used), and the customer's perception of value. Remember that transparency in sales policies, such as return policies or warranties, helps build trust with your audience.
  • Product/Service Differentiation: In a crowded marketplace, it's vital to offer something that sets you apart. This can come from superior product quality, unique design, exceptional customer service, or strong brand storytelling. Your unique value proposition (UVP) should resonate with your target audience and be evident at every customer touchpoint.
  • Technological and Operational Development: Consider whether it is more convenient for your company to develop the technical skills necessary for online sales internally or to outsource. This includes creating an e-commerce site, integrating secure payment systems, logistics and inventory management, for example. There are many solutions, platforms like Shopify can offer solutions suited to different needs and budgets.
  • Digital Marketing: A well-defined digital marketing strategy is crucial to attracting and retaining customers. This includes SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing and online advertising. The key is to be where your customers spend their time online and communicate with them in an authentic and engaging way.
  • Measurement and Optimization: Finally, establish a system from the beginning to track the performance of your e-commerce through specific KPIs, such as conversion rate, average order value (AOV), cart abandonment rate, etc. . Data analysis will allow you to understand what works, what doesn't, and how to optimize your strategy over time to scale budget and turnover.

    2. Choose the Right Platform

    The choice of e-commerce platform is crucial. Evaluate available options based on ease of use, cost, scalability and compatibility with your products. Platforms like Shopify, remember that Professione Business is a Shopify Partner, WooCommerce or Magento can be excellent starting points, each with its pros and cons.

    3. Create Quality Content

    Content is king. High-quality product photography, detailed descriptions, stories behind the brand and the manufacturing process can make the difference. The content not only attracts customers but also improves the SEO ranking of your site.

    4. SEO optimization

    A website optimized for search engines is essential for increasing online visibility. Focus on keywords relevant to your industry, improve site speed and make sure it's mobile-friendly.

    5. Digital Marketing Strategies

    Use digital marketing to promote your online presence. This includes, for example, email marketing, social media marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. content marketing etc. Choose the channels that best suit your target audience.

    6. Logistics and Order Management

    Decide whether to manage logistics internally or outsource it. Investigate solutions like dropshipping if you want to minimize inventory costs. Punctuality in managing orders and deliveries is essential to maintaining high customer satisfaction. The cost of logistics and shipping are among the most important and burdensome for the success of a healthy and profitable online business.

    7. Customer Service

    Excellent customer service is vital. Make sure you have an efficient system to handle questions, complaints and returns in a timely and clear manner. The goal is to create a long-term, trusting relationship with your customers.

    8. Analysis and Optimization

    Finally, monitor the performance of your site and digital marketing campaigns. Use tools like Google Analytics to analyze site traffic, conversion rate and other key performance indicators (KPIs). This will allow you to continuously optimize your online strategy.


    In this article, the section relating to Strategy has voluntarily been explored further because we believe in the primary importance of this step.
    All subsequent points should be explored in the same way, we will probably do so in future articles or if you are interested in learning more we can explore the topic together.

    Remember, the secret to success in e-commerce lies not only in having a great product, but also in the ability to effectively communicate it to the right audience, at the right time, through the right channels.
    Cit. Dario Manduca

    Taking the first steps in the world of online sales may seem like a daunting task, but with the right strategy and the right tools, even SMEs with a strong artisan spirit can thrive in this environment. Remember that the key to success is a holistic approach that integrates operational, marketing and development strategies, with a constant focus on customer service excellence.

    Are you ready to make the most of the opportunities that online has to offer?

    Contact us now

    Contact Professione Business, we will discover together how we can help you launch your Online Business.

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