PART TWO: SELECTING AND BUILDING YOUR SALES CHANNELS-
Setting up a proper sales channel can be equally as important as sourcing your products. You have to understand the customer experience, sales funnel, checkout process, and post-fulfillment engagement (tacking updates, sales/ technical support, returns, reordering, etc.) in order to maximize your store's potential and monetize all activity.
Most people believe that the customer experience begins as they open their package and use their product, however we strongly believe that the customer experience begins long before they even become a customer. By that, all we mean is all potential customers begin their experience with you before they even make their first purchase.
The customer experience begins once they lay eyes on your brand, and through their decision process, choose whether or not they will have a pleasant experience once they actually purchase.
The best companies sell experiences. McDonalds with their happy meals, and visions of food-euphoria has never once sold a customer a meal based on the quality of their food, but the experience surrounding it (not to say you shouldn't focus on quality, this is an extreme case of experience over actual product).
Luckily, we are all a customer in one aspect or another so that allows us to envision the experience that should be delivered to all of our potential buyers. Picture the McDonald's ad executives thinking about selling their burgers, and how they can deliver an experience. Then, picture the moment they reach the conclusion of selling happy meals, and think backwards to the reasoning behind that decision. Their strategy of getting targeting children to nag their parents, the name itself (Happy Meal), then the experience from the famous Happy Meal box to playing with the current/ media-relevant toys that come with every meal. Even though I personally don't eat their food, one can respect and admire the genius marketing strategies. Try this exercise by thinking about the brands that stick out in your mind when you think of famous companies or products.
It may be best to envision the final experience you desire your customer to have, then think backwards to how you can create it.
Where is the first place you are visible to potential customers (social media ad, organic post, physical ad, etc.)?
From the moment the idea is conceived to purchase your product or services, how easy and seamless is it for the customer to go through with the purchase?
If a customer has to go "out of their way" to make a purchase for an everyday product, they may not even purchase. Especially if there are other suppliers of said product.
On the other hand, making a product too readily available or easy to purchase may be perceived as cheap. This mainly goes for markets like fashion and luxury items. Young entrepreneur Asspizza makes unique clothing only available to those who actually buy them from Asspizza himself (if your city is on his tour list). He's like a rockstar, posting locations on Instagram while hoards of kids from all corners of the world come together to buy his limited-edition, hand made merchandise. Another genius. He knows that selling online would be too easy and would drive the value of his clothes downwward. Selling only in person allows him to control and justify the price as it provides a sales funnel that brings you in contact with the creator himself.
Know your product, know your customer, and understand the experience you wish to create. These three pillars will help you create a great sales channel.