Selling Stuff Online? Give Physical Products a Chance
Many Internet marketers these days are engrossed in promoting non-tangible stuff such as information products. I have nothing against selling digital products; that’s what I mostly sell these days. But I have special spot in my heart for physical products.
I got my start in Internet marketing by selling affiliate stuff online. The products I sold were mostly electronic items from China.
Those were the glory days of Internet marketing, when you’d find something of value (sometimes even of no value at all!), take photos of it, post it on eBay or Yahoo!, and wait for notifications from people interested in buying your stuff even at a premium price.
But for some people these days, especially newbie Internet marketers, the name of the game is to migrate away from traditional brick-and-mortar commerce, and sell intangible stuff like apps, e-tickets, e-books, information products, and electronic discount coupons.
We are not yet in Neo’s reality, or sub-reality (remember? from “The Matrix”?). At least, that’s what I would like to believe. So there’s still a lot of value—and profits—to be had from selling physical stuff online.
That’s what Ben Settle and Robert Bruce talked about in a Copyblogger.com podcast called Why Not Sell Physical Stuff with Digital media?
I have to agree with what Ben points out: that physical products are much more interesting than digital products. Physical products provide a totally different experience for customers than digital items do.
This is not to say that information products are of lesser value. But customers tend to feel more connected to something when they are able to experience it with more of their senses than just their eyes.
Lots of customers still feel a sense of anticipation and excitement waiting for the UPS truck to arrive. That thrill, sometimes experienced at an extremely heightened level, is largely absent when you expect something to show up in your email inbox.
I certainly don’t mean to discourage anyone from selling digital products online. There’s tremendous value to be had from and to deliver with digital products. Millions of people are undoubtedly hungry for instant information.
But what works for Tom might not work for Harry. Harry might not have the same knack for coming up with and marketing digital products … but he might have lots of physical items in inventory that thousands of customers might find of interest.
So the next time you set out to sell information, ask yourself: In which format am I going to deliver this to my customers?
- eBooks or DVDs/CDs?
- Digital newsletter or paper-based newsletter?
- Electronic coupons or paper-based coupons?
- eBooks or paperbacks?
If you’re the kind of person who hates to keep track of inventory, but would love to sell physical products online, try dropshipping.
There are lots of companies out there that can take care of inventories and deliveries for you. All you have to do is to set up a web store and ask suppliers to provide you with photos and product descriptions.
Whenever a customer buys any of your products via your online store, you simply take your percentage off the payment, send the payment over to the supplier, and the supplier takes care of delivering the goods to your customer’s door.
There’s nothing quite like reliving the glory days of e-commerce, when an ordinary dude could just pick up some random stuff and tell the digital universe it’s up for sale.
Go right ahead and look for physical products that you suspect have the potential to become a hit. Who knows what treasures you’ll hit the next time you visit the flea market? Then give physical products a chance.
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