Even if you've had years of experience selling hunting or collectible knives, switching to selling online requires a new set of skills. You have to catch the attention of online shoppers, then convince them that your product is good and your business is reliable. Whether you decide to sell through eBay, promote yourself on Facebook or build your own website, you can apply basic principles of online selling to make your knife business successful.
Start Selling Knives Online
Pick a location for your business. You can sell items through eBay, if nothing else, but setting up a website of your own can add credibility to your business. The sitewizard.com website gives an excellent breakdown of the steps to setting up your own site.
Talk to knife users about what they want to buy. You may already know exactly what you want to sell—name-brand hunting knives, throwing knives or Civil War replica knives for re-enactors—but if not, "Shooting Industry" magazine recommends talking to users and collectors about their favorite knives, what they use knives for, what's the most they would pay for a knife and what would convince them to shop for knives online.
Make sure your website is informative. Tell your prospective customers who you are, what qualifies you to sell knives, and why they should buy from you. Provide detailed descriptions of the knives: The metal, the design and any special features.
Make your website easy to use. Microsoft's Small Business Center recommends using a site map to orient customers, with navigation bars and drop-down menus so they don't have to click through endless pages to find what they want. Set yourself up to take PayPal and visit Visa.com and other credit-card websites to find out how to accept credit cards. The more ways customers can pay, the happier they'll be.
Promote yourself. If you already have a bricks-and-mortar business or sell knives at shows, let your customers know about your new online business and ask if you can e-mail them with information. Use social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace. Send out e-mail newsletters.
Microsoft's Small Business Center says it's not enough to have a good-looking, efficient website: You have to deliver on what you promise. Once the sale is made, make sure the customer gets the knife they paid for, as fast as possible.
- Microsoft's Small Business Center says it's not enough to have a good-looking, efficient website: You have to deliver on what you promise. Once the sale is made, make sure the customer gets the knife they paid for, as fast as possible.
A graduate of Oberlin College, Fraser Sherman began writing in 1981. Since then he's researched and written newspaper and magazine stories on city government, court cases, business, real estate and finance, the uses of new technologies and film history. Sherman has worked for more than a decade as a newspaper reporter, and his magazine articles have been published in "Newsweek," "Air & Space," "Backpacker" and "Boys' Life." Sherman is also the author of three film reference books, with a fourth currently under way.