Selling a successful eCommerce business isn’t quite the same as selling a traditional brick-and-mortar business. In many ways, selling an online business is much easier than its conventional counterpart, and in other ways, there are significant additional challenges along the way.
Nevertheless, many eCommerce entrepreneurs decide to sell their businesses for different reasons. Some feel like they’ve reached the pivotal moment of growth where they need to invest an additional amount of money in expanding to continue the eCommerce company on their own. Others want to sell from day one and have their mindset on flipping more eCommerce businesses with the profits of the sale.
Regardless of the reasons, the process of selling an eCommerce business almost always stays the same. So, if you’re interested in selling your online business, we’ll cover the crucial steps you need to take to get the maximum possible valuation for your eCommerce store.
Prepare Your Website For The Sale
The first thing you need to do if you're planning to sell your eCommerce business is to prepare your website for sale, as the prospective buyers will visit your website as soon as they can. Work with your team to ensure that the website is appealing to prospective new owners. If the website has a lot of clutter, navigation issues, or a poor UX, know that the prospective buyers view this as something extra they'll need to work on after the acquisition.
Think of your site like it's your house that you're trying to sell. It's much easier to sell a clutter-free home with a lovely renovated kitchen, new appliances, and if all of the plumbing and electricals are functioning correctly. This same analogy can be applied to your eCommerce business.
For that reason, make sure that your website is neat and well organized, that your products or services fall into the proper website categories, all product descriptions are written as they should, images are high-quality and legally obtained, etc. In addition, your offerings should never be more than two clicks away from the homepage in terms of site architecture. This is very important because your website is more valuable to potential buyers if it doesn't need lots of work after the sale.
Organize Your Financials
While you may be great at selling your products and services online, that certainly doesn’t make you an expert bookkeeper or accountant. And depending on the scope and size of your eCommerce operation, chances are, you might be handling all of the financials on your own.
Nevertheless, regardless of whether we’re talking about an independent eCommerce website, or if you’re considering the possibility of transferring the ownership and selling Amazon account that has brought you great success over the years, now is the time to bring on a certified professional before you can proceed with selling the eCommerce business.
Many eyes will be on your company’s financials during the sale process, so retain a third-party accountant to organize your business’s financials before prospective buyers, accountants, lawyers, lenders, appraisers, and others start reviewing them. Having clean and accurate financial statements will make the deal more appealing to prospective buyers and help you get a higher valuation.
Consult With A Valuation Expert
So, how would you know how your eCommerce website is worth? The thing with valuation is, you can’t just pull a number out of your sleeve. This way, you risk listing the business too low or too high. For that reason, we advise you to hire a third-party appraiser that can give your business a fair valuation.
Some of the most common components that attribute to the truthful valuation of your online business include the site’s traffic, financials, age of business, customer service, inventory, technology, supplier relationships, patents, trademarks, and so on. The valuation expert will carefully consider these factors and provide you with a detailed report of how they landed on a particular number.
A proper valuation can help you get hundreds of thousands of dollars more than you anticipated for your business, as they can evaluate your business better than what you originally had in mind.
Qualify Potential Buyers
Once your business is officially up for sale, you can’t just sit back, relax, and wait for offers, but you need to get the word out and find potential purchasers. Still, when compared to selling a traditional business, it’s easier to sell an eCommerce business. That’s because when you’re selling an online business, the locations of the buyers and sellers are practically irrelevant.
As a result, there’s a good chance that you’ll get multiple offers from prospective buyers that come out of different countries and economic systems. Still, before you can truly take these offers into serious consideration, ensure that the prospective buyers have been pre-qualified to get the best possible deal for your business.
As the eCommerce industry is steadily booming, selling your eCommerce business can be extremely lucrative if you act accordingly. Follow the 4 tips that we’ve outlined in this short guide and ensure that you’ll get top dollar for your online business.