Start selling products online
Do you want your own business that sells products online? You can start an ecommerce store, but nowadays you don’t necessarily have to. Whether you are selling through Instagram, eBay or Depop, there is an endless amount of online selling platforms available to start retailing today.
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Sell products through online marketplaces
To start selling online is easier now than it has ever been. You do not need a physical store or big stockroom full of inventory. You do not even need an online store in order to sell products anymore, if that is not your ambition. Second-hand items such as clothes, toys and furniture can easily be sold through online auctions or marketplaces.
You do not need a physical store. You don’t even need an online store to sell your products online.
Not having your own website relieves you of the many laws surrounding ecommerce. You probably do not have a strict price for your product either, which is why you can let buyers outbid each other. Moreover, online marketplaces and selling platforms reach millions of people fast. So you do not need to mull over marketing strategies when selling on eBay or Facebook Marketplace.
Selling in your online store
You do not need an online store to sell products, but maybe you want one anyway.
Even though a shop of your own is more work, it can be more profitable once you gain loyal customers and build up your brand. With your own site you also do not need to worry about Amazon, eBay or Depop asking for a percentage of the profits.
Starting your own online shop may sound difficult, but it does not have to be. For instance, you do not even need to build your own inventory. If you find a dropshipping supplier with the right products, they will ship orders straight from their warehouse to your customers.
Building the website for your online store is also much easier than you might think. Of course, you can let a web designer build the site for you. But if you do not want to spend a lot of money, there are multiple web designing platforms that are extremely user-friendly and do not require any coding. With good software you can make an online store all by yourself.
Online store building software
Here are three popular ecommerce software providers:
Shopify is also a cloud-based ecommerce platform, powering over 1 million online businesses worldwide. Shopify can be used to sell products online and in person. It offers built-in tools to help you create and analyze digital marketing campaigns, and offers a single dashboard to manage orders, shipping and payments.
With no technical knowledge required, Webador's user-friendly drag-and-drop website builder is ideal for launching a webshop. Easy to use steps make it easy to customize your site yourself. Normally a steal at just €9 per month, users can now get started for a promotional price of €1 per month.
Lightspeed eCommerce is a cloud-based solution to buy an online store with, that is extra convenient for omnichannel retailers. It enables them to manage in-store and online inventory, view all customer information and analyze multi-channel sales data, all from one system.
What products can you sell online?
What kind of products you want to sell is entirely up to you. Anything is possible, really. Just take a look around your house. Do you have old furniture or other household items sitting in your garage or attic? Or maybe your friends and family have a lot of hand-me-downs that they do not want to sell themselves. Selling them can be a perfect way to earn some pocket money.
With an online business you can pretty much sell anything.
If you really want to earn a living with your own business selling physical or digital products online, you will need more than just some old stuff from your attic. The best way to do so is to start your own brand.
So ask yourself: is there something that you are an expert in or are passionate about? Perhaps you know a lot about drones, or people always ask you about makeup. If you know what products you want to sell, it is time to find a wholesale supplier that you can buy your stock from. There are a ton of wholesale platforms online, such as BigBuy, Orderchamp and AliExpress. But you can also go the traditional route and start chatting up wholesale suppliers at trade shows.
Using third party platform to get sales
If you are an entrepreneur at heart, you probably want an ecommerce store of your own. And if you want to earn more than a few extra bucks, starting your own brand is definitely the way to go. Having a unique brand increases your chances for selling in your store as well as on third party platforms.
Online marketplaces are not just filled with people that do not want the hassle of running their own online store. In fact, most of the sellers on these platforms already have their own brand. Why, you may ask? Because selling platforms get millions of visitors. It is next to impossible to get this type of reach in your own online store. You would need to spend nearly all of your funds on marketing. And even then, it may never happen.
While your own shop is meant for loyal customers, selling platforms are the perfect place to find new audiences. Because marketplaces have a wide reach, you will cast a bigger net. Potential customers can find your products easier on a platform like Google Shopping, eBay or Amazon. And if you use your own packaging or put a discount flyer in your parcel, they may come to your own shop next time. In this way, marketplaces can attract new customers to your store.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram
Social media such as Facebook or Instagram are great to get traffic of visibility, but can also be used for online shopping. Third party selling platforms like Instagram Shopping or Facebook often work with commission. The transaction fees for an online seller are usually somewhere between 1 and 15 percent of the purchase price, depending on the platform.
Keep in mind that these selling fees can take a big chunk off your profit. But in exchange, you have a bigger chance the item will actually sell.
Difficult to get visibility for your products
Even with your own brand of unique products, getting online sales through platforms can be harder than you think. Facebook Marketplace and eBay, for example, have a huge range of products. You can really find anything on these websites, from second hand clothing to furniture and household appliances. Therefore your item can be lost in the sea of products that these platforms have to offer.
In addition, customers love to browse on a platform such as Facebook or Amazon. In real life you probably don’t visit ten different stores for one product. But online, this can easily be the case. Customers can go to tons of different stores without buying anything. Even though thousands of customers see your product every day, this may not be reflected in the amount of orders. So when selling on Facebook and Instagram, you will still need to invest a lot of time in marketing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Some frequenstly asked questions about selling online:
Are you allowed to sell anything online?
Online you may sell anything that you can also sell on the street. It is therefore not a good idea to start an online store selling weapons or endangered animals. Also, there are some laws and requirements for online stores in particular. For example: the customer has the right to cancel their order in 14 days.
Can I sell second hand products?
Of course, millions of people sell second hand items online. Second hand clothes are very popular and furniture can also easily find a new owner. As long as the customer knows what they are buying is second hand and you are honest about any defects, there is no problem.
Do online retailers make a lot of money?
It is possible, but starting an online store is harder than it looks. Therefore, selling a product online is not the fastest or easiest way to earn money. Selling your own brand on online marketplaces can be easier, but this has its own unique challenges.