Start selling products online
Do you want to launch your own business by selling products online? You can start an ecommerce store, but nowadays there are also other ways to do that. There is an endless amount of platforms available to start selling online today, such as Instagram, eBay or Depop.
Sell products online through platforms
Selling online is easier now than it has ever been. You do not need to have a brick-and-mortar store or warehouse full of inventory. You do not even need an official online store anymore in order to sell online, 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 don’t need an online or physical store to sell products.
Not having your own ecommerce business relieves you of 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, through online marketplaces and platforms, you can reach millions of people faster than with a new website. That means that you do not need to mull over marketing strategies when trading on eBay or Facebook Marketplace.
Starting your own online store
Even though an online store of your own takes more work, it can become more profitable to sell products online that way, once you gain loyal customers and build up your brand. With your own site you also do not need to worry about the commission that social media platforms or Amazon, eBay or Depop ask for.
Starting your own online shop may sound difficult, but it does not have to be. If you find a dropshipping supplier with the right products, they will ship orders straight from their warehouse to your customers. This means that you do not necessarily need to buy a large product inventory before you actually start generating sales.
Creating a website for yourself might be easier than you think.
Building an ecommerce website for your business 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.
Best online store software
With good software you can make an online store all by yourself. Three popular ecommerce software providers that offer good shopping cart solutions for European stores are:
Shopify is 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. It now offers a 3-day free trial and 1 dollar per month for 3 months on all plans.
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 those items for 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, 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 want tips from you about makeup or toys.
If you know which items 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 platforms to generate sales
Having a unique brand increases your chances of generating sales in your store as well as on third party platforms. An online marketplace is not just filled with people that do not want the hassle of running their own online store.
In fact, most online sellers on these platforms already have their own brand. These platforms get millions of visitors. It is next to impossible to get this type of reach with your website or social media. 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, platforms are the perfect place to find new audiences. 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 own website.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram
Social media such as Facebook or Instagram Shopping are great to get traffic or visibility, but can also be used for selling online. These parties often work with a 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.
Competition on marketplaces
However, even with your own brand of unique products, getting to sell online through platforms can be harder than you think. Facebook Marketplace and eBay, for example, have a huge range of products. This means that your items can be lost in what these platforms have to offer. It may take some time before your products gain more visibility.
While online shopping, potential customers browse tons of online stores.
At the same time, customers love to browse on platforms. In real life you probably would not visit ten different stores for one product. In online selling, there is a slight difference. Online shoppers often 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 even when your visibility is good enough, you will still need to invest in marketing to actually sell things online.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Some frequently asked questions about selling online:
Are you allowed to sell anything online?
No, you are not allowed to just sell anything online. It is not a good idea to start an online store with an assortment of weapons or endangered animals. There are laws and requirements that dictate which products can be sold in an ecommerce business. Keep in mind that these laws may be different per country. If you are planning to generate online sales internationally, make sure to check these rules.
Can I sell second hand products?
Yes, 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 that what they are buying is second hand and you are honest about any defects, there will not be a problem.
Is selling online an easy way to make money?
It is possible, but starting an online store is harder than it looks. It is not the fastest or easiest way to make money, because you will need to invest a lot in marketing to get results. Creating your own brand and trading those products on online marketplaces can be easier, but this has its own unique challenges.