So you want to learn the highs and lows of online selling?
Well, that’s a pretty solid starting point. But to say the truth, the acute competition in the ecommerce industry is staggeringly endless and blustery. Learning how to sell online takes more than just being a little savvy about the current shopping trends to unravel the entire process.
You might even think of taking that online masterclass which appears so glossy on your email alerts. Not that I'm against this move anyway. But at times, you might end up with junk information that leads you nowhere.
If you’re about to find the winning products to sell online, you don’t want to start with zero sales in the first month. That might get a little dampening for the faint-hearted.
Just like brick and mortar store owners, you need a perfect blueprint to help you identify a unique product that makes your competitors want to venture elsewhere.
It doesn’t matter whether yours is a small business that’s facing a stiff neck from hefty and scaled-up counterparts. So long as you kick off on the right foot, selling products online shouldn’t be anything close to quantum physics.
Looking at the most recent stats, it’s unquestionably certain that ecommerce is becoming so lucrative like never before. In the US alone, for instance, the total e-retail sales for the first quarter of 2019 were estimated at $ 130 billion. Other reliable infographics detailedly explain that the revenue is expected to rise to $500 billion by the end of the year.
This tends to suggest that there’s a huge potential even for newbies looking to carve a niche in the ecommerce sector.
But the expedition doesn't need to be bumpy whatsoever. Well, this guide, which I took a couple of nights to draft, is compendious and bears all the rightful facts concisely.
Just to share a snippet of what it’s all about, here are some of the basics this article has in store:
- How to find your niche product
- Identifying your potential customers
- Selling via an online store or through mainstream marketplaces
- Marketing the products and turning mere visitors to real customers.
- Analysing the current market trends.
The checklist above might sound familiar to most readers. Alongside this, you ought to optimize every step to reach the maximum potential, by all means.
The Differences Between Hosted and Self-hosted Ecommerce Platforms
If you'd like to configure a full ecommerce store where customers can come to your store, place items in the shopping cart and pay you for the items, you'll have to select a hosted or self-hosted ecommerce platform. Both options require hosting, but they are different in the way you go about getting that hosting.
To start, a hosted platform already has the hosting included for you. For example, a favorite of ours is the Shopify ecommerce system. It's more of a consumer-oriented platform for people who might not know everything there is to know about ecommerce web development.
Although advanced users can find all they need with a hosted solution, the goal is to also make it easier for beginners. Therefore, you don't have to piece together that many services or tools when you're just starting to learn how to sell products online. This means a hosted platform has cloud hosting, holding all site files and handling security and speed. You can also generally find domain buying services with hosted ecommerce systems.
There's no telling if developers actually prefer self-hosted over cloud hosted, but most of the time you can assume that an experienced developer would rather have complete control with a self-hosted system.
For example, some of the largest ecommerce sites in the world use Magento or WooCommerce due to this control. The difference is that you must go out and find your own reliable hosting, manage the site files yourself and communicate with your host whenever something goes wrong.
It might sound complicated if it's your first time trying to figure out how to sell products online, but most hosts make WordPress and Magento installation simple nowadays. For example, hosts like SiteGround and Bluehost provide one-click installation buttons for WordPress and WooCommerce.
To sum it all up:
- This is kind of like renting space to sell your products (you pay a monthly fee).
- You don't have to think about hosting, since it's all given to you.
- In fact, all features and templates and tools are provided in the monthly cost.
- You might feel somewhat limited since you have to choose from the features given, along with the templates and designs.
- You own everything and have complete control.
- You have to find, manage and pay for your own site host and domain name.
- This route isn't always best for beginners.
- You can make your site look like anything, as long as you have access to the right templates, plugins and coding knowledge.
Keep in mind that both hosted and self-hosted options often come with app or plugin stores, making expansion possible for both routes.
To make zero mistakes while finding the most befitting product to sell online, you need to draft your ecommerce business plan by making a close reference to these easy-peasy steps.
Step 1: How to sell online: Identify a niche
Is this the first stepping stone? You might ask.
After all, how else would you come up with a product that’s tremendously doing well in the market? Currently, there are millions of products to consider. That might make you a little bewildered at the first instance.
Not anymore if you’ve got the rightful pointers at hand. Assuming that you’re not looking to sell the obvious commodities in the market, consumables and the likes, identifying a niche product is more of a ritual before you spend a penny to start your ecommerce business.
That way you’ll be able to cut the losses.
How to sell online: Recognize a problem in the market
As you may pretty well understand, most niche products tend to resolve a problem that most potential customers are facing. With that at the forefront, you’ll be able to identify who the consumers are.
One justifiable way to do that is to read consumer feedback from social platforms. At the moment, it’s not easy to auto-generate a need via advertising. Your products will only fetch some hype from impulsive buyers, which is so short-term.
The real deal here is to retain a consistent customer base that’s very much alive to the value which your niche brings to the table.
Surprisingly, there are up-skilled tools to help you spot a lucrative niche. They’re easy to use and help a potential online retailer make realistic projections.
So let’s get on with it.
How to sell online: Make the perfect use of Keyword tools
The search engine is way smarter than you think. It matches search queries by running an analysis using the key phrases used to the most appropriate results.
To be precise, Google Trends is quite a distinctive tool that shows the interest, a particular keyword fetches over a stipulated period. So how’s this compatible with finding a niche product?
Perfect question. You might coincide with me.
Well, to fight fiercely on the ecommerce battleground, you need to show an immense prowess by working with sharp and data-driven insights.
Google Trends, in this context, allows you to identify niche products that have less competition.
So what’s the result?
If you intend to run a big online store that gives you an edge over your competitors, you must make it quite visible. Your ecommerce site's product pages must score fairly good on your SEO rankings. Closely connected to that is the fact that you get to bank on an advanced customer engagement relationship.
By selling products that are hard to find, high chances are that you’ll have your usual customers’ list in your pockets way longer than you’d expect. Most importantly, identifying the most rewarding niche market on a tool such as Google Trends, allows you to cut down on marketing expenses.
The leads might be less since you’re dealing with a rare product, but rest assured that you’ll be sitting on pleasing and remarkable conversions.
That aside, Google Trends sorts the interest of particular keywords by region. Needless to say that this functionality is the most suitable option to help a potential ecommerce retailer identify their target market.
Also, it feeds you with all the related queries and topics that might be closely connected to your forthcoming niche.
Well, that’s one way to do it.
As an alternative, you can keep the task to identify a niche simple and elegant playing around with tools like SEMRush, Moz’s Keyword research tool, Ahrefs, Google Keyword planner, just to name a few that have a solid ascendancy in the market.
Step 2: Know Where to Source Your Products From
This is a dynamic step that varies from one online seller to another. If let’s say you’re looking to drop ship products globally, there are huge stores to source products from. As things stand, AliExpress seems to take all the rage.
So what’s the fuss about this China-based marketplace?
What tends to be peculiar about AliExpress is the fact that a drop shipper can source products from this end at exceedingly low prices. While you can also drop ship with the retail giant, Amazon, AliExpress lists most of its products at cheaper prices.
The products sold on AliExpress range from electronics, fashion, households, among others. Thankfully, you don’t need to source products from this marketplace manually. An app such as Oberlo automates everything for a drop shipper.
Oberlo is more of an online mercantile establishment that lists products that are viable and readily available in the market.
This tends to supplement the dropshipping chain, for lack of a better word by listing the high-selling products on AliExpress. Its way of operation is pretty straightforward. You get to identify products from its pages and import them in bulk to your own online store.
If you intend to use Shopify as your sales channel, you can install the Oberlo plugin to import the products. You can also sort their variants as well as their descriptions in a very facile manner. Assuming that you understand how the dropshipping model works, you must be conscious of the fact that you can adjust the pricing once you load a product to your store to make better profit markups.
Once you identify the right items to sell, you can make any customizations you need to make your products’ pages on your Shopify store have a professional look.
👉 Read our Oberlo review.
Below are two other avenues to consider besides Oberlo:
Still hanging on the dropshipping business model, Spocket serves a pretty solid alternative. The app helps you spot the winning products. Spocket's slight difference is that the products listed on this software are not from China as it’s the case with Oberlo.
This site is predominantly, a marketplace for goods that are sold by suppliers from the US and EU. It’s cumulatively becoming a hub for cheap, yet standard quality products. If you’re a drop shipper using WooCommerce as your befitting sales channel, you can download Spocket, install it as a plugin, and start to import products to sell in bulk. This tool also syncs with Shopify perfectly.
The app is free to use, so just you know and elevates your flexibility to sell rare products globally.
About 60% of suppliers signed up on Spocket are from the US and EU. In that case, you get to make quicker deliveries, more precisely if most of your customers come from these regions.
To make your profit margins materialize, you can bank on Spocket’s discount offers that are constantly attached to most of its products. Another pleasing thing is the fact that there are no monthly commitments whatsoever.
👉 Read our Spocket review.
To put it simply, AliDropship operates in a similarly as other plugins that allow you to automatically pull products from AliExpress to your online store. It’s however, slightly distinct from the rest.
If you’re a WordPress zealot, here’s the deal.
AliDropship integrates with your WordPress store, or technically, its plugin which is WooCommerce to allow you import products that attract a huge customer base.
Another option is that you can custom build your online store on the AliDropship platform. Everything is absolutely ‘plug and play'. What you need to do is come up with a unique store name.
AliDropship gives you the first-hand opportunity to spot the best products on AliExpress. The most interesting part about this plugin is that you can upload bulk products at the click of a button.
But everything worthwhile surely comes at a price. To get a hold of this plugin, you’ll need to make a one time $89 payment.
👉 Read our Alidropship review.
How to sell online: Digital products
From top to bottom, this is a lucrative area that startups should be looking at.
Selling digital products is ultimately one of the progressive ways to generate a steady income stream. It doesn’t cost that much to invest in this category of online selling.
But here’s the thing you need to worry about:
What do I sell?
You need to brainstorm and put in all the work to come up with a niche product. One that will certainly give you an edge over potential competitors.
Digital products ideas to sell online
It’s no secret that digital publishing is a niche that will still exist for the next couple of multiple decades. One way to make good money is by selling e-books or PDFs to consumers.
The real-estate guru, Grant Cardone, is a perfect case study.
He runs an online store where he sells books that upskill readers more on finance, marketing, real estate, among other strapping categories. You can sort your online store to allow customers to shop by type.
So why is it easier to sell digital products over physical products?
- Requires less capital input
- Most digital products are intellectual property. It’s hard to replicate such content
- Not so much saturated. The competition is pretty low
- For subscription-based products, customers get to reorder
- It’s easier to market digital products
The kind of digital content to consider include;
- Video tutorials
- SaaS products such as software
- Online courses
There are so many avenues that prove to be so commercially viable where you can practically sell your digital products at. You can sell professional courses at mediums such as Udemy Udemyor even Fiverr. These are online learning, teaching, and versatile freelance services platforms to setup your online business.
Other website builders such as Wix and Squarespace equally have glamorous themes that are suitable for online magazines. To sell digital content in an executive manner, you can try Sellfy out.
Sellfy: Brief Overview
This solution allows you to set up a storefront where you can sell digital products by use of a backend dashboard that has out of the box navigation buttons.
Primarily, it's designed to help you sell ebooks, design assets, tutorials, and all other related products.
Sellfy gives you an unlimited bandwidth to upload up to 2GB per CSV file. You can build your storefront in just minutes. Surprisingly, Sellfy doesn’t limit you on digital stuff alone. You can also sell merchandise and other niche products in your online store.
To manage recurring orders, Sellfy allows you to set customers’ subscriptions periodically and help you collect payments just like other reputable ecommerce channels. You can integrate your storefront with gateways like PayPal and Stripe to reach out to all customers around the world.
Sellfy gives you an option to embed ‘Buy’ buttons and product widgets on your website or social media pages to help you optimize the conversions.
👉 Read our Sellfy review.
Types of ebooks to venture in
- DIY guides- There’s a huge market potential that’s untapped here. You need to craft resourceful ‘How to’ articles that teach people routine basics. As an online seller, you can practically create content to educate a particular demographic on how to repaint their house walls.
- CV templates
- Recipe guides/ cookbooks
- Poetry books
Audio Category, which is closely connected to the ebook's structure, is a pretty immersive niche that has unchallenged vested interests from many merchant account holders online.
Selling Photos Online
So long as you can capture the moment to catch sight of your target audiences’ emotional intelligence, selling photos and art on an ecommerce storefront can reasonably produce a great deal of profit.
Platforms such as Flickr and Shutterstock sell images that have exerted so much influence in this niche. This should give you immense confidence that you can’t fall on your face if you only do it right.
What’s slightly off with such photo selling platforms is that they take a high cut on each sale. Roughly, it’s anywhere between 20-60% from your hard-earned profit. But if you’re not the ‘free-spending’ type, you can opt to go solo.
At the moment, some sales channels are irreproachable and tonic in terms of selling photos online. SmugMug is a perfect alternative that allows you to keep the entire profit margin per sale.
Squarespace is another channel that faultlessly fits in this case scenario. So what's the deal about this big wig website builder?
I’ll be brief, so just you know.
If you’re looking ahead to light up a stunning impression on the web with eye-catching images, Squarespace has a couple of award-winning templates you can use to create an amazing online selling storefront.
One couldn’t agree more that the practicality here is to sell images that are not only of high-resolution but those which create a distinctive level of sales. Photography isn’t quantum physics. But on the other hand, it goes beyond just holding a camera and snapping a shot. And a channel such as Squarespace is definitely what you need.
Step 3: Choose the Right Place to Sell Your Products Online.
Now, this is where things get a little practical.
Unlike a physical storefront where you need a physical place where shoppers can come to, selling online only requires you to have a platform that allows you to virtually upload all your products.
The next bold move is to build an online store that is not only visible to potential shoppers but also responsive and well optimized to race up against all odds. So far, there are so many options to look at.
You might either want to set up an ecommerce store via 3rd party sales channels or upload your products on highly regarded marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Esty or even craigslist.
How to Sell Online: Selling on 3rd Party Sales Channels
The perks of selling niche products on 3rd party ecommerce platforms, unquestionably, outweigh the drawbacks. That way, you can fetch new customers and keep them only if you’re selling a unique product that’s not saturated in the market. The dynamics, however, show that some products might be saturated since they have a huge demand from customers.
That pointer should sink in. Back to our point of concern.
So which are the most fruitful selling channels?
Have a look.
This is one of the most rapid platforms that allows merchants to capitalize on potential customers who prefer online shopping over going to the mall.
The current demographics show that Shopify powers over 800K online stores currently. From this perspective, it’s faultless to say that this ecommerce website builder is the real deal. More precisely, when it comes to selling your stuff online.
Most of all, you don’t need any expert skills to make whatever customizations you need your store to have. Practically, Shopify’s pricing fits any business size. You can start with its 14-day free trial window. (read our conclusive Shopify review)
Shopify’s monthly fees go between $9 and $299. The Shopify Plus plan, to be specific, is handmade for retailers who need to scale up and reach the enterprise level mark.
Choosing this platform as your ultimate selling channel means that you no longer need to hang on 3rd party payment gateways anymore. Many thanks to Shopify Payments (full Shopify Payments review). It's an all-inclusive payment solution that allows online store owners to accept credit card payments from customers at a small transaction fee.
This ecommerce selling option has plenty of responsive themes to choose from. The ease of use is magnificently desirable thus making it an excellent choice for most drop shippers.
Shopify gives users access to a dashboard where they can manage their inventory. Its POS system is cloud-based making it compatible with iOS and Android devices. The mobile-friendliness makes it unexacting anytime you need to sell and complete transactions from any location.
👍 Shopify Pros
- It has a cost-effective solution for starters. The lite plan($9/month) gives you the best approach to social selling
- Shopify has a strong engagement community
- Each plan comes with shopping cart abandonment recovery
- Its user interface is refined and fends off all the complexities.
- Looking at the numbers(800K stores), one can gain confidence in Shopify’s structure quite easily.
- It has a flexible plan (Shopify Plus) to help a merchant scale-up to their projected targets
- Shopify's dashboard has intuitive buttons to help a user sort their products in well-aligned categories
- It’s a fully hosted platform. This boosts your store’s security and maintenance status
- Shopify’s marketplace is filled with useful plugins and responsive templates to help you optimize your store’s overall performance
👎 Shopify Cons
- The professional reporting tools are only limited to the premium plans (Shopify Advanced and above)
- Shopify's Lite plan is just a kid gimmick, for lack of a better phrase. It doesn’t include an online store.
👉 Read our Shopify reviews.
This ecommerce solution has been noisy enough over the years. It needs no explanation that WordPress has paved some decent path for this online store builder in the market. It's prevalent that the rivalry between this online store builder and Shopify can’t fade easily.
The basic ground is that both are pretty powerful and responsive enough to meet the demands of their respective users.
WooCommerce is a loyal open-source platform that gives its users the right to push the control button. The wow factor here is that you can make any bit of adjustment you need in your online store.
Besides the bulk product imports with using a tool such as AliDropship, WooCommerce connects to bountiful apps you allow your potential customers to have a gainful shopping experience.
You can set up a couple of payment options to give the buyers a fluid checkout process. WooCommerce integrates with processors such as PayPal, Square, Stripe, Authorize.net and many other leading payment gateways.
The after-sales process is nothing you should literarily worry about. WooCommerce powers the merchant’s intent to deliver pending orders without any hurdles. As another approach, you can link your store to Amazon’s FBA system and use its infrastructure to reach out to your customers across all territories.
👍 WooCommerce Pros
- You can run a successful blog on the side via WordPress
- WooCommerce allows you to work with SEO plugins such as Yoast SEO to craft your roadmap to better rankings on the search engine
- There are plenty of adaptable themes in its marketplace. You must know that WordPress has an influx of plugins.
- This ecommerce solution can power stores that need to scale extensively
👎 WooCommerce Cons
- The learning curve while making initial setups is a bit steep for newbies.
- Its customer support is not reliable either
👉 Read our WooCommerce review.
After the notable revamps done back in 2016, BigCommerce now stands tall in the ecommerce platforms’ acute rivalry. As of now, it’s both a B2B and a multichannel solution that shows immense dominance in the world of ecommerce.
The latter functionality lets a retailer sell products on marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay and do social selling on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
If you want to sell products online in a very innovative manner, BigCommerce steps out of the conventional hacks and puts more focus on boosting your online store’s mobile conversions.
To boot up your store's online presence, BigCommerce gives you access to a dashboard with multifaceted options.
Its preview mode allows you to have a glimpse of how the product pages look like. If you’re discontent with the results, you can make any changes you want without having to dig into the complex coding tasks.
To avoid any form of discrepancy or over-selling, BigCommerce lets you sync your inventory from both online sales and offline sales transactions to let you work with updated stock levels.
👍 BigCommerce Pros
- Stable reporting tools. BigCommerce runs in real-time to issue an accurate inventory status, data-driven insights and generates management reports in a business-oriented manner
- 24/7 live customer support system
- You can sell your online products in multiple currencies
- BigCommerce integrates with WordPress to enhance your marketing objectives
- This sales channel doesn’t charge any transaction fees per sale
👎 BigCommerce Cons
- The premium themes are a bit off reach for small online business startups
- Shipping and tax rates can be easily adjusted on the checkout section
👉 Read our BigCommerce review.
Volusion is an online store builder that’s staggeringly taking centerstage. Just like Shopify, you can leverage on its 14 days free trial period to run a couple of tests. In so doing, you get an executive summary of how it helps you sell products online.
This ecommerce platform is feature-oriented and has stylish themes to complement your unique products to a greater extent. Also, you can freely customize your store’s domain to let shoppers find you in the most easy-peasy way.
Most importantly, this sort of creates an idealistic personality for your store so as to be highly ranked on the SERPs. Volusion has recently added a couple of options to help you optimize your product pages.
Not only can you add eye-catching images alongside your product descriptions, but you can also sort the variants in a manner that gives potential buyers so much confidence in your products’ quality.
Since Volusion is a mobile-optimized solution, you can process all orders swiftly without any hitches and make order fulfillment so rewarding to avoid possible mishaps such as the ever-diminishing chargebacks.
As regards to payment processing, Volusion makes it secure and fast for both customers and the store owner. So far, an ecommerce retailer can get paid via cash, credit cards, Amazon Pay, wire transfer, PayPal, among other suitable payment gateways.
But that's not the end of Volusion!
Moving back to selling products online, this sales channel allows the retailer to make the best out of its product display customizations options. This functionality is wide-reaching in the sense that you can include ratings and reviews from previous buyers.
Just like it happens on huge marketplaces such as Amazon and the likes, this strategy boosts the conversion rate significantly. Customarily, online shoppers get to take in crucial factors. Key among them include the product's quality, after-sale service, and most imperatively if it’s a high-selling item.
Volusion is a cloud-based platform. This gives you the leeway to manage your online store from any corner of the world. By use of its mobile app, a merchant gets to elevate their drop shipping experience remarkably.
Since there are no more transaction fees on Volusion, this leaves you in a position to make bigger profit margins on each item sold. The inventory bit of this channel is so intriguing. To upload your products in bulk, you only need to know how a CSV file runs.
Volusion's pricing tends to be closely similar to that of Shopify in some way. It charges anywhere between $29 to $299 each month, to be exact. The visual difference in each plan is the total number of sales you can transact per year.
Volusion's Prime plan, will, of course, require the potential merchants to enquire for a custom quote. This owes to the fact that the retail needs for each online seller might be different.
👍 Volusion Pros
- It has built-in functionalities that are compatible with all the perceptible customizations
- So many payment methods in check
- Futuristic reporting and analytics tools
- A flexible pricing formula that fits all ecommerce business sizes
- Volusion’s mobile app makes it easy to manage your online store no matter the location
- A complete on-boarding process. This helps you set up your store in the shortest time possible
👎 Volusion Cons
- The SSL certificate comes at an extra cost
- It’s blogging functionality isn’t as rigid as that of WordPress
👉 Read our Volusion review.
If your projections are, let's say, anything close to a million bucks every year in sales, then you should look no further.
Same as WordPress, Magneto is also an open-source platform. This suggests that users can hire experts to do the complex stuff on their behalf. Also, they can source for hosting services elsewhere. Moreover, what restrains most retailers from using Magneto are two crucial factors.
First, the pricing is somewhat meant to only suit huge enterprises that have the potential to scale immensely.
On the bright side, Magneto has rich B2B functionality that allows huge enterprises to do business together. It’s not built for SMB merchants who are just looking for the bare-bone basics. Magneto Commerce, for instance, is a package that has advanced marketing tools to make your brand known to a target customer base.
It has advanced order management features. Magneto's product catalog helps users display their items via a gratifying user interface. The ease of use for beginners especially, is, however, not by any chance, close to being friendly.
👍 Magneto Pros
- It’s scalable
- Since it’s open-source, this gives you top-notch flexibility to customize your online store
- It has a diverse community of developers and users
- Online shopping trends are now geared towards mobile-devices. Magneto passes the mobile-friendliness test.
👎 Magneto Cons
- Magneto is one of the most expensive 3rd party sales channels
- You might need a top-tier hosting service to make your Magneto powered store operate smoothly.
👉 Read our Magento review.
How to sell online: Selling on online marketplaces
This is a dynamic avenue to lean on if setting up an online store using a 3rd party channel feels like too much work. But if you have one in place, it’s virtually practical and feasible to connect to one of the most popular marketplaces and make sales transactions. So how do I sell my products on these retail streams?
Let’s see how each operates.
The leading retail marketplace vastly stands out from the bunch.
To start selling on Amazon, you need a seller account. Amazon's professional selling plan costs $39.99 a month. Extra costs include a small transaction fee per sale. The amount depends on the product category. If you’re selling premium products, you’ll certanily have to pay more in terms of transaction fees.
Selling on Amazon can be so lucrative so long as you understand the ins and outs. To even out all the curves, sales channels such as Shopify and WooCommerce integrate with Amazon to allow you to create a product listing.
The best part is that you can leverage on the multi-channel fulfillment process to deliver all orders, many thanks to the Amazon FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon). If you’re somewhat unfamiliar with this option, it helps you bank on a faster delivery process.
Amazon picks, packs and ships orders to your customers which turns out to be a solid strategy to instantaneously boost your scalability.
👍 Amazon Pros
- It’s fairly easy to create a product listing on Amazon.
- The Amazon FBA process is pretty fast and reliable. It’s optimized to fully swing into action once a customer places an order
- A merchant gets to scale to newer heights in a remarkable way
- Customers can pay via Amazon Pay, a payment channel which they duly trust
- Amazon has broad traffic to leverage on
👎 Amazon Cons
- Competitors can replicate your product listings
- Amazon charges high commissions per item sold
- A retailer can’t make their brand visible on Amazon. That’s strictly prohibited.
👉 Read our ultimate guide to selling on Amazon.
eBay is primarily, more of an online auction marketplace where you can sell your products. The number of eBay users is increasingly growing. And so are the selling strategies. On eBay, a customer has to place a bid. Just like an ordinary auction transaction, the highest bidder ultimately wins.
It’s no big surprise that eBay garners its dominance due to its unparalleled selling options. As an alternative, a seller can opt not to use the bidding method and place a ‘Buy it now’ button on a product.
Dropshipping, which is, of course, carefully considered as a winning ecommerce business model in the ecommerce world, unfortunately, meets a couple of restrictions on eBay.
And please don’t get it wrong. Not that dropshipping is entirely banned on eBay, per se. The catch is you must supply a product directly from the supplier. In simple terms, this figuratively means that if you purchase products in bulk from a wholesaler, then you can list them on eBay.
On the flipside, eBay goes a little overboard by restricting retailers who source products from retail sites such as Amazon and AliExpress in a bid to resell them.
So dropshipping from Amazon to eBay is strictly a no go zone.
👍 eBay Pros
- There’s a global customer base outreach that eBay attracts. Correspondingly, a seller gets to list their products no matter which location they are. That’s a super-duper perk for most online retailers.
- This marketplace literary lets you sell anything. eBay hooks you up to an exceptional target audience.
- Since it integrates with PayPal, a seller can make good use of the seller protection policy and instantaneously accept payments from customers all over the world.
👎 eBay Cons
- The fees are quite high. It’s a bit discouraging for most online retailers looking to sell on this marketplace
- It has stringent policies that sort of lockout most drop shippers
Etsy is a marketplace that lets retailers have a spot on approach while selling products to online shoppers. This channel puts a clear-sighted focus on mostly handmade and vintage products.
As a seller, it’s about time to tap this marketplace and carve a niche to delight your potential customers before your holy grail product gets outrightly flooded.
Well, at the moment, there are over 30 million active buyers on Etsy. Same as other marketplaces, you pay a fee once you successfully close a sale. Looking at its customization options, Etsy lets users sort their products to make them have an unreservedly dazzling look.
To list an item on Etsy, you’ll have to part with $0.20 plus a 3.5% transaction fee per sale.
👍 Etsy Pros
- On the seller’s end, Etsy is way cheaper marketplace than Amazon.
- This marketplace has a significant market share. It’s easy to catch sight of a never-ending customer base
- Etsy has built-in analytics tools to track your sales and traffic from visitors.
- It’s easy to set up your virtual store and get started
👎 Etsy Cons
- It limits sellers to only handmade products.
- Since most products fall under the same category, the market could get saturated.
AliExpress, a well-grounded subsidiary of Alibaba, is an option to put into consideration.
You must first sign up to acquire an official seller account. Thereafter, a seller can source products from a wholesaler and list them on AliExpress and mark up the prices. That’s more like dropshipping, to be precise.
AliExpress is best known for its cheap yet standard quality products. There are lots of categories whose sales are groundbreaking. For that to happen there a couple of prerequisites that a potential seller must adhere to.
For instance, the merchant needs to have a registered brand in place. More to that is the fact that AliExpress charges an annual fee to sort out the technical services.
This is an authentic marketplace that integrates with reliable carrier companies with unmatched proficiency in the logistics insdustry.
👍 AliExpress Pros
- The number of product categories on AliExpress are impactful and money-making
- It’s so easy to import products from AliExpress to your 3rd party sales channel
- There are express carrier services to work with
- AliExpress has a secure payment channel(AliExpress Pocket), otherwise known as Alipocket. A retailer can also accept credit card payments.
👎 AliExpress Cons
- PayPal is not commonly used on AliExpress
👉 Read our Aliexpress dropshipping guide.
Step 4: Find the Right Marketing Channels
To say the truth, the conventional or rather, traditional modes of advertising don’t show any positive results on online businesses. This part goes a little in-depth. It points out the painstaking channels to run your campaigns.
So let’s get started.
This has been, and it’s still is one of the most effective ways to market your products. It’s one of the rare marketing channels where a retailer gets to fetch indomitable organic traffic.
Interesting enough, it’s now easier than ever to manage your email subscription list. You just have to pick the right email marketing tools.
To make your email tool shopping spree a whole lot easier, you ought to leave nothing to chance. Below is a list of the most prolific email marketing services you should use to promote your products:
- SendinBlue (read our SendinBlue review)
- GetResponse (read our GetResponse review)
- Mailchimp (read our Mailchimp review)
- ConvertKit (read our ConvertKit review)
- Drip (read our Drip review)
- SharpSpring (read our SharpSpring review)
Facebook and Instagram Marketing
These two mainstream channels can help a retailer creates ads that highly convert leads into actual sales. You can market your popular products by connecting your online store to these social selling channels.
Both selling streams have targeting options where you can set your ads to be seen by a specific kind of demographic. With this strategy at hand, you can place a budget for paid ads and push campaigns to your email subscribers or your own website’s frequent visitors.
A selling channel such as Shopify, allows a merchant to add a Facebook online shop section on the store’s official page. Adding Facebook as a sales channel to run shoppable posts lets you build a strong community of returning customers. The same goes for the Instagram sales channel.
The social selling channel has over 400 million active users, most of which are of the younger demographics. If you sell trending products that are linked mostly to millennials, there’s no other way around it. Instagram can be a valuable platform to share your products, market your brand, and expand your market base.
Search Engine Optimization
The better part about ranking on the SERPs is that you get to boost sales out of organic traffic. As earlier mentioned, a savvy keyword tool is such a lifesaver when it comes to putting your SEO priorities into perspective.
Most sales channels have a blog section where you can publish articles to build ‘call to action’ sort of like leads which in turn give you the most desired conversions.
To sail through SEO doesn’t happen overnight, unfortunately. It’s a progressive strategy that needs some sharp-witted skills to rank your product pages on the search engines.
You need to put your meta descriptions in order, work with befitting keywords, optimize your pages to load fast, and so on.
Affiliate marketing is yet another option to make online selling yield a decent ROI. This marketing option is relatively strange to most merchants. Working with influencers, say on Instagram, can make you generate more revenue from referrals. In exchange, the retailer parts with a small commission per item sold.
That’s just but one way to go about affiliate marketing.
If you’re looking to create a product listing on Amazon, you can make sales via the Amazon associates program. It lets independent marketers(website owners, content creators, and publishers) sign up and advertise your products.
Google AdWords might seem a little convoluted in the first instance.
But if you learn the curve, this marketing channel shouldn’t be a hiccup. To make an engaging Google Ads campaign, you must refine your call-to-action. You need to persuade your target audience further once they click your ad.
Google Ads isn’t as expensive as you’d expect. The deal is that you can work with a realistic budget to make your goals materialize.
So long as you know where your customers come from and you’ve done a comperehensive keyword research, building irresistibly striking content on all your website’s landing pages.
While setting up your campaigns, you need to set goals to monitor your sales, all leads and get a glimpse of the general website traffic.
Step 5: Put Your Payment Options in Order
You need to get paid. That matters. But what matters most is the fact that you need to incorporate a payment channel which most of your customers are well versant with.
More often than not, the payment method predominantly depends on the kind of sales channel you’re using.
Merchants need provide their shoppers with seamless and secure checkout experience. Below are some of the top-ranking payment processors to consider;
- Amazon Pay
- Shopify Payments
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
If you’re using Shopify, for example, you can choose not to use the 3rd party processors. Shopify payments swiftly connects with Stripe to make you make swift transactions at lower processing fees.
What is The Best Way to Sell Online?
Putting everything into perspective, finding a product to sell online shouldn’t be baffling so long as you make a picture-perfect blueprint to depend on while setting up an online store.
You need to identify where your products attract the huge chunk of attention from. By that, you can make insightful decisions on how to run your marketing campaigns. Easier said than done, it’s still not too late to get started by spotting a niche and working with a handy sales channel.
The dice is now yours to roll.