HOW TO SELL ONLINE [BEGINNER'S GUIDE]
Fine Fashion For Women's
How to Sell Onlıne [Begınner's Guıde]
So you’re interested in selling stuff online, eh?
Perhaps you have dreams of quitting the rat-race to start your own online, eBay or Amazon business (which obviously involves waking up at 10am, working in your pajamas, taking long weekends whenever you like, and answering to nobody because you’re the boss…)
Or maybe you just want a few extra bucks in your back pocket.
Whatever your reason for wanting to start selling online, eCommerce offers huge opportunities for anyone with an internet connection.
Of all the ways of making money online, it’s perhaps one of the easiest to understand and get started with.
Our ten-minute guide to the world of online selling will show you where to start, and how to do it right!
How to Start Selling Online Professionally
We’ve broken the process down into six simple steps to take you from complete beginner to professional seller.
Let’s jump right in!
What You Need to Know Before You Begin
Before you get started investing time and money into an online business, you want to be sure that selling online is right for you.
So let’s look at the pros and cons of selling online so you can weigh them up and make an informed decision.
The Pros of Selling Online
While working from home in your pajamas is definitely a plus, there are plenty of other amazing reasons to work from home while building your own eCommerce business:
- You can work from home, make your own hours, and choose how far you want to take it. The possibilities are endless. Want to make a few extra bucks to save? Want to create an online eCommerce empire? The choice is yours! There’s no glass ceiling, which means no boss to suck up to. It’s pure freedom.
- It’s something you’re probably already familiar with! If you’ve bought or sold something online, you basically understand how it works. Which, ultimately, makes selling online an easier skill to grasp than many other home business options.
- You can follow your own interests. Are you passionate about fly fishing? Cake decorating? Refurbishing antique dolls? When you start selling online, you can often turn your hobbies and passions into a profitable business.
- It’s not as difficult or risky as starting a “traditional” business. You don’t have to invest a lot of money when you’re first getting started (not to mention, you won’t have to worry about buying or leasing a physical property). It has a very low barrier to entry, which means practically anyone can give it a go! What’s stopping you?
- You don’t have to worry about storing inventory if you don’t want to! (Hint: It’s called dropshipping, and I’ll get to that later!)
- It’s fun! At least, we think it is. By the end of this guide, we’re sure you will, too!
The Cons of Selling Online
Like anything in life, selling online comes with a few downsides. It’s important you’re aware of these before you begin, so you set yourself realistic expectations.
- It takes time. It may take you a month or two to start seeing consistent results. The chances of you accumulating over $100 worth of sales on your first day is, well, highly unlikely.
- There’s a learning curve. If you’ve sold a few things online before, you’re already one step ahead of your competitors! However, you’ll need to step up your game to sell online professionally.
- You wear all the hats. As a business owner, you’re an incredible team of one (at least starting out). You’ll take on the roles of accountant, marketer, web designer, as well as everything else. This also means that you shoulder all the responsibility. If something goes wrong, you can’t blame anyone but yourself.
- It’s not all passive income. You’ll hopefully be dealing with regular sales, regular shipments, and regular customer inquiries, which means that your business will require you to do real work and invest time and effort. That is, until you can afford to hire staff! Even then, you’ll want to remain involved in everything that happens.
To simplify, this isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme.
But if you’re happy to spend a little time building a reputation, developing your brand, and optimizing your processes… the sky’s the limit.
Choosing an eCommerce Business Model
There are several different business models to consider before you start selling online, each with their own set of pros and cons.
You will want to think carefully about which business model is best for you. They all require different levels of financial investment and will determine how you structure your business.
Take this quiz to find out which business model is best for you
The simplicity of dropshipping does come at a cost. You usually pay a higher price to your supplier compared with buying in bulk, and you’ll usually incur a dropshipping fee.
Shipping also tends to take longer as most dropship suppliers are based in China. But dropshipping is extremely popular and many people have built successful eCommerce businesses using it. Dropshipping is best for people looking to dip their toe into selling online, those who don’t have a lot of capital to buy in bulk, and people who want to keep their workload to a minimum.
See our Complete Guide to Dropshipping.
Dropshipping is the darling of the eCommerce world. Why? Because the barrier to entry is so low. You don’t need to make any financial investment to get started. Meaning, you won’t pay a cent until you make a sale.
That means you don’t need to place any large orders or store excess stock. You just need to decide what you want to sell, find a supplier that provides dropshipping services, list your products on your preferred online marketplace, and start selling.
Basically, your supplier does most of the heavy lifting and your main job is to make sales. Simple, right?
Here’s how dropshipping works:
- A customer purchases a product from your online store (at retail price)
- You place an order for that product with your supplier (at wholesale price)
- Your supplier packages and ships the product directly to your customer
- Sourcing from wholesalers
Sourcing products from wholesalers is a more traditional retail business model. It’s used by brick and mortar stores and eCommerce stores alike. Once you’ve decided on what product/s you’re going to sell, you find a reliable wholesaler and buy the product/s in bulk. Getting the best price usually requires some negotiation.
Buying in bulk requires that you have significant cash to spend up front. The upside is that you’ll usually get your products at a cheaper price than you would with dropshipping. That means higher profit margins for you every time you make a sale.
Once you’ve ordered the product/s, it’s up to you to arrange storage, to list them for sale online, and to organize shipping. Alternatively, you can use a third-party fulfillment service like Amazon FBA or Shipbob (there are many options to choose from) to handle the packaging and shipping for you. However, this comes at an added cost that eats into your profit margins.
You can see how sourcing from wholesalers can be more labor-intensive than dropshipping, but the financial benefits can make the extra work worth it.
See our Quick-Start Guide to Finding Wholesale Distributors.
- Sourcing from manufacturers
Sourcing a product from the manufacturer is a similar process to sourcing from a wholesaler. The main difference is that you can work with a manufacturer to create your own product, or a private label product.
The initial investment is higher as you’re creating something new, but if you want to build a brand and sell a unique product, then sourcing from a manufacturer is the business model for you.
There are a lot more hoops to jump through in terms of product development, design, testing, packaging, and legal obligations, but if you’re ready to set in for the long haul and build a business that you can differentiate from the majority of online sellers, sourcing direct from manufacturers is a good option.
See our Guide to Finding Private Label Manufacturers.
- Making and selling your own products
If you’re creative, artistic, or have a unique skill, then by all means, you can make your own products and sell them online. Whether you crochet beanies, build wooden chopping boards, or engineer new technologies in your bedroom, there’s bound to be a market for your creations. Think of it as turning your hobby into a business.
You can even start selling your own products as a side-hustle, while you’re still working. If you are successful, you may be able to turn it into your full-time job.
The main thing with selling your own products is that all of the responsibility is on your shoulders. You can only sell as much as you make, so you have to invest your own time into production.
The main benefit is that, aside from the cost of materials and your time, you don’t have to make a significant investment up front. You also don’t have to rely on suppliers. It’s all on you.