Selling online is a great way to make money in a small business.
Thousands of people make a living to sell their products online, and many others make a little extra money selling products on sites like Amazon, Etsy or eBay.
But selling online is not as simple as uploading your items and waiting for the cash to roll in. It takes time, research and knowledge to get things started.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to promote your products, services, or e-books, or a homemaker looking for lace ideas, becoming an online salesperson is a great way to go.
In your journey, a comprehensive post like this – The complete guide to selling online in 2022 – will give you a complete checklist to help you get started.
Since the topic itself is broad, I have divided it into two series. Part 1 talks about strategy development, sales through your website and online marketplaces. In Part 2 you will learn about social media sales, online advertising, email marketing and tips to boost online sales.
Decide what you want to sell
Do you already have a product in mind that you want to sell? If you’re not sure what you want to sell and are looking for ideas, do not worry. There are thousands of different ways to grow a business online. There are mainly three types of businesses: product based, service based and resale of other people’s products and services.
Know your strengths and interests so you can come up with a plan.
You can also try some ideas listed below:
- Do you have a hobby? For example, if you’ve always loved making soap, you can earn it. You can:
- Teach people how to make soap by organizing online or live classes.
- Start an online store to take orders from customers who want custom soaps or room sprays.
- Selling an e-book on how to make soap.
- Develop a range of courses for beginners and advanced learners.
- You can have a affiliate marketer to earn commissions for sales or sales through your website and content. It is best to focus on a specific affiliate niche.
Top affiliate niches
- The Technology Niche
- The Health / Weight Loss / Fitness Niche
- Digital marketing niche
- Love / Relationship Niche
- Finance / Crypto Investments Niche
- The pet care niche
- The Entertainment (Movies / Music) Niche
- The fashion / beauty niche
- Start an e-commerce shop to sell merchandise, unique handmade items, online courses or resale items (wholesale purchased).
Brainstorm ideas or ask your friends and family for business ideas.
Do research on your market
Once you have decided what you are going to sell online, you need to see if there is demand for your product. Your business idea can be very interesting, but if no one is willing to buy it, you will not make money.
To become a successful seller, you need to research the market and identify a niche target customer. If everyone can use your product or service, no one will. Buyer behavior has changed significantly since the pandemic. Be specific about who you are chasing for business.
Marketing budgets are a terrible thing to waste. Use social media to find your niche client, research potential customers to get to know their needs, and segment them to better serve them with your content and email marketing efforts.
Market research is an effective way to evaluate the feasibility of a service or product. Market research will help you discover consumer interest, demand and other important factors that are important for online sales and profit making.
Do research on your competitors
Competitor research is essential to understanding your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
It helps you know how to improve your business, what new products you can offer and how to attract your target buyers with new offers.
Knowing what your competition is going on will enable you to position yourself and your products or services in the market. Competitor research will also prevent you from making mistakes so you can maximize profits.
Sell on your site to a market
When you first dare to sell online, a big question is where to do it. You have several options, and some require more legwork in terms of technical details (such as setting up a website and buying online ads), while others will require more marketing skills, so you stand out in a crowded market like Amazon , Esty of eBay.
The first option is to set up your own eCommerce website so that people can buy directly from you. The key to selling on your own website is to find a professionally designed website that is easy for visitors to find what they are looking for. There is no middleman who participates in your profits, although you do have to pay for an e-commerce site with a platform tool like Shopify, BigCommerce or Wix. You will also need to manage the site yourself (or hire someone to do it). The biggest challenge with running your own website is building a brand online and attracting traffic to the website. Fortunately, many of the options on the market offer templates for building an e-commerce website that does not require design skills.
One of the most important steps you need to complete if you are going to sell online directly from your website or Shopify is to set up your shipping and payment systems. You will need to know your shipping costs and have a way to receive payment. This means that you have to work with payment processors and add it to your website. Many people use Square or Stripe for payment processing, and Shipstation is a popular shipping and labeling option. If you plan to handle fulfillment yourself, you need reliable shipping options to deliver products safely and quickly to your customers’ doorstep. But if you sell a service, e-books, SaaS or something else that does not require physical delivery, you do not have to worry about shipping.
There are many opportunities to sell through market sites like Amazon, eBay, Etsy. Whether you’re just starting a business or are a retailer looking to expand your business online, marketplaces are a great place to do business. They have millions of customers, but that also means there is a lot of competition on that platform.
Pricing is key as you always give the platform a slice of profit, so you need to set your prices to pay the fees and make a profit. It’s most important to know your keywords and become familiar with the listing policies of the specific platform you plan to use. If you are going to sell in a market owned by a third party, you will have to agree in advance to abide by their policies. These policies may be meaningful and change at any time without notice to you. For example, if Amazon decides not to sell products containing a certain ingredient, your lists of products containing that ingredient may be removed without any notice to you. If you sell on your own website, payment processors can often do the same thing. For example, some merchant processors will not process payments for CBD products.
How to Sell on Amazon
Amazon is the largest e-retail company in the US, where 66% of buyers start looking for products. Selling on Amazon can be a lucrative opportunity for both established and new brand owners.
Sales on Amazon can make up a large sum of your gross business revenue.
About start selling on Amazon, you need to create a seller account, choose a plan, list your products, add product descriptions with pictures and choose how you want to ship. Amazon is also a great place to promote sales through advertising.
Amazon offers numerous ways to sell:
Once you know what type of account you want to go with, in the next step, you need to understand the fee structure.
If you sell through Seller Central, you have to pay based on the sales plan you choose – the individual plan costs $ 0.99 per unit and the professional plan costs $ 39.99 per month. Then there are referral fees, compliance fees based on your shipping method and other associated costs.
Fees for Vendor Central are decided by Amazon and mentioned in the contract with the company.
How do you become an Amazon Choice seller?
Amazon Choice Seller is a voice of trust that Amazon assigns to products based on sales performance.
The Amazon Choice Seller label can help you build trust and boost sales. So try your best to achieve this by keeping your customer satisfaction rate high and keeping your product price fair. Other factors to consider if you want to become an Amazon Preferred Seller are:
- Your products come Prime-qualified.
- Your products are always in stock.
- You have a good sales record.
- And you have received high customer ratings.
How to set up an Etsy store?
If you have unique handmade or handmade items to sell, Etsy is the right place to sell online.
With Etsy, you do not have to worry about having a domain or hosting fees or coding knowledge to build a website. Setting up a professional store on Etsy is as simple as clicking a few buttons.
If you want to reach more organic buyers on the internet, optimize your Etsy store and add keywords so that it appears during online searches.
To turn store visits into sales, your store needs to have clear product descriptions, good quality images, and a compelling story about yourself and the products you sell.
How do you sell on eBay?
eBay is one of the oldest known sales platforms that has been helping small and independent business owners for a very long time.
Setting up a store on eBay is really easy and much less complex than most platforms.
To sell on eBay, you need a seller account and then choose between auction type and direct fixed price sales.
Now just add your products, write compelling descriptions, add images and shipping costs. It’s that simple!
How to build an online store on Shopify
Like any other platform, to build a store on Shopify, you need to create an account and choose the best plan that meets your requirement.
The difference between selling on Amazon and Shopify is that you have to build your store from scratch, including designing the storefront and product pages, uploading products, and setting up payment and shipping methods.
Here’s how I sell courses and books online through my website.
Note that my products are also for sale on Amazon, but I have also listed them on my website so that readers can buy directly from me and get a signed copy of my books and discounts for my online courses.
It is important for you to understand which online sales channels can generate the most revenue for your company. If you want more help to start selling online, you can also check out my course How to sell and market online by Smallbizladyuniversity.com. This course combines all my knowledge and will definitely help you make a living selling online.
And remember to subscribe to my blog so you do not miss the second part of this series coming out next!