So you have a product to sell online. But, not sure if you need a website, eCommerce platform, or something else. Don’t fret. This article will guide you to sell your products online, in the easiest way possible.
There are 9.1 million online sellers worldwide, but it’s not too late to become one too. You haven’t missed your shot. You just have to know how to make the right shot. This article will show you how.
It’s not only buying online that has become the norm. Selling online has become a new custom as well.
You’re here probably because you want to sell online too.
If you know what you’re doing and just need to get started with the right platform, choose your product from the menu below and get going.
Thanks to the rise of social media, the global crisis, and seeing your friends and families dip their toes in eCommerce — and wildly successful.
When you hear someone making $3.2 million dollars by selling a pixelated punk, it makes you feel like you can make real money selling products online (even the digital ones for that matter).
And to get you hyped up, even more, look at this. Online sales now account for nearly 20% of spending through all channels.
It’s only a matter of time when the majority will choose online buying 99% of the time. You don’t wanna miss it when this happens.
But how exactly do you start selling your products online today?
You don’t have to be a digital creative, a techie, or a true-blood entrepreneur to make it big online. You’ll see.
Entrepreneurs who are still undecided about selling online should move quickly.
With so many options for selling online, cashing in on the increasing eCommerce industry has never been easier.
The first step is to go through this article. We’ll show you:
What Doesn’t Work Anymore
To start with, let’s look at trends or practices that are not as effective anymore… just so you know what you should avoid and you can erase some bias.
To sell online, just a business idea is not enough.
Traditional platforms to sell products online
The power of online selling is no longer controlled by well-known platforms like Shopify, Amazon, or WooCommerce. There are tons of new platforms in the market that are more tailored, simple, and affordable.
Sellfy, the eCommerce platform for digital creators is serving 270,000+ creators. Volusion, tailored for startups, has been serving 180,000+ entrepreneurs. So don’t be too caught up with going for the popular brands. Widen your choices.
Selling online takes more than a website and product photographs; it takes passion, knowledge, and marketing skills. However, there are several solutions available to help your online store succeed.
General advertising techniques
Just blasting off Facebook ads is also no longer effective to drive traffic and sales. With the iOs 14 updates, the ever-changing FB ads policies, and the sophistication of buyers, you need to readjust your Facebook strategies to cope.
You either focus on specific targeting methods, drill down into psychographics and copywriting or explore growing channels like TikTok and YouTube ads.
Steep learning curves
It is unlikely that new sellers will invest a lot of time in learning about platforms, tech, or even marketing.
You got a business idea, you know where to source your products from and you just need to start selling online!
eCommerce business owners now think like real business owners. They hire experts or pay for tools to make their businesses profitable and easier to manage. So know that you have this option.
On UpWork alone, you can find 23,000+ reviews from eComm owners who have hired eCommerce experts whose specialty span WordPress, UX design, bookkeeping, and marketing.
Cost of maintenance
You’d still have overhead, even if you’re doing business online. You may not have offices or utilities to pay, but there are still expenses. Thinks of transaction fees for your payment, logistical costs, software costs, and labor (if you hire people who can help you).
Here’s a breakdown of usual eCommerce expenses from SellerAccountant.
Now that we got this out of the way, let’s focus on your buyers.
The Changed Landscape of Online Buying Behavior
Let’s talk about the new generation of buyers because they think differently now. They’ve gotten a lot smarter.
In the new age of retail, you’d expect your buyers to…
Go for more authentic content
So if you want to sell online, gather your well-wishers and crowd, who can vouch for your products, first.
Ask you about your payment options
Buyers are seeking convenience when buying online. These numbers are proof:
- 79% are more likely to buy from retailers with flexible payments
- 3 in 10 say they have got the buy-now, pay-later option when shopping online
- 70% make impulse buys because of flexible payment options
Take away: Offer a smooth shopping experience with multiple payment options, on your online store. Selling online is different from offline sales. You have to have all your options ready when selling products online.
Tip: Dukaan has multiple payment options in its online stores.
Be super keen about customer service
Focus on giving them the ultimate experience. Or else, you’d hear their frustrations on social media, especially on Twitter.
Meanwhile, ace customer support by learning the ins and outs of selling online here.
Get tickled by personalization
These birthday emails? Consumers love them!
70% of consumers say they like it a lot when brands offer a personalized experience.
Prefer sustainable brands
Buyers are becoming environmentally aware that they scrutinize your company, from your products to your packaging.
1 in 3 consumers is making conscious efforts to buy sustainable products online even if it’ll cost them more. And they ask fellow earth pros for recommendations online.
And because of this changing landscape, there’s also been a noted shift in online businesses.
Selling online has gotten more… interesting. Here.
New Online Businesses That Sprout Up (They Never Existed Before)
Retail has been undergoing major transformations.
Now, we can find anything — from novel beauty items to birth flowers to drum kits or NFTs — at any time of day or night with just one click even if we’re tucked in bed at home.
Here are some under-the-radar trends:
- Across eCommerce stores, Yoga mats have shown an increase in popularity.
- In the past year, craft kits have topped the trending products list.
- Each month, belt buckles receive 24,000 searches (According to ahrefs).
- The trend of customized vitamins is sweeping the globe. (What the heck is that?)
- Contemporary artists are able to sell their artworks for millions. Remember our pixelated punk? Add ape cartoons to that.
You’re probably wondering how profitable or sustainable these items are. Let’s answer that.
Here are businesses that make thousands of dollars selling products online, that you may not have heard of before.
Ksith Saber Fonts – selling sound effects online
Can you imagine someone who makes a living selling Star Wars sound effects?
Well, Kiennen Schade sells audio files for lightsaber props to film fans worldwide. And because of that, he has increased his income and he’s now a successful business owner.
Here’s his online store.
Snuggle with Sam – selling cuddles (yes)
Getting paid for hugging strangers? A little different, but profitable. You could make anywhere between $4,000 to $9,000 per month doing this.
You can book hugs or book a consultation session to learn how to start your own cuddling business when you visit her website.
Potato Parcel – selling messages carved on potatoes (what?!)
Why would you send a message via a potato? Not sure, but let’s ask Potato Parcel’s customers. Can you believe Alex Craig averages $10,000 in monthly sales doing this?
And oh, they got featured in Shark Tank. Even Mr. Wonderful got a potato. Look.
Why It’s Not Too Late to Start Today
See how weird eCommerce business ideas still make it out there?
If these businesses can’t push you to start today, then we have a few more reasons why.
1. Online stores are easy to set up.
All you need is a domain name and hosting, and you can be up and running in no time. There are also a number of excellent eCommerce platforms available such as Dukaan that make it simple to get started. Watch this video:
2. You can start simple.
Sure, it takes a little time to get the hang of things, but it’s not rocket science. In fact, once you get the basics down, it can be quite easy and enjoyable. You can also start with 1 item to sell. Think of the potatoes. Keep it simple.
Plus, there are plenty of resources available to help you along the way, including eBooks, tutorials, and forums.
3. The world wide web isn’t going anywhere.
With an Internet connection, you can already begin selling online within a few clicks. The key to opening up a whole new world of possibilities for your business is right at your fingertips. No need to wait for months and months to build a physical store.
4. You can make 6-7 figures a month.
According to Arka, a new eCommerce store can potentially make just over $63,000 in monthly revenue in just 3 months.
In year one, they can average it to $127,000 in monthly revenue. After three years, you can grow this to $352,000.
Online Business Models That Work
Now, it might be daunting to decide on your business structure right away. It’s helpful to learn about the 3 basic online business models. You can just pattern it from there.
1. B2C: Business-to-Consumer
These companies sell goods or services to the general public. They sell online through their website or any other online platform.
Example: Amazon, eBay, any online store
2. C2B: Consumer to Business
In this model, the consumer creates value. The businesses then consume that value. Consumer can either sell their services or goods via websites or platforms.
Example: Freelancers for hire, Independent consultants
3. C2C: Consumer-to-Consumer
This happens when a consumer sells an item to a fellow consumer. You can think of it as direct selling. For example, you post your used clothing on your social media to sell it. Another person might be interested in buying it.
Example: Facebook marketplace
More often than not, most businesses are B2C by default. You choose to sell to individuals, that’s why.
Now, let’s see how you can launch that store!
How To Sell Online in 2022
So it’s clearer for you, let’s go through a step-by-step thought process that will help you launch your business idea.
1. Choose a product idea
Say you’re a skincare enthusiast who has been making your own handmade soap for a while. One day, your friend just asked you what soap you’re using since you have fairly glowing skin.
When you shared with her that you’re doing your own soap, she asked you if you have an extra bar because she wants to try it.
Bam, this is what it hit you — you can sell handmade soaps (or even other handmade items)!
If you don’t have an idea yet, here are ideas you can start with.
|Ideas for Products||Ideas for Services||Other Ideas|
|Plants and gardening supplies (popular lately)||Consultation||Info products like courses|
|Any food items||Facebook ads services||Instagram filters and presets|
|Weird items like bacon bandages||Dog walking||Drum kits, audio files|
2. Conduct competition analysis
The next thing that you will wanna do is check the market for the existing vendors. You can go to Google to check this.
Or you can go to marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, and Shopee, to see the top sellers in your market. A simple “handmade soap” query gives you clues on the top online stores selling this. Pick the ones with the most customer reviews.
You can also go to your socials to see if there are local soap stores that are getting attention.
A favorite IG hack is to use the hashtag combination: “#” + product “soap” + place “India”. When you key in #soapsindia for example, you get 7,000+ results — a great way to start your research.
You will want to take notes of each vendor according to their:
- Branding (What’s their positioning? What are their soaps known for?)
- Target market (Who are they selling to? Is it GenZ? Breastfeeding moms?)
- Where do they sell? (Do they have a website? Do they sell on IG and/or FB?)
- Market share (Is there enough demand for this product? You can use eComm analytics tools like Split Dragon for this)
- Pricing (What’s their price range for their products? Do they offer bundles or promos once in a while?)
Your ultimate goal in doing the competitor analysis is to find the gap in the market. So you can position your soap differently from the rest of the soaps in the market.
You want to be different so you stand out and you will be remembered.
3. Talk to potential customers (for feedback)
Once you found the gap in the market, it’s time to talk to potential customers. Who could they be? GenZs? Women in their early 20s? Skincare enthusiasts like you?
If you want to sell soaps, you don’t make soaps right away. You have to polish your idea and at least validate it a bit before investing in your idea.
You do this by talking to your target market. Ask them questions like:
- What kind of body soaps are you using right now?
- What do you like most about it?
- Have you tried handmade soaps?
- What do they think is missing in the current market?
4. Find your USP
USP means a unique selling proposition. It answers what makes you different and what makes you the best choice for your target market.
It’s a fun (yet challenging) part.
Normally, business owners want to go BIG right away. They want to do a lot instead of thinking small and niche.
When it comes to gaps in the market, it’s always better to think small. The more specific your product is, the more likely you’ll be able to target your market effectively.
For example, maybe based on your research, you found out that GenZ you talked to has limited facial soap choices. Maybe because most soaps in the market are concocted for women in their early 20s.
Your research also tells you that 60% of GenZ purchase beauty products before they’re 14 years old. You found your gap. What could make your product different?
Maybe add a touch of sustainability to your handmade soap since GenZs are also huge environmental supporters.
Then you have your USP: sustainable handmade facial soaps for GenZ women.
It’s a niche. Your target is clear. You‘re filling a gap in the market.
5. Figure outsourcing, logistics, etc.
Now comes the unsexy part of the business. Ugh, the boring stuff that you need to deal with can include:
- Finding the best suppliers in your area
- Optimizing and timing your supply deliveries
- Maintaining the equipment you use
- Figuring out the delivery process
- Exploring how to best store your products
- Looking for couriers to work with
- Negotiating the best contracts with partner vendors
These are just a few, but they’re the most important ones.
6. Choose your eCommerce platform
At this point, you want to start setting up your store! Yay!
But where do you want to set up first?
You have 4 choices:
- Online platforms like Dukaan
- Marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, and Shopee
- Your own custom website
- Social media like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok
To narrow down to the best choice, we’ve come up with a comparison table for you.
|Online platforms||Marketplace||Custom Website||Social Media|
|What is it?||Online platforms are eCommerce sites that allow individuals and companies to create stores and sell their products or services online.||A marketplace is a place where vendors can come together to sell their products or services to a targeted customer base.||A custom-made website could be your own online store made from scratch.||These are social applications that enable its users to create, engage, and share content.|
|Pros||• Easier & faster to get started as the features are there
• Lots of options to choose from
• Some platforms are tailored for certain kinds of sellers
|• Easier to set up
• The customer base is already there
• Marketing tools are available
|• Total control over the functionality
• Can customize how it looks
|• People are already in the platform
• Can make use of paid ads
• Can reach a lot people
|Cons||• Limited customizations
• Need to pay additional fees
|• Tough competition
• May have additional fees
• 2eek payout with risk of inventory being deemed unsellable (Amazon)
|• Need tech expertise or hire someone to do it for you
• Can be complicated to set up
|• No complete control
• Ads can be expensive
• Lots of rules and limitations per platform
• No direct checkout
For first-time sellers, it’s recommended that you go with online eCommerce platforms.
They’re the easiest and fastest way to get started. You wouldn’t need tech skills.
Some (pssst… like Dukaan 😉 ) are easy to set up (even your non-techie grandmom can do it!).
Social media is a good place to market, but it’s just a platform for marketing. There are no direct checkouts on social media and most often than not, you’ll be required to connect to your online store to continue the processing.
Dukaan – The easiest platform to start selling online
Dukaan is the simplest platform to get started with and scale your online business. It provides everything you need to run a successful online store, from custom domains, plug-in integration, and more.
Getting started with Dukaan is easy. Simply create an account and select the plan that best suits your business needs. Then, add your products, fulfill orders, and start selling online all in less than 30 seconds.
Wix – The best choice for visuals
Wix is the perfect website builder for professionals and beginners alike who prefer visually-appealing images to attract prospects.. Their drag-and-drop interface allows you to select from their eye-catching templates to customize the design of your website to meet your brand’s needs.
Sellfy – Designed for creators
Sellfy is the perfect platform to sell your goods and services digitally. Sellers can choose from a variety of creative features that will help them generate more revenue, such as print-on-demand merchandising or subscription models for recurring payments.
Shopify – Ideal for selling physical products
Shopify is a great option for those who have physical products to promote. You can create a private or public store on the platform, which allows people from all over the world to view your items. Also, your account is linked to Shopify Shipping’s network of shipping carriers to send physical items faster.
7. Launch an MVP
Now it’s time to launch your MVP so you can start selling.
It could just be a simple website, a Facebook page, or just a storefront in marketplaces.
Consider the costs below.
(We won’t cover the cost of production, inventory, logistics, and packaging because that will greatly vary on your product or service.)
|Online platforms||Marketplace||Custom Website||Social Media|
|Domain Name||$0.99-$20/year||No need||$0.99-$20/year||No need|
|Hosting/Platform fees||$10-$50 a month (there’s a free version)||No need||$3.50-$250/month||No need|
|Payment processing||2-15% of revenue||2-45% of revenue||1%-3% (3rd party payment fees)||1%-3% (3rd party payment fees)|
|Website theme||Has built-in themes||Has built-in themes||$50-$200||No need|
|Website designer||No need||No need||$300-$5000||No need|
|Starting capital required||$100||$0||$1000||$0|
Note that the starting capital here only covers the platform. Don’t forget to add your product costs and other expenses to produce and fulfill the orders.
The key takeaway here is this.
Marketplace and social media are usually free to join, but the caveat here is you’ll have a lot of competitors on the same platform.
Going with online platforms is an affordable and faster way to go to market, but you don’t own the space.
You’re under their rules. They’re cheaper and make starting easier.
Getting your own website or online store is the most expensive route, but you’ll get total freedom in return — from how your store looks, which payment gateways you want to use, and the entire customer journey.
8. Marketing & Promotion
Now that you’re all set, let’s talk about proven ways to market and promote your products online.
Use data to strategically drive traffic to your online stores. Using paid ads without looking at your data is like wasting your ad budget — you won’t be able to tell if you had sales from the traffic you generated.
So how can you scale?
Data is the secret.
To do this, you can apply for Collaborative Performance Advertising Solution (CPAS) from your Shopee or Lazada Relationship Manager. Once you complete the requirements, they’ll give you access to a dedicated ad account with your store catalog on it. You’ll also see the results of your campaigns like this.
Genalyn Alvarez, a Facebook ads expert who helps eCom businesses scale, was able to get 12.45 ROI from FB ads because of this.
Email marketing is perfect for getting the first sale, getting repeat orders, and keeping existing customers.
According to Airon Dela Cruz who runs email marketing services for eCommerce business owners, 30 to 40% of his clients’ revenue comes from emails.
A big opportunity lies in retention. That’s where emails can help make a customer buy more and often.
You can even get away with having automated emails only — one for welcoming new subscribers, another for thanking first-time buyers, and one for reminding those who have abandoned carts.
We all know that influencer marketing can help you get more sales, but how exactly can you reach out to influencers?
One effective way is through cold emails.
This is the go-to strategy of Sarah Natividad, an influencer marketing specialist. She gets 80-90% open rates on her cold emails and ends up giving her clients qualified influencers who are ready to market their products.
Here’s a tip: Write subject lines that pique interest.
Some ideas on how to do that:
- Inject humor into the subject line
- Highlight their pain points
- Add a FOMO effect (deadlines work)
Chase your dreams. Start selling online.
It may seem that the online world is overcrowded, but here’s the thing. In the online world, saturation is virtually nonexistent.
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling an ordinary product or if you have a weird business idea.
As long as buyers can find you and have ways to pay you, then you have a business.
Anything can happen with all these new opportunities out there waiting patiently for you to get moving.
And if you want to change your life like the online entrepreneurs we’ve featured here, then start that store today.
Selling online is easy today. All you need is a good business idea, a good product and clarity on whom you are selling it to.
Folks like this duo from India have made millions right in the first year of inception, by selling their products online. If they can, you can too!
Read their inspirational journey here.