How to Sell Online: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

Want to sell online but don’t know how? This beginner’s guide covers everything. From setting up your business and choosing a niche to build an online store and setting up payment methods.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never sold online before, or if you’re just trying to sell one or two of your old textbooks. It doesn’t matter what you plan on selling, either. This post will get you started on how to sell online, no matter what it is you plan on buying and/or selling.

By the end of this post, you will have all the knowledge you need to start selling online as a beginner.

Let’s get started.

Quick Review

I am glad you decided to learn the process of selling online, here is a quick run-down of what is covered in this post.

  • Choosing your niche
  • Determine what you want to sell
  • Develop your brand
  • Determine which payments will be accepted
  • Set up your online store
  • Promote your store
  • Benefits of selling online

How to Sell Online

Let’s get into more detail on how to start making money selling online.

1. Choosing Your Niche

With huge eCommerce businesses like eBay, Amazon, Target, and Ali Express commanding the industry, establishing your unique niche will help you succeed.

The most crucial component of building your brand in the marketplace is picking a proper niche, as it aids in defining your brand voice and ensuring that it resonates with your intended customers’ interests.

More focused niches will have much less competitiveness, allowing you to connect with potential buyers more easily.

Your customer base will be smaller if the niche you choose is not focused. Therefore, take considerable time evaluating your niche and reconciling the amount of competition with the market size.

2. Determine What You Want to Sell

Quality products in both digital and physical formats at the correct pricing are the key to online business success.

Take some time to seek consumer feedback in whatever you intend to do, to guarantee you’re selling a product that the end-user will enjoy.

Selling online has the advantage of allowing you to sell almost anything, but it also has the disadvantage of allowing you to sell almost everything. There are no restrictions at all.

While this allows you unlimited control, it can also be scary to get started because there are no obvious signals as to what type of product is ideal to start with.

One of the first things people are astonished to realize when learning how to sell online is that you may offer not only tangible objects but other items that aren’t as evident.

To give you an idea of what you can sell online, consider the following:

  • Restaurant table bookings – excellent for allowing people to select their preferred table each time they visit
  • Software, eBooks, and apps are examples of digital downloads
  • Orders for food delivery
  • Music – putting your music on Itunes isn’t the only method to generate money from it
  • Memberships and services
  • Access to insider information — this can be done as a one-time purchase or as a subscription
  • Tickets for an event
  • Subscriptions – collect a monthly payment for access to your service
  • Appointment scheduling – ideal for chiropractors, dentists, and beauty clinics, among others

If you’re having trouble deciding what to sell online, the steps below will assist you in getting started.

1. Your interests or passion

Consider your current interests and passions as a starting point for conceptualizing what to sell online. Evaluate your current activities, favorite goods, and how you occupy your free time.

It’s far more difficult to market something you don’t like or understand. So focusing on things that relate to you in some manner is a good idea. At this point, you can ask yourself questions like: What topics do I enjoy learning about?

You can even get ideas from the organizations to which you belong. Or what domains do you have particular knowledge or expertise in?

SEE: How to Make Money Selling Information Products

2. Do some research on your competitors

Regardless of how specialized your niche is, you’ll almost certainly face some competition. Of course, this isn’t all terrible, and it can demonstrate that your market has the opportunity to be profitable. Even so, you’ll need to consider how you want to stick yourself amid the crowd.

While researching your competition, look for possibilities to do things a bit differently. Perhaps you can provide a higher-quality item or a fresh take on an old design.

Alternatively, the only company selling the same things can be uninteresting and unbranded. Consumers tend to shop from businesses they can attach a personality to over huge, corporate enterprises.

Essentially, you’re looking for a niche inside your niche. Implement the skyscraper strategy once you’ve figured out how to do what your competitors are doing.

This will improve your product or service slightly, and you’ll be in a good position to begin drawing clients.

3. Find a problem in your target market and solve it

Several successful online enterprises discovered their specialty after spotting a demand for a solution.

You’ll need to consider what products will effectively satisfy customers’ demands once you’ve decided on a possible niche.

If you want to sell hiking boots, for example, you might find that the majority of the solutions are straightforward and utilitarian.

Rather than continuing in that trend, you might differentiate yourself by selling hiking boots for flat feet.

4. Forums and review websites

Customers’ complaints are revealed directly through forums and review websites. It’s the equivalent of sitting in a room full of vast numbers of clients and interviewing them on what they feel about various items.

Pick out any client concerns and use them to shape your product selection and business strategy.

SEE: Best Brands to Sell on Poshmark for Big Profit

3. Develop Your Brand

Building a consistent brand gives your company a unified voice and improves client recognition. You may affect your clients’ perceptions of what you represent by organizing your branding activities.

Although branding is a continuous process that will grow throughout your company’s existence, here’s how to get started right away.

If you want to establish a successful online brand, keep the following in mind:

1. Decide on a business name

The first decision you should make is the name of your company. This name will feature on your site’s URL, logo, social media accounts, promotional materials, and everything else in between. To come up with the right name for your company, try using a business name generator.

2. Purchase a domain name

The domain name of your website is crucial to the brand and trustworthiness of your business. Your website name not only affects your store’s search engine performance but can also entice or push away potential customers. After all, it acts as your company’s online address.

3. Design a logo

Your logo will reflect the kernel of your store’s identity and will be at the center of your branding activities.

It can be time-intensive and costly to design your logo or hire a professional to do it for you.

The best part is that creating an eye-catching, recognizable, and original logo doesn’t require you to be a graphic artist or invest hundreds of dollars.

You can purchase a logo for $5 on Fiverr, or you may start with a free logo builder on Canva. Merely choose from a couple of designs concerning your brand and personal style to generate a logo design that is perfect for you.

4. Create a business email address

Instead of “petershikingpermit@gmail.com,” a business email uses the domain name of your website, such as “peters@hikingpermit.com.”

As a store owner, you’ll be emailing a lot to your customers, from discounts to shipment notifications and more.

Due to this, a business email is required so that customers can recognize who is sending these emails. You can set up your business email after you’ve registered your domain.

4. Determine Which Payments Will Be Accepted

Based on how much you want to do, receiving billing on your online storefront might be simple or hard.

You can use Stripe to create a shopping cart, a payment page, or a payment form if you have your website and wish to accept payments.

Whenever a customer makes an online purchase, a third party executes the payment process.

The payment processor connects you and the bank in a matter of seconds to confirm there are sufficient funds to complete the transaction. It also applies security procedures to ensure that the payment method is not fake.

Payments are frequently built-in if you use an e-commerce solution like Shopify. Some allow you to use a third-party payment processor, but you may be charged an additional cost.

If you already accept credit cards in your physical store, your current payment processor should be able to handle your online purchases as well.

You may be legally forced to utilize them as your online processor if you signed a deal with them.

5. Set Up Your Online Store

This is the simplest straightforward, but also the most complicated, method of selling online. You have complete control over the platform, how you showcase your products, the pricing you charge, and how payments are processed when you have your ecommerce store.

At the same time, this is frequently the method that necessitates the greatest initial outlay.

Fortunately, there are platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and others that make the entire process easier — even when you’re on your own.

Having your online store is usually the last step in setting up an online selling business.

Your online store serves as a superb operational hub to which you can connect all of your other online selling platforms. Alternatively, you can market your products and services via other channels, such as:

1. Email marketing

Emails are arguably one of the most efficient ways to communicate with people online, whether for personal and business purposes.

The only disadvantage of selling via email is that you require access to a collection of email lists in the first instance. This isn’t always simple.

Ideally, you should grow your list by publishing a newsletter or adding existing consumers to your list immediately after they purchase from you.

SEE: Best Email Marketing Software and Platforms

2. Use of social media

In addition to marketplaces, social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook may help you get your products in front of potential clients.

You can, for example, create a Facebook shop to display your products to Facebook users. Those who are interested can then add your things to their shopping basket and check out straight on the platform.

However, if you choose to build your online store, Facebook still provides various options for selling online, including using your Facebook Business Page, running advertisements, and selling things in Facebook groups.

You can also collaborate with influencers through social media. In exchange for shoutouts, you can provide influencers trials of your products.

Look for appropriate hashtags to find influencers in your niche, then collaborate with them to publicize your business using stories, videos, articles, and more.

SEE: How to Make Money on Facebook

3. Online marketplaces

Places like Etsy and other related websites are excellent for attracting your first consumers without having to spend money on advertising. People are already on Etsy, and they’re looking for things to buy.

Of course, Etsy is a wonderful option only if you’re selling a specific type of item — typically handcrafted items.

Similar markets include Poshmark for clothing and fashion items, Ruby Lane for home decor, WarriorPlus, Clickbank, and Jvzoo for software, ebooks, and other digital products, and so on.

SEE: Best Lead Generation Software to Capture More Quality Leads

4. Partnerships and joint ventures

This method of selling online entails forming a connection with other entrepreneurs and either compensating them or trading something of yours to get access to their audience.

Joint ventures might be difficult to manage if you’re just getting started and learning how to sell online.

It is, however, a viable alternative when you are farther down the road and can provide your partners with something of value.

6. Promote Your Store

Having a fantastic website or blog is insufficient to generate traffic and conversions. You must attract customers to your business and assist them in making a purchase.

To be honest, old or conventional forms of advertising do not produce favorable outcomes for online enterprises.

You won’t have the same marketing spend as huge retail firms when you first start selling online. In reality, you may not have any marketing funds set aside.

Thankfully, there are many free ways to sell your products online if you’re prepared to put in the time to learn how.

1. Create a blog

One of the most often used content marketing strategies is blogging. Why not develop a blog on your website, something your audience will like.  It’s good for SEO, and it’ll probably help you convert clients over time.

SEE: Best Blogging Platforms

2. Start a YouTube channel

Another alternative is to vlog. Why not launch a YouTube channel and talk to your audience and consumers that way if you’re good in front of the camera and have something interesting to say?

3. Search Engine Optimization

The best part about ranking high in the SERPs is that you can use organic traffic to increase sales. A good keyword tool will be a great help when it pertains to setting your SEO concerns in perspective.

Most sales channels feature a blog page where you may write content to generate ‘call to action’ leads, which will lead to the conversions you desire.

Unfortunately, cruising through SEO does not happen overnight. It’s a long-term approach that necessitates some quick thinking to rank your product pages on search engines.

You must organize your meta descriptions, target appropriate keywords, and optimize your pages to load quickly, among other things.

4. Affiliate marketing

Another way to make internet selling payoff is to use affiliate marketing.

Most retailers are unfamiliar with this marketing strategy. Working with influencers, such as on Instagram, can help you increase referral revenue. The seller receives a tiny commission for every item sold.

That is only one approach to affiliate marketing. You can generate sales through the Amazon associates program if you want to build a product listing on Amazon.

It allows self-employed marketers such as website owners, content providers, and publishers to sign up and promote your items.

v. Google Ads

At first glance, Google AdWords may appear to be a bit confusing. This marketing channel, however, should not be a stumbling block if you master the ropes.

You must fine-tune your call-to-action to create an appealing Google Ads campaign. When your target audience has clicked on your ad, you must persuade them further.

Google Ads isn’t as costly as you would think. In fact, you can operate within a reasonable budget to achieve your objectives.

As long as you identify where your buyers come from and have done thorough keyword research, you can create irresistibly compelling content for all of your website’s landing pages.

Setting targets for your campaigns will allow you to track your sales, all leads, and get a sense of overall website traffic.

SEE: How to Make Money with Google AdSense

Benefits of Selling Online

The world of online business is in its golden era. Everybody is connected and comfortable in their internet bubbles, with no plans to return to the old ways.

Taking advantage of this trend is starting to look like the best method to launch an online business.

So, why would anyone opt to sell online rather than go the brick-and-mortar route? Here we go…

1. Low initial investment

Putting up an online store is less expensive than setting up a physical store. Your enterprise’s entire sales system is automated online.

As a result, you’ll save money on salaries, employees, and other running costs, which include things like electricity, rent, and insurance.

The money you’ve saved can then be put toward expanding your online store and product line.

2. The ability to earn money around the clock

Unlike conventional stores, which have set hours of operation, internet stores are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Every single time.

This business idea has a lot of potentials, and it doesn’t take a genius to recognize it. You may effectively earn passively while sleeping if you have a steady stream of traffic to your store and improve your conversions to a good standard.

3. Scalability

To keep boosting their revenue, entrepreneurs frequently have to move heaven and earth. With an internet business, you can reach almost the entire country, if not the entire world.

If you pair unique products with a well-thought-out online marketing approach, you’ll be able to reach many more customers than you could in a typical retail store.

If you are still debating whether or not to offer your products online, you should act now before you’re left behind. Plus, with so many options for selling online, cashing in on the booming ecommerce trend has never been easier.

4. Convenience

Once you understand how to sell online, you can operate from anywhere in the world. In addition, you’ll most likely end up working late at night, on weekends, and holidays.

The major exception is that you’ll be smiling while doing it. It will be feasible to work from the beach or your grandfather’s garden in no time.

You can access your business and make sales and money from anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection.

5. Customer remarketing is simple

When operating an online business, it’s simple to generate retargeting advertisements to reach out to clients, rendering it one of the most rewarding ecommerce perks.

People who add things to their cart but abandon them and do not buy, or those who browse a blog article but do not buy, can be retargeted with online businesses.

With an efficient pop-up or lead magnet, you can simply capture email addresses and market to your customers even after they leave your website.

SEE: Best Marketing Automation Software That Delivers Results

FAQs

Is a business license required to sell online?

Yes, in fact, operating an internet business does not exempt you from complying with some legal requirements. One of such is a business license.

The licenses you’ll need are determined by your location, the products you offer, and your business requirements. Different laws apply in different nations. It’s just as crucial to know which one applies to you as it is to discover a product to sell.

You don’t want to put in all that effort only to get hit with a hefty fine because you didn’t do the proper thing.

What kinds of items can’t be sold online?

Guns, alcohol, animals, tobacco, prescription medications, fresh fruits and vegetables, and other items are prohibited from being sold online.

Some things are prohibited from being sold online by state and/or federal legislation. Others are permitted, but only under certain conditions.

Furthermore, because each territory and nation has its own set of laws and regulations, shipping and ordering of some of these items from another country might be complicated.

Conclusion

I’m delighted you’ve made it to this point in the article. I believe you now understand how to sell online and are in the process of creating your online store if you don’t already have one.

Ideas are fantastic, but it’s how they’re implemented that ultimately determines. As a result, now is the time to wrap up your product offering, open your online store, and begin driving visitors to your site.

Here’s some guidance from me. Patience is required. It takes a long time and a lot of commitment to creating a following and a business. Don’t give up, though. It’s difficult but rewarding, and you’ll receive back exactly what you put in.

To further help you, I recommend reading these article on the best websites for buying and selling online businesses.

Thanks for reading.