Working in the e-commerce business I’m always the person people come to for tech questions. Everything from hooking up their DVD player to installing software to reformatting their hard drive; but one question I’ve been getting a lot lately is people asking me how to make money on the internet; or more specifically, how to sell products online. The answer isn’t necessarily simple as you must consider everything from what products you’d like to sell online to SEO to accepting payments, but with a few easy steps hopefully I can help anyone trying to figure this process out.
1. Figure out what you want to sell. If you want to sell products online the first step is to figure out what you want to sell. Whether you make the products yourself, resell something, or use a drop shipper this is the first step. I’ve found the most successful way to sell products online is to find something that is not only unique but has a niche market. There are many people reselling items or using a drop shipper but if you have something unique or handmade to offer the world there is a better chance for you to sell those products online.
2. Figure out what method you’d like to use. There are many different ways to sell products online. Most people have heard of eBay or a similar auction site which is one way to sell products online; however they usually have extra fees and occasionally take a % of each sale. Another alternative is to sell products online is to create a website listing the products and take orders via e-mail or phone. I don’t generally recommend this method as there is a lot of trust on both the buyer and sellers part that the money and item will get shipped. The third option is to find a shopping cart provider. This is a company that has created software that allows you to enter your products to sell online, set-up a payment gateway, and handles all the security of the website; this is my preferred way to sell products online.
3. Find a provider. Finding an e-commerce solution to sell products online can be a tricky business, as there are many out there that have either terrible software or terrible support. The first step is to take a look at their website; does it look professional? If it doesn’t look well put together than chances are that will reflect on what your website will look like. If it does look professional see if it passes the next test; is there contact information? A business that doesn’t have easily attainable contact information is probably trying to run a scam. They want you to buy their product but not be held accountable when it doesn’t work; don’t fall for this. If there is contact information, call it! Get a feel for the people you will be working with as it’ll be your money on the line. If you don’t like their attitude or don’t like getting sent to a call center in India, then just end the conversation and move on to the next one. When you sell products online you have to make sure your provider is easy to work with and has a good product as the upkeep of your store is vital to its survival and to your profit.
4. Set-up a payment method. Now that you’re ready to sell products online you have to be ready to accept the money. Now most solutions will be able to work with a variety of payment options ranging from PayPal to money orders. Now with things like money orders you won’t need to set-up much. Just make that the only payment option and then ship the product when you receive the money order or check. If you’d like to keep everything digital and moving fast you can do so with PayPal or credit card processor. Both of these options can work and it will all depend on your store to figure out the best option for you but I generally tell all starting out stores to stick with PayPal as you won’t pay anything unless you make a transaction whereas most credit card options require monthly fees regardless of whether you sell anything or not. When looking for a payment option to sell products online the key is to make sure you compare rates. There are so many different ways for a processor to apply fees that you always need to know exactly what they are going to charge you and what they are charging you for.
5. Prepare to work for it. I know a lot of people who ask me how to sell products online think it is a quick way to make money. They assume they can just put some junk on the internet and someone out there will buy it. The truth is that just like everything else in live if you want to make money doing something you have to work for it. In order to sell products online you have to make sure your site gets traffic which means a lot of SEO (Search Engine Optimization); submitting it to directories, getting backlinks, posting meta-tags and anchor text for your products. This all takes time but if you have unique products to sell online and put the time in to make your website sparkle and shine there is no reason why you can’t succeed in an area where many have failed.
I hope this has been an informative article on how to sell products online and with any luck maybe you will be able to make some money out of the tips I’ve listed.