5 great places to sell your products online
The internet is a joyous place for work and play – you can work on your businesses’ PR activity at the same time as buying that all-important selfie stick, or whatever else it is you’ve got your eye on. But what about the fundamental question of selling your wares? Statistics from The Global Index highlight that although 77 percent of SOHO entrepreneurs use the internet for purchasing items, only 37 percent are actually selling their products online.
It’s a statistic that seems somewhat hard to imagine, given that, over the last decade or so, the huge success of digital marketplaces means there are more options than ever when it comes to selling online. While it’s understood that having a website is integral to raising the profile of your business online, it doesn’t necessarily have to host your virtual shop, and the benefit of using these platforms is that you don’t have to manage the whole platform yourself.
Naturally, we had to start with eBay, the original auction and shopping site.
So how does it work? Firstly, it’s worth setting up a PayPal account if you don’t have one already. This allows you to accept payments via a range of methods and protects both you and the buyer. You’ll also need to invest in some postal scales to get an idea of postage costs, and factor in the cost (and aesthetic!) of your business’ packaging, too.
Once you’ve got all that set up, it’s a case of creating an eBay shop. Give yourself a decent description and include a link to your main site so people can find out more about you. After that, it’s time to sell! Take attractive, thorough photos of your products and describe them in more detail than you think you need – size, weight, shape, colour and, most importantly, any imperfections. Obviously, this applies to all selling platforms.
In terms of how you price your items, you’ll probably have a good idea already, and you might prefer to just list ‘Buy it now’ prices. If not, it’s really worth having a good hunt on eBay for similar items; see how many there are, how competitive they are, and take a lead from their starting bids. Next, set an end date for the item and wait for the bids to come flooding in – then it’s just a case of getting in touch with the lucky buyer and coordinating delivery of their precious new item.
The monthly fee for your eBay shop varies based on how many items you’re selling, and it’s worth having a look at the eBay fees calculator to get a good idea of the likely NET amount you’ll earn from each sale.
Etsy is most popular with creative entrepreneurs based all around the world who specialise in, and are seriously passionate about, handmade items, vintage goods and craft supplies.
Setting up a shop is pretty straightforward – you have to choose your language and currency, pick a name for your shop and select your preferred payment method. Give customers some information about your business, add a profile picture, upload your items and you’re good to go. Etsy’s user experience is great and its design makes every shop look effortlessly professional, so it’s perfect for the crafty types out there who aren’t into the idea of hosting a whole e-commerce platform on their own website.
While having a shop on Etsy is free, a small fee will be charged for each item you list, and a percentage of the sale price will be deducted from the products you shift. Find out more here.
Depop is a buying and selling app – think of it as a hybrid of Instagram and eBay. It allows people to buy and sell from their smartphones, so it’s great for really small businesses or freelancers looking to sell products on the side or on the go.
We caught up with its UX lead, Mark Jenkins, who had this to say: ‘Depop is perfect for both e-commerce beginners and seasoned pros – anyone with a smartphone can set up a little shop in their pocket. We design a user experience that gives importance to the content rather than the container – the app is essential, lightweight and easy to use. It’s important to us that listing a product for sale is quick and straightforward, so we follow common design principles that are familiar to our users – intuitiveness is key.’
In terms of the details, you just accept PayPal so that all payments are quick and secure, snap a picture of your item, pop up a description and price and off you go. It’s a sociable place, too, as buyers and sellers start conversations, friendships and, in one instance, we hear, a marriage! Suffice to say, with brands such as Asos and Monki already setting up shop alongside celebs such as Dita Von Teese and scores of bloggers, it’s only going to get bigger.
Again, the app itself is free to download and use, but for every item you sell Depop will take 10% and PayPal will charge a transaction fee. Find out more here.
Not On The High Street
This Christmas shopping favourite is a brilliant marketplace for all sorts of small businesses. Selling everything from homeware and stationery to food and drink, it’s a great shop host for ambitious designers. With a penchant for all things ‘personalisable’, Not On The High Street is always on the lookout for young talent, innovative ideas and unique ways to create memorable moments for customers.
The main difference between NOTHS and other platforms is that you have to apply (and pay) to sell on their site. This means it’s a more time-consuming process to set up shop but, once you’re there, you’re part of an elite group. There are some significant perks, too: community interaction and story sharing with other sellers, tons of online resources and video guides for those starting out, not to mention a site that gets over two million unique visitors a month. Joining NOTHS comes at a cost of £199 with a pretty hefty 25% commission – so it depends if you think the perks are worth it.
Again one for the particularly creative out there, Big Cartel specialises in selling the wares of artists, designers and musicians. The store themes they offer can be adjusted easily using simple buttons, but, if you’re a bit of a coding whizz, you can give your store a totally customised look using basic HTML – so you could make it match your website, for example.
Everything about setting up and selling has been designed with the user in mind, so the layout is very simple and clearly labelled. They’ve created a brilliant mobile-friendly version of Big Cartel, too, for those on the move, as well as a digital store for those with downloadable products.
Big Cartel has a range of pricing plans, from free to $29.99 per month, depending on the number of products you wish to list – but if you do decide to go with Big Cartel and pay monthly, they don’t take a fee on your transactions.