Selling online is many people’s dream. Not only do you get to work from home, but you get to run it all from your computer. No work schedules to hamper you, no bosses to make your life miserable, and better yet, no annoying customers to deal with in person.
Creating an Online Store with Etsy
But how to go about setting yourself up as an online seller? There are quite a few options for the entrepreneurial at heart, but not all of them will be suited to your unique needs. Here are a few to consider.
What discussion of selling online wouldn’t be complete without eBay? The store and listing templates, online payment options, and other factors make it ridiculously easy to get started selling on eBay.
Designing your own eBay shop can be as simple as choosing a template and writing some content, or as involved as hiring a writer and heavily promoting your store elsewhere on the Web.
Amazon offers a third-party marketplace that is similar in some respects to eBay, but yet has its differences. Not only does Amazon only offer fixed prices, they also don’t give as much attention to store setup for individual sellers.
However, you can also choose to sell via their affiliate program on your own site, earning a commission for every referral that ends in a sale — and saving yourself the trouble of having to store or ship any merchandise.
If you are planning to sell handmade goods, consider a more specialized marketplace such as Etsy. This website attempts to bring the feel of buying from local artisans to the World Wide Web.
Buyers go to the site with the intention of buying handmade goods, so your listings reach a better-targeted market. Etsy also allows you to set up a simple store with a short “about” section.
Other E-commerce Sites
There are a host of ecommerce websites online that cater to third-party sellers, many with some sort of specialization.
For instance, just like Etsy specializes in handmade goods, Ruby Lane specializes in the sale of vintage and collectible items. There are also sites such as Café Press, which allows you to sell stationary, apparel, and other items that have been personalized with a photograph or image you designed, earning a commission of your choosing on each one. And of course, there are Yahoo stores.
No matter what your niche, chances are there is a site that will cater to your needs!
Opening Your Own Store
If none of these options appeal to you, or if none fit your unique needs, you also have the option of starting your own ecommerce website.
Having your store on your own site means that you don’t have to pay high fees or commissions to the website where you host your store, but it also means that you will have to do a lot of work yourself to design, maintain, and promote your online store as well as learning how to use analytics correctly to monitor your conversions and more. Still, many sellers prefer the independence associated with this option.
Creating a Rewarding Selling Experience
Selling online is a very rewarding experience, especially once your online shop takes off enough to provide a supplementary or even a primary income. There are a lot of options for would-be online sellers, many of which cater to the full range of types of stores, from selling on the side to full-time entrepreneurs.
Carefully research the options available to you, keeping in mind your intentions and your target market, before making a choice of where to set up shop.
Established sellers: Where do you sell online? Do you sell from your own website, either exclusively or in addition to a store on eBay or another ecommerce site?
This guest post is by Vern, a writer on a variety of topics including selling products online. He also writes about ebay shop design, and how to effectively manage your online storefront.
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- Opening an Online Store: Options for Selling Online - November 15, 2010