Guide

How to sell products online: two quick ways to get started

Want to sell while you sleep? Then maybe it’s time to create an online store. There are lots of ways to get started but

A laptop decorated to look like a shopfront with an open sign hanging off it

Using a marketplace

You don’t need to have your own website.

1. Choose one or more marketplaces

Online marketplace icons

It costs nothing to set up your shop, so some businesses go with several.

2. Import your products and set prices

Plant listed and priced on an online marketplace

Write a short blurb for each product (but make it a bit longer for expensive items).

3. Promote your page

A megaphone

Tell customers where to find your shop. Email and social posts can help.

Money:

Marketplaces take a cut of your sales – and you won’t get the money straight away.

Pros:

Marketplace shops are fast and simple to set up.

Cons:

But you can’t do much to customise the way they look.

Using an off-the-shelf shop

Creating a store on your own website.

1. Get a web address

A website address displayed on a tablet

Most web hosting companies can sort you out with an address and servers to host the site.

2. Add an off-the-shelf ecommerce toolkit

Ecommerce toolkit websites

These have all the stuff you need to build a shop and process online payments.

3. Import your products and set prices

Plant listed and priced on an online marketplace

Write a short blurb for each product (but make it a bit longer for expensive items).

4. Set up online payment

An online payment form

Choose the cards you’ll accept, and route payments to your bank account.

5. Promote your page

A megaphone

Tell customers where to find your shop. Email and social posts can help.

Money:

You pay 2-4% of sales to process online payments, and you pay a monthly subscription for the shop software.

Pros:

Off-the-shelf ecommerce gives you more control.

Cons:

But it takes more time and effort to set up.

Online selling tips

An online business owner monitoring their business on a computer
  • Get great product pics – people are visual shoppers
  • Include a BIG ‘Add to cart’ button for each product
  • Don’t forget to organise shipping!

Seeing as you’re going online

You can easily track finances, fees, and taxes for your online and physical stores using Xero.

How else to sell products online

The approaches in this infographic are popular because they make it easy for retailers to create an online store without hiring a web developer. However, you have other options. You could:

  • create an online store from scratch – hire a developer to build a bespoke shopping experience from the ground up
  • customise an off-the-shelf product – get a developer to tweak a templated ecommerce store so it’s more like your brand

Getting bang for your buck

Once you’ve figured out how to sell products online you can do it in multiple places at the same time. Many businesses sell through their own shop and an online marketplace. It gives them more places to be found. You can re-use all the product pictures and descriptions.

Understand the costs of online sales

Each online sale generates extra costs for your business:

  • Marketplace sales – you pay a cut to the marketplace provider
  • Website sales – you pay a card transaction fee to merchant service providers

These costs lower your profits, and they’re tax deductible, so it’s important to keep tabs on them. Tools like Xero and A2X can help.

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