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 these two are the simplest options.

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one

Using a marketplace

You don’t need to have your own website.

1. Choose one or more marketplaces

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

marketplace apps: Amazon, AliExpress, Etsy, Facebook

2. Import your products and set prices

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

A plant being sold online on a laptop.

3. Promote your page

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

Megaphone promoting a product

Dollar sign

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

Tick

Marketplace shops are fast and simple to set up

Cross

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

two

Using an off-the-shelf shop

Creating a store on your own website.

1. Get a web address

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

Tablet showing a website

2. Add an off-the-shelf ecommerce toolkit

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

ecommerce apps: Shopify, BigCommerce

3. Import your products and set prices

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

A plant being sold online on website

4. Set up online payment

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

online payment portal

5. Promote your page

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

megaphone promoting product

Dollar sign

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

Tick

Off-the-shelf ecommerce gives you more control

Cross

But it takes more time and effort to set up

Woman at desk looking at online store on computer

Online selling tips

  • Get great product pics – people are visual shoppers

  • Include a BIG ‘Add to cart’ button for each product 

  • Don’t forget to organize shipping!
Au GST cheat sheet

Print this for your office

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Seeing as you’re going online

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

Check out Xero
Devices showing Xero accounting software

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
  • customize 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.