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Best Places to Sell Your Stuffs Online (and How to Start Selling?)
Updated: 2022-05-16 / Article by: Timothy Shim
Online selling has changed the way we approach a business and garage sales. In 2020, over two billion people will be shopping online, online retail sales surpassed 4.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide. The market is massive, and the opportunities available to an online seller are ripe for plucking.
Whether you are a brick-and-mortar shop owner or a hobbyist looking to sell your unused kitchen equipment – there’s always a sales channel out there that’s a perfect fit for you.
Each of the available online platforms has much to offer. Some are more suited towards specific forms of presentation or products. Others, like Shopify, present a more unified approach and cover everything in running a professional online store.
If you're trying to decide on what works best for you, below are the ins and outs of these platforms.
Founded in 2006, Shopify is a dedicated eCommerce store builder that helps you build your online store from scratch. The great thing about Shopify is that you don’t need to have prior coding skills and dig deep into your pocket to have a web store. You can have your online store up and running in a short time at an affordable price – it is that good!
Try Shopify for Free (No Credit Card Needed) Launch your online store quickly with free built-in store templates and 100+ payment gateways. Try for free for 14 days, no credit card required > Check out Shopify Plans here
Why Use Shopify Online Store to Sell Your Products?
Shopify comes with many templates and designs. All you need to do is select and install a theme that will form the structure of your online store. These are primarily mobile responsive, which is essential in this time and age; your customers can comfortably view your online store via mobile devices.
Shopify prices for online stores start from $29/mo. This price allows you to build a full-fledged web store with an unlimited number of products. However, if you need more features, you’ll need to go for their higher-tiered plans.
Bear in mind that although there’s no initial setup fee, you’ll need to incur additional fees if you don’t go with Shopify’s native payments system.
Shopify also provides decent basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and speed optimization options. There’s 24/7 support for assistance, along with the Shopify Help Center, Shopify Community, and many active forums to help you in case you hit a bump.
Perhaps the most crucial advantage of Shopify is that you can integrate your store with multiple online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay. You can customize your design, create a product listing, set prices, payment methods, taxes, and include extra features via installable extensions.
eBay has been around since 1995. Currently, eBay boasts an approximate 1.5 billion product listings, 159 million active buyers worldwide, and 19 million sellers. As such, eBay is one of the best sites to sell your stuffs online due to its existing massive audience.
Why Sell Your Stuffs eBay?
There’s no denying the power of eBay selling; it can make a convenient place to sell your stuffs or an excellent additional sales channel for businesses. You can sell almost anything on eBay. However, pay attention to their selling fees. There are two main fees – an insertion fee when you create a listing and a final value fee when your item sells.
The item's price, the format and category you choose for your listing, any optional listing upgrades you add, and your seller conduct and performance determine the final fees you have to pay eBay.
If you have more than 250 items per month, you’ll start paying a $0.35 insertion fee per listing. When your listed stuff sells, eBay keeps a portion of the sale; this final value fee for most categories is 12.55% of the sale price or lower plus $0.30 per order.
If eBay manages your payments, this fee is calculated as a percentage of the total amount of the sale, plus $0.30 per order. Their cut is pretty steep, and customers don’t have to pay immediately either, so the bidding aspect can be frustrating.
Founded in 1994, Amazon is a trusted, go-to website for anyone who wants to buy anything at all. Amazon claims that from 2019, small and medium-sized businesses sell over 4,000 items a minute in the USA alone.
Also, people have come to trust Amazon, and they shop comfortably, trusting in the things they buy on its marketplace. Amazon is known to vet sellers and remove counterfeit products. They can also deliver items fast, in as little as one day (in certain areas) via Amazon Prime.
Why Sell on Amazon?
They have more than 200 million members in its Prime membership program worldwide, a huge increase from the 150 million figure in January 2020. It is no wonder that Amazon is the preferred platform for sellers; there are so many perks.
Having a massive active and built-in audience, sellers can immediately tap into this already existing market. However, this comes at a higher price.
There are two types of selling plans: the ‘Individual’ plan that costs $0.99 per unit sold and the ‘Professional’ plan that costs $39.99 per month no matter how many units you sell. The Professional plan qualifies you for top placement on product detail pages and other advanced features.
There’s also a referral fee charged for each item sold, and the amount depends on the product category; most are between 8% and 15%. The cost to ship your orders depends on whether you choose to fulfill your orders or use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). There may also be additional costs that you’ll need to explore further with Amazon.
Etsy has been in the business since 2005. Statista confirmed that there were more than 4.3 million sellers in 2020. It’s a solid figure that cannot be sniffed at and makes it a lucrative platform for online selling. Etsy leans towards a niche market compared to eBay or Amazon.
Why Sell on Etsy?
Seller fees are pretty reasonable; Etsy charges $0.20 for each item you list. All listings will expire after four months. Upon a successful sale, Etsy will charge a transaction fee of 5% of the listing price plus the amount you charge for delivery and gift wrapping. Please check for any additional fees.
Etsy is fantastic for start-ups selling niche products. You’ll also get access to an active buyer base and tools to help market your business on the platform. However, you’ll still have to share a cut of your profit with them.
If eCommerce is foreign to you, it is understandable if you’re hesitant. However, the benefits of selling online are aplenty:
Save in terms of physical set-up and operational costs.
Help reduce order processing costs – orders go directly into your orders database.
Easier outreach, increasing sales opportunities.
Extended business hours – 24/7.
Improve your business and offerings – data analytics obtained via tracking customer purchases.
In general, there are two ways you can sell online:
1. Building an Online Store
This method is akin to having your own house; you get to decide how you want your home to be and when you want to extend it. Simply put, you have absolute control over everything since you’re building an online shop yourself.
That said, you are responsible for making the necessary improvements and fixing anything that breaks. It’s a little challenging, but all the tools and techniques for it are publicly available.
Pros of an Online Store
You have complete control over your business model and pricing strategy. As such, the profit is yours. You wouldn’t need to pay commission fees on each sale and be restricted by other rules but your own. Also, you get to decide the design and layout of your online store.
If you’re worried about building your eCommerce store from scratch (no prior technical knowledge), you can rest easy now because many tools are available to help you with this. Shopify is the recommended choice as it makes setting up your online shop so much easier.
Cons of an Online Store
Setting up a website yourself can be pricey; this depends on your requirements, though. However, the biggest drawback is that you’ll need to market it yourself to drive more traffic to your online store. Building the brand and reputation of your eCommerce store will take time.
You may struggle initially, especially when your brand is new. Unlike online marketplaces where the numbers are already in place, your online store is unknown. You’ll need to work hard to increase your reach via investing in various digital marketing strategies.
An online marketplace is a third-party service that allows businesses of many different sellers to sell their products online. Some allow selling products from across all categories, whereas others are more niche and focus on specific industries only like fashion.
There are tons of online marketplaces available, and the best part is that you don’t have to stick to a single one. You don’t need to establish yourself on all of them, though. Sell smart and pick a few that fit your brand. Some popular choices are Amazon and eBay.
Pros of Marketplace
With the advent of so many eCommerce marketplaces, the competition is tough, as they go to great lengths to please their customers; they make it easy for brands to market, sell, and fulfill. This competition, in turn, gives a better shopping experience for shoppers.
Going for online marketplaces can help you get into action fast as everything is in place. All you need to do is sign up, upload your product descriptions, and start selling. You now have an additional channel to sell your products.
Another huge advantage is that most established online marketplaces come with digital marketing programs that help you get more visibility to the right customers and at the correct times. You also get better delivery options to help meet customer expectations.
Most online marketplaces already have massive audiences who regularly shop on there. It’s a ready-made audience immediately available for when you start selling. You’ll also be riding on the reputation and trust the audience has in the marketplace.
Cons of Marketplace
Nobody would let you use their services for free. Online marketplaces charge commission on every sale done; such fees vary from a marketplace to another. As such, always do your due diligence before signing up for any marketplace. Make sure you fully understand their price structures, fees, terms and conditions, and anything else that may affect your revenue.
Also, competitors are right by your side, so you’ll always be compared against other sellers. It adds to your already existing pressure in managing your business. Customers won’t sweat it, as there are always so many different options from which to choose.
Remember, customers obtained via such platforms may not be your loyal customers. They may not relate to your brand as they’ll only remember the marketplace brand as the main point of reference and return there to shop.
Most online marketplaces can get you onboard fast, with zero setup costs as they charge based on sales made. However, as a seller, you may feel restricted when wanting to see the desired results in the long run.
On the other hand, a web store requires more investment and may take more time to set up. However, this depends on the building platform you end up using. Shopify offers reasonable rates, and you can remove any additional payment fees if you use Shopify Payments (available in certain countries).
Having an online store as a centralized point helps heaps when controlling inventory and standardizing customers’ shopping experience. That said, generating leads and converting them into sales require much effort and time.
The best is to take a hybrid approach. Selling on online marketplaces is an excellent way to generate revenue and build your brand while you work towards driving traffic to your online store. Increasing your customer count can be gradually done.
Get your online marketplace customers to visit your online store via referral and discount codes. Promote your online store to your online marketplace customers to establish a loyal customer base and direct traffic to your store.
Bear in mind that it’s not an ‘either or’ question when it comes to online stores and online marketplaces; it’s always about managing both to increase sales and profit to benefit your business.
No matter what your objective is or what you’re selling, there is a sales channel out there that's perfect for you. The most crucial realization, though, is that many online sales platform won’t be mutually exclusive. You can sell on multiple places and in various ways – you just need to find the right combination.
Timothy Shim is a writer, editor, and tech geek. Starting his career in the field of Information Technology, he rapidly found his way into print and has since worked with International, regional and domestic media titles including ComputerWorld, PC.com, Business Today, and The Asian Banker. His expertise lies in the field of technology from both consumer as well as enterprise points of view.