The Internet is a fountain of knowledge that provides information in all fields of study, while also offering you the chance to play games, talk to friends and family, or simply look at funny cat pictures. But more than anything else, it is a worldwide marketplace for goods and services of all kinds. It is both a sellers’ market and a buyer’s paradise. Thanks to the Internet, a giant corporation and a guy in his garage both have the opportunity to sell whatever products they create.
The amount of online venues that allow for private and retail sales are astronomical; it would take a library of books to list all of the websites that offer products and services for sale. But as someone who is looking to join in on this new marketplace and sell stuff online, you want to know how you can get as many people as possible to see your product and hopefully encourage them to buy it.
Choices, Choices, Choices
When it comes to trying to sell something online, you have a multitude of options to pick from in order to go about making your sales. As would be expected, some are easier than others to deal with. One of the biggest and best known of these options are auction sites like eBay or Listia. Sites like these allow sellers to post whatever they please, at whatever starting price they desire. What follows is similar to a regular auction, with buyers bidding higher and higher until the timer runs out and the item is sold. It is then up to the seller and buyer to communicate and have the product delivered to each party’s satisfaction. While the auction format is still being used, it’s popularity is waning in favor of the more instant gratification version of buy it now sales. Regardless of whether the item is sold through auction or instant purchase, the fact remains that trying to sell your product on a site like eBay is perfectly viable.
Another popular choice for private sales is through internet classifieds like Craigslist. Unlike eBay and similar sites, Craigslist doesn’t take a cut out of the sale, as the posting is more of a way to advertise the sale of an item instead of actually selling it, meaning that the buyer and seller are more likely to get in contact through the website and complete the transaction privately however they please. According to Entrepreneur, one issue with classifieds like this is that it’s aimed mainly at private sales and not really useful for a retail or large business seller.
In a similar vein to classifieds is selling items through social networks. But as Entrepreneur makes clear, using a social network for selling products is even more focused on private sales due to the fact that, for the most part, people who wish to sell an item on a social network are looking to see if any of their known friends or acquaintances are interested. Social networks are more useful for marketing and getting people to see your product than actually selling it. Having a Facebook page for your business is a smart idea, especially if you don’t have a website of your own. Not only does the page garner traffic and word of mouth, but it’s a great way to let your current customers know about promotions, sales or any other unique activity you might be hosting that would be of interest to them.
If you’re looking to sell your craft items in more places than just your local farmer’s market, a website like Etsy could be just the thing to boost your bottom line. Etsy is part of a new kind of Internet-based marketplace; unlike classifieds or auction sites which generally allow anything to be bought and sold, sites like Etsy are focused specifically of the homemade crafting side of things. So if you’re trying to figure out a way to sell more of your beautiful handmade doilies or wind chimes, try taking a look into these niche-orientated online markets.
Striking Out on Your Own
Looking to sell a single item or a small run of homemade products is one thing, but what if you’re looking to start your own business selling a brand new kind of widget that you think everyone needs to have. Then your best bet might be making your own website. You can certainly utilize the other kinds of sites for marketing purposes or to generate traffic to your website but your main selling front will remain in your power on a site you control. As would be expected, the amount of effort you must put into selling your products is a lot more if you aim to make your own site. If you don’t know how to code then it would be in your interest to either learn to code or hire someone who does. You’ll want to do everything possible to make your website unique and good looking.
As 2createawebsite explains, doing a basic website without any fancy animations or videos might be quicker, but you want to make sure that your site is both simple enough for your customers to navigate yet interesting enough for them to want to re-visit and browse.