A Starter Guide to How to Sell Online

With relatively little risk, it’s a great way to make quick profits selling online. You’ll eliminate the big cost and risk associated with leasing a building, putting it up for sale, and using customer foot traffic to come in if you do not have an expensive brick-and-mortar store.

Selling products entirely online is much more cost-efficient, allowing you to keep operating expenses low and a higher revenue share while reaching an increased audience beyond your immediate zip code.

If you have no idea where to start, it’s all right! You will learn the fundamental steps of selling online in this guide. You will learn everything you need to get started selling products on the Internet from start to finish.

all set?

To get started with selling online, you have to follow the following 12 steps:

  1. Decide what to sell Online
  2. Source your products
  3. Carry out a market analysis
  4. Create buyer personas
  5. Design your brand identity
  6. Choose a domain name
  7. Apply for an ecommerce business license
  8. Build your online store
  9. Set up an online payment process
  10. Choose a shipping career
  11. Create five-star product content
  12. Market your products

Step 1. Decide what to sell online

Niching enables your products and communications to be directed toward a small portion of the total potential audience when you are trying to find out what product is most appropriate for sale. A watch retailer, for example, could niche down and only offer athletic-friendly watches that are prone to harsh hits and that track steps.

It can be much easier to get better and stand out when you’re in the restricted niche. For example, a shop selling candles doesn’t really stand out, but a shop selling organic, handcrafted, slow-burning soy candles does.

Step 2. Source your products

You will have to figure out how you want to find the products you’ll actually be selling, as soon as you know which products are for sale. There are three main sources of this material: production by yourself DIY, dropshipping, and purchasing from a wholesaler. The pros and cons of each are different.

DIY product

It is possible to have truly unique products you are passionate about in the manufacture of your own goods. This is a very special touch that can really put you in front of your competitors. However, this can take a lot of time and if you don’t hire more people to assist then you have to stop making sales when you stop working. For the purpose of manufacturing personal products, you will also need to purchase raw materials which may increase your production costs and decrease profit margins.

Dropshipped products

Dropshipping is a simple, comfortable way of selling things that are produced by somebody other than yourself and shipping them directly to the customer. You needn’t physically carry the goods or drive them, so there is a lot less work involved on your end and you won’t need much storage space.

But you don’t have original products with dropshipping, and sometimes you can brand them yourself, and you’re not in control of quality. If delays for shipments occur, it’s out of your control as well.

Wholesale products

Buying things in bulk from a wholesaler allows you to put them in your store at a higher price to generate a larger profit margin. You will order the products, transport them to you, and then list them. Although you have to pay for shipping and want storage space, you get to inspect the merchandise personally.

It is possible to combine various supply options. For instance, a jewelry store might make its own products from the ground up to offer distinctive items, but it might also sell cleaning cloths and extra earringbacks that are purchased from a wholesaler.

Step 3: Carry out a market analysis

Conducting market research is a crucial preparatory step before the online sales process. Here’s how to accomplish it: research your audience, study your competition, and investigate pricing.

Competitor analysis

Analyzing your competition is one of the first steps you should take while performing market research. What elements, nonetheless, ought to you examine? Here are some suggestions to get you going:

  • The general expansion of the market: Are businesses struggling and going out of business, or are new ones joining the market and expanding?
  • Competitor approach: Seek out the top rivals and make notes about their actions. Examine their audience, products, differentiators, web design, branding, and core messaging, for instance.
  • SEO evaluation: Find out which businesses are showing up for the keywords you want to target. Examine the SEO tactics employed by your rivals to find out which keywords they rank for, how much traffic they receive, what kind of content works best for them, how many other websites link to them, and whether they engage in paid search advertising.
  • Opportunities: Are there any holes in the market that you see? Is there anything you believe could provide your company with an advantage that none of your rivals are doing? Observe the advantages and disadvantages of your rival.

You can learn enough about your market by observing how your rivals are operating to make an informed decision about whether or not to enter it. Additionally, you can discover what’s effective and how to acquire a favorable situation.

Examine your audience

Secondly, curating your product lineup doesn’t have to be a haphazard process. Alternatively, you can obtain firsthand feedback from your target market to see what kinds of things they genuinely desire. However, where and how should polls be conducted?

  • Social media groups: Locate a social media community with members who belong to your target market. Next, write a post and solicit feedback.
  • Individual interviews: Determine who is in your target audience and extend an invitation for an interview. Next, inquire about their requirements and preferred products. Assess their responses to your various products as well.
  • Online surveys: Make a survey available online to your intended audience. Create a list of inquiries that will assist you in determining the needs and desires of the market. Furthermore, you may use this as a chance to begin compiling an email list that you may use to get in touch with customers after your goods are out.

Even though your analytics will continue to teach you about the preferences of your target audience and the best-selling products, having a head start can save you a ton of money, time, and headaches. Before releasing any items, make use of these survey strategies to find out as much as you can.

Establish fair pricing

Before deciding on your prices, you should also consider the competition and the state of the market. Remember that it’s not always a good idea to set your pricing lower than those of your competitors, and it can also be a terrible idea to put your prices higher. Many clients are prepared to spend a little bit extra for high-quality goods, but if they think you’re charging too much, they’ll find something else. Doing market research and positioning studies on your brand can assist you in finding the ideal equilibrium.

Step 4. Create buyer personas

It’s time to identify your target market when you’ve decided what you want to offer and how you want to supply it. This will influence everything, including your website, branding, and marketing plan; therefore, it’s critical to invest a lot of time in a thorough study. Determining your target clientele will be greatly aided by the market and keyword research you do while selecting your products and identifying your specialty.

In order to truly grasp who your target audience is and what audience segments you may appeal to, you should first establish buyer personas.

The purpose of buyer personas is to serve as detailed depictions of the potential characteristics of various target segments. In order to construct buyer personas, you should ascertain the following:

  • Details on demographics, such as age and gender
  • Location, if relevant
  • Interests

It’s advisable to take into account the potential pain points and motives of your intended audience. Consider the reasons that distinct client types could benefit from your offering, and then utilize those insights to segment your audience.

Approach each persona in a unique way

Once your buyer personas are established, you should develop a strategy that targets each persona in a distinct way. Although it might seem like a little extra work, the benefits can be substantial. How come? Since different consumers have different needs and interests, there is no universal buyer.

For instance, if you sell a line of upscale, high-quality coats to people who enjoy being outside, Buyer A might purchase one of your jackets because it is genuinely well-made and will keep them warm while they are camping in bitterly cold weather. Then, there may be Buyer B, who purchases the jacket despite the possibility that they won’t use it to its full potential, as they want the finest of everything and the brand is well-known for being the greatest. To appeal to their concerns, you should speak to buyers A and B differently. Advertisements for Buyer A, for instance, might feature a person in harsh circumstances while emphasizing the jacket’s features, such as its materials and temperature rating. Advertisements for Buyer B might highlight the jacket’s quality, leadership in the business, and appearance on a social occasion.

You’ll be far more successful in sealing the deal if you plan messaging specifically for each of your buyer personas. A few things to consider include the buyer’s age, gender, hobbies, financial situation, relationships, morals, top priorities, social media accounts, and affiliations.

Step 5: Create a logo for your company

What happens to your brand identity once you’ve perfected it? Collaborate with a designer to make it a reality for your company’s assets, such as your:

  • Logo: In its most basic form, a logo is a representation of your company that is composed of words and/or graphics. One of the primary pillars of a brand identity is something that ought to be so deeply ingrained in your business that it can stand alone—take the Nike swish, for instance. An effective logo leaves a lasting impression on your audience by clearly communicating who your business is and what it stands for. It must also be eye-catching, uncomplicated, and tidy. Furthermore, rather than pursuing a fad that will fade away in a few months, you should aim for something that is made to last for years to come. Upon completion, your designer will need to provide you with your logo in multiple formats (such as full color, monochromatic, and white), so you may always have the version you require.
  • Website: When you operate an online business, your website serves as a digital showroom where your brand identity can be showcased. Your website should load quickly so that visitors can quickly see what you have to offer. Your choice of color scheme, layout, photos, voice, tone, and messaging are all ways to convey your brand. To leave a good impression, everything should function together.
  • Product Packaging: You get one more chance to use packaging to establish your brand when your product is a tangible one that is distributed to clients. Along with your logo and brand colors, it should have a design that complements the other elements of your brand.
  • Business cards: Having business cards can help you stay at the forefront of your clients’ and consumers’ minds. Because of this, it makes sense to employ them to strengthen your brand and make a positive impression. Don’t go crazy, but be sure to include your logo and important personal information.
  • Email design: Another channel for communicating with clients and showcasing your branding is email. It’s important to constantly use your primary brand components, such as your voice, logo, and colors. Aside from that, create emails that are tailored to your intended audience, be it to inform, establish a personal connection, or convey an announcement. This could be keeping it brief and straightforward, simplifying longer text for quick scanning, or using attention-grabbing product images.

Step 6. Choose a domain name

Users can reach your website via its domain name, which frequently includes your brand name. As a result, picking a powerful domain name is crucial since it affects how the consumer will see you.

Domain names ought to be brief, unambiguous, and memorable. Keep in mind that shorter words are simpler for users to spell and retain.

Step 7. Apply for an e-commerce business license

Certain licenses or permits might be necessary for you based on where your firm is located and what industry you work in. You can get in touch with the licensing department of your local business office to find out what your requirements are. Companies based in the United States can get in touch with their state’s business license registration office.

Before being able to lawfully sell to customers, you may frequently need to obtain additional licensing for certain regulated businesses. This could include people who sell food, wine, or medical products, for instance.

Generally speaking, no additional license is needed for the sale of handcrafted goods.

Step 8. Build your online store

There are a few “golden rules” you should follow regardless of whether you want to utilize well-known online solutions like BigCommerce, Shopify, or Magento, to mention a few, or create your own online store from the ground up:

The essential pages that must be present

While we always concentrate on the product pages, selling online requires you to shine on other pages as well.

These include:

  • A compelling Homepage that highlights your value proposition and unique selling point.
  • An About Us page that provides the customer with a deeper sense of familiarity by discussing your company’s mission and yourself
  • Product category pages let you show related products in the same category side by side.
  • A frequently asked questions (FAQ) website includes information about product manufacture, return and exchange policies, and anything else they might need to know.
  • A Contact Page allows customers to contact the seller at any stage of the purchasing process with any queries or worries. Invite users to post comments here as well.

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Features that are essential for each e-commerce website

There are certain must-have features that will greatly boost your sales potential, in addition to must-have pages.

These include:

  • streamlined payment processes, ideally with immediate availability.
  • Accessibility: enabling individuals with disabilities to use your website without the need for screen readers or other assistance.
  • layouts that are optimized for mobile and load swiftly on all kinds of devices.
  • reviews and other material created by users, especially on product pages. Extra credit if they use the customer’s photos.
  • signals with a sense of urgency, such as “low stock” or “only three left” warnings for quickly selling items.
  • Featured products: These can highlight related or complimentary products to encourage upselling or purchases of add-ons. You can raise the average order value in either case.
  • Wish lists let consumers save their top picks for a product each time they log in. These lists can be used as a component of a retargeting campaign in your digital selling strategy.

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Step 9. Set up your online payment process

Make sure you’re ready to accept online payments if you’re selling in an actual online store rather than just a marketplace.

The majority of ecommerce systems include built-in tools that can assist with this, but you also need to take the following actions:

  • Make sure your website is safe: To safeguard the financial and personal information of your customers, you should invest in website security. If your web host does not automatically offer greater security, you can usually pay more for it.
  • Establish a minimum of one payment option: Offering a variety of payment choices is ideal, especially ones that allow instantaneous payments, like PayPal or VisaCheckout. Additionally, if it’s feasible, you should take credit cards.
  • Decide on appropriate tax rates: Numerous platforms offer tools to assist with this, figuring out tax rates based on the buyer’s region automatically. This is something you should do up front to minimize mistakes and liabilities.

Online payment security advice

  • Join forces with a reliable payment company
  • Make use of two-factor verification
  • Don’t store customer payment data
  • Get a certificate for SSL

Step 10. Choose a shipping career

Shipping must begin as soon as you begin to receive sales. This implies that you will have to decide on a shipping career.

When selecting a shipping company, keep the following things in mind:

  • Cost: The pricing varies depending on the carrier. In general, USPS is the most economical, followed by UPS and FedEx, which are the most costly. However, several online marketplaces and even e-commerce platforms give their members access to special delivery reductions.
  • Speed: Which carriers are able to deliver your goods to clients promptly and efficiently?
  • Insurance and reliability: Which carriers are better at making sure your goods don’t break while in transit? If not, what is the cost of insurance in the event that the shipment is misplaced or destroyed while under their supervision?

Make sure your profit margins aren’t being destroyed by shipping expenses. Examine the shipping costs associated with using various carriers for your products and incorporate those expenses into your e-commerce platform. Product weight and size should be taken into consideration so that each SKU can have the appropriate values assigned to it as needed. It’s also important to think about whether you’re exporting locally or abroad.

Step 11. Create five-star product content

Create product descriptions that sell

Your ability to earn sales can be determined by your product descriptions. For this reason, hiring a copywriter with ecommerce experience can often be beneficial, unless you’re an experienced copywriter.

Make sure your product descriptions are comprehensive and lengthy, addressing any questions your clients might have. These should ideally contain the target keyword for the page three to five times, including LSI keywords as needed.

Make sure to divide these descriptions into formats that are simple to read and comprehend. Customers will find the information they need more quickly thanks to this.

Obtain expert photos

High-quality images are essential if you want to increase sales. If not, you run the danger of losing out to competitors in sales and coming across as less trustworthy or genuine.

Ensure that every one of your product photos is sharp, well-lit, and high-resolution. At least one image of the product by itself against a plain backdrop should be included. For each item, try to include several product photos so that customers can have a closer look.

In order to improve your site’s ranking and increase the likelihood that your photographs will appear in a visual search, you should also optimize them for search engines. Every image should include an ALT tag that describes it clearly and, if feasible, includes keywords from your study. This makes it easier for screen readers to navigate your website and helps the search engine understand the image’s context.

To minimize the time it takes for your website to load on desktop and mobile devices, you should compress all of your photos. This is important for search engine optimization (SEO), since a slow-loading website aggravates users and makes it more difficult for search engines to index it.

Step 12. Market your products

Are you wondering how to generate some buzz and increase product awareness? Try these concepts:

Content marketing

Frequently, members of your audience use certain keywords in search engine queries to find products similar to yours. You can produce material, like blog posts, videos, and podcasts, that is optimized for those keywords by finding the terms they use. If done properly, your material can eventually appear at the top of search engine results pages for the keywords you want to target, drawing in the people you want to reach. Over time, this traffic may increase, having an exponential effect. Content marketing keeps working even when you stop using paid advertising, which ends when you stop spending money on it.

Start a YouTube channel

YouTube functions as a search engine for videos, much like Google. Because of this, a lot of individuals utilize it to obtain a variety of information, including specifics on the goods they wish to purchase. Additionally, video content is becoming some of the most popular content on social media and the internet in general. You may help spread the word about your company and encourage people to buy from you by making videos about your products. Once more, you should research the terms and phrases people use to search for your items. Then, you should create video content that ranks highly for those queries. If you offer green juice, for instance, “green juice benefits” can be one of your keywords. After that, you may create a film discussing the top ten advantages of drinking green juice. Your audience and clientele will grow as your library of videos does.

Optimize for SEO

While we touched on search engine optimization briefly above, it’s also critical for your entire website. You want to make sure that when prospective customers search for your main offering, their primary website appears. To achieve this, you’ll need to determine the primary keywords that they use and strategically add them to product titles, descriptions, images, blogs, web copy, meta tags, title tags, and meta descriptions in various places on your website.

Build an email list

Even though social media marketing has its advantages, you are creating a presence on a platform that can disappear at any moment. You can make sure you have direct access to your audience of current and potential consumers by creating an email list. After that, you may design email sequences, newsletters, and campaigns to keep in contact and achieve your goals. Establishing a regular email schedule can help you keep in regular contact. By including a popup on your website that requests a visitor’s email address in exchange for a discount, you may grow your email list quickly.

Paid social media marketing

Millions, if not billions, of people use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitter. As a result, they’re a fantastic way to connect with your target market without ever having to leave the house. To create advertisements that are seen by the people you want to target, you can choose to use the paid advertising solutions that different platforms provide. However, influencer marketing can help you get things started. Find a place where your audience is active enough to do this. Next, identify an influencer—someone with a sizable fan base—who draws in customers who fit your buyer profiles. Once you have identified a few influencers, you can approach them and offer them payment or free things in exchange for promoting your products in a specific number of posts. Then, through a reliable source, your target group will become acquainted with your brand.

Introduce a subscription service

Searching for a strategy to entice repeat business? If you provide your items as part of a subscription service, customers sign up to keep placing orders on a regular basis. The newspaper is among the most traditional and well-known examples of this. Each morning, subscribers pay for and receive their newspaper at their door. In a similar vein, they can keep getting your stuff without having to remember to come into your store. This is an excellent method of generating recurring income.


Because there are so many amazing platforms and the e-commerce industry is expanding, it’s easier than ever to run an e-commerce firm and sell goods online. The possibilities are endless when it comes to selling handmade, one-of-a-kind goods on your own website or dropshipping goods through a third-party platform.

Spend some time considering the things you wish to sell, the subjects of your passion, and the target market. These ought to direct your decisions going forward, and when paired with the actions covered in this essay, they can help position you for success. Without having to worry about overhead costs or the dangers of a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll be able to start selling things online quickly and making money.

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