How to Get Started Selling Online [E-Commerce 101]

Written by Patrick Socha

Patrick Socha is the founder and managing director of Sonan Digital Inc. He is a seasoned business growth professional with a background in B2B Sales.

April 23, 2021

Over the past year, consumers have continued to embrace online shopping unlike ever before. Instead of heading to their local store, more people are turning to the web to buy what they’re searching for. As a business owner or manager, there are huge potentials for you to get in on this trend. Today, we’ll be diving into some of the easiest ways to start selling your products or services online. Platforms such as Shopify, eBay, and even Facebook are making this easier than ever.

Now while there are many options out there, this guide will be focused on a few leading methods to start selling physical products today. Getting started selling online is easier than ever.

1) eBay – Easy Setup & Low Initial Costs

As a brand that pioneered the initial wave of e-commerce over 20 years ago, eBay is a great way to test your products and get started. For most categories, listing on eBay is free and easy. You can quickly and easily set your product information, photos, and shipping details while enjoying eBay’s huge marketplace. You can go from registering an account to having your first product live in under an hour.

Such convenience however does come at a cost. eBay sellers typically have little control over further details of their listing beyond the images and description. Developing a brand on the platform and having your items stand out may prove tricky. Beyond this, eBay also takes 10% of each sale so scaling a large business on the platform can quickly become costly.

2) Shopify – Buy Now Buttons & Complete Store Hosting

Having recently grown into the Canadian juggernaut that it is today, Shopify makes hosting a powerful online store possible for the average entrepreneur. Instead of having to rely on a marketplace or platform, Shopify gives you more control over your online presence. It allows you to quickly handle things such as inventory, payment processing, and marketing yourself through its platform. If you already have a website, you can implement Shopify’s Buy Now button for $10. For complete online stores hosted through their platform, the plans start at $30/month.

If you’re serious about building out a larger e-commerce business, Shopify can be a great way to grow. Beyond the monthly fee, there are other considerations you should take into account. Getting your store setup may take help from a professional developer to get the exact look and feel you desire, beyond this Shopify will also charge around 3% per transaction.

Overall, the power of the platform may be well worth the cost as it allows you to run a more complex e-commerce business easily. With many powerful apps available you can handle more complex tasks such as shipping, customer service, returns, and reviews right on the platform.

3) Amazon – Order Management & Fulfillment Options

Similar to eBay, Amazon offers many ways to get started selling online. On Amazon, you have two options to fulfill orders. You can either handle things yourself and only use Amazon for the listing and payment processing, or include Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). If you’ve shopped on Amazon in the past you’d be familiar with their Prime service. These orders are able to ship quickly as Amazon itself handles the product storage and order delivery. As a business, you can pay to have access to this network by storing your product in Amazon warehouses to be ready for sale.

If you’re interested in selling your product at scale rather than developing your own brand, Amazon might be a great option. It allows you to tap into a huge marketplace of shoppers at a relatively inexpensive price. The fees that Amazon charges do vary. To learn more about Amazon as a potential option, you can learn more here.

Which Option is Right For Your Business?

As with most business decisions, the answer depends on your needs. eBay, Amazon & Shopify store creation all have their unique benefits and drawbacks. If you’re looking for full control and are willing to invest to get a slick store running, Shopify might be a great option. Looking at testing your product out first? Well, then eBay auctions might be the place to go.

No matter what your business situation is, the experts at Sonan Digital are here to help. Our experts are knowledgeable about the unique needs of e-commerce businesses. If you’re looking at getting started or growing, reach out to us to see how we can help today.

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