Day 26: How to Start Selling Online - Step by Step Guide

Selling products and services online is a great way to make an income.  Yesterday, we discussed the different things you can sell online.  Real money is made when you sell your own product or service, as compared to selling ad spaces or others’ products (as an affiliate).  You can start an online business as a part-time venture and once it gets established, you can concentrate on it full time.

So today, I will be explaining how you can start selling online in an easy to follow, step by step process.

1. Decide on what to sell

Take a look at yesterday’s article, and decide on which product or service you are going to sell.  When that is defined, it then time to look into the details of creating your product or service.  Who will be creating the product or providing the service you have in mind?  Will it be just you, or will you have a team working on it?  Do you need to hire external help to assist you in some areas?  You then need to move on to the actual product/service creation and work on how you are going to get it done.

For example, let’s say you decide to sell an ebook.  The first step would be to decide who is going to create it.  You might be able to provide all the content for the ebook, but you may need help with editing and the cover design.  You’ll have to determine who will be helping you with that.  The next step would be confirming the topic behind the ebook, which format it will be presented in and drawing up a rough outline of the content.  The final step, is of course, writing the ebook and getting it ready to be sold.

2. Choose where you’re going to sell

When your product or service is ready, you then have to decide where you will be selling it.

On your website

If you plan to sell your product or service on your own business website, there are three options you can choose from.

Option 1:

website-payment-option-one

The customer clicks the “Add to Cart” button and is directed to the shopping cart installed on your website.  Here, the customer can mention the required quantity and confirm their choice.  The customer is then sent to the payment page (of the merchant account) set up on your website.  This is where they enter their payment details and confirm payment.  If the order is successful, the payment is made to you.  The customer is then granted access to the content, or directed to the page where they can download the product.  In the case of a physical product, the product delivery process is initiated upon order completion.

To utilize this method of selling on your website, you need the following:

  1. Unique IP address (Can be purchased from your hosting provider)
  2. SSL Certificate
  3. Merchant account

{I’ll be sharing more about SSL certificates and merchant accounts on Day 28.}

Option 2:

website-payment-option-two

The customer clicks the “Add to Cart” button and is directed to the shopping cart of an external eCommerce solution like E-junkie.  The entire payment processing is handled by that service.  When the payment is made, the product delivery is also done through the same external eCommerce service.  Either the customer will be redirected back to the shopping cart site or an email will be sent to them with links to access the downloadable product.  This option is recommended if you want to sell a digital product from your website.

Option 3:

website-payment-option-three

The customer clicks the “Add to Cart” button and is directed to the shopping cart of a payment gateway like PayPal.  When the order details are confirmed, the customer is sent to the payment page provided by the payment processor.  When the payment has been made and the order is successful, the customer is redirected back to your website for product delivery.  You will then be responsible for delivering the product or service purchased by the customer.

{I will be sharing more about payment gateways that provide this service in tomorrow’s post.}

Online Marketplaces

If you do not want the hassle of selling your product directly from your own website, you can use an online marketplace.  These sites are not connected to your business website.  You can either redirect customers from your website to the site where your product is sold, or you can sell the product directly from the marketplace itself.

Here are few online marketplaces where you can sell your product:

  • ebay – You can register to sell a number of products here at a small fee.
  • Amazon – You can list your product on Amazon for a monthly subscription fee.  You can let them handle the shipping or you can do it yourself.
  • ThemeForest – If you are selling a theme or template, you can do it on this site.  You will receive 50-70% of the product cost in hand.
  • GraphicRiver – This is a good place to sell a variety of graphics that you have created.  The terms are the same as ThemeForest above.
  • Flippa – If you are in the business of flipping websites (creating a website, building up traffic and selling it at a profit), this is a great place to sell them.

Hosted eCommerce Solution Providers

This is a great alternative if you don’t want to depend on an external marketplace, or set up the payment process on your own website.  You only need a domain name, and you can buy an eCommerce package from your hosting provider.  The hosting and the eCommerce will be done through the hosted platform itself.

Examples of hosted eCommerce solution providers:

  • Shopify – You can this service to create your own online store.  They currently offer a 14-day free trial, but regular pricing starts at $29 per month.
  • Volusion – This is another similar service provider that starts at $15 per month.

I would recommend this only for those who are not tech savvy, as the price structure is slightly on the higher side.

3. Choose how you’re going to get paid

Once the payment process is set up, you then have to decide how you will be receiving the payments that have been made.  This step is especially crucial if you are providing a freelance service.  PayPal is the easiest and most recommended method of receiving payment as they support a majority of the countries.  You can also withdraw money into your local bank account through PayPal.

Other ways you can receive the cash in hand is by requesting a direct payment to your bank account, or withdrawing the amount using a check.  If the company you are partnering with for sales does not support your country, a check will be sent directly to your address that can then be cashed in at your local bank.

I hope today’s article has helped you streamline the process of selling your products online.  We’ll be sharing more information regarding product sales over the next two days.  So, stay tuned!

Today's Action Step: Follow the guidelines mentioned above to decide on what you're going to sell, where you're going to sell it, and how you're going to get paid.

Click here to catch up on all the posts in this series.