If you enjoy marketing over the internet and interacting with customers via emails, selling a product online may be the business model for you. A huge variety of things have been sold online, from books and pet food to groceries. However, not every product has the same degree of success.
Selling things online involve activities that are similar to selling offline, such as sourcing for products. The key is to sell a specialty product. A niche market may sound small, but an online business does not just cover certain countries. A niche market is an international market and it can be very big.
Preparation is also the key. You must be an expert on what you are going to sell. Do not just jump on the bandwagon without getting prepared. Note that selling online does not just cover physical goods. You can sell service, or you can sell digital information like e-books, digital reports and memberships such as those on online dating sites.
Almost anyone can make some money through online auctions of which the most famous of auction portals, eBay. New members usually post up what is around the house which are the unwanted Christmas gift, the lucky draw winnings and used items.
Online auction sites are not just a place to unload unwanted stuff. The New York Times reported in 2004 that an estimated 500,000 people make full or part time living by auctioning.
The benefits of selling via an auction sites are the mass audience and fuss free to set up. Setting up a website may be easy part of selling online, however the toughest part is creating trust and getting people to come to the site.
Another advantage of selling on auction sites is the comparatively low start up cost. A simple posting on eBay costs a few cents or up to $4 only but the extras, such as prominence on the website’s front page will cost more money. With the thousands of wares being hawked online, the extras are sometimes a must if you really want to stand out from the rest.
A basic store on eBay costs $15.95 a month and if the sale gets closed, sellers need to fork out a value fee, which for items less than $25, is 8% to 12% of the closing price. Members also have to look into getting a third party payment provider which is PayPal to process the transaction.
If you do not have anything to sell and are not into dreaming up your own product, drop shipping might be the solution. With drop shipping, you collect the order and forward it to the supplier, who ships directly to the customer. Therefore, you do not have to turn your home into a store. This avoids the huge investment of having a warehouse full of stock that does not move.
For instance, if you sell a product at $100 but you actually get the product from a supplier at $70. You give your supplier the customer’s information and order details and pay them $70. The supplier will do all the shipping. But you bill the customer $100, so you make a $30 profit.
It does sound like an ideal arrangement, but watch out for the scams and the fine print. Iron out details like what to do in case of product defects and payment terms. Be wary of any extra fees they may charge and read thorough the agreement carefully.
The business of becoming an affiliate is booming on the internet. Since there is little cost involved in running a business online but marketing is often an uphill battle, businesses are willing to fork out a chunk for ‘sales assistants’.
It goes like this; someone visits your website and sees the advertisement or reads an email from you promoting a product and follows the link. If the person makes a purchase, so you as the affiliate partner, you get a percentage of the sale.
Being an affiliate is not mutually exclusive. It is often complementary to your own product. However, the product should be compatible to your own. Say for an example, you are selling gold clubs, you may want to be an affiliate with someone who sells gold shoes.
It is natural that once you have sold something to someone to convert them into sales for other merchants in order to create more back end sales for you to earn more profits.
Get paid to
For those who are not into starting businesses, the internet has a host of ‘get paid to’ websites that promise to pay money for activities like filing out surveys, reading emails, and clicking on ads.
However, the problem is, it is often difficult to tell them from the legitimate set ups. UK newspaper The Guardian reported in June 2005 that these ‘get paid to’ websites can be opened by their often anonymous operators extremely cheap and may fold before you earn any cash. Some sites try to sell extras such as membership upgrades. If the site is legitimate, that might increase the rewards, if it is not, you might not see your money again.
So, find out how long these companies have been around. Google the company and go to regulators’ websites to see if any complaints have been lodged against them.
Epinions.com, affiliated with an online auction giant, eBay, is one website that pays for reviews of items, which depending on how often the reviews are used in making the decision.
There are bonuses when members you have referred have written a review and you got a portion of their earnings as well.