Learn how to sell online: expand business opportunities

updated July 2, 2024
Reading time9 minutes
Jaqueline Corradi
Jaqueline Corradi
Content Manager

According to U.S Department of Commerce figures, the amount consumers have spent buying online in 2020 has grown 32.4% compared to 2019.  The prediction for the next few years is that the ecommerce sector will continue to grow. Learning how to sell online is an opportunity for new companies and the ones who want to adapt to consumer behavior. 

The pandemic had a great impact on the online market. However, contrary to what many people might think, the post-pandemic doesn't mean the sales on the internet will fall. Statista studies pointed out that e-retail revenues are expected to be 5.4 trillion US dollars in 2022, while in 2020 it was 4.28.

The practice and diversity of products ecommerce offers are one of the many reasons why thousands of customers prefer to buy online, instead of going to a physical store. While selling online also has many benefits, such as a smaller cost to start your business.

On one hand, there is a great market to explore, on the other hand, the concurrence is also huge. Therefore, it's primordial to think of strategies to highlight yourself from your competitors.

What to sell online

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If you already have a physical store and just want to sell the same products online, deciding what to insert in your website catalog may not be a problem. Although, for entrepreneurs who are creating their business now, it's something very important to consider. 

By having an ecommerce, you can sell the items of your brand products, for example, craftsmanship items, clothes, and accessories. But, there is the opportunity to be a reseller as well, where you are not in charge of production. 

Selling your brand products

 The aspects you have to consider to sell your brand products online starts with the production part. To define the delivery time to the buyers, calculate how long each item takes to be finished, including the time your suppliers take to deliver the raw materials you need. 

Also, calculate when it's necessary to replace the products on your inventory and the quantity you can produce. Thinking about those needs will prevent you from selling more than you are able to deliver or telling the wrong estimated delivery time to your clients. 

It's necessary to create a packaging and shipping system, as well. Many ecommerce website builders already have partnerships with shipping companies, which can facilitate things for you regarding defining rates, for example. 


THe image shows a warehouse with several packages

When you are going to sell other brand products, one very popular system is using dropshipping, which has been offered by many big suppliers from different sectors. In this case, you are only responsible for making the sales.

The suppliers are the ones in charge of taking care of the inventory, storing, packing, and sending the products. It means you won't have to spend money locating a storage space or having to take all the selling steps. 

That's a very helpful solution for entrepreneurs who don’t have a lot of capital to start selling online. Here, all you need is your computer, a good internet connection, and focusing on marketing strategies. 

Selling online for a small market niche or a broader one

Some companies develop their strategies by focusing on offering a big range of products, for example, in electronics, from smartphones to TVs. While, it's also easy to find many ecommerce websites that are focused on a specific niche, such as products for gamers or vegan skincare products.

Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Selling a huge variety of products amplifies the number of potential customers, but the concurrence is bigger.

Having an online store that sells very specific products may reduce the number of customers, but also the concurrence is smaller. 

When building your business plan, think about those differences, study the market sector you want to get into. It will give you a better vision to determine what to sell, and the strategies to apply.  

Choose where you are going to sell online

Besides defining what you are going to sell online, another crucial part is to choose where you are going to do that, and you have several options.

  • Create an ecommerce website
  • Sell at marketplaces
  • Sell at social media channels

Each one of them has its particularities, and it doesn't mean you have to use just one. On the contrary, you can have multiple sales channels. That's a very common strategy adopted nowadays. 

Building your website store

The easiest way for people, who are learning how to sell online, to have their website store is to use ecommerce builders, such as Wix ,Shopify, and Weebly. That way, you won't need to build a website from scratch. 

You will already count on a developed system, pre-built customizable templates, plugins to install, and a dashboard to manage your ecommerce. Using those resources doesn't require having coding or design skills. 

Research about the platforms, choose the one that fits your needs better, and start developing your online store. In every step of the process, remember to consider the customer experience, think about how they are going to navigate through your store, and in ways to convert access into sales. 

Creating stores at marketplaces

Marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy have already built a reputation online and conquered a huge base of users. When you choose to create a store on those platforms you can use this in your favor. 

Some users feel safer by using marketplaces they know, instead of going to a specific website store. But, each marketplace has its specificities and rates. It's important to analyze that, before deciding to use them and include the values in your budget. 

Usually, creating the store itself is very simple. After making your registration, and choosing your plan, you will have to add the products, and their title and descriptions. Some of them may be already in the catalog, making the process even faster.

Using social media to sell online

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Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp all those social media channels are ways for people who are interested in how to sell online to set up their stores. If before, they were used to show products, and direct to an outside ecommerce store, now the purchase can be completed in those platforms. 

There are sellers who use only them, for example, but it's necessary to know your customers’ profile to understand if it's worth investing in this strategy. Also, read the platforms' guidelines to know how to post the items and what helps enhance your store visibility.

High-resolution pictures, detailed descriptions are fundamental, not only on social media but on every platform you choose. 

Developing marketing strategies

The image show the ilustration of a guy holding a screen where it's written SEO, tittle, tacs, meta linkls, web, URL and other termos

An essential part of learning how to sell online is to think about marketing strategies. In such a competitive market as the ecommerce area is, creating a website store is far from enough to get revenue. 

The first step is to study the sector you are entering in, analyze what are the main actions used by your concurrence, and study hard about your potential customers' behavior. Try to answer these questions about your target audience:

  • What is their age range?
  • Where are they mostly located?
  • What social media do they use most?
  • Do they buy at marketplaces?

If you already have a physical store, you can use the data of your current clients. If you are starting your company now, the tip is to search for market reports, regarding your sector. Having those answers will help you through understanding your customers' behavior and serve as a guide to start drawing marketing actions. 

For example, you can use social media to sell, and, also to engage with your public by creating content that speaks to their demands. Use tools like quizzes, gifs, and polls at stories to create a closer relationship with them. 

Another resource is email marketing, which can be used to send coupons, notify about sales and special discounts, or even to ask the client why he didn't finish the purchase. Creating a blog and posting useful content to your audience is a great way to start a conversation with your potential customers. 

The advantages of selling online

By understanding better how to sell online, you have seen this market has a lot to grow, but there are many other advantages to having an ecommerce business. For example, if you adopt the dropshipping system, you can work from anywhere in the world.

Even without a computer, just a smartphone is enough to manage your online business with apps from ecommerce website builders, marketplaces, and social media. Besides, not needing to have a big capital to invest in the beginning is a huge push to start, right? 

Unlike a physical store, a website is open 24/7, you can make money while you are sleeping. Keeping an ecommerce store is also less expensive than having to rent a place, and maintain it.

Selling online is a way to keep up with the market changes too, and avoid being left behind. The tendency is that the ecommerce industry is going to continue expanding,  you have a growing market to explore.  

Build a plan on how to sell online

Now that you have step-by-step instructions about how to sell online, before creating a store in any channel, take some time to build your business plan. Start by defining what you are going to sell and which are the platforms you are going to use.

After that, it's time to start studying the market, so you can set competitive prices, develop a user-friendly website that is focused on your customer experience, and create effective marketing strategies.

Remember, learn how to sell online is an ongoing process. You will always have to be updating your knowledge and adapting your strategies to follow up the speed-changing market that the internet is.

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