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Where to Sell Products Online

Read about where to sell products online.

The internet has become a powerful marketplace. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
The internet has become a powerful marketplace.

You've decided to get into online sales and want to know how to sell products online. Now, you're not one of those get-rich-quick dreamers—you know it will take hard work, dedication and, perhaps most important of all, research. Simply wanting to sell products online isn't enough. You should have well thought out ideas about what, where and how to sell.

What to Sell

Finding the right product to sell can be difficult. In general, it's a good idea to try to sell a product you have a special and unique relationship with. For example, it could be something that you're especially knowledgeable and passionate about. You could sell a product that you have unique access to, like an in-demand item from a local store that doesn't do online sales, for example. The product could be a collectible that your special expertise allows you to pick up at a bargain. Or you could sell something you make yourself.

It's important to check out the competition and do thorough research to find similar products for sale elsewhere. Note the prices that potential competitors charge. When doing this kind of research, it can be difficult to tell if there is a great untapped demand for your product. It's easier to determine if the market for it is poor. If there are similar items going unsold on eBay, or if e-commerce sites that sell similar products are offering huge discounts or have recently stopped carrying the items in question, it should give you pause.

The question of what to sell is fundamentally a personal one—the right answer can depend on interests, knowledge base, skills and even geographical location, which can potentially allow unique access to in-demand products.

Where to Sell

Once you know what to sell, it gets easier. But you still have to figure out where to sell it. eBay is a venerable pillar of Internet commerce. With so many people paying attention, it can be a good place to gauge demand for your product, even if you don't intend to use eBay as the ultimate solution for your business. If you have no interest in auctioning off your product to the highest bidder, eBay has services that will help create a store that you can use to sell larger inventories of products at fixed prices. The fees for an eBay store start around $16 a month.

There may be a specialized marketplace for the type of product you're selling. You may be able to find out more on message boards devoted to your particular area of interest. At Etsy, for example, craft-lovers can showcase and sell their handmade masterpieces, which are placed in categories that range from furniture and woodwork to music and geekery.

If you already have a Web site to promote your product, you can consider adding an interface to enable users to make purchases directly. This is usually done using software like CubeCart or Zen Cart.

How to Sell

Unfortunately, most products won't actually sell themselves. You'll have to put in some time and money to boost sales.One of the basic ways to sell your product is to buy online ad space. Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have programs that can show ads to the people most likely to be interested in them. This can be an inexpensive way to drive traffic to your Web site. You can also try to boost your sales by participating in online communities that might be interested in your products. For example, if you're selling yarn, join a knitting Web site. But spamming an online forum with ads is never a good idea. Instead, you can build goodwill by playing an active role in the community and sharing your knowledge and opinions with other people, instead of simply shilling for your site in a self-interested way.

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