The Best Way to Start Selling Online
If you’re keen to start selling online, whether via an e-commerce or arbitrage model or as a means of raising money from the sale of your own items, there are various routes to consider. Here is a look at three main online options and the pros and cons of each.
The UK’s leading online listings site is a popular choice for people selling personal items – usually second-hand, but on an individual and non-business basis. The main attraction of this route is that the listings are free for sellers, although there are chances to promote listings for greater visibility. This route is ideal for ad hoc sales of personal items ranging from clothing and household appliances to jewellery and even cars. However, it’s less appropriate for a business model, and you may find a limited audience for your products compared to other routes.
eBay is a classic choice for selling online, and you can be up and running as a seller very easily. Whether you are looking to sell as an individual or as a business, there are different formats, pricing models and store designs to suit. You can pay a per-item percentage fee to list your item and a final-value selling fee too, which again is a percentage figure. If you want to sell higher volumes as a business, there are options for flat pricing models which can be more cost-effective. You can create your own eBay store using a template provided, and everything is designed to be very quick and easy to operate, with powerful analytics available for sellers. You can also hire a design team to provide professional eBay store design that is customised to your needs.
However, the main downside of this platform is the cost. The eBay fees have risen in recent years, and you can see around 25pc of the final cost being lost in fees by the time you also factor in PayPal costs. This option tends to be good for small private sellers or businesses with high-margin or volume sales without premises that can afford to take the cut on fees.
A Business Website
For most e-commerce businesses, a bespoke website is the right option to begin selling online. Although more expensive, it allows for full control and low running costs. With e-commerce now the UK’s fastest growing retail sector, it is well worth investing in the right platform. An agency such as frooition.com can help design this using software such as WordPress or Umbraco, which both provide excellent templates that can be customised to suit. Some offer a content management system in the background which the business owner can use to manage and update the site going forward – or this can be maintained by a digital agency.
You can also get help and advice on running your e-commerce business successfully once your digital platform is up and running. Organisations such as the British Chambers of Commerce can help you to access vital business services – often for free.
So if you are considering a move into the e-commerce space, weigh up your options for the best digital platform and position yourself for success.