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Selling online: ideas for starting out as an online entrepreneur

Whatever you've heard about starting an online business - it will likely be true. It's a competitive environment that challenges even the brightest entrepreneurs. The overwhelming consensus, however, is that setting up an online store is well worth the effort. So if you want to get started as an entrepreneur yourself, selling online is an absolutely worthwhile strategy nowadays.

The best part is that you can sell beyond the borders of your city, country or even your continent without ever leaving your job! Once you get started, virtually anyone from anywhere in the world can become your customer.

But where do you start

Figuring out how to sell online is actually relatively easy. There are different approaches to this, all of which result from the answers to three basic questions - why, what and how?

Below is a guide with everything you need to know to be able to sell online. So let's jump right in.

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Selling online: an attractive way to start your own business

Can you imagine life without the internet? No emails, no last minute shopping, no cat videos ... let's just leave it at that.

It is precisely for this reason that the e-commerce industry is currently experiencing its golden age. Everyone is connected and enjoying the benefits of today's connected world - without any intention of reverting to old habits. Joining this trend seems like the smartest way to get an online business off the ground.

Here are a few more reasons that speak for it:

1. Your business is where you are

We have to make one thing clear right from the start: Forget the “real” vacation without a laptop - at least for the first year or so.

If you learn how to sell online, any place in the world can be made your office. And often you will work like this on weekends, at night and on public holidays. The only difference is that you will do it with a smile on your face.

Whether you work from the beach or in your grandmother's garden - you will always be just a push of a button (and a WiFi connection) away from access to your business. Everything you do must lead you towards success.

2. Little budget? Start a business with a small investment.

The nice thing about the online world is that you can get your business going with a very low initial investment. It depends, of course, on what type of business you want to build. For the purposes of this article, however, we want to assume that you want to create an online shop. And when it comes to online trading, dropshipping seems like the ideal strategy.

With minimal overheads such as By paying for your website to host and running some ads online, you can sell online and build a profitable business in just a few months. And that's anything but a fantasy. There are more than enough success stories to back it up.

3. You can make money around the clock.

While physical retail stores are limited to their opening hours, online shops operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So you don't have to be a genius to see the potential in this business model. If you generate enough traffic for your shop and optimize your conversion to a good level, you could essentially make money while you sleep - selling online as a passive income.

It's less time-consuming than running a boutique, for example, because you don't have to be there all the time. With automated inventory management and a robust online marketing plan, you can sell online with very little additional input on your part.

4. There is a lot of room to grow.

It is often not easy for entrepreneurs to ensure a constant flow of new customers. Even if you may have the hottest products in stock, it can be difficult to find new customers and keep them loyal to your business.

Selling online can fix this problem almost instantly. According to the latest e-commerce statistics, the number of online shoppers is expected to reach 2.05 billion in 2021. That's a lot of potential customers. In addition, this number is growing rapidly and is expected to reach as much as 2.14 billion in 2021. People just want to shop online - in times of Corona and social distancing, this is more true than ever.

What do we learn from it? Entrepreneurs who are still undecided about selling online should act quickly before they get lost. Plus, with so many strategies to sell online today, it couldn't be easier to capitalize on the growing e-commerce trend.

It all sounds pretty good, doesn't it?

Until you reach the next cornerstone of this process:What can you sell online?

Tips for Selling Online: Inspiration for Product Sourcing

Let's leave the question of how to sell online for a moment and instead focus on WHAT to sell online. Finding a profitable idea is not an easy task. However, there are several ways to identify great products for online trading.

1. Build on trends

Who doesn't want to be a trendsetter? An innovative genius with a groundbreaking idea? That is exactly the dream of many entrepreneurs. However, the world of e-commerce is not always open to new and unique ideas for selling online. In order to ensure dynamic sales, an online shop has to meet high demand in a market and develop growing trends or top niches.

If you're on the hunt for an idea that can make money, listen to what customers want. Yes, we are talking about bestseller lists, trend reports and curated product lists.

Begin your initial product research by casting a wide net. First of all, you should investigate the new and upcoming trends on an online marketplace such as eBay, Amazon or Etsy. What are the most popular products or the best-selling items in the last month? Can you identify certain trends such as colors, shapes, fabrics or patterns?

Once you have a rough idea of ​​what you want to sell online, you need to find a way to source these products for your online store. One of the best places to search for dropshipping product ideas is in Oberlo. It's best to take a close look at the product statistics.

You are sure to find something there that suits your needs. For example, products with more than 500 orders in the last 30 days are likely to sell relatively well. You should be quick to jump on these product trends so you can stay one step ahead of the competition.

Your next logical step will be choosing high margin products.

2. Focus on healthy margins

What matters at the end of the day is how much money you can keep. Healthy margins determine the future of your e-commerce business. Therefore, you should make every effort to invest your time and effort in products that will get the best results. The average gross margin in e-commerce is around 40 percent. However, every market and every product is different. Accordingly, you should take the time to analyze the competition and the current price level.

Some of the simplest tactics you can use to maximize profits include having a prominent website presence for your winning products, prioritizing those products in your marketing initiatives and cross-selling campaigns, and adding variations on the best-selling items (e.g. different colors, sizes and shapes).

Oberlo offers a profit margin calculation tool that can give you a better idea of ​​your options.

3. Orientation towards other ecommerce winners

Why try to reinvent the wheel? Useful resources such as For example, the e-book “100+ Best Products to Sell in 2020” (so far only in English) and the “What to sell” section in our blog are the ultimate shortcuts to starting a successful online shop. Don't be discouraged from investing in a particular idea just because someone else is - the online world is big enough.

Selling online: your path to success

Now we are ready to answer the question of how to sell online. Below are some strategies that you can easily put into action.

1. Use of existing sales channels.

You can sell through sales platforms such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy. However, this strategy has its advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, there is an established, large community of returning customers out there that you get access to.

For someone who is just starting out with online trading, a very important factor is to be able to fall back on a huge pool of online buyers who already trust the platform. Another big plus for ecommerce beginners is the ability to test demand for the products they offer.

You can even try out one-product business ideas where you build an entire brand around a single product. As soon as you have a good feel for what is currently popular and in demand, you should start building an online shop.

But why change your strategy when it is just beginning to generate profit? There are actually many reasons for this. First of all, the big online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay or Etsy will charge you a commission for every sale. Second, selling through such an external sales platform prevents you from building a personal relationship with your customers.

In essence, you won't be able to collect their email addresses, provide useful content, or run your own campaigns to generate more sales. In addition, such an online marketplace can close your shop at any time, which can be frustrating and above all expensive.

2. Sell online through social media

In addition to online marketplaces, social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram offer the opportunity to present your products to potential customers. For example, you can set up a Facebook shop to bring your inventory to the platform users' eyes.

Interested parties can then put your items in the shopping cart and pay directly on the platform. But even if you'd rather set up an independent e-commerce presence, Facebook offers various options for selling online. You can create a company page, run ads, and showcase products in Facebook groups.

The social media area is also ideal for working with influencers. You could send samples of your articles to influencers to get a shoutout. Identify some influencers in your niche by searching for relevant hashtags. Then try to partner with you to promote your products through stories, videos, posts, and more.

If you want to work with influencers, you should definitely take a look at our blog post on the topic: The 6 best strategies for influencer marketing (with examples)

3. Sell online via dropshipping

Thanks to platforms like Shopify, setting up your own website is easier than ever. You can use a free trial and a huge range of online resources to get your own shop up and running in just a few.

You can also install a dropshipping app to avoid the hassle of purchasing and storing inventory. The benefits of dropshipping are myriad, which makes it a great way to start selling online. Most importantly, however, are the minimal set-up costs, as you don't have to buy your own inventory or manage a warehouse.

Selling online without a warehouse makes a lot of sense, especially as a beginner. There is also the option of offering an extensive range of products, which helps scale up quickly. You also get the flexibility to run your business from anywhere in the world. It's the perfect combination of potential and freedom that attracts digital nomads and aspiring entrepreneurs.

However, the whole thing is not entirely stress-free. With so many success stories fueling interest in this market, competition in e-commerce is fierce and growing. Therefore, it is crucial that you do your homework before you get started.

Some of the other most commonly mentioned problems, such as: B. the search for the right supplier can be solved by integrating existing e-commerce tools. With over 2,000 five-star reviews and a free starter plan, Oberlo is one of the most popular options when it comes to importing products into your online store and managing inventory.

Selling online - the bottom line

Let's look at it this way: An online shop can be set up almost free of charge. The extremely low initial investment means there are very few risks. At the same time, the factors that determine the success of your business are completely in your hands. If you have the time and resources to start mail order online, remember that sooner is better than later. Selling online in your own online shop has never been easier than it is today. In any case, we are there to accompany you on your journey from the very beginning.

Hear from entrepreneurs who came up with their own online sales ideas in our success stories

Would you like to find out more?

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