Where Will You Be Selling?

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Right now, there are three major ways to sell online: your own website, eBay, and Amazon. Your product may dictate higher sales on one platform than another, but most people sell on all three, and, in many cases, with multiple dot coms or user names on eBay and/or Amazon.

There are other platforms on which to sell, such as BN.com or SearsMarketplace.com. The traffic is far less on these compared to eBay and Amazon. If you’re into making custom crafts, check out etsy.com, a great sales platform for crafters.

Generally speaking, one of the three (eBay, Amazon, your own dot com) will outperform the others with specific products. Amazon sellers may say their products sell better there than on eBay, and vice versa–where a seller succeeds depends mostly on the product and pricing. My suggestion is to try all three options.

Keep in mind that unless you already have a strong internet or retail store presence, selling on your own website entails a longer road to making yourself known. A new product and concept on a fresh website will be quickly buried in any search engine. If, for some reason, Best Buy certainly not sold online, and then started selling online tomorrow, they could have instantaneous online presence because of their own image and branding. But you or I, with small-to-mid-sized retail stores or new products, do not have that luxury, which is why eBay and Amazon are great resources. They have done the work to bring the customers in.

One of eBay’s best attributes is that you can create your own custom listing. In the description, you write about and photograph just about anything you want to include. That listing is unique to you and your business. Amazon doesn’t have this flexibility, but it provides much easier and faster way to list a product for sale there. When you see products you have to sell, click the button that offers to let you sell it, and fill in the basics: price, quantity and the condition. In time, you will get the feel for what online platform will work best for you when selling a particular type of item.

Your time line of success

One of the questions I am most often asked when advising others about online selling is how quickly it becomes profitable. There are so many variables, so many X factors, that there’s no one clear answer for everybody. Personal goals, mental-game issues, funding, and product sourcing are only a few of the factors that can either delay you or accelerate your success.

One thing to consider are selling restrictions. eBay will often place restrictions on a new seller. These restrictions may result in your money being held in Paypal until a buyer leaves positive feedback. They may also limit the categories in which you can sell, or limit the number of listings you can create right away. Amazon may also have category restrictions and hold a payment disbursement to you for 30 days.

These restrictions are obstacles to your business, and can be frustrating. However, once you get past them, you’ll have an open road to building your online business the way you want.

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