Being able to sell online is one of the most important activities the internet has enabled. From big box retailers down to individuals, the internet has made it easier than any other time in history to for people around the world to participate in trade.
If you are wondering how to sell stuff online, there are now many tools and ecommerce platforms that can help you get started with any size operation.
- Do you want to know how to sell gently used clothing online?
- Do you want to sell your services like lawn care or legal counsel?
- Do you want to sell digital goods like ebooks or music?
- Do you want to sell handmade goods or a custom product you designed?
- Do you want to sell items you purchase from a manufacturer or have them dropshipped?
There is likely a solution already out there for you. You just have to know how to find it!
How to choose an ecommerce platform
The most important things to note about an ecommerce platform are how it works and how that translates into costs for you. Whether it’s time, money, and/or ultimate ownership rights, every ecommerce platform will require some payment from you. You will need to decide what is most important to you when you’re selling.
- Is it monetary cost?
- Is it convenience?
- Is it the ability to reach a specific niche?
- Is it complete creative control?
Answering these questions will help you determine what kind of platform you should use to sell.
What is an ecommerce platform?
An ecommerce platform as a website and/or application that provides you with a place to list an item or items and complete transactions. This does not include platforms like Craigslist that focus on local connections and only facilitate connecting buyers and sellers—not their payments.
What types of ecommerce platforms are there?
There are two major categories that ecommerce platforms fall into: marketplaces and individual web store providers.
Ecommerce marketplace platforms
Marketplace platforms are those like Amazon, Ebay and Alibaba. They are primarily focused on bringing lots of individual sellers together with buyers and do not necessarily hold their own stock. (But they may down the line, like Amazon does now. This also poses direct competition to their third-party vendors. Beware of this!) They work kind of like a mall where retailers lease storefronts on their property. Unlike a mall though, end users primarily have the experience of buying from Amazon, Ebay or Alibaba, not the individual stores. These platforms also have their own powerful internal search components so people can quickly find what they are looking for without having to visit each individual retailer.
Pros: Higher traffic due to platform brand recognition, convenience
Cons: Can be expensive in both time and money to keep up with, your individual brand is nearly invisible, the big-name platform calls all the shots and may harm your company someday by changing algorithms or aggressively competing with your product
Who do marketplace platforms benefit?
Marketplace platforms are most beneficial if you are a volume-based seller or someone who sells common, sought-after products that you can price and place competitively to sell larger quantities.
Individual web store providers
Platforms that empower individuals to build their own separate website, business and brand are those like Shopify, Squarespace, Magento and WordPress. You can set up your own ecommerce-enabled website with a secure checkout experience. You have more control over developing your store and brand but also take on the responsibility of driving all of your own marketing and growing your own customer base.
- Pros: More control, fewer costs for things like listing fees and sales cuts
- Cons: Can take some time & knowledge to set up, can still have costs that add up, all traffic to your store depends on your marketing
Who do individual web stores benefit?
You would choose from these platforms if you are seeking to build a business where you have more control of your brand presentation and scale and you can build direct relationships with your buyers to encourage repeat business.
Sites like Etsy and Haven offer more of a hybrid model where sellers benefit from an easy and uniform shop setup experience and the possibility of discovery from internal search but they also have an opportunity to build a user base with some loyalty specifically to them—not just the platform.
Pros: Easy setup, exposure to marketplace traffic from search, more visibility is given to your individual store so you can still build direct relationships with buyers
Cons: Less control over your brand and store than on an individual web store, more responsibility to do more of your own marketing for better results
Pro/Con: Generally more niche so users of these platforms have more specific values and goals than broader networks
Who do hybrid platforms benefit?
You would choose from these platforms if you want to get started selling quickly in a place where you can also build more direct relationships with your buyers & encourage repeat purchases.
What kind of shopping app is Haven?
The Haven app is a private shopping app that enables you to shop, chat, and send cryptocurrencies from your iOS or Android mobile device. It’s a hybrid platform where you can get the simplest store setup on the planet and 0 fees and a supportive, niche community.
In this special cryptocurrency marketplace you can build relationships directly with buyers and sellers around the world who share your values of privacy and building the future of money together.
Do you already know what you are going to sell online with Haven? 👐
Download for iOS and Android below!