Working for yourself offers a huge number of advantages, and it’s no surprise that more of us are deciding to set up on our own. This is especially true when you have a product you have to sell. Whether you make something yourself or buy wholesale to resell to end consumers, it won’t take long before entrepreneurs realise that to grow their business further they have to move from selling to friends or family into selling online to a wider audience.
Perhaps the easiest and most accessible way of selling items on the internet is by using Ebay, one of the best known internet auction sites. The advantages of using Ebay is that it has a high volume of customers using the website, there is no cost associated with setting up an account and starting to sell, all of the epos commerce side of the business is taken care of for you and it is something anyone can do from home with a digital camera and an internet connection. The disadvantages of Ebay are that you will have a huge number of competitors, and the fees associated with listing and selling items can be high, depending on what sort of product you are selling.
Ebay does not target a specific market, and will sell anything and everything. Other sites, such as Not on the High Street or Folksy, focus more on the gift, home accessory and homemade market. Folksy works in the same way as Ebay, but as the emphasis is firmly of individually crafted items, your items are more likely to be sitting alongside similar products from likeminded sellers. Other sites like Not on the High Street enter into agreements with the producers of the products, but in order to list your items on their site you need to be pre-approved in terms of quality and fit with the rest of the business. The advantage is that many customers will be attracted by the name of the website to look at your items, and again the site’s epos ecommerce system will take care of the selling and payment side of things. The downsides again are the lack of control, fees and the fact that your brand and name may not as be well known as the parent website.
Going It Alone
Many entrepreneurs use a variety of different ways to sell their products, and most will have their own website where customers can buy direct. Setting up your own website can sound expensive and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Many companies offer web template packages which can be customized for an individual use to your website, and there are various add on options such as a module which will allow you to take secure credit card payments, email customers or manage your stock levels efficiently. It does take a bit of computer know-how to set up and run a website, and many people prefer a more individual look to the websites designed using standard templates.
Morag P is a mother and blogger specialising in technology, travel and music.