Selling Basics

null

Selling Online

The phrase "everything but the kitchen sink" comes to mind -- you can sell almost anything online, and find tools to help you do it more efficiently. The Web has information about auctions, marketplaces, and classified ads, and resources to help you create a successful Internet storefront. If you're new to online selling, this guide will supply you with enough tips and introductory advice to help you get started.

Selling Basics

Maybe you've finally run out of room in the garage and need to sell a few things, or you want to try your hand at an online business. Either way, the Internet can help you transition, but first, you'll have to brush up on e-commerce lingo, technologies, and technicalities. Luckily, you won't have to learn by trial and error. Web guides and blogs can familiarize you with the basics, and give you tips to help you become a better online salesperson.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Before you begin selling online, check out the FindingDulcinea Internet Security Guide. There you’ll find tips for safely dealing with sites that require credit card information and electronic exchange of funds. You can also read some safety tips from Edeposit, an online payment service.
  • If you're hesitant to start your own Internet storefront because of the time and work involved, you might consider running your online business through another company's site. For site listings of companies offering this service, see the "How can I create or enhance my business online?" section of this guide.    

Dulcinea's Picks

For guides to selling …
Back to Top

Online Auctions

Chances are that someone you know has been bragging about his latest eBay purchase or sale. If you're aching to get rid of your daughter's tricycle now that she's in college—and looking for extra cash to foot her tuition bill, too—then it might be time for you to jump on the online auction bandwagon. Or maybe your business can reach a whole new customer base by selling merchandise at auction; many small businesses supplement sales by opening an eBay store. Explore the possibilities and enjoy the returns.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Even if you have prior experience as an auction seller, you may want to check out eBay University. Not only can you learn about "Selling Basics," but you can also enroll in "Beyond the Basics of Selling."
  • Before you start selling through online auctions, you'll want to open a personal Paypal account at https://www.paypal.com/. For nominal fees, Paypal makes it easy and convenient for people to pay you, has systems in place to protect sellers, and will even track shipments.
  • For many people, selling on eBay is becoming a secondary, or in some cases primary, source of income. To read about today's fastest-growing business venture, check out the Start Up Journal.
  • If you’re ready to get serious about selling on eBay or even if you’re intrigued by the idea, check out Lynn Dralle’s book, The 100 Best Things I’ve Sold On eBay. Dralle started out on eBay trying to boost lagging sales at her grandmother’s antique store. Her book is a collection of her experiences selling as well as sentimental anecdotes about the items themselves. You can learn more about the book at Amazon.
  • eBay may be the biggest auction site, but it’s hardly the only one. If you’re selling one specific type of merchandise, you might be better off with one of the numerous specialized auction sites out there. There are auction sites devoted entirely to model trains, to clothing, to sports memorabilia—you name it. To locate a specialized site, use a search engine and type in, “Antique Teacups Auction,” and peruse the findings.

Dulcinea's Picks

For online auction sites …
For auction tips …
For additional auction tools and features …
Back to Top

Classified Ads

If you’re trying to sell an item or service but you don’t have the time or patience for auctions, consider posting a classified ad online. With an Internet classified ad, you’ll reach more potential buyers than you would with a print publication. Better still, most sites are free to use, so you’ll save money in addition to time and paper.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • In addition to specific listing sites recommended here, your local newspaper may have an online version that will post your classified ad.
  • It can be difficult to guess where and how people look for the items they want. If you're not having luck selling an item, you might want to try advertising on more than one site, or listing it under different categories on the same site.

Dulcinea's Picks

Back to Top

Internet Marketplaces

If you're looking for something a little more low-key than an auction but a little more focused than a classified ad, you'll want to explore the various niche marketplaces, trading sites, and swapping sites available on the Web. Most of the sites invite users to sell what they don't want anymore. There's a particularly large market for selling your old books, CDs, DVDs, and videos, but you'll find at least a few trading sites for anything you might want to get rid of. It's worth exploring—you never know how easy it might be to make a few extra bucks.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • If you’re trying to sell a niche item, you can always search for a marketplace using a search engine by entering the name of the item and “sell,” or “marketplace.”

Dulcinea's Picks

For selling your used stuff …
For trading your used stuff …
For selling your own crafts …
Who knew?
Back to Top

E-commerce Tips

Owners of businesses big and small have realized that to maximize profits they need to make their products available online. Even people who aren’t already store owners have discovered that opening an Internet store is a great way to earn some extra cash or simply engage in a fun hobby. However, there's a lot to think about when opening an online store. For example, what will your site look like? How will people find out about you? How will you process orders and payments? Fortunately, all the information and resources you’ll need are available online.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • To get an overview of the e-commerce experience, check out this article on the ECommerce-Guide Web site. The article recounts the experience of one woman who expanded her brick-and-mortar clothing store to include an online storefront and discusses what worked for her and the mistakes she made along the way.
  •  If you're not ready to put in the time or money to develop your own storefront, you might consider teaming up with a bigger e-commerce mogul, such as eBay or Amazon. Amazon CEO Werner Vogels was interviewed to discuss his vision of Amazon not as simply a colossal bookseller, but as a technologically innovative marketing company. The article appears in Queue, the technology magazine of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
  • When building your online store, you can choose to get full support from a design-and-build site, or to pick and choose your own products and build your own site.
  • If you’re not already set up to accept credit card payments, consider setting up an account with Paypal. Even if you already have a personal account as a consumer, you may want your business to receive payments through a separate account.
  • There are ways other than Paypal to accept payments online. Entrepeneur.com answers your questions about accepting credit card payments and explains your options in this article: http://www.entrepreneur.com/ebusiness/operations/article60902.html. Note the tip about secure, encrypted connections: don’t pick a service that doesn’t provide one.

Dulcinea's Picks

For building a Web site …
For specific e-commerce technologies …
For joining up with a larger organization …
Back to Top

Most Recent Guides