Good idea! But how to put it into practice? In this article I will give you an overview of how, where and what to sell.
Digital goods and physical goods
The first major distinction to make is between digital goods and physical goods, because sales are regulated and taxed differently. In other words, digital goods are all virtual goods, without physical support and downloadable on different devices. Physical goods are tangible ones and we have to ship them in a traditional way.
On the internet there are many ecommerce platforms that deal with producing and shipping one or both types of products. For example, Amazon allows you to purchase both a printed book and its digital ebook counterpart.
Where to sell?
There are so many opportunities. The most challenging is undoubtedly creating your own e-commerce site, which also implies we manage orders and shipping. I do not recommend it if you're not on web design and programming, if you're just starting your business or if you have no time or money to fund it.
With or without your ecommerce site, you can rely on external platforms depending on the type of customers you want to reach.
- Many artists find themselves well on Gumroad or RedBubble.
- The Facebook Shop (for pages) can be linked to your Instagram account to tag products.
- Amazon is suitable for books and ebooks.
- Etsy is dedicated to handmade craft products.
What to sell?
You are spoiled for choice! If this is confusing you, follow the list below to clarify your ideas and prioritize the products that are right for you.
- Avoid clothing and fragile items such as mirrors or mugs, unless you rely on an ecommerce platform that produces and ships them for you.
- Prefer small, light and easy to send objects.
- Do not offer everything, make some products only available in special situations, such as offers or holidays.
- Especially if you offer digital products, focus on evergreen: products that do not require updates once released.
Finally, make sure you have a good profit margin. Platforms usually recommend a minimum price for each product, or you can browse similar products to see their usual price. Consider that from the sale price you will have to subtract all expenses:
- The percentage retained by the ecommerce platform
- The commission for the transfer of money
- Packaging and shipping (if you do)
This way you will have an idea of your profit margin on every sale. Some products will allow you a higher profit margin than others, this depends on several factors and often varies on a case by case basis.
How to get paid?
Whether you choose to sell physical or digital goods, you must take into account that you will need a minimum of logistics to make things work better. Let's see how.
- PayPal is the most popular for implementation and security. It can be complicated to set up, especially at the beginning. However, after familiarizing yourself with the most common actions, it will work smoothly.
- Recharge PostePay / other prepaid cards can be an alternative payment method, or you can hook it to your PayPal account.
- Bank transfer. It is a manual and less immediate method. It becomes a useful alternative if a customer has issues with electronic payments.
The payment methods available depend on the platform on which you decide to sell. Usually, the platform collects for you, holds your commission and sends the remainder at regular intervals to the account or card you have set up.
If you use a sell-only ecommerce solution, you'll have to package and send the requested products from time to time. In this case, I advise you to keep a stock management, however small, so you won't get in trouble with stocks compared to incoming orders. Usually the ecommerce platforms and sites offer this basic feature.
If you have questions or experiences to share, please do so in the comments!