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Person boxing products to ship. Text above reads "HOW TO START SELLING ON THE INTERNET."

How To Start Selling On The Internet


Jun 4, 2024
Read Time: X Min
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Selling products or services online has become increasingly popular. With the rise of e-commerce platforms and online marketplaces, businesses of all sizes can now reach a global audience and tap into new revenue streams.

However, starting an online business can be overwhelming, especially if you're new to the world of e-commerce. From setting up a website to managing inventory and processing payments, there are many factors to consider.

Learning how to start selling on the Internet has become essential for entrepreneurs. This guide will walk you through the essential steps and best practices to help you succeed in the competitive online marketplace.

What Is Selling On The Internet?

Selling on the Internet involves offering your products or services for sale through online channels. This can include setting up your own e-commerce website, using online marketplaces like Amazon or Etsy, or leveraging social media platforms to reach potential customers.

By understanding how to start selling products on the Internet, you can:

  • Reach a wider audience: The Internet allows you to connect with customers beyond your local area, expanding your potential customer base to a global scale.
  • Operate 24/7: Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar stores, an online business can operate around the clock, enabling customers to make purchases at their convenience.
  • Streamline operations: Selling online can automate many aspects of your business, such as inventory management, order processing, and customer communication, saving you time and resources.
  • Gather valuable data: E-commerce platforms provide insights into customer behavior, preferences, and purchasing patterns, allowing you to make data-driven decisions to optimize your business strategy.

Why Start Selling On The Internet?

With global Internet usage growing year over year, the digital marketplace has become the new worldwide bazaar, an endless array of opportunities for anyone who understands how to start selling products on the Internet. 

Want to turn your passion into a business? Or reach more people with your products? Selling online is easier and more profitable than ever. It's flexible, affordable, and helps your business grow fast. This guide explains why this is the perfect time to sell online and how Kajabi can make it happen.

Here are a few main reasons why you should start now:

  • Expand your reach: Selling online allows you to tap into a global market, transcending geographical boundaries. Nowadays, thanks to advancements in technology and logistics, it's easier than ever to connect with customers worldwide, opening new growth opportunities for your business.
  • Adapt to changing consumer preferences: The pandemic boosted online shopping, a trend set to continue for years to come. Customers love the convenience and safety of buying online. Stay ahead of the game by selling online, too.
  • Lower overhead costs: Compared to traditional brick-and-mortar stores, selling online often involves lower overhead expenses. Save on costs such as rent, utilities, and staffing, and allocate more resources towards marketing, product development, and customer service. This cost-effective approach can lead to higher profit margins and faster growth for your business.
  • Gather valuable customer insights: Access a wealth of data and analytics about your customers' behavior, preferences, and purchasing patterns online. Advanced analytics tools and AI-powered platforms give you deep insights into your target audience. This lets you personalize products, improve marketing, and make smarter business decisions.

How To Start Selling On The Internet In 8 Steps

Understanding how to start a business selling on the Internet is essential for reaching a global customer base and growing your business quickly.

Here are the key steps to start selling online:

1. Choose Your Niche And Products

Finding a niche market with strong demand sets you up for success when selling online. You want to offer products that people are actively searching for and willing to buy.

To identify potential niches, consider the following:

  • Explore your passions and expertise: Selling products you're knowledgeable about and genuinely interested in makes it easier to connect with your target audience and provide value.
  • Research market trends: Look for products that are currently popular or trending upward. Tools like Google Trends and Amazon Best Sellers can provide insights into what consumers are actively searching for and buying.
  • Analyze competition: Evaluate existing sellers in your potential niche. While some competition indicates demand, too much competition can make it hard to stand out. Look for opportunities to differentiate your products or target underserved segments of the market.

Once you've identified a promising niche, select specific products to sell. Consider the following factors:

Product Characteristics

Ideal products to sell online typically have the following characteristics:

  • High demand and low competition
  • Attractive profit margins
  • Lightweight and easy to ship
  • Not readily available in local stores

Trending vs. Evergreen Products

You can choose to focus on trending products that are currently popular or evergreen products that have steady, long-term demand.

  • Trending products: These products can generate quick sales but may have a shorter lifespan. Examples include fashion items, tech gadgets, and products tied to current events or pop culture.
  • Evergreen products: These products have consistent demand year-round and can provide a stable foundation for your business. Examples include basic apparel, home goods, and consumables like beauty or health products.

Ultimately, the key is to find a balance between products you're passionate about and products that have proven market demand. By combining your expertise with strategic product selection, you'll be well-positioned to start selling online successfully.

Wondering how to stand out in a crowded market? Grab our free guide and learn how to find your niche in less than 10 minutes.


2. Develop Your Brand Identity

A strong brand identity helps you stand out in a crowded online marketplace and connect with your target audience. Here's how to create a compelling brand:

Craft A Memorable Brand Name

Your brand name should be unique, memorable, and reflective of your products or niche. Avoid generic names that blend in with competitors. Instead, choose a name that captures your brand's personality and values.

Design A Distinctive Logo

Your logo is the visual representation of your brand. It should be simple, easily recognizable, and versatile enough to use across various platforms and marketing materials. Consider hiring a professional designer to create a high-quality logo that resonates with your target audience.

Define Your Brand Voice And Messaging

Your brand voice is the personality and tone you use in all your communications, from product descriptions to social media posts. Establish a consistent voice that aligns with your brand values and appeals to your target customers. 

Develop key messaging points that clearly communicate your unique value proposition and brand story.

Maintain Consistency Across Touchpoints

Consistency is key to building a strong brand identity. Ensure your branding elements, such as colors, fonts, and imagery, are consistent across all touchpoints, including your website, social media profiles, packaging, and marketing materials. Use style guides and templates to maintain a cohesive brand experience.

Infuse Your Brand Into Your Customer Experience

Your brand should be evident in every interaction customers have with your business. From the moment they land on your website to the unboxing of their purchase, every touchpoint should reinforce your brand identity and values. 

Pay attention to details like product packaging, thank-you notes, and customer support to create a memorable and on-brand experience.

3. Set Up Your Online Presence

Setting up your online presence is crucial when learning how to start selling stuff on the Internet. 

It's where potential customers will discover your brand, explore your products, and ultimately make a purchase. Set up a professional and user-friendly online presence to attract and convert visitors into loyal customers. 

Here’s how:

Choose An E-commerce Platform

An e-commerce platform is the backbone of your online store. It provides the tools and functionality needed to create, manage, and grow your business. When selecting an e-commerce platform, consider factors such as ease of use, customization options, scalability, and customer support.

Look for a platform that offers:

  • Intuitive drag-and-drop website builders
  • Customizable templates to match your brand
  • Built-in marketing and SEO tools
  • Secure payment processing and inventory management
  • Mobile responsiveness for seamless browsing on any device
  • AI capabilities

Design An Attractive And User-Friendly Website

Your website is often the first point of contact with potential customers. It should be visually appealing, easy to navigate, and optimized for conversions. Focus on creating a clean, modern design that showcases your products and brand personality.

Key elements of an effective e-commerce website include:

  • Clear, high-quality product images and descriptions
  • Prominent calls-to-action (CTAs) to guide users through the buying process
  • Streamlined navigation and search functionality
  • Mobile-friendly design for optimal viewing on smartphones and tablets
  • Fast page load speeds to prevent visitor frustration and abandonment

Optimize Your Site For Search Engines

Search engine optimization (SEO) helps your website rank higher in search results, driving organic traffic to your online store. Implement SEO best practices throughout your site to improve visibility and attract qualified leads.

SEO strategies for e-commerce websites include:

  • Conducting keyword research to identify relevant, high-traffic search terms
  • Optimizing product titles, descriptions, and meta tags with targeted keywords
  • Creating unique, valuable content that addresses customer needs and interests
  • Building high-quality backlinks from reputable websites in your niche
  • Ensuring your site is mobile-friendly and loads quickly for optimal user experience

Focusing on these key aspects of your online presence will create a strong foundation for your e-commerce business. A well-designed website, powered by a robust e-commerce platform and optimized for search engines, will set the stage for attracting and converting your target audience into loyal customers.

4. Source Or Create Your Products

When starting an online business, you have two main options for sourcing products: finding reliable suppliers for physical goods or creating and selling your own digital products.

For physical products, research potential suppliers thoroughly to ensure they meet your quality standards and can provide consistent inventory. 

Look for suppliers with positive reviews, responsive communication, and fair pricing. Building strong relationships with your suppliers is key to maintaining a smooth supply chain and avoiding stockouts or delays.

If you choose to sell digital products, such as e-books, courses, or software, focus on delivering high-quality, valuable content that addresses your target audience's needs and pain points. Invest time and resources into developing professional, engaging materials that showcase your expertise and provide tangible benefits to your customers.

Whether you sell physical or digital products, compelling product descriptions and visuals are essential for attracting and converting customers. 

Craft detailed, benefits-focused descriptions that highlight your product's unique features and value propositions. Use high-quality images and videos to showcase your products from multiple angles and in use, helping potential buyers visualize the experience of owning or using them.

Optimize Your Product Listings

  • Use clear, concise titles: Make sure your product titles accurately describe the item and include relevant keywords to improve search visibility.
  • Write detailed descriptions: Provide comprehensive product details, including dimensions, materials, features, and benefits. Use bullet points to break up text and make key information easy to scan.
  • Showcase high-quality visuals: Invest in professional product photography and consider including videos or 360-degree views to give customers a better sense of the product.
  • Highlight social proof: Incorporate customer reviews, ratings, and testimonials to build trust and credibility with potential buyers.
  • Offer related products: Use cross-selling and upselling techniques to suggest complementary items or upgrades, increasing average order value and customer lifetime value.

By sourcing reliable products and creating compelling listings, you'll be well-positioned to attract and convert customers to your online store. 

Remember to continually monitor and optimize your product offerings based on sales data, customer feedback, and market trends to ensure you're meeting your target audience's evolving needs and preferences.

5. Determine Pricing And Shipping

Setting the right prices and shipping options is crucial for attracting customers and ensuring profitability. Here's how to find the sweet spot: 

Research Competitor Pricing

Analyze the prices of similar products offered by your competitors. This will give you a benchmark for setting your own prices. Keep in mind that you don't always have to match or beat their prices, especially if you offer unique value or superior quality.

Factor In Costs And Desired Profit Margins

Calculate your total costs, including product acquisition, shipping, packaging, and any applicable fees. Determine your desired profit margin and set prices that cover your costs while allowing you to reach your profitability goals. Remember to strike a balance between competitive pricing and maintaining healthy margins.

Establish Shipping Options And Rates

Decide on the shipping carriers and methods you'll offer, such as standard, expedited, or international shipping. Research shipping rates and consider factors like package weight, dimensions, and destination. You can choose to absorb shipping costs into your product prices, offer free shipping promotions, or pass the costs on to your customers.

Here are the options to consider:

  • Flat-rate shipping: Charge a fixed shipping fee regardless of the order size or destination. This simplifies the checkout process and can encourage customers to add more items to their cart.
  • Real-time shipping rates: Integrate with shipping carriers to display real-time shipping rates based on the customer's location and package details. This ensures accurate pricing and allows customers to choose their preferred shipping method.
  • Free shipping thresholds: Offer free shipping for orders over a certain amount to incentivize larger purchases. This can help increase average order value and offset the cost of shipping.

Consider using shipping management software to automate label printing, track shipments, and handle returns. This streamlines your fulfillment process and provides a better experience for your customers.

6. Implement Payment And Fulfillment

Integrating secure payment gateways into your online store is crucial for processing transactions and protecting sensitive customer information. 

Look for payment providers that offer fraud protection, PCI compliance, and support for popular payment methods. 

This includes credit/debit cards (Visa, Mastercard, etc.), digital wallets (like PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay), and potentially region-specific options like Alipay or mobile payment solutions if relevant to your target market.

Set up an inventory management system to track stock levels, monitor product performance, and avoid overselling. Automated inventory management tools can sync your online and offline sales channels, provide real-time updates, and alert you when it's time to reorder products.

Streamline your order processing and shipping workflows to ensure timely and accurate fulfillment. Implement a system for picking, packing, and shipping orders, and consider using shipping software to automate tasks like label printing and tracking. 

Clearly communicate shipping timelines and provide tracking information to keep customers informed throughout the fulfillment process.

Choose The Right Payment Gateway

The right payment gateway can make a big difference for your business. Here’s how to choose one:

  • Evaluate security features: Select a payment gateway that offers robust security measures, such as encryption, tokenization, and fraud detection, to protect your customers' sensitive data and prevent unauthorized transactions.
  • Consider transaction fees: Compare the transaction fees and pricing structures of different payment gateways to find the most cost-effective solution for your business. Some providers charge a flat rate per transaction, while others take a percentage of each sale.
  • Look for integration options: Choose a payment gateway that seamlessly integrates with your e-commerce platform and other business tools, such as accounting software and CRM systems. This will streamline your financial processes and reduce manual data entry.

Optimize Your Inventory Management

Efficient inventory management is key to running a successful online store. Here's how to optimize yours:

  • Set up automated alerts: Configure your inventory management system to notify you when stock levels run low or when products are selling quickly. This helps you avoid stockouts and ensures you have enough lead time to reorder products.
  • Use barcodes or SKUs: Assign unique barcodes or SKUs to each product variant to simplify tracking and organization. This makes it easier to manage inventory across multiple sales channels and warehouses.
  • Conduct regular audits: Periodically review your inventory data to identify discrepancies, optimize stock levels, and make informed purchasing decisions. Regular audits help you avoid costly errors and maintain accurate inventory records.

Streamline Order Processing and Shipping

Fast and reliable order fulfillment is essential for customer satisfaction. Follow these strategies::

  • Automate order management: Use order management software to automatically route orders to the appropriate fulfillment center, generate pick lists, and update inventory levels. Automation reduces the risk of human error and speeds up the fulfillment process.
  • Offer multiple shipping options: Give customers the flexibility to choose their preferred shipping method, such as standard, expedited, or same-day delivery. Clearly display estimated delivery dates and shipping costs to set expectations and reduce cart abandonment.
  • Provide tracking information: Keep customers informed by providing tracking numbers and real-time updates on their order status. Automated shipping confirmation emails and tracking pages improve the customer experience and reduce inquiries to your support team.

By implementing secure payment processing, efficient inventory management, and streamlined order fulfillment, you'll create a seamless and trustworthy shopping experience for your customers. This foundation sets the stage for long-term success as you grow your online business and expand your product offerings.

7. Market Your Online Store

No online store can thrive without a well-executed marketing plan.  To ensure your products reach the right audience and generate consistent sales, invest time and resources into promoting your brand. Here are some proven tactics to attract and retain customers:

Develop A Comprehensive Marketing Strategy

A well-rounded marketing strategy incorporates various channels and tactics to reach your target audience effectively. Start by defining your ideal customer persona, including demographics, interests, and pain points. This information will guide your marketing efforts and help you create targeted campaigns that resonate with your audience.

Leverage Social Media And Email Marketing

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest offer powerful tools for promoting your online store and engaging with potential customers. 

Create a strong brand presence on relevant social channels and share valuable content, such as product updates, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and user-generated content. Encourage customers to follow your profiles and interact with your posts to build a loyal community around your brand.

Email marketing allows you to nurture leads and keep your customers informed about new products, promotions, and exclusive offers. 

Build an email list by offering incentives like discounts or free shipping in exchange for subscribers' email addresses. Segment your list based on customer preferences and behaviors to deliver personalized, relevant content that drives engagement and sales.

Invest In Paid Advertising And Collaborations

Paid advertising, such as Google Ads and social media ads, can help you reach a wider audience and drive targeted traffic to your online store. 

Develop compelling ad copy and visuals that showcase your unique value proposition and entice potential customers to click through to your website. Continuously monitor and optimize your ad campaigns based on performance data to maximize your return on investment.

Collaborations with influencers, bloggers, or complementary brands can expose your products to new audiences and lend credibility to your brand. 

Identify influencers who align with your brand values and have a strong following in your niche. Reach out to propose mutually beneficial partnerships, such as sponsored posts, product reviews, or co-branded promotions. These collaborations can help you tap into the influencer's engaged audience and drive qualified traffic to your online store.

SEO also plays a vital role in driving organic traffic to your website. Optimize your product pages and blog content for relevant keywords, and build high-quality backlinks from reputable websites in your industry. 

Regularly publishing fresh, valuable content can help establish your brand as an authority in your niche and improve your search engine rankings over time.

8. Provide Excellent Customer Service

Exceptional customer service is a cornerstone of any successful online business. By prioritizing customer satisfaction, you foster loyalty, encourage repeat purchases, and build a positive brand reputation. 

Here's how to create a customer-centric support experience: 

Offer Multiple Support Channels

Give your customers various ways to reach out for assistance, such as email, phone, live chat, or social media. Make your contact information easily accessible on your website and provide clear instructions on how to get in touch. Consider implementing a help desk software to manage and track customer inquiries efficiently.

Prioritize Prompt Responses

Set standards for response times and strive to address customer inquiries and issues as quickly as possible. According to a HubSpot study, 90% of customers rate an "immediate" response as essential or very important when they have a customer service question. 

Aim to respond within 24 hours or less. Provide updates on the status of their inquiry if a resolution requires more time.

Leverage Self-Service Resources

Create a comprehensive knowledge base or FAQ section on your website to address common questions and concerns. This empowers customers to find answers on their own, reducing the burden on your support team. Include articles, tutorials, and videos that guide customers through product usage, troubleshooting, and account management.

Train Your Support Team

Invest in training your customer service representatives to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to provide exceptional support. 

Develop a set of best practices and guidelines that emphasize empathy, active listening, and problem-solving. Regularly review customer interactions and provide feedback to help your team continuously improve their performance.

Gather And Act On Feedback

Actively seek customer feedback through surveys, reviews, and post-purchase follow-ups. Use this valuable insight to identify areas for improvement in your products, website, and overall customer experience. 

Regularly monitor and respond to online reviews, addressing both positive and negative feedback in a professional and constructive manner.

Measure And Analyze Performance

Track key customer service metrics, such as response times, resolution rates, and customer satisfaction scores. Use this data to set benchmarks, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your support operations. Continuously monitor and adjust your strategies to ensure you're meeting and exceeding customer expectations.

Final Thoughts

Now is the time to gain from the immense potential of online selling. With platforms like Kajabi, launching and scaling your online business is easier than ever. 

Kajabi simplifies the process of setting up an online store, creating and marketing your products, and managing customer relations, all in one place. Embrace the online marketplace, prioritize customer satisfaction, and adapt to evolving needs to achieve remarkable e-commerce success.

Kajabi offers the tools and support necessary to navigate the intricacies of online selling. Whether you're selling digital products, physical products, or services, Kajabi has you covered.

Discover how Kajabi can empower your online selling journey.

Sign up for a 14-day free trial today!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Start Selling Things On The Internet?

To start selling things on the Internet, begin by choosing a product or service you want to offer. Research your target market and competition to understand the demand and positioning. Next, select a platform to sell on, such as an e-commerce website, social media, or online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay. Set up your online store, list your products with high-quality images and descriptions, and ensure you have a secure payment system. Finally, market your products through various channels like social media, SEO, and email marketing to attract customers.

What Is The Best Thing To Start Selling Online?

The best thing to start selling online depends on your interests, expertise, and market demand. Popular options include niche products, handmade crafts, vintage items, and digital products like e-books or courses. Research trends and analyze competition to find a profitable niche. Consider starting with products that have a low initial investment and high demand. Testing different products and gathering customer feedback can help you identify the most successful items for your online business.

How Do I Start A Website To Sell?

To start a website to sell, begin by choosing a domain name that reflects your brand and is easy to remember. Next, select a web hosting service and an e-commerce platform. Design your website with a user-friendly layout, ensuring it is mobile-responsive and has a secure payment gateway. Add your products with detailed descriptions and high-quality images. Finally, implement SEO strategies and integrate marketing tools to drive traffic to your site and convert visitors into customers.

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