Updated: March 8, 2015
One of the easiest ways to earn extra income nowadays is to simply sell things online. There are numerous internet classified ads and online auction sites that offer free setup and item posting services. If you’ve got a product to sell or a service to offer, employing this sales channel is a relatively cheap way to reach a massive market.
If you’re looking for a sideline business or just wanting to make money out of some of your stuff at home, then it might be good to consider selling online. You don’t need to be tech savvy or an internet expert to do this. Here are some tips that you might find useful if you want to start on this venture.
How To Start Selling Online
- Determine what you want to sell. You can actually sell anything online nowadays. Begin with what you already have. From personal experience, second hand electronic gadgets such as cellphones and mp3 players, computer parts, books, DVD movies and collectibles such as comic books and vintage toys are highly marketable. Don’t limit yourself, remember that your useless junk can be someone else’s treasure.
- Look for online classifieds and auction websites that cater to the products you want to sell. Don’t just go and sign up for an account anywhere. Do some research and find your target market. For example, if beading is your hobby and you want to sell some of your handicrafts online, then Etsy could be a great place for you.
- Read carefully the regulations, terms and conditions and frequently asked questions or FAQ section of the website. It’s best to know and study them before you sign up. Make sure that they can provide the service you require. Furthermore, you’ll be informed of restrictions and limitations that the site implements to sellers. Lastly, this also helps you become aware of fees that you need to pay as a member, if there’s any.
- After signing up, don’t post your items immediately. Have a look around first and explore the site. Browse some of the items listed, notice how the ads are usually presented. Furthermore, observe members’ activities. Some of these sites provide community forums and there’s nothing wrong with lurking just to get a feel of the market ambiance.
- Be sociable and build a good reputation. Introduce yourself to the community. Get acquainted with the power sellers and frequent buyers of your niche. Be active in forum discussions and join social groups within the site, if available. Being active in the community will give out an impression that you’re a trustworthy person and your products are of good quality and value.
- Speaking of reputation, most if not all of these websites have a system that measures the quality of its members. As a fresh member, your feedback score is most likely neutral or zero. Although a positive score is not a requirement for selling, most people do prefer buying from someone that has high reputation already. So what’s the easiest way to get a positive recommendation? Buy something. Look for an item you need or purchase anything you can easily resell. The goal here is to create positive feedback. If you’re a great buyer, then others will most likely think that you’re also a great seller.
While you’re busy introducing yourself to the community and buying a couple of stuff from others to gain positive feedback, you can actually start listing your items already. But don’t just post your products and hope that somebody will buy immediately. It usually takes days, sometimes weeks before you make purchase. Also, there are proper and marketable ways to present your wares to potential buyers. Here’s a brief guide on how to post your items for selling online.
Make your title catchy
Don’t just put there iPhone 8GB For Sale. Make it more interesting such as iPhone 8GB, Rush Sale, Need Money Quick. Additionally, don’t list something like Nursing Review Books. Be more creative by posting Nursing Review Books That Helped Me Pass The Board Exams. People will most likely click your link and see what you have.
Upload a photo
People would appreciate it if they can see what they’re actually buying. Take several pictures of your product in different sides and angles and upload it with your listing. No need for a DSLR, just a clear photo from your camera phone would usually suffice.
Post your ad in the right category
You want the right people to find your product. So make sure that you list your items in the proper category and sub-category. You might be tempted to post your items in high-traffic categories such as mobile phones even if you’re selling second hand books. Don’t or you run the risk of being penalized by the webmasters.
Give your product a fair price
Learn the current market value of your items. Check similar listings for their prices. Try to offer added value such as “freebies” so you can post a slightly higher price for your products. Also, make sure that you incorporate packaging and delivery costs. I already wrote an article here about pricing strategies. You might want to read that also.
Consider payment options and delivery
Cash on delivery is the most common practice if both the buyer and seller are in the same area. For provincial and international buyers, it will be safer if you get the payment first before shipping out your item. This is where your seller reputation comes in handy. Remember that most online transactions are based on trust.
Furthermore, some websites also offer alternative forms of payment such as Paypal while others provide an escrow system to help protect both the buyer and seller from fraud. Contact the site’s customer service to learn more about your available options.
Provide complete specifications and compelling content
Describe your items with as much detail as you can. I also encourage writing a personal recommendation for the product. Moreover, provide a reason why you are selling the item as buyers usually want to know this. Moreover, be honest with its defects and try to offer a solution.
For example, when I listed the book, The Millionaire Next Door, for auction several years ago, a part of my advertisement went: “This book really helped me change my spending habits. I’m selling it because I want to share the knowledge and help others. The book cover is already torn because it traveled with me most of the time, but the pages are complete and intact. You can have it soft-bound to protect the pages after you purchase it.”
Be professional in your transactions
When you’re meeting up with a buyer, come on time. Treat this as a formal business transaction but don’t be too impersonal. If possible, give your buyer product warranties specially if you’re selling an electronic gadget. Prepare a sales invoice, even if it’s just something you made. List down the full specifications of the items, including serial numbers, warranty agreements and other relevant information. Have it signed and give your buyer a copy. Lastly, after a successful trade, don’t be shy to ask your buyer for a positive feedback as a seller and remember to do the same in return.
To my fellow Pinoys, here are some Philippine online classifieds and auction sites which you might want to consider signing up for:
- 88DB Service Portal
- Bidshot Online Marketplace
- Buy And Sell Plus
- Craiglist Philippines
- OLX Philippines
I guess that covers most of the things you need to know if you want to sell online for extra income. I actually know someone who started selling online as a hobby and now does this as a full-time business. So who knows if you might also find success in this profitable venture.
Lastly, as I have good experience in selling online, I will write more about this topic in the weeks to come. I hope you won’t miss these articles and subscribe to Ready To Be Rich. Thank you.