Getting started: how to sell your products online for free

November 18, 2020

Selling your products or services online is your first step in going digital.

Not only does it open a whole new customer segment, but it provides a new opportunity to interact with customers and sell items.

It can be a little overwhelming at first if you’ve never sold anything online, so we’ve created this guide to help you make the jump to your first e-commerce platform.

Why sell online?

If you’re reading this in 2020, then you already know the first answer to this question - lockdown.

As a small brick and mortar business, lockdown from the Covid-19 pandemic has likely had a severe impact on your revenue. Selling your products online allows you to remain open and stay in business.

Online selling also enables you to reach a wider audience, whether it’s customers in the next town, city or county over. Suddenly, the entire UK can be your target market - and you can even expand to other countries too.

Finally, adding an online sales channel opens up plenty of interesting opportunities to interact with customers. You can offer even better customer service, use discount codes, and redesign the customer journey.

It also provides great business opportunities as you may find that selling items is more profitable than selling in person.

Where to sell for free

If you’re going to start selling online, it’s likely you aren’t keen on spending half of your revenue on the selling platform. There are usually two options when it comes to selling online: marketplaces and self-hosted platforms.

Online marketplaces and apps like Poshmark, Ruby Lane, Bonanza, Etsy, Craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Amazon allow you to sell products online through their platform. The main issue is that listing fees, final value fees or Paypal fees can be high and you won’t have much control of the customer experience and journey.

Self-hosted platforms like Shopify, Magento or a plug-in e-commerce website mean you have a lot more control over the customer experience and the monthly fees you pay.

As a small business owner, the best way to sell online is to host your shop on your own website. This allows you to track the metrics that are most important, customise the shop as you like it and adjust settings whenever you want to.

It also adds authority and makes it easier for customers to find you.

This is what we offer at Pomelo Pay: your own Pomelo shop that is completely free to use. You can customise your e-commerce site, add your products quickly and easily integrate it into your website through a link or QR code.

Your online business is completely free to set up. The only thing you will ever pay is a transaction fee of 1.49% when you make a sale.

florist ecommerce shop set-up

Getting started: how to set up your online store

1. Choose what to sell

Before starting up your online shop, the first thing to do is decide what to sell. This is an important step because you may find that you can’t sell all your items online.

If you’re a coffee shop, you may choose to sell your mugs and t-shirts online, rather than your edible produce. If you do want to sell your coffee and croissants online, you could choose to offer something such as click and collect instead.

If this is all very new to you, start selling your most popular items and see how it goes from there.

2. Set up your online store

If you already have a website, then you're halfway there. If you don’t have one, the good news is that you can still set up an online shop without one.

With the Pomelo shop website builder, we’ve made it as easy as possible to set up your storefront and list your items for free. It’s an incredibly intuitive process and your shop is set up in minutes.

All products are quick to be uploaded and you can use the same photos as your menu. You’ll then be able to customise your shop template with your own colours, and decide the type of shipping you want to offer your customers, whether it be click and collect, deliveries, etc.

You’ll be able to integrate the online shop with your business bank account and promote it as a separate menu link. Once you’ve decided on your shipping, product categories, accepted payments and credit cards, your shop is ready to begin trading.

3. Let your customers know

An online shop won’t create sales automatically - you first need to let your customer base know that they have the option to buy online. Promote it inside your shop, let your newsletter subscribers know and publish some blog articles on your website.

Make it very clear on your website that you are now taking online orders. Add an easily discoverable email address so people have someone to contact if they have questions to ask, and make sure you have set up a customer service function.

4. Start marketing

Now, you want to encourage more customers to order online. This is where you can experiment with all your marketing tools. Start posting on social media, set up search engine ads, work on your SEO and publish articles.

You can also join local Facebook groups and shop communities so people know they can order online or pick up products. Many customers want to support local e-commerce businesses but don’t know if the business takes online orders - so make sure to promote your e-commerce store.

You can also incentivise people to shop online by offering discount codes at checkout or by making items cheaper online than they are in store.

Setting up an online store may seem like a daunting task, but in the age of pandemics and lockdown, it may be the only way to keep a business afloat.

By taking the right steps, marketing online and reaching customers in innovative ways, you’ll be selling and making a profit online.

With Pomelo shop, you can test your own online store and make your first online sale before committing any money upfront. When you do make your first sale you won't have to pay any eye-watering seller fees, all you need to pay is the 1.49% payment processing fee.