If you're trying to enter the e-commerce scene this year, then you'll want to read this 2023 e-commerce selling guide. We'll give you the quick and dirty on the what, where, and how of online selling and the best accounting software to use.
Deciding What to Sell
You can't have a store if you don't have anything to sell. If you're looking into starting an online business, chances are, you already have something in mind. Maybe you're a great artist and want to sell your artwork. Or perhaps you've invented a safer, more eco-friendly baby bowl. You may even just want to sell dog and cat supplies by dropshipping because your local pet store doesn't meet customers' needs. Whatever niche you're looking into, make sure it's something you're either knowledgeable about, is a steady trend in the market, or meets a need.
Have you ever heard the saying, "Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life?" It's likely that if you love something, then you're fairly knowledgeable about it. It's much easier being an online computer parts seller if you already know computer building and don't have to spend extra time educating yourself before starting. But you should also choose a market that you either enjoy or at least don't mind staying up-to-date on so your knowledge and content never get antiquated.
Trendy and Steady
Fads and hot picks can burn out as quickly as they come to the market. Some e-commerce sellers capitalize on these trendy products like fidget spinners and rompers. But items like clothes, food, and housewares will always be necessary.
If you want your e-commerce store to be a stable source of income, then choose to sell something that will be a steady necessity for your buyers. Even if you sell staples, it's necessary to keep up with the market trends so you can continue to remain competitive and relevant.
Meet the Need
Suppose you excel at painting figurines for a particular game and notice other people’s miniatures aren't as well painted or are in need of painting. Then congratulations! You just identified a market need. You can either sell your services of painting their figurines or sell pre-painted minis.
And what happens if that particular game goes out of style? Simply apply your skills to the next game or figurine set that comes along, or an old staple like Warhammer or Dungeons and Dragons. Whatever your goods or services, they should be adaptable to the market, so you're always meeting a need.
Where to Sell
Once you have an idea of what you're selling, you'll want to choose where to sell. There are four popular e-commerce platforms: Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Shopify. But how do you pick one from the other? Here's a short list of pros and cons.
As an international marketplace, listing your business on Amazon would likely get you the most exposure and reach. However, the competition is fierce, so be sure you have a long term business plan before starting on Amazon. It also offers two monthly plans for e-commerce sellers, Individual or Professional. The Individual plan will charge you $0.99 or 75p per item sold and is a good choice if you sell fifty or fewer items per month. Anymore than that, and you'll want to go Professional, which charges $39.99 or £25 a month. Amazon offers their form of e-commerce bookkeeping. However, it lacks functionality and isn't very intuitive.
eBay is an auction style marketplace. So if you have unique, rare, limited edition, or other high priced items that would interest collectors, this may be your best bet as you're more likely to get your asking price or higher. However, remember that eBay charges you for every listing you make, regardless of whether the item sells, and will take a cut of the final selling price, taxes and other fees included.
If you're an arts and crafts guru or have a uniquely styled item, Etsy is known as the creative art market. Like eBay, Etsy charges per listing whether or not the item sells, but the listing lasts for four months, and it charges per individual item regardless if it's just multiples under the same listing. It will also take a cut of the final sale and, depending on how much your store makes, will charge you per month for their offsite ads. Once you earn over a certain amount, you cannot opt out of this.
Shopify is a cloud hosted online storefront manager. With a few free themes and easy site setup, this is a user-friendly option for those who want their own site for customers to visit. Shopify has several price points to support your new online venture as it scales, with various other opt-in features or apps you can add along the way too.
The How of Bookkeeping
You've got what you're selling and where you're selling it, so you're all set to go, right? Not yet, pump the brakes. You’ll want to do a lot of market research for your specific niche and make a business plan before you make the leap. Also keep in mind that without e-commerce accounting software, you’ll have to keep track of taxes, startup costs, VAT, shipping, and more by hand. So you’ll also need to choose how to organize your e-commerce bookkeeping.
When you're trying to break into the market, you don't have hours to waste on the mundane process of e-commerce bookkeeping. And if you use one or more of the four markets listed above, you'll want an e-commerce accounting software that can integrate all of them.
Link My Books is an e-commerce accounting software that's affordable, user friendly, and easily integrates with the top four e-commerce platforms as well as Xero and Quickbooks Online. One of the best accounting software in the e-commerce space and trusted by thousands of sellers and top accountants, Link My Books takes care of all the e-commerce bookkeeping so you can focus on your business.