How to Sell Online: 9 Online Selling Ideas for 2020

Written by Franklin Hatchett

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Our goal at EcomElites is to help readers get the information they need, we partner with companies to help bring you that information. If a purchase or signup is made through our partners, we receive compensation for the referral. Learn More

Selling online is no longer an option, it has become the most practical choice to do business. The issue with selling online is that it is overwhelming. There are so many things that you need to learn, and it can be a difficult thing to implement for some.

Where do you even begin and what will you sell? Today, you will learn about nine online selling ideas to help you jumpstart your online business.

But first, why should you do business online?

Why sell online?

There are many reasons to business online, but here are the three most important ones.

  • It requires low capital – you can start a store with only as little as $29. Yes, all it takes is to choose a platform and build your store from there. Once this is done, you will have to pay a monthly subscription. You do not even have to pay for inventory—we will explain this further later on.
  • It is scalable – once you start making sales, it is easy to expand your product line and reach more people.
  • It is manageable – you can take your business no matter where you are. If you want to go on vacation, you can take your laptop with you and then process orders even if you are at the beach.

As you can see, an online business may be difficult to establish at first, but it will later on prove that it is a better choice than building a brick-and-mortar store.

Now, let us move on and talk about the nine online selling ideas that you can start today.

1. Start a dropshipping store

A dropshipping store is one of the most affordable types of businesses you can start today. With dropshipping, you build an online store and sell someone else’s products. You do not have to buy inventory, and all you need to do is to promote your store.

Once a customer makes a purchase from your store, you have to order that product from your supplier. It is your supplier who will ship the item to your customer.

The money you earn is the difference between the supplier’s price and your selling price. If the supplier’s price is $10, you can sell this product on your store for $15. You need to take into account the shipping rate and your other expenses to make this business profitable.

2. Sell on social media

You can sell on social media like Instagram or Facebook. For one. Facebook now has what is called Facebook Shop. If you want to take advantage of the power of social media, Facebook is one of the best platforms where you can sell online.

It is completely up to you to choose what products you sell. It is also completely free to set it up. You can join Facebook groups to advertise your business for free, or you can do paid advertising to promote your products.

To be able to charge people’s credit cards, you need a shopping cart tool that you have to pay monthly. The two best tools are Shopify and Ecwid. You can integrate these two platforms with your Facebook store so your customers have a way to pay you online.

3. Sell on Etsy

Etsy started out as a platform for artists. Now, it has grown as a retail giant for people who want to sell online. Although Etsy is a little strict on its terms, it is the best platform to sell products that you make with your own hand.

If you do not make your own products, what you can do is to outsource your manufacturing. For example, you can sell t-shirts on Etsy, but you do not have to buy and print your own t-shirts. There are companies out there that will help you do this, such as Printful and Printify.

All you need to do is to design the t-shirt, and then post them on Etsy. Once someone buys, you order that shirt from the printing company, and they will ship the shirt to your customer.

4. Do Amazon FBA

FBA stands for Fulfillment by Amazon. In this business model, you have to buy your own inventory. What happens is that you send all your products to Amazon, and then Amazon will catalog them. Once this activity is over, you can now post your products on the Amazon website.

The next step is completely up to you. You can promote your products, or just wait for people to see it on Amazon. Once they make a purchase, shipping is no longer your problem. Since you have sent your items to an Amazon warehouse, they will take care of shipping the items to the customer.

Amazon FBA is a little costly. Apart from paying the seller fee for every transaction, you have to pay for “rent”. Because your items are occupying space in the warehouse, you have to pay for that space on a monthly basis.

5. Create a drop servicing business

Drop servicing is like dropshipping, but for services. The method to make this work is the same with dropshipping. However, you will sell services that other freelancers provide, not physical products from manufacturers.

Here are some examples of services that you can sell:

  • SEO
  • Writing
  • Graphic arts
  • Animation

In drop servicing, you advertise and sell these services on your store. If a customer orders, you order the service from a freelancer. The freelancer sends you the completed work, and then you give it to your client. Like dropshipping, your profit is the difference between the freelancer’s price and your selling price.

6. Launch your own store

This one also works like dropshipping, but you are going to sell your own products. This is great if you are a producer of some sort.

The thing with this business model is that you are in charge of everything—from production to packaging to shipping. All these are your responsibility.

The cost is also a little higher than dropshipping. In this business model, you have to pay for your store’s monthly subscription. Next, you have to spend on the production of your items. You also need to buy your own packing materials and then you have to spend for gasoline when you drop the item for shipping.

This works best if you created something that is original—your own brand. Do not use this business model if you will sell someone else’s products.

7. Sell digital tools

Digital tools are things that people can either download or use online. For example, you can sell a calendar or a planner, or maybe an Excel sheet that can automatically analyze data.

There are many people online who need help. If you understand coding, you can even build your own app that people can use on a daily basis. Although there are already so many apps out there, there is always room to grow and add new software.

The trick here is to find the pain points of people who spend a lot of time online. Create a tool that will help them solve these problems, and you have a guaranteed customer base.

8. Sell your brand

This brand is yourself. As you can see, the people who are called influencers sell one thing—themselves. If you are an authority about something, then you can use your credibility to make money online.

How do you do this?

You can provide consultation services to people who are struggling in life. There are many people who provide business consultations who earn a lot of money. Basically, people pay for your time. In exchange, they get valuable lessons and advice from you.

9. Sell knowledge

You can sell knowledge in the form of an eBook or an online course. This is a great source of passive income where you can earn for many years to come. It takes a while to build a course or write an eBook, but it will surely pay off later on.

One thing you can do is to pay someone to write your book. Find an expert in your niche and have this person write a long eBook course for you. Be prepared to pay a lot. Over time, this eBook will yield profits for you since you own the copyright forever.

You also need to consistently market these products. It works best if you establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Use YouTube and social media to teach people a little bit about your expertise, and then invite them to purchase your course and learn more.


Selling online may not be easy, but it does pay off if you make it succeed. The first step that you have to take is to decide the method how you want to make money online. Once you have decided, you have to put in some time to study how it works.

You can take a course to make things easier. Online courses are structured lessons where you can learn the basics of how to set up an online business. With these courses, you can build your online business, and then keep on learning advanced techniques to be able to make a sale.

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