So you want to start a little side hustle and sell products online but starting a website and getting traffic to that website sounds too complicated? Well — you came to the right place.
In this article I will cover multiple ways to sell products online without a website.
Whether you have a product of your own (physical or digital) or you have no product at all, there is a wide variety of options available to you.
If you’re serious about this, I’m sure one of these will tickle your fancy — and potentially become a source of side money for you.
Or even turn into a full time business … Who knows.
Option #1: Offering Your Products On Online Marketplaces
You probably know someone that has sold products on eBay, or maybe you have even bought/sold some stuff of eBay yourself. To many of us, eBay is just a place where people list second-hand items they want to get rid off.
This is actually far from the truth. eBay is an online marketplace where tens of thousands of sellers (many running full-time operations) buy and sell goods. These goods don’t have to be second-hand and they don’t have to be a one-off thing.
You can buy products in bulk and flip them on eBay. The best part? It’s SO simple.
I sold my first item (a game for the Nintendo Gamecube) on eBay when I was 11 years old. That’s how easy it is to get started on eBay and other marketplaces!
eBay is the perfect place to list your items and start with an online business. It’s 100% free and the setup is painless. Many people have found success through ebay. All you need to get started is a free account.
Etsy is very similar to eBay. It’s also a marketplace but while eBay is used for just about anything, Etsy is more for the personalized arts and craft and vintage items.
If you are selling a personalized item, Etsy is your best bet.
Selling on Etsy is free apart from the 20 cent fee you’ll pay for every product listing. The listing fee is peanuts for the amount of money you can make by selling on the platform.
According to Similarweb, 358 million visitors visit Etsy every month. That’s a huge, niche customer base that you can access with the right arts and crafts or vintage products.
It should come as no surprise that many sellers have found success on the platform.
TIP: you can sell on Etsy without inventory through print on demand. Here are some articles to get you started with this.
- Complete Print On Demand Guide
- Print on demand partners that you can integrate with Etsy
- How to sell art prints on Etsy
And last but definitely not least: Amazon! Yes you can sell on this behemoth of a marketplace. And yes, you can even make use of their fulfillment centers.
Being ranked number one worldwide for the shopping category, and with 2.6 billion visitors a month, it should come as no surprise that a lot of money can be made as an Amazon seller.
Selling on Amazon — and using their fulfillment centers is called Fulfillment by Amazon or FBA for short.
How does it work?
Selling on Amazon is a three-step-process:
First, you buy products in bulk and ship them to Amazon. Many sellers source products directly from Alibaba but you can use any supplier you want.
Next, you list the products on Amazon and sync them with the fulfillment center.
Once someone purchases your products on Amazon, Amazon takes care of the shipping and customer service.
That’s how simple it is!
Options #2: Print On Demand Marketplaces
In the previous chapter, we talked about how you can sell products that you own on online marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and Etsy. Now I’m going to cover print on demand marketplaces.
Print on demand marketplaces allow anyone to buy and sell on them, with a slight twist. The products that you sell on these marketplaces don’t actually belong to you. Only the digital design belongs to you. The products (t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, stickers, yoga mats,…) belong to the marketplace.
Still confused? Here’s a quick example:
You as a seller upload an art piece (e.g. a digital drawing of your dog). You also decide which products this art piece will go on. For example a t-shirt.
Once someone decides to buy that exact product (the t-shirt with the digital drawing of your dog), the print on demand marketplace will print your design on that t-shirt and send it to the customer.
Since the design is yours, a percentage of the profits, will go to you.
This is a great way for designers and artists to make some extra money online with their art without having to start a website of their own or manage inventory.
POD marketplaces are perfect for generating passive income and many sellers and artists have found success this way.
Here are some examples of these print on demand marketplaces.
Each of these come with their pros and cons. Check out this article for an in-depth comparison in these POD marketplaces!
Option #3: Selling On Social Media
While you need a Shopify or WooCommerce connection to setup an Instagram or Facebook shop (that lets you sell directly on the platform), you can sell offer your products on different social media without a webshop.
By selling products on social media, you can leverage your existing audience or build a new one from scratch. Either way, you have a lot more control as opposed to with marketplaces.
When you’re offering your products on a marketplace, you are limited to the audience of said marketplace.
But with social media, you handle the marketing.
The best part? You can combine marketplaces with social media. Seriously, no one is stopping you from advertising your Etsy, Teespring or eBay shop on your social media!
Instagram & Facebook
Selling on Instagram and Facebook is becoming more and more popular. And long not every business on Instagram uses their built-in shopping platform. Many Instagram businesses rely solely on DMs and comments to sell their products.
This approach is often done by entrepreneurs selling personalized goods such as bracelets but also by small fashion and accessory brands.
Requiring your customers to DM you comes with an instant advantage — you are personally in contact with your customer. This personalized connection is a lot more effective than having customers buy directly from your online store, without them talking to you.
Customers are a lot more likely to buy from you as they feel like they can trust you more and they can ask you questions prior to purchasing.
You could potentially even upsell them on other products!
Soldsie is an application that lets you sell on Facebook and Instagram without having your own website.
How does it work? Simple! Soldsie is integrated with your Instagram/Facebook account and customers can shop by commenting “Sold” on the product picture.
Once they do, an invoice will be generated and they can pay for the order.
Soldsie can handle payments, orders, emails, customer data and even manage inventory.
If Soldsie doesn’t seem like your thing, Like2buy might be.
Like2buy is an application that lets you make your Instagram page “shoppable” without having your own website to sell from.
The way it works is that you can create your own storefront from your Instagram feed. Customers will then be able to shop directly from those pictures by tapping them! All they have to do to see your shoppable Instagram, is to click the link in your bio.
In 2020 customer are very used to brands telling them to “shop in bio”, Like2buy offers a great way of doing so!
As you can see, you definitely don’t need a website to start selling products online. There are so many different online marketplaces where you can offer your your products.
If you have your own products, offering them on marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon or Etsy are your options.
If you’re creative and prefer a more hands-off approach, you can try uploading designs to print on demand marketplaces.
And last but not least, if you still want to sell under your own “branding” but don’t want to start a website, you can sell on social media such as Facebook or Instagram.