For many of us building and creating is not a problem. It just comes to us and is easy to do. But the business side of things is the difficult part. I mean all the marketing, finding places to sell, and then creating the listings. It just seems like so much work. Well we have a few options: build and giveaway (how do we generate cash to fund future projects), build and keep (where will you put everything you build), or build and sell.
I personally like to build and sell my projects whether they be small or large. So now I have to figure out how to sell them. Again you have a few options: sell online, sell to retailers, or sell in person. Because I haven't marketed myself to sell in person (yet) and I haven't aimed at any retailers to sell my products, this article will be about what resources are out there to sell online.
There are many places to choose from but I will talk about the big 3: eBay, Etsy, Your Website. We will talk about the pros and cons of all three. Then you can decide where you want to sale your work.
eBay: eBay's image to the public was a spot for people to sell collectibles. Over time their image has changed from individuals selling to a place that companies from around the world can list items for auction. In my opinion it is a big downfall on eBay. It used to be fairly easy to find a good deal and the item description was cut and dry. You can still find good deals but it takes substantially more work to do so. Companies are listing hundreds of the same item and they use every tag word in the dictionary. So when tag words were so focused on helping people find your product it has changed to a listing every tag word to make your product show up in every search possible. If you do decide to list on eBay you need to know the costs and how much will be taken out of your final sell price. Just to sell on eBay you will be charged an insertion fee + final value fee + fees for any optional features or services you choose.
- Insertion fee is calculated based of the item your listing, how many times you list it, and how many categories you list it in. The fee could range from Free - Several Dollars.
- Final Value fee is a percentage of the final selling price + Shipping price + any thing else you charge the customer for (sales tax not included). So basically they charge you a fee for selling the item and for shipping it. So when you quote your shipping price you need to add a few dollars because they will take there fee off of it. The final value fee could range from 10% - $250.
That is not all that you will be charged. If you accept checks or money orders then you could be done with the above fees, But if you accept PayPal (which is the standard on eBay now) then you will be charged around 3.5% of the selling price. You can go eBay's Standard Selling Fees page to read more.
Etsy: Etsy was created for people to sale handmade, vintage items, supplies, or unique manufactured items. It remains focused on those areas today. It is basically a virtual "craft fair". If you put in the effort it could be a very profitable place to sell items. But because there is a lot of competition, if you don't rank amongst the top sellers then your items are featured. Etsy's fees are generally straight forward. The listing fee is $.20 per item per listing. So if you list 5 of the same item you will be charged $.20 to list and when the first item sells then the it is automatically renewed with one less quantity and you are charged $.20 again. When you sell an item Etsy charges your 3.5% of the selling price. If you use Paypal or Etsy Direct Checkout, you will be charged their fee as well.
This is where I choose to list my items for sell. You can read more about Etsy's Fees and Policies on their site policies page.
Your Website: This is where you have to do the most research because different hosting companies charge different fees. Plus you have to pay fees to your Credit Card Processing company like Squareup, Payments by Wave, or Paypal. For my hosting company I have to pay more per year to be able to list commerce then I have to use their payment processing company, Stripe. So unless I sell a lot then the fees quickly out rank the profit. However, I can list items for free but then again I have to pay that yearly membership for it.
These are all encompassing. You will need to do your own research to make sure what is the best fit for your company. You may decide not to sell on-line at all and only sell in person. But whatever you choose make sure you know up front what you will have to pay.