How to sell online from scratch

You understand the fact that many people now rely on the Web for their purchases, so you have decided to bring your business online as well. The problem, however, is that you are not yet very familiar with certain dynamics regarding e-commerce and would need a hand to reach your goal. No problem: this guide is for you.

What I will try to do in the next few lines, in fact, will be to explain to you how to sell online starting from scratch, providing you with all the basic indications to bring your business on the Web. After an examination of the conditions and practical problems that you will have to face, I will move on to show you how to sell online through your e-commerce site, using social channels or through ad sites.

How do you say? Are you waiting for nothing more than to discover the different ways to start earning thanks to the Internet? Very well, take a few minutes of free time and read what I have to tell you: you will see that in the end you will know perfectly well how to plan and implement your sales project on the Web. I wish you good reading and good luck for your business!


  • Preliminary information
  • How to sell online from scratch with a website
  • How to sell online from scratch on social networks
  • How to sell online from scratch for free

Preliminary information

Since your intention is to figure out how to sell online from scratch, you need to start the business from the ground up, making sure they are solid enough.

First, then, decide what you want to sell: do you think it will be products or services? Will they be new, artisanal or second-hand products? In any case, do a market survey to understand if people need what you offer, i.e. investigate the existence of the real demand for these goods. At first, you can also simply ask friends, acquaintances or a sample of people you don’t know at all. If you find it useful, take a survey.

Once you have evaluated the opportunity to start your business, before landing on the Web you must ask yourself other questions: one of these is certainly the one relating to whom to sell and, consequently, what type of trade to do. The most common are the following.

  • B2CBusiness to Consumer ), the most widespread sales method, that is, the one that happens between a company or a professional and a user.
  • B2BBusiness to Business ), i.e. when the sale is not addressed to the public but takes place between companies or professionals.
  • C2CConsumer to Consumer ), when the sale takes place between subjects that can be classified simply as consumers or individuals. An example of a C2C sale is represented by auctions or sales made with ads.
  • C2BConsumer to Business ), a not very common but practicable sales method, is the one in which those who are normally classified as private, find themselves in a position to offer services to companies or professionals.

Furthermore, there is the aspect of logistics to consider: do your products need to be stored in a warehouse? Will you need staff to handle it? How to ship and who to trust? Is your goods easily perishable or subject to particular regulations?

While trying to answer these questions, I also suggest an alternative method to manage your sales on the Net. You could think of organizing a dropshipping sales system, that is for third parties: you have no physical warehouse in which to keep the merchandise, but only provide your online space, as a showcase for buyers, also enabled for order execution. When you receive them, to arrange for their shipment, you will only have to request the products from the original supplier, avoiding many burdens and business risks.

The moment you have clear how to manage the inevitable practical problems, which are also behind a “virtual” company, the best part will come, that is to choose the channel on which to sell online that is most suitable for your products or services.

If you plan on some investment to bring your business online, you can think about setting up an e-commerce site. In parallel, or even independently, consider the idea of ​​selling through social channels, which are very popular with a large audience. It is not said that you cannot have luck with your business at virtually no cost, taking advantage of the platforms and ad sites that already exist.

In case you decide to opt for starting an e-commerce, know that there are essentially three types.

  • Direct, when the sale of services takes place completely online, used above all for the purchase of services such as, for example, a webinar, a course, an on-demand service and so on.
  • Indirect, when a physical good is sold to the consumer, which he will receive by shipment (an alternative is the mixed system, in which the payment of an online good is completed, and then collected in a physical store).
  • Cybernetic, when the seller is nothing more than a software and the purchase contract is concluded online: a clear example is telephone top-up.

Finally, remember that, as a famous slogan said: “Advertising is the soul of commerce”. So, also plan a budget to implement marketing strategies on the Net.

In the meantime, if you already want to start learning more about the topic, I suggest you read my guides on how to sell online and how online selling works.

How to sell online from scratch with a website

Having made the necessary premises, if you are ready to find out how to sell online starting from scratch with a website, read on. There are several tips I have to give you on this.

First of all, know that to open an e-commerce site you may not need any particular license: just try to understand if you have time to take care of its management, if you may need collaborators, then calculate that there may be some expenses linked especially to the opening of the site. For example, the purchase of a hosting and domain space, having a banking service for online transactions, plus other options at your discretion.

If you do not want to “go crazy” behind every aspect of site management and construction, there are also all-in-one solutions, which allow you to create complete and professional e-commerce without having to write a line of code or having to buy hosting and hosting separately. domain. In this regard, I recommend that you take a look at Shopify, a service used by thousands of users on a global scale, which allows anyone to create and manage an online store from desktops, smartphones and tablets.

To start selling on Shopify, all you have to do is create an account and choose a subscription plan, which includes certain services. However, know that for 14 days you can take advantage of a free trial of Shopify, without any credit registration or any other payment method.

Going into detail, the plans made available to new users by Shopify are three: the Basic Shopify plan, offers the possibility of creating a website including e-commerce and blogs, allowing the unlimited insertion of products or services, includes up to 2 staff accounts, integration with social channels, the ability to manually create orders and discount codes, the SSL certificate, a program for fraud analysis, with 24/7 assistance in English. The cost of the Basic subscription is $ 29 per month. If you have more complex needs, you can take advantage of the Shopify plan: includes everything included in the Basic plan, plus 5 staff accounts, the ability to offer gift vouchers to users, have detailed reports at a cost of $ 79 per month. Finally, you can also choose the plan Advanced Shopify, including, in addition to everything already included in the other plans, as many as 15 staff accounts, with advanced reports and shipping costs calculated at the time of check-out, at a price of 299 $ per monthMore info here.

In practice, to open your account on Shopify and start your free trial period, you need to connect to the official website of the service, click on the Get started button, then fill in the fields with the required information and select the Create your own button. shop. Alternatively, you can also download the Shopify app from the Google Play Store or an alternative store if you have an Android device, or from the App Store if you use an iPhone or iPad.

Once you have accessed your virtual store, use the control panel to upload the products, draw up the descriptive cards related to them and do much more: to know how to move within Shopify, read my guide on how create an ecommerce with Shopify.

I also point out the solution proposed by Aruba, one of the best known Italian services that offer Web hosting, cloud services and online practices, namely Aruba SuperSite. The latter allows you to open a personal website, or with integrated e-commerce, without any particular requirement of knowledge of programming languages, but through the simple drag-and-drop of the elements on the screen. Again, diversified subscription plans are available to the user.

For example, with the SuperSite Trial plan you will be able to try the SuperSite Professional plan for free for 30 days, with the possibility of creating websites on a third-level domain, multilingual, including blogs and e-commerce optimized for smartphones and tablets, with the to implement SEO strategies, including Cookie Policy and 24/7 assistance. At the end of the trial, you will decide whether to purchase the SuperSite Professional plan you have had the opportunity to test, or the Super Site Easy plan. The SuperSite Professional plan provides the user with a second-level domain, 5 mailboxes, SSL DV certificate and much more, at a price of 99 € per year + VAT at the time of renewal € 39 + VAT the first year of use, then. With the SuperSite Easy plan, on the other hand, you will have included a second level domain, 5 mailboxes, SSL DV certificate and 24/7 assistance at a cost of € 39 + VAT the first year, and then move on to € 49 + VAT at renewal.

Once you have decided which plan to activate, you just have to go to the official Aruba website, press the button relating to the plan of your interest and proceed with the on-screen procedure. In a few clicks you will be in front of the SuperSite visual editor, ready to create your site. To know in detail the steps to take, read my guide on how to build a website with Aruba.

If you already have some experience with website management, or in any case you want the freedom to truly customize every aspect of your online store, you might consider using a CMS (Content Management System) to be installed inside a hosting space, that is the area inside a server used to host a website. Hosting and domain, when using solutions with greater customization possibilities, are the first thing to buy to proceed with the opening of a site.

In this case, I can only recommend the WordPress CMS, the most used platform for creating blogs and websites, with many themes and plugins available, and its extension dedicated to e-commerce: WooCommerce.

Also in this case Aruba has a dedicated solution, this is the Aruba Managed WooCommerce Hosting service, able to automate the management of updates and main problems related to the CMS. The package includes, among other things, the domain, optimized platform, unlimited disk space (SSD), SSL DV certificate and up to 10 PEC accounts, at a cost of 124 € + VAT the first year and then 249 € + VAT per year. For more information, read my tutorial on Aruba Managed WooCommerce Hosting.

Obviously, it is not mandatory to rely on services that, in whole or in part, automate the processes of maintaining the website, while always remaining very convenient. If you would like to feel free to personally take care of the management of your site, I can recommend the Aruba Hosting service, to which you can combine the CMS of your choice. More info here.

To get a broader overview on the subject, also read my guides on the best e-commerce platforms, on how to open an online store and on how to manage an ecommerce.

When you have fully started your online business, to start selling and, subsequently, keep the business volumes high, you may need to do some advertising for it. In this regard, evaluate the use of tools such as Google Analytics, to monitor the progress of your site and Google Ads, to publish visible ads within the famous search engine. Never forget to optimize your site for the keywords related to your business: this system will allow you to rank and index your e-commerce within the search engines, that is the main means that allows potential customers to find your business online. Read my guide on how to do online marketing to find out more.

If, on the other hand, you don’t want to create your own site but rely on well-known stores, you might think about opening a shop on Amazon or eBay, which are among the most used online commerce platforms, and therefore with greater visibility. In the tutorials that I have just linked to you, you will find an explanation of the methods and sales rates available on both stores.

How to sell online from scratch on social networks

You do not have a lot of budget to invest in creating an e-commerce site, or at the moment it is not a sales method that interests you, rather you would like to understand how to sell online starting from scratch on social networks: excellent! Read on to find out.

In the next few lines I will talk to you about how to sell on the Net using what are probably the two major social channels on which it is also possible to make purchases, that is Facebook and Instagram.

Start by registering with Facebook from your desktop, then reaching the official website of the social network, or by downloading the app for Android (also available on alternative stores ) or iPhone / iPad.

Once you have your Facebook profile, you will need to create a professional page on the social network, to start selling on this social network. In this regard, to know how to do it, read my guide on how to create a business Facebook page.

This tool will be used to access Facebook services that allow those who have an activity, profession or ideas to sell products and services by taking advantage of the huge traffic of people present on the platform. Among them, Facebook Shops (formerly called Facebook Showcase ): to know how to start using this promising tool, read my guide on how Facebook Shops works and identify the necessary requirements to access it, then populate your store with products or services, just like any other online e-commerce. Speaking of which, read my guide on how to use Facebook to sell, also useful for introducing you to free sales opportunities within the well-known social channel.

For lower sales volumes, on the other hand, Facebook Marketplace is available, an ad “market” where anyone can sell new or second-hand items. Read more here.

Even Instagram allows users to sell online, and, in addition, is owned by Facebook, so you can synchronize your product catalog on Facebook with the latter (provided that you also on Instagram you have a company profile ).

To proceed, register on Instagram through the Android app that you find on the Google Play Store and on alternative stores or for iPhone / iPad (you can find it on the App Store ), then carefully read my guide on how to sell on Instagram to understand how to proceed.

One factor you must take into account is advertising: to ensure that the posts related to your business have the right prominence in the midst of the myriad of news that scrolls on the Facebook home and the Instagram feed, you will have to think about paying for a share to highlight them. This system is called Facebook Ads and you can always access it directly through your Facebook page. If you prefer to use an Android mobile device, download the Facebook Ads app from the Google Play Store (or from an alternative store if you don’t have Google services); if you have an iPhone / iPad instead, download the Ads Manager app from app Store.

To understand how to approach the use of this service, read my guides on how Facebook Ads works and how to do Facebook Ads , then also the more general one on how to advertise on Facebook.

Remember that selling online through social networks can be an excellent test bed to verify the consistency of your business. Also, if you decide to open an e-commerce site (or already have one) using Shopify, you can export your web catalog directly to Facebook and Instagram.

How to sell online from scratch for free

For the moment you don’t want to risk investing money to distribute your products on the web, or you mostly sell used items, so you’d like to know how to sell online from scratch for free. Very well: keep reading because, in fact, this is also a viable type of trade.

To sell online for free, you can go to ad sites or virtual stores. In the first case, the best known examples are the famous ad site (also available as an app version for Android / iOS ) on which it is possible to sell practically anything by simply registering, uploading photos of the goods, writing an ad and establishing the price, or Kijiji, owned by eBay, another valid free online sales channel, which can be used with or without registration on the site (also in this case you will find the app for Android / iOS ).

In case your creative vein leads you to create objects, artifacts, paintings, decorations, home furnishings, t-shirts and so on, you absolutely must know Etsy, the largest showcase dedicated to handicrafts and handmade. Instead, among the services based on the sale of used and vintage clothing, a very popular category also for the themes of reuse and respect for the environment, I would like to point out Depop ( Android / iOS ) and Vinted ( Android / iOS ): both allow to create a profile, upload photos and sell and buy products within the channel. Depopretains a percentage of 11.5% on transactions (to which a commission of 0.35 euros per transaction must be added + taxes on shipping costs).

The sale within the platforms mentioned is free, however calculate that you may be required to pay a financial contribution to highlight your ads, compared to the others. However, joining the initiative remains optional.

To learn more about all these opportunities, read my guides on how to sell online for free and on sites to sell online for free.

As you will understand, the topic is very broad and constantly expanding: the services that allow Web users to easily sell online, as companies, professionals and individuals are more and more. So, what I can advise you at the moment is to read this guide carefully, including all the linked posts, to get an idea of ​​how to sell online from scratch and take the first step by bringing your business online. The commitment, experience and attention to the news of the sector, I hope will help you see the first earnings soon.


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