Online selling: how it works

You have a small business, or you enjoy making handmade products, and you are wondering how online selling works to understand if it might be a good idea to open a shop on the Internet and sell your products there. Well, if so, let me give you some clarification on that.

If you want to know what risks and what advantages there are in selling online and, above all, what needs to be done to set up a business of this type in a safe, simple and fast way, read on: you will find all the information you need (or at least the ones that are enough to get you started), right below.

I assure you that selling on the Internet is not as complicated as you might imagine, or as it was until a few years ago: by reading my guide, I am sure that you will be able to reach your goal without the need for special computer skills. Come on then, take some time to study the subject and get to work immediately. I wish you a good read and wish you a big good luck for everything!


  • Preliminary information
  • Online selling: how it works
    • Open an ecommerce
    • Selling on online shop
    • Ad sites

Preliminary information

Before starting to explain in detail what are the best approaches to start selling online, let me tell you about an element that is often overlooked in this field, namely the tax issue . While in many cases you will not have to worry about tax obligations arising from online sales, it is important that you know which activities you will have to declare instead.

How can imagine, if your intention is to sell from time to time and in a completely episodic an object on the Internet, you will not have any obligation to taxation. In these cases, it is a sale that cannot be configured as a real commercial activity, but always make sure that you are making sales in a non-repeated and regular way.

The speech becomes complicated if, in the course of your sales activity, you make use of elements that can be considered part of preparation and organization of the activity: advertising or buying advertisements, for example, make your sale fall under the occasional commercial activity profile. In this case you will have to declare in 730 in resulting income.

Finally, if you decide to open a dedicated site for sale, such as an ecommerce, your business will be framed as a regular commercial activity, so you will have to open a VAT number and start a full-fledged business, in order to pay income tax according to the provisions established by law.

These, of course, are just a few general guidelines. I am not an expert on the subject and, therefore, I do not feel like going into it further. Before setting up a real online business, therefore, find out precisely about the financial obligations by going to the competent centers, such as a CAF or an accountant, in order to avoid any violations of tax regulations and consequent “nasty surprises”.

Online selling: how it works

Now that you have some more information, I can start talking to you about how online selling works from a more practical point of view. First of all, you need to know that online sales can be done through different channels, each with their own pros and cons. Make sure, therefore, to read the next chapters carefully, so that you can choose the type of sale that best suits your needs.

Open an ecommerce

If you already have a business and you want to expand your audience or you delight in creating products, one of the first options I would like to recommend is the opening of an ecommerce, that is, a real website dedicated to the sale of products. and services.

Even if it may seem a complicated operation, know that you can rely on services that allow you to achieve this goal in a very short time and without technical knowledge. Among these services, I point out Shopify, also available as an app for Android and iPhone / iPad, which allows you to create in a few steps an ecommerce with unlimited products, hosted on the platform’s servers and identified with a free domain name (but with the possibility of using a custom domain ).

Using Shopify you can easily and immediately manage orders, products, customers, payments, shipments and inventory. The service also offers the possibility to create marketing campaigns on social networks, via email and SMS and to have windows on Facebook and Instagram.

While it’s not free (plans start at $ 29 / month), you can take advantage of Shopify’s free, no-obligation trial. To do this, go to the official website of the service and type your email address in the proposed field. Then click the Start Free Trial button and fill out the form provided with your password and store name.

Now click on the Create your store button and answer the questionnaire questions, i.e. indicate if you have already started sellingwhat your current income is , what sector you intend to operate in, and if you are creating a store for a customer. When you are done, click on the Next button and complete the missing address details to receive payments. Finally, click on the Enter the shop button.

Well, now you are ready to administer your personal ecommerce. All the tools you need are located in the left sidebar: then click on Home to display the main Shopify menu, u Orders to operate on orders, on Products to manage the products of your store, on Customers to manage customers, on Analysis to keep an eye on all sales data, on Marketing to create or manage marketing campaigns, on Discounts to allow the use of discount codes in the store, on the App to add new functions to your ecommerce with applications, or on Online shop to customize the pages of the site itself.

Although Shopify makes intuitiveness its strong point, you may still not be clear about some steps or not find some features you are looking for. Precisely for this reason, I invite you to read my guide on how to create an ecommerce with Shopify, in order to have more details on its use.

Although Shopify is a great tool to create your ecommerce, know that there are also different solutions that could be for you. If you have adequate technical skills (or a partner who owns them), you can for example create your own ecommerce from scratch, customizing it as you wish, installing a CMS (i.e. a Content Management System ) on a purchased Webspace. separately, to which to associate a domain, also to be purchased separately.

There are many CMSs to choose from, each with its own peculiarities and specific tools. To help you choose, here is a list of solutions that I consider valid and effective.

  • Aruba Managed WooCommerce Hosting– this solution allows you to immediately get a working ecommerce based on the famous WordPress CMS and the popular WooCommerce plugin (which allows you to transform sites generated by WordPress into ecommerce). The service is for a fee and is managed by the Aruba company that is responsible for creating the website, including the domain name, and configuring it in the best possible way. A solution suitable for those who want to achieve customization and stability without having to deal with the entire configuration independently. You can learn more about its use by reading the guide I wrote about it .
  • Prestashop– this CMS is among the most popular online and allows you to install an intuitive and very complete platform on your website to manage an ecommerce. In addition to providing many free tools in the basic package to manage payments, orders and customers, Prestashop can be extended thanks to the installation of additional modules (some free and others for a fee) rich in features. It is one of the most popular solutions for those approaching ecommerce for the first time.
  • Magento– this content manager is designed for those who are already familiar with the technical field. It is, in fact, a robust tool, suitable for large ecommerce and also optimized from the point of view of SEO. Thanks to the numerous extensions available and the templates present, it is extremely customizable and therefore a little technical preparation is required to make the most of it.

Selling on online shop

If you don’t want to open an ecommerce of your own but still want to have an online showcase through which to offer your content to the public, you can contact one of the online shops that allow the sale of objects and goods directly on your platform.

One of the most famous sites in the world of online shops is certainly Amazon. Probably, used to hearing about it as a shopping site, you have never dwelled too much on the possibility of selling on Amazon, but know that it is possible to open your own seller account and sell your items on the platform.

Amazon, unsurprisingly, retains some variable commissions from sales, and offers additional services for its sellers. For example, you can take advantage of the logistics of the ecommerce giant, or use Amazon’s warehouses to store goods ready for delivery.

Selling on Amazon means reaching a large number of customers, but you need to know that it’s not free. There are in fact different types of merchant accounts, each with its own fixed costs and commissions. If you want to find out more about this possibility, I recommend reading my guide on how to sell on Amazon, which contains all the information you need to get started.

Another solution you can look forward to is eBay. Founded in 1995 as an auction site, the portal has grown tremendously to become the primary choice of numerous sellers. Both individuals and companies can sell on eBay, both for free and through paid subscriptions.

In fact, if you can sell on eBay for free for small volumes, provided you pay commissions on successful sales, if you regularly sell a large number of items, you can open an eBay Store for 19.95 euros/month, including 250 free listings. every month.

If you want to learn more about how this online shop works, I recommend reading my guide on how to open a shop on eBay: I’m sure you will find all the answers you are looking for.

Finally, I want to tell you about a less famous online shop than the two listed above, but still very popular in the field of art and crafts. The portal in question is Etsy and is specifically designed to allow artisans and artists to sell online without excessive costs. Registration, in fact, is free and the costs for the advertisements are in the order of cents.

If you want to sell items that are crafted or handcrafted, then Etsy is a great tool. By also allowing you to create ads and marketing campaigns, you can even think about expanding your business beyond a single sale.

To help you use this online shop, I’ve written a guide that I recommend you read on how Etsy works. I’m sure it will come in handy.

Ad sites

If your intention is not to open an online business, but just to get rid of some used item, you can turn to the classifieds sites. On these sites, it is possible to sell goods and services through advertisements between individuals, often with zero commissions (although to highlight the advertisements, you have to put your wallet in hand).

If you decide to sell on ad sites, always make sure you pay close attention to the users you are dealing with. Accept secure payment methods, such as PayPal, and never send the goods before you have received the money.

With the proper precautions taken, you are ready to use ad sites for your sales. Although there are many, there are some that are considered more reliable and that are more used by online users: here are which ones.

  • it– the ad involves a great multitude of users over the years have chosen this portal to sell their items. Thanks also to the ability to advertise ads, which are free in their basic form, Subito is a very useful solution if you want to increase the visibility of your ads. It allows you to sell almost any type of asset. To make your listings stand out, you need to purchase paid packages.
  • Kijiji– this classifieds portal, which mainly focuses on local classifieds, is part of the eBay network. Registration and use are free, although there is the possibility to increase the visibility of the ads through the Premium membership.
  • Facebook Marketplace– just have a Facebook account to be able to use the Marketplace of the famous social network, which allows you to place ads and be contacted directly on your profile. The immediacy of contact and ease of use make the Marketplace a quick and effective method to sell your items by offering them to all those who are subscribed to Facebook.


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