product based  business

The first 5 steps to starting an online product based  business

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Wondering if an online products based business is for you? It’s not rocket science, but there these 5 essential steps are worth thinking about if you’re considering this as a side hustle or main business. 

1) Start small

Rather than making a large investment from the get-go, decide on just a few items to sell, while you build experience taking photos, writing listings, testing pricing and communicating with buyers. It’s also wise to check you have the capacity and tools to fulfil the orders in a timely fashion, as well as handle returns before you scale up. Even if your online business is just a side hustle, you will probably find you need to dedicate time to it each day.

2) Know your costs

Selling online lets you list up to 50 items per month for free and then you’ll need to pay a small insertion fee for each listing beyond that. You also need to factor in paying a final value fee (a small percentage of the sale price). As your business grows, you can pay for a monthly/annual subscription or eBay Store, for hundreds/thousands of free listings per month. You’ll also need to invest in some tools such as dapping tools for jewellery making.

Selling online lets you list up to 50 items per month for free and then you’ll need to pay a small insertion fee for each listing beyond that. You also need to factor in paying a final value fee (a small percentage of the sale price). As your business grows, you can pay for a monthly/annual subscription or eBay Store, for hundreds/thousands of free listings per month. You’ll also need to invest in some tools such as dapping tools for jewellery making.

3) Perfect packaging

Think about bulk buying packaging for your eBay business, to save money and make the most of their expertise. It’s important to mail your products securely, so that they arrive in one-piece and reduce returns. If you go to a bespoke packaging company, they will be experienced in understanding how important it is to for your ecommerce business to make the right first impression. They can work with you to ensure your packaging is designed for optimal performance, saves on space and matches postal sizing limits, whatever your product range. Look for a sustainable packaging range too, to minimise your environmental impact and serve your eco-savvy customers.

4) It’s all in the detail

Pictures tell 1,000 words, so professional product photography is advisable but if that’s too much to invest at first, try to start with describing your products in as much details as possible. Include as many keywords in your listing title as possible, like the brand name, size, colour or model number, so that people searching for those terms are more likely to see your listing

5) Is the price right?

Research your competitors on the internet and on other retails sites then test your pricing. Although E-bay is best known for auction style buying, for quick sales you might want to sell at a fixed price, which is where price research is key. 

While platforms like eBay are best known for auction-style listings, you can also set a fixed price for an item to help it sell faster. If you decide to have your own website, then you have more control over the pricing though potentially not as much exposure to clients. eBay’s quick listing tool suggests the best pricing options to attract buyers based on how similar products sold in the past.


I hope you found these tips useful? From past experience, the initial phase is trial and error and you will almost certainly learn from your mistakes, find out which products work best and maybe even completely deviate from your original idea. The most important thing is starting and giving it a go in the first place. Good luck!

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