5 major online sales opportunities for any entrepreneur

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The Internet has completely changed the buying process. In 2000, a Pew Research Center study found that only 22 percent of Americans shopped online. Compare that to a newer one 2016 study which found that 79 percent of Americans shop online. Brick and mortar stores are closing. Buyers now prefer to shop in the comfort of their own homes and on their smartphones.

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Related: 3 Things To Consider Before Listing Your Products On Amazon

These changes present an opportunity for entrepreneurs. You no longer need a physical storefront to have a successful business. Here, I’ve broken down the basics of five different options for online sales.

Sell ​​on Amazon

The basics
Amazon is the most famous e-commerce site. With $ 135.99 billion In last year’s net income, it’s also safe to say that Amazon dominates the retail industry and crushes its competition.

How it works
To sell products you will have to choose between Amazon’s two sales plans. At $ 39.99 per month, the Professional plan is best suited for entrepreneurs with a higher sales volume (over 40 items sold per month). The individual plan is preferable for smaller scale providers. Users pay $ 0.99 for each item sold. After selecting your plan, create your account and register. You have the option to sell products already listed on Amazon or upload new items.

Amazon is also the # 1 place where authors sell books, musicians sell recorded music, and filmmakers sell independent films. Amazon offers self-publishing through its partner Create a space.

Advantages
Selling on Amazon has countless benefits for budding entrepreneurs. Many consumers prefer to buy from a website like Amazon that they know and trust. You also get the benefits of Amazon’s high web traffic. Getting listed on Amazon gives your business exposure to a significant new pool of potential customers.

Related: 3 Major Points To Take Before Starting Your Online Store

Sell ​​in your own store

The basics
Some entrepreneurs prefer to set up and run their own online stores using an e-commerce solution. Magento, Shopify, and Woocommerce are the most popular platforms for doing this.

How it works
Ecommerce platforms allow you to use a personal domain to set up an online storefront. They each have customizable themes to choose from, or you can create and upload your own theme. Using the platform, you upload your products, track inventory, and fulfill orders.

Advantages
These platforms allow you to have a unique website that matches your brand and vision. In addition to this personal freedom, these sites also act as a CRM solution. They integrate seamlessly with apps like Google Shopping and MailChimp as well as social media platforms. They have different pricing plans, allowing you to choose the plan that best suits your needs.

Related: A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform

Sell ​​on Facebook

The basics
Facebook has over a billion users, which makes it a great selling space for entrepreneurs. With Facebook Store, users can make purchases right from your page.

How it works
Setting up your Facebook store is very easy if you are already using an eCommerce solution like Shopify or Magento. Add the Facebook app to your store through your website and it will import your items directly to your Facebook store. You don’t have an e-commerce site? It’s okay too. You will just need to get the Facebook store app and configure it that way.

Advantages
Your business already has a Facebook page, so why not make it a sales opportunity? After all, your customers are probably visiting Facebook more than your website. You can now reach them even when they are not in “buy mode”. Additionally, Facebook has sophisticated analytics that provide you with useful traffic report data.

Related: 6 Mistakes Your Online Store Should Avoid

Sell ​​courses online

The basics
Online courses and certifications have become increasingly popular. Take advantage of this trend by selling your courses on websites like Udemy and Skillshare.

How it works
Udemy allows entrepreneurs to upload PDFs, audio files, videos, and PowerPoint presentations as course materials. It also has a bulletin board which facilitates communication between students and instructors. Instead of monthly payments, Udemy collects 50 percent of your course sales if the site promotes them. If you promote your own courses, Udemy only takes 3% of your earnings.

In Skillshare, lessons are segmented into short, pre-recorded videos and culminate in a class project. Instructors earn royalties based on the number of minutes their course videos are viewed each month, and also earn money on signup referrals.

Advantages
People love online learning because of the flexibility and convenience of taking a course at their own pace. Traditional classroom learning is simply not possible for parents or people who work full time. Udemy and Skillshare have both iOS and Google Play apps, allowing students to learn on the go on their smartphones. These sites also have huge customer bases, which gives your course high visibility. Udemy has a report 15 million users, and Skillshare has 2 millions.

Related: What Small Businesses Need To Do To Earn In Online Retailing

Sell ​​ebooks

The basics
More and more entrepreneurs are selling ebooks. Self-publishing allows people to write books without worrying about literary agents and publishers. Two of the most commonly used eBook stores are Apple iBooks and Google Play.

How it works
Selling your book on iBooks is easy. After completing a single online registration, you can sell your book. Apple takes a 30% commission per sale.

With Google Play, you can Register be a seller using an existing Google Account. Your book will be previewed on Google Books. Publishers keep 52% ​​of their e-book sales revenue.

Advantages
The sale of ebooks democratizes the book industry. It is much easier to self-publish than to have your book picked up by a publisher and distributed in bookstores. With ebooks, you are in control of your income because you can set your own prices. Readers also love eBooks because they are often cheaper than a paperback or hardcover and allow them to read anywhere without having to carry a book everywhere.

Related: Will Facebook Marketplace Be The Next E-Commerce Heavyweight?

Choosing the best online sales opportunities

As you can see, you have many choices as to where and how to sell your products and services online. All of the platforms I have described are solid options and have helped millions of entrepreneurs build successful online businesses.

The key to making any of these jobs work is first to decide what is best for you. Do you have a flair for e-commerce? Do you understand how to sell products? What products to sell? Do you understand the inventory, promotions and the rest that comes with being an online retailer?

Or, maybe it’s not for you. Maybe you are more of a creative person. Do you have a story to tell, a book to write, a picture to paint? Then selling on Amazon, Etsy, and the like may be better for you.

If you have a lot of work experience and want to teach the whole world, developing and marketing a course may be your best bet. There are literally thousands of options here, so do your research and understand what pays the best, where your audience is, how you should produce with video and other content.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. But, whatever you choose, make sure it matches your entrepreneurial brand, background, and resources.