I started selling in my own store, but there were no sales. Then I started using Etsy. Etsy is not a free platform, you need to pay to list your product. I spent some money to list a couple of products, yet there were no sales. Then someone told me I need to run ads to generate sales. When I started ad campaigns, I managed to sell a few products, but my net profit was not much. Then I moved to RedBubble, a free Print-On-Demand platform. I did not immediately sell my products but with persistence, I eventually started selling. These days I sell on RedBubble as well as Etsy. On Etsy, I sell digital products as well as print-on-demand products.
The primary intention to start a business is to make money. But just because you have created a business does not mean it will start raining money, your product will not start selling like hot cake. If you check all the successful businesses around you what common factors do you see? Well, all of these businesses are trying to sell products and services that solve the problem of common people. If the product and service do not address the issues faced by the customers, they will never sell.
I believe the best platform to start an online business is the third-party eCommerce platform. That’s because these platforms already rank high on search engines, and thus, have huge organic traffic. These platforms also have a huge customer base. For instance, Amazon ranks number 13 in terms of global traffic, it has 2.9 billion monthly traffic. Amazon has 200 million Prime users and hundreds of millions of active customers. eBay ranks 36th with 957 million monthly visitors. eBay has 187 registered users. Etsy might not have a huge traffic like eBay and Amazon but it is one of top 10 online marketplaces. Etsy annual marketplace revenue is 1.7 billion USD. Etsy has 96.3 million active buyers but it has only 7.5 million sellers. You can see the earning potential when you start selling on Etsy. Therefore, when you start selling through these platforms, it is easier to sell compared to selling from your own online store.
If you are new and if you do not have experience, using a premium eCommerce platform like Shopify will result in a huge loss. You will end up spending just about $350 just for a Shopify subscription. You will also have to use premium add ons and your cost for developing Shopify stores will increase. Then, you will also have to spend money on products. Even if you are trying dropship, you still need to spend money on marketing because without marketing, you cannot generate any sales. Be prepared to spend at least $1000 in marketing and SEO before you can generate sales. There is also no guarantee that you will sell even when you spend money on marketing and SEO. You can use a free platform like WordPress, however, you will have to spend a lot of money on hosting. You need at least $10 per month to host your eCommerce store (VPS hosting)
If you want to sell on a third-party marketplace, you have a lot of options, for example, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Zazzle, RedBubble, Printful, Printify, etc. However, before you start selling you need to see if the platform will actually work for you. Amazon is a big company. it has over 200 million prime users and hundreds of registered users. Your product will be accessible to a huge audience but this does not mean you will start printing money. Amazon has tough requirements for sellers. The world's number two e-commerce marketplace is eBay. It has almost 200 million users and receives almost 1 billion monthly traffic. However, you need to understand one thing about eBay. eBay policy favors buyers (because the company makes money when someone buys products), therefore, you might end up incurring a lot of chargebacks. You can sell on Redbubble without spending a dime, Redbubble receives huge traffic and has a lot of buyers, however, you need graphic designing skills to create product mockups.