Beware of Hidden Pitfalls When Selling Online

by Rachel Macdonals

Online marketplaces make it easy to list items for sale, whether you run a small business or are simply engaging in a little spring cleaning. It doesn’t take long to showcase your item to a wide audience online, increasing your chance of a profitable, quick sale. However, terms and conditions can vary widely when you’re selling online. There are a few potential pitfalls to be on the lookout for to ensure that you keep as much of your profit as possible.

High Marketplace Fees

Big name marketplaces like Amazon and eBay may provide you with a swift and easy way to sell your belongings, but high visibility can come at a cost. Large marketplaces like these charge you a percentage of each sale, and the fees can vary widely from site to site. Be sure to read the fine print carefully so that you understand the fee structure and the bite it will take out of your profit margin. If you compare options, you may choose a localized marketplace like Quicksales in Australia which has abolished its fees to compete with the big names.

Scam Responses to Ads

Unfortunately, part of selling is dealing with the occasional scam email. Whether you’ve set up an official ecommerce website, are selling products on your blog, or have listed an old smartphone on eBay, you may end up with slightly fishy emails to sift through. If you receive an email that seems too good to be true, it probably is. A scammer may try to offer you more than you’ve asked for the item, for example. They may try to get personal details or your bank account number to wire you money. Needless to say, delete these types of emails, and never ship an item without payment.

Restrictions on Marketing

Selling a product online allows you to share your listing with your social networks, or list it on multiple marketplaces. Yet it’s also possible that you could limit your marketing efforts by sticking with a large vendor like Amazon, who could restrict your listing or your ability to communicate with customers.

Last Minute Cancellations

In addition to listing fees, always check to find out what the cancellation policy is with any listings site you’re considering. Some will allow you to write your own policy, and decide whether you will allow returns or not. The location where you’re selling will also have an impact on whether or not the customer is allowed to cancel a purchase at the last minute. In some countries, a buyer can legally return goods without penalty and is entitled to a full refund.

The Bottom Line

Despite these pitfalls, there are numerous reasons why selling products online is a worthwhile endeavour. The larger marketplace websites draw millions of unique visitors a month, ensuring that there will be plenty of potential customers to view your products. You can optimize your listing with keywords or search terms that customers may be looking for, to heighten visibility. There’s no need to pay for a retail space, and you cut the need for commuting. By comparing your online options carefully and being aware of factors like listing fees, you can ensure that you are able to enhance your profits.

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