Starting an online store can be a daunting task. Not only do you have to worry about setting up the store itself, but you also have to think about how you’re going to market it, and what products you’re going to sell.
If you already have a product on hand (or mind), and you want to sell it without spending too much money. There are a couple of websites that allow you to list products to sell online for free.
The following are sites that allow you to sell your products online for free:
Selling an item on Craigslist requires little effort on your part, but selling on the website is completely free.
Craigslist is a popular website in most countries but is especially popular in the United States. It’s also one of the easiest websites to sell items on because you can sell almost anything there.
You can sell just about anything on Craigslist with little effort or cost associated. However, keep in mind that it will take some time for your item to sell since not many people are browsing Craiglist looking for something to buy at any given moment.
Advertising your item will definitely help speed up the process but isn’t necessary. Also, if you have an ad already running on Craigslist, be sure to follow up with potential buyers after they’ve expressed interest in order to close deals.
Selling products online on eBay is another easy way to sell your items, and it is free to list up to 50-items. You get charged listing and selling fees only when your items sell.
At eBay, you sell directly to people who are looking to buy the product(s) that you’re selling.
This is great because people and companies sell almost anything and everything on eBay so there’s a large market for your product already waiting to be tapped into.
Selling an item on eBay can be difficult since you’ll have little control over what price buyers will pay, especially if the demand for the product is low.
However, if there’s a high demand for the product(s) that you intend to sell, this means that you don’t have to do much promotion or marketing from your end, you simply list the items on eBay and fulfill each order as they come.
Think of eBay as an online flea market that’s open 24/7, which also makes your product(s) available to anyone in the world.
Based on my experience, I have drop shipped items as far as a little-known town in Malaysia, as well as in the middle east, right from Canada, where I’m currently based at.
You can sell almost anything on Amazon, but this approach is similar to selling on eBay except with a little more control over what you sell and how much you sell each item for.
The plus side of selling on Amazon is that since it’s such a popular website, people from all over the world will be visiting your store which means that there are potential customers from every corner of the globe.
You don’t have to open a Professional Seller account on Amazon if you’re just looking to dispose of some items on-hand, or if you simply want to test the waters and see if online selling is right for you.
Kijiji is a website that’s similar to Craigslist but with a Canadian focus. It’s also free to sell your products on Kijiji, and you can sell almost anything.
You’ll have the advantage of selling on a country-specific website since most countries have classified ads websites specific to their own geographical location. Just like Craigslist, products on classified ads websites take some time to sell because not many people are browsing classified ads, looking for something that they want to buy at any given moment. This means that it can be pretty hard to turn your online selling gig into a full-time business.
If you’re creative and have handmade products or art pieces that you want to sell, you can sell them on Amazon Handmade.
Don’t forget that the goal is to sell a physical product for free – not services or software!
Amazon recently opened its doors to handmade items and art that are sold via their third-party seller’s platform. Basically, this means that anyone can sell their handmade products on Amazon’s website without having to go through any stringent approval processes like selling through the Professional Sellers account (which costs $40 per month).
How does all of this work?
All you need is an excellent photography setup which might cost anywhere between $300 – $500 bucks depending on what type of camera(s) you want to use, as well as lighting equipment if necessary (this is where I would recommend investing some money since it’ll be tough to sell your products if they aren’t viewable).
Once you’ve got all of that, just follow the same process as selling on eBay or Craigslist – list your items online, write a great description of them so people know what they’re buying, and attach high-quality photos.
The benefits of selling handmade stuff on Amazon Handmade are:
Just like the main Amazon website, It’s free to sell your items as an individual seller. You do get charged a fee when your products sell but at least you don’t pay anything when you first list your products, which allows you to get started for free.
Facebook is another way to sell products online for free, just like other Classified ads websites, you can’t expect to build a full-time career listing and selling products on Facebook for free as product sales can be inconsistent and there are just too many back and forths with buyers.
One thing to note with Facebook market selling is that buyers are accustomed to negotiating prices down.
Facebook selling is a fun way to get rid of clutter by turning them to cash but it’s not scalable as a business.
WooCommerce is an open-source shopping cart that you can have up and running on your WordPress website in literally 5 minutes.
One thing to note with WooCommerce is that it isn’t a marketplace as the previous resources mentioned beforehand.
When you sell with WooCommerce, you’re technically building your own online store. WooCommerce is free to use but you must have a little know-how with installing WordPress and setting up the WooCommerce plugin.
Having your own store is a much more scalable way of selling products online because it can allow you to target certain geographic locations or even worldwide.
As an independent online store owner, know that customers won’t be lining up your store the moment you launch it. This is where the saying, “if you build it, they won’t come” holds true.
The advantage of selling on online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay is that they already attract hoards of rabid buyers, who are armed with credit cards and browsing for items to buy.
Setting up your own store though is a more lucrative opportunity but be ready to hear crickets when you launch. This is because no one knows about your online store yet, so your job, after building your online shop is to market it!
Far too many budding entrepreneurs failed to sell their products online through their own eCommerce stores because they didn’t know how to market their stores.
To sell products online on your own eCommerce store, you need traffic and not just any traffic. You need traffic of people who will want to buy your products.
Now, there are two ways how to drive traffic to your online store, namely:
- Paid Traffic
- Organic Traffic
Paid Traffic is traffic that you pay for to sell products online. This is the fastest way of driving traffic to your online store because it’s instant.
The problem though with paid traffic is that it can be cost-prohibitive, especially if you’re not making sales from the paid visits to your site. As such, this requires a decent ad budget just to start the ball rolling.
Organic Traffic refers to people who find your website on search engines such as Google and Bing through relevant keywords.
Organic Traffic is free but it takes time before you start seeing results, but when they do come around, organic traffic converts better than paid traffic so you get more bang for your buck!
Shopify is another way popular way of building an online store. It’s similar to WooCommerce but you don’t need to learn any of the technical stuff you need to set up a WooCoomerce store. Instead, it’s a subscription-based eCommerce platform that lets you start, grow, and manage a business, out of the box.
You pay a monthly subscription fee of $29 a month but you don’t have to pay any additional website hosting fee as you would with eCommerce, and while eCommerce is free, Shopify is best if you don’t know anything about web design or coding as it comes ready, out of the box.
When you first subscribe to it, you’re already logging in on the back end of your store, you choose a skin or template for your online shop, decide on what your homepage will look like, then start uploading images and inputting details of your products.
There are a lot of plugins that are also available to increase conversions such as countdown timers and what not but you have to buy them separately because, in most cases, they’re developed by third-party developers.
If you’re trying to keep costs down and building websites isn’t your cup of tea. Subscribing to Shopify can have you up and running in no time.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you’ll make money right away. Just like WooCommerce, you’ll hear crickets, unless you start your marketing efforts.
One big advantage of Shopify is that it comes with a shopping cart, host, and pre-built themes which you can customize to sell your products online.
The only drawback with Shopify is the monthly fees. Paid traffic does require upfront capital and isn’t usually a cost-effective way of starting an online business if you have a tight budget but if you have money to burn or are pretty confident about your eCommerce store idea, then go for it!
Classified Ads vs Online Marketplaces vs Your Own eCommerce Shop
By this time, you already have an idea of what you want to sell and where you would want to sell.
The options for selling your products online are:
1. sell through classified ads
2. sell through online marketplaces
3. sell on your own eCommerce store
Selling Products Online Through Classified Ads
If you’re just looking to sell locally and you don’t intend to build a real business out of online selling, selling through classified ads can help you sell a couple of items a month. Based on my experience, selling on classifieds can really be a slow and inefficient way of selling products but this solves your problem as it allows you to sell products online for free.
Selling Products Online Through Online Marketplaces
Online marketplaces are the best ways of selling products online without actually launching your own eCommerce store. They already have an audience of hungry buyers but with the amount of traffic these marketplaces attract, there is also a lot of competition, and aside from that, there might not be enough demand to move your products consistently.
The best way of becoming a successful online marketplace seller is to start with product research.
Product research is the process of finding products that sell well on the marketplace platform you’re selling on.
The most popular physical products marketplaces are Amazon and eBay. I’ve written a step-by-step guide on how beginners can start selling on Amazon but if you just want a quick way of finding successful products that sell on Amazon, you can use tools such as AmzScout, and Egrow.
For eBay, Zik Analytics helps you find and track profitable products that sell. Zik is specially designed for drop shippers but dropshipping can be quite difficult to maintain, so when you find products that sell well, find a way how you can open a wholesale account with a supplier.
Selling on Your Own eCommerce Shop
Selling products on your own eCommerce store is probably the best option if you are serious about building a business online. You would want to sell multiple products consistently on your own eCommerce store, customer service is important, and you probably would sell more than one product category.
For some reason though, I still get emails from new entrepreneurs who would sell just about anything through their eCommerce shop even if they don’t have the capital initially to buy in bulk.
If this is you, chances are that you’re not ready yet to sell products online the traditional way but you can actually get started selling products online with a much lower capital through dropshipping instead.
Dropshipping is a form of retail sales but instead of buying in huge quantities and sell it to customers yourself, you sell products for a profit by acting as an agent between the customer and your supplier.
Dropshipping can be quite difficult though if you don’t have enough knowledge about product sourcing because you’re not only selling the products but also selling the experience. It’s important that you know what products sell well online, how much they should cost to avoid losses, where to source them from, etc.
Starting off with Dropshipping first before stocking up on inventories is a much lesser risk as you get to test whether or not the products will sell before actually investing in inventories and logistics.
Shopify allows you to get to market potential winning products in as little as an hour. So far the fastest way to test products online is through Facebook advertising. Advertising products on Facebook before you purchase them is yet the best way to start your own eCommerce store with the minimal costs possible.
While you can start dropshipping with WooCommerce, it requires more technical knowledge than when you simply subscribe to an out-of-the-box solution such as Shopify.
To test how Shopify can work for your business, you can grab your 14-day free trial here and only start paying when you’re sure that it’s the tool you need for the job.
You’ve asked: How to Sell a Product Online for Free
In writing this article, I’ve assumed that you’ll most likely sell a product line, instead of a single product.
You can sell physical products by launching your own eCommerce store or by selling items on marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay. These are more profitable ways of selling products online.
Launching your own eCommerce store isn’t free, but it’s much cheaper than opening a brick and mortar store, not to mention that you can sell to anyone anywhere in the world once your store gets traction.
Marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay do allow you to sell products on their platform for free (within limits).
Classified ads such as Craigslist, Kijiji, and the Facebook Marketplace, are usually the freest way of selling products online but it’s pretty hard to turn it into a full-time gig due to sales inconsistencies.
If you’re just trying to dispose of items you don’t need or some products on hand, you can get away with listing them on classified ads sites but if you’re looking to build a real eCommerce business that you can scale, selling on marketplaces and launching your own online store is the best way to sell products online.
If you sell products on online marketplaces, the best way to go about it is to first do product research so you only buy products that have the potential of selling consistently and at a profit. Simply buying products you think are going to sell will put you in a situation where you have your capital locked up in non-moving inventories.
You can do product research manually on both Amazon and eBay but the best way of running product research is by using AI-powered product research tools such as AmzScout and eGrow for Amazon and Zik Analytics for eBay.
I hope that you’ve found value in this article and I hope that this article solved your problem. In any case that it did help you find answers, please don’t hesitate to share this.
We tried to list the best options available to sell products for free and give you some options on how to build a scalable eCommerce business instead of simply selling a couple of products online.
If you have ideas that can help others who are trying to solve the same problem, please don’t hesitate to chip in by expressing your ideas in the comment form below!