How to Become an Online Retailer

Becoming an online retailer is easier than you think -- if you do it right. Sell products from the convenience of your PC or laptop.


Up next in How to Buy & Sell Things Online (20 videos)

Learn how to sell anything on line -- baked goods, textbooks, gold jewelry, used toys, handcrafted items, photos, artwork, alcohol -- with these Howcast tutorials. Check out the tips for buying stuff online, too.

You Will Need

  • An idea
  • Appropriate merchandise
  • Vendors
  • PPC campaigns
  • Search engine optimization
  • Internet access
  • And a ready-made store


  1. Step 1

    Check out your idea

    Decide what type of store you want. Toss around your idea with others to make sure it is viable.

  2. Step 2

    Sell appropriate merchandise

    Plan to carry merchandise you have some experience with but be open to what you will offer. If you sell only products you like, your business may be too limited to be sustainable.

  3. Step 3

    Find vendors

    Establish good relationships with vendors. Plan not to carry any inventory at first. When you get an order, send it to the manufacturer and have them send it directly to the customer.

  4. Step 4

    Learn about PPC campaigns

    Read up on pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns before you start your store. PPC allows you to start bringing in instant traffic. Use search engine optimization techniques to ensure your business pops up in search engine results.

  5. In a PPC campaign, you only pay for qualifying clicks to the destination site based on a prearranged per-click rate.

  6. Step 5

    Try out PPC

    Try out a pay-per-click campaign to assess market demand and advertising competition. Run the campaign for a week, testing various ads at different times of day.

  7. Step 6

    Start your store

    Build your site or hire somebody to do it for you. But be aware that hiring a web developer to build your store can be expensive. As an alternative, consider purchasing a ready-made store. That way you'll be up and running before you know it.

  8. In 2009, online sales on Cyber Monday, which is the Monday after Thanksgiving, totaled $887 million.