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If finding a better solution to a problem hundreds or thousands of people have doesn’t seem like an option right now, you might be better off setting up a virtual shop and selling physical items.

These days, this couldn’t be easier. Sites like shopify  have made it easier than ever to build a customizable, powerful eCommerce site in a weekend and start selling products now.

This is probably one of the oldest and most time-tested ways of making money online. Plenty of digital entrepreneurs have created sustainable businesses by either:

  1. Creating physical products they know people in their niche will love
  2. Purchasing low cost goods manufactured in foreign countries, repackaging or combining them with other products, and selling them for higher prices on domestic online marketplaces

While you’ll certainly have higher levels of success if you can nail creating and marketing your own unique product, from my own experience (and that of many other entrepreneurs), I know the extremely high costs and risk associated with starting a product based business

Instead, if you can find a solid product that’s already being manufactured at a reasonable price from a marketplace like aliexpres , LinghtInTheBox, and DinoDireect and market it to your audience, you’ll have the start of a money-making eCommerce machine.

Now, let’s get into the nitty gritty of how your online store is going to operate.

Whether you’re selling your own new products or reselling other goods, you still have to consider how much stock you’re going to carry, how you’re going to fund upfront purchasing costs, and where you’re going to store your inventory. Remember, even if you avoid paying rent on a storefront, you still need to store your inventory somewhere.

Well. Not always. There’s another option that’s become incredibly popular in the last few years (and is my personal favorite way to operate a product business), called drop shipping

With drop shipping, you’re effectively partnering with a manufacturer or wholesaler to sell their products. This way, you don’t pay upfront costs to buy inventory, aren’t sitting on unsold items taking up expensive warehouse space, and don’t have to deal with shipping the products yourself. You simply create your site, fill it with drop shippable products, and drive in customers, with almost everything else done for you.

Of course, there’s a higher price per product and your margins are lower, but you’re able to start your online store with little more than a Shopify theme and some hosted images of your products. When a customer makes a purchase, you in turn buy the product from your supplier who then ships it directly to your customer.

No inventory. No handling products yourself. No shipping by hand. Sounds pretty amazing.

If you want to supplement selling on your Shopify store with other marketplaces, here are a few other highly lucrative options:

  1. Fulfilled by Amazon: Rather than drop shipping, Amazon lets you store your products in their own warehouses, making them available for Free 2-Day Shipping to Prime members. Which has been proven to significantly increase sales.
  2. Etsy: If you’ve got handmade or crafty products, Etsy is a great marketplace to market and sell on (bonus points if your product is geared towards a more female audience)
  3. eBay: The online auction giant is still in the game and especially good for selling electronics, gadgets, clothing and apparel, and accessories.
  4. Craigslist: While the least scalable, it can be very cost- and time-effective to sell to people locally.

Just be sure to put a lot of care into your product listings. Everything from the titles you use, to how effective the description is at convincing potential buyers your product is better than the rest, and even taking care to shoot high quality product photos can have a dramatic impact on your sales. I recommend using photo editing tools like fotor, which gives you the ability to edit your images, create captivating graphic designs and more.

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