Where To Sell Online in 2021

Online Marketplace Guide: How to Sell Online and Where to Sell Online in 2021

Not sure how or where to sell online to get the best return? Check out our online marketplace guide to learn about the top-selling platforms for businesses — from Amazon to Walmart Marketplace — plus how to sell online successfully. Keep reading to discover the best place for selling products online now!

How to sell online in 2021: 6 easy-to-follow steps

Not sure how to start selling your products online? Follow these six steps:

1. Choose what products to sell

Before you start selling online, you’ll need to establish a business plan and decide what items you want to sell.

You may already have an established retail location for selling offline. But if you’re just starting your business, you’ll need to carefully consider what you’re going to sell.

When deciding what to sell, consider demand, potential profit margins, and your own interests.

You can use various online tools to gauge demand and come up with ideas for products to sell. Here are a few useful tools to check out:

  • Google Trends: Google Trends is a tool from Google that provides data on the popularity of search terms over time. You can use this tool to see which searches are gaining popularity, enabling you to hop on product trends while they’re on the rise.
  • Other keyword research tools: You can also use other keyword research tools, like SEMrush and KeywordsFX, to help you determine which product-related keywords are most popular. These tools also show you related keywords, which can give you additional product ideas.
  • Social media: Browse social media sites, as well as forum and review sites, to see what products people are talking about. Also, look for problems people are mentioning that a product could help with.
  • Competitor research: Research the products other online retailers, especially big-name brands, sell to see what’s selling well. See if you can uncover any trends in product types. You can also browse sites like Amazon and eBay and explore the trending pages.

You’ll also want to research your potential profit margins. Look into how much products similar to yours sell for and estimate how much it will cost you to produce and distribute your products.

Don’t forget to consider your own interests as well! Selling products you’re excited about can keep you motivated as you figure out how to sell online.

2. Create a business plan

Every business needs a plan, including those that use online selling platforms. Creating a detailed business plan will help you determine how to sell your products online and help you reach your goals.

When creating your business plan, consider factors such as:

  • Your goals: Determine what you want to achieve and create measurable goals to help you track your progress.
  • Your competitors: Analyze the competitive landscape for your products. This will give you ideas for how to sell goods online in your industry and provide insight into the challenges you’ll face.
  • Your audience: Determine who the target audience will be. You’ll want to tailor your products, website design, and marketing to your audience’s needs and preferences.

3. Decide where to sell online

After establishing your inventory, you’ll need to determine where to sell online.

Whether you sell on your own website or a top online marketplace, there are more options than ever for diversifying your selling channels in 2021.

Our guide outlines the pros and cons of selling on each platform, as well as your ecommerce site, so spend some time reviewing your options when deciding where to sell online.


If you need help determining which selling platform is best for your business, TSF can help. Connect with our ecommerce experts to learn more!

4. Build your online store

Next, you can start building your online store and listing products for sale.

If you chose to use an online marketplace, you’ll need to create an account and set up your page.

If you decide to sell on your own website, you’ll want to pick a domain name that reflects your brand and is easy to remember. Platforms like Shopify make it easy to get your online shop up and running quickly. So, keep that in mind when setting up your online site — especially if you don’t have a lot of technical expertise.

For platform-specific instructions on how to build your online store, check out the below section on where to sell online.

Selling on your online store requires ongoing maintenance and optimization — and we recommend partnering with an ecommerce agency like TSF to get the best results. 

5. Set up ecommerce functionalities and processes

Many different elements go into how to sell online, and you’ll need to set up various processes and functionalities before you launch your ecommerce store. These elements include:

Payment processing

To start selling online, you’ll need to set up payment processing.

You have numerous options for accepting online payments, whether you open a merchant account or use a payment processor like PayPal, Square, or Stripe.

Where you sell online will also impact the payment processing solution you choose.

For more info on choosing the best online payment system, check out this helpful guide.


Next, you need to identify the shipping methods and rates you’ll offer.

Depending on your country, you may have access to USPS, FedEx, Canada Post, Royal Mail, AU Post, or other carriers.

Free shipping entices customers to buy but remember that you’ll need to absorb that cost.

Some online marketplaces — like Amazon — offer fulfillment and shipping options to help you sell more online.

So, be sure to consider all the options and rates available when determining where to sell online. 


No matter where you sell, you’ll want to enable secure online payments so people feel comfortable shopping on your site and purchasing from your business.

Use a payment processing system with proven security and ensure your site has a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate.

Policies and documents

You’ll want to have several documents available on your ecommerce website. These documents include:

  • Terms of use document: A terms of use document lays out rules for using your site and helps protect your business legally.
  • Privacy policy: Your privacy policy also helps protect your business legally and helps you establish trust with users.
  • Return policy: You’ll also need a document that describes the rules and processes for returning products. A good return policy can help establish trust with shoppers and encourage them to make purchases.


You’ll also want to make sure you have all the necessary business licenses. Check your local, state, and federal laws to determine which licenses you’ll need.

Customer service

Ensure your customers have a way to contact you, and determine how you’ll handle customer service issues.

For more essential functionalities and other items to take care of before launching your site, check out our ecommerce checklist.

6. Promote your online business

Finally, you’ll need to market your online business, so people can easily find your site and purchase.

You can have the most beautifully designed site and world-class products, but without proper optimization and promotion, nobody will be able to find your ecommerce store or your profile on a top-selling site.

Marketing is a crucial part of how to sell goods online, so be sure to invest in digital marketing services — like search engine optimization (SEO) and website maintenance — that set your site up for long-term success.


11 best selling platforms for selling products online

When it comes to selling products online, the best selling platforms for businesses are:

  1. Amazon
  2. Walmart Marketplace
  3. Shopify
  4. Target Plus™
  5. eBay
  6. Etsy
  7. Sears Marketplace
  8. Alibaba
  9. Rakuten
  10. Facebook Marketplace
  11. Your website

Keep reading for a breakdown of each online marketplace, which includes an overview of their:

  • Pros
  • Cons
  • Cost
  • Advertising options
  • Shipping options
  • How to get started

In most cases, businesses will benefit from selling on multiple online selling sites. If you have a dedicated website, plus a presence on Amazon, for example, that allows your company to reach more shoppers through multiple channels.

Learn digital marketing insights from the TSF experts

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Where to sell online: Inside the 11 best online marketplaces

Now that you know how to sell online and have an overview of the best online selling sites, let’s break down the ins and outs of where you can sell your products and how to sell online with each marketplace. Use the links below if you’d like to jump straight to a specific selling platform:

  1. Amazon
  2. Target Plus™
  3. Walmart Marketplace
  4. Shopify
  5. eBay
  6. Etsy
  7. Sears Marketplace
  8. Alibaba
  9. Rakuten
  10. Facebook Marketplace
  11. Your website

How to sell on Amazon Marketplace

Wondering how to sell online with Amazon Marketplace? Here’s how to get started:

  1. Decide what you want to sell. Amazon offers more than 40 product categories, plus 10 additional categories to Professional Sellers.
  2. Choose a selling plan. Amazon offers two options for sellers, which we’ll cover below.
  3. Create an account. To register your account, visit Seller Central, Amazon’s online interface for managing seller accounts.
  4. List your products. Individual sellers can add products to the Amazon Marketplace catalog one at a time. The Professional plan lets you add products in bulk.

If you’re listing products already on Amazon.com, you will need to indicate:

  • Product quantity
  • Product conditions
  • Shipping options

If you’re listing products that aren’t on this selling platform yet, you’ll need to identify their UPC/EAN and SKU, as well as list product attributes like titles and descriptions.

  1. Start selling. You’ll receive payment directly to your bank account and receive an email notification when payment sends.
  2. Ship your products. Amazon will notify you when a customer places an order. You can use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) to let Amazon handle shipping — or take care of shipping products yourself.
  3. Get paid. Amazon deposits payment into your bank account at regular intervals and notifies you when it sends.

Cost of selling on Amazon Marketplace

Amazon offers two plan options for sellers:

 Individual Plan$0.99/item sold
 Professional Plan$39.99/month

With the Individual plan, sellers pay $0.99 per item sold, plus additional selling fees.

The Professional plan allows you to sell an unlimited number of products for $39.99/month with additional selling fees.

If you only sell a few products each month, the Individual plan may work for you. However, the Professional plan appeals to sellers with larger product quantities.

Amazon ad options

Amazon offers numerous ad options to help sellers reach more customers and boost online sales.

They include:

  • Sponsored Products: Ads appear in search results and on product pages to improve the visibility of individual products.
  • Sponsored Brands: Ads appear in search results and include your logo with a custom headline to boost brand awareness.
  • Sponsored Display (beta): A self-service ad solution that allows you to reach relevant audiences on and off Amazon.
  • Stores: Free, multi-page stores on Amazon to drive customer loyalty.
  • Display ads: Ads that showcase your brand or product on websites, apps, and devices on and off Amazon.
  • Video ads: Video ads on Amazon sites, devices like Amazon’s Fire tablets, and across the Internet.
  • Custom ads: Custom ad experiences boost brand awareness.
  • Amazon DSP: Amazon’s demand-side platform (DSP) provides advanced tools for buying ad placements on and off Amazon.

Amazon shipping options

When shipping your Amazon Marketplace products, you have two options: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and the Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN).

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

A noteworthy perk of selling on Amazon Marketplace comes from Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), which you can use to ship your products.

With FBA, you pay to store products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers. When a customer places an order for your FBA product, Amazon receives the info, picks the stock from the shelves, packs, and ships the item.

Amazon also provides customer service for all FBA products.

FBA fees depend on the size and weight of items sold. Amazon also charges short- and long-term storage fees, so you’ll pay more for products that stay in the FBA inventory longer.

FBA offers many benefits, including:

  • Free shipping on eligible orders: FBA products are eligible for Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping perk, as well as free shipping on eligible orders.
  • Customer service and returns: Amazon handles customer service and returns for FBA products.
  • Exclusive programs to expand your reach: FBA Subscribe & Save, FBA Small and Light, Multi-Channel Fulfillment, and FBA Export help sellers maximize sales and inspire repeat purchases.
  • Business management tools: FBA sellers can access optional services like product preparation, labeling, repackaging, and Amazon-partnered carrier options.

How to get started with FBA

To begin using FBA, follow these steps.

  1. Set up FBA. If you already sell on Amazon, just add FBA to your account.
  2. Create product listings. Add products to the Amazon catalog one at a time, in bulk, or by integrating your inventory management software with Amazon’s API.
  3. Prepare your products. Check out Amazon’s packaging and prep requirements to ensure your products arrive at the fulfillment center safely.
  4. Ship your products to Amazon. Finally, create your shipping plan, print your Amazon shipment ID labels, and ship your products to the appropriate fulfillment centers.

If you need to convert existing inventory to FBA, you can:

  1. Visit the Manage Inventory page and select the products you want to sell via FBA.
  2. Click “Change to Fulfilled by Amazon” from the “Actions” menu.
  3. Select “Convert & Send Inventory” to continue creating your shipment, or choose “Convert only” to continue adding inventory.

Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN)

If you don’t want to use FBA, you can ship products via the Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN), also known as Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM).

MFN allows you to ship products directly from your home, business, or warehouse. Just remember — with this option, you’re responsible for locating stock, packing orders, arranging shipping, and providing customer service.

Now that you understand how selling on Amazon Marketplace works, you’re probably wondering, “Is it better to sell on Amazon or my website?”

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