Starting an online business is a tempting prospect – but that’s the easy part! The real challenge is to find out which opportunities are specific to your area of expertise or knowledge. To make your decision making a bit easier, we have created a list of online business ideas which shows you some specific examples of independent career paths suitable for various skill sets.
As an affiliate marketer you are earning commission from selling someone else’s products. Some prior investment is also required, so usually you need to buy a basic portfolio and marketing materials that you then resell. However, that does not always have to be the case as there are companies which will provide you with products free of charge, and only take a part of the profit. One of the most popular sites for affiliate marketers nowadays is Clickbank. Other well-known sites include Amway and Amazon Associates.
The online flea marketplaces are growing in popularity nowadays. They cover a wide range of products, have a user community that you can look to for inspiration and some of them such as Preloved do not charge any “selling fees” which is a big advantage compared to traditional e-commerce sites.
This term means the “channel-free” approach to selling, where you offer products to customers to purchase directly from your website. Based on the data from DSA (Direct Selling Association), one third of consumers in the UK have purchased items this way in 2015. Some companies will enable you to host your online store on their website for free. In other cases, you will need to build your sales website yourself. One area of the market that has used direct selling to great success, is service providers eg. low cost travel companies offering customers an option to purchase tickets directly from the website.
This concept is similar to the ‘Daily deals’ sites. The difference is that daily-deal sites offer discounts on individual purchases, where-as with group-buying there is a need for several buyers to place an order in order to activate the deal. Once the deal goes live the buyers are sent discount vouchers via email. It’s also worth noting that group-buying is usually aimed at a local market. The best known sites in this sector are Groupon, Wowcher UK or Tickles.
This is a supply chain management technique whereby you make money by taking care of product shipments on behalf of a retailer. Also, you need to work with them to make sales which will then lead to earning revenue from shipment of the products. If you want to get involved in drop shipping, you should do some detailed research beforehand and look for a type of company that will put emphasis on assessment of potential business partners, not just ask for a fee to join their program. You can find a list of UK Drop shippers here. Alternatively, you can also contact small business owners and ask if they’d be interested in this type of cooperation. Examples of drop shipping companies include Sellerbot, Mystic Charms.
Specialized Online Store
If you are the creative/artistic type, this may be an interesting option for you. With sites such as Etsy or Not on the Highstreet, selling of hand-made products has become considerably easier and more accessible, even for absolute beginners. Other marketplaces worth considering are Artfire, DaWanda or Yokaboo. Another option is to create a page on a social media platform and drive sales using various channels eg. a Facebook group; Promote Your Business & Page Free.
Social Shopping Marketplace
On this type of platform, consumers are not exposed to individual products but rather to offers each of which consists of multiple items sold by different independent sellers. The offers could be compared to a shop window where items are arranged in a creative, visually attractive way to maximize their appeal to customers. It’s no surprise that this innovative way of selling is popular with sellers of fashion and beauty products. Social shopping marketplaces provide tools to connect buyers with sellers, encourage feedback and at the same time function as an e-commerce facilitator for sellers and a shopping search engine for buyers. Popular sites in this category include Storenvy , Polyvore or Shopcade.
As an auctioneer you are engaged in a selling products by offering them up for bids, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder. The best known online auction websites are eBay and eBid. As a seller you will need to create a listing based on the site requirements, which will stay up on the platform for a certain time unless you decide to close it earlier. There can also be fees associated with listing and selling items, which will depend on the type of seller account you opt for.
In multi-level marketing programs, the sales force is rewarded not only for the sales they themselves close, but also for sales by people they’ve recruited to the program. To get a better idea about how these programs work, it’s worth looking at infographic.
Stock Market Trading
The stock market is the type of market in which shares of companies are issued and traded between buyers and sellers. A new trend in this area is ‘social trading’, which is a way of incorporating a social element into investing. It could also be described as a social network for traders. One site offering this type of trading is EToro, which brings together a community of traders who are allowed to copy each other’s investment decisions to earn money. If you are looking for a more traditional approach, then companies such as Options House may be an option for you. In case you already have some experience in trading, you may be interested in platforms such as Forex.