Love your Apple products? Perhaps you have a passion for the latest laptops, or a deep understanding of cutting-edge smartphones?
Whatever the reason, now might be the perfect time to set up an online electronics store – particularly when you consider that the consumer electronics industry is estimated to be worth $2.06 trillion by 2023 in the US alone.
However, selling online isn’t always straightforward – and you could find yourself struggling to know where to start. Some common questions we often get asked include:
- How do I source my electronics?
- How do I set up an online shop?
- How much do I sell them for?
But worry not – we’re here to help, with our ultimate guide to selling electronics online. Read on to explore!
Before you can start selling electronics online, you’ll need to source them. There are a number of options to consider for this, each with its own negatives and positives, and each with its own suitability for your individual goals and unique situation.
An electronics wholesaler will probably be the first place you’ll consider looking when trying to source products for your business – this is how most online and local electronics stores obtain their products.
Wholesalers will usually offer relatively competitive rates on new electronics. They’re also likely to carry a good level of stock, so you can get the products you need, when you need them.
Some wholesalers may have minimum orders, so it’s important to understand where you’ll store your electronics before you sell them.
If you don’t want to invest time or money into sourcing products and storing them, dropshipping can be a great option.
When you use dropshipping, your main focus is to market and sell as many products as possible. Once an order comes in, it then goes to another business (often directly to the supplier itself), that fulfills the order. This limits the need for storage, and eradicates the need to deal with the often complex arrangements of shipping and distribution companies.
Of course, with less effort comes less profit. When you use a dropshipping company it can be significantly more difficult to make a reasonable profit on each product you sell. That’s why it’s best to focus on volume when using a dropshipping arrangement.
Selling second hand electronics can be an exciting business to get into. However, it can also take a considerable amount more time than buying from a wholesaler or dropshipping electronic products. You’re also faced with uncertainty over future stock levels, and may face issues with meeting customer demand accordingly.
Yet, if you manage to pull it off, sourcing and selling second hand electronics can be very lucrative, as well as being good for the environment.
You can source second-hand electronics from practically anywhere: from yard sales to eBay, and Facebook Marketplace to Amazon.
Scratch the surface of the online electronics business, and you’ll find a lot of options to choose from when deciding where to sell. These span from more established methods – such as starting your own ecommerce stores – to selling on social and specialist trade-in sites.
Let’s explore some of these options in more detail:
Arguably the best way to sell electronics online is by creating your own online store. When you do this, you create a real asset – not to mention one that you have a high level of control over.
Using a market-leading website builder – such as Wix, Shopify or Squarespace – will give you all the tools you need to easily, quickly create a website that can be leveraged to grow your business. Although all types of online selling platforms have their benefits, it’s owning your site that offers you the greatest scope to scale.
Some benefits include:
- Simple to create a functional website that looks professional
- Easy to customize your store to fit your brand and meet your needs
- Predictable pricing that helps you easily understand your monthly costs
- Professional support
There are several online marketplaces that you can use to sell electronics – some of the most popular include Amazon and Walmart.
Using an online marketplace has several great benefits:
- Large investment in driving traffic to the site
- Set tools for uploading your products and creating an online store
- Make and receive payments easily
However, using an online marketplace can have its downsides. Unlike your website, you don’t own the platform, which means you have little control over any developments to it: such as changes in functionality, or hikes in commission.
Many of the big social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest now allow you to sell directly to your customers, without the need to link through to an external site. This is a great way to tap into the engagement your audience has with social media platforms, and leverage the following and hype you’ve built on your own social channels.
There are similar downsides to online marketplaces, though, as you’ll have little control over the platform, and how your business works on it.
Typically, most businesses that sell on social media pair it with their online shop to increase their reach, and make it simpler for their customers to buy from them.
One final option for selling electronics online is to use a trade-in site, such as Decluttr. Unlike online stores, marketplaces, or social media, these sites guarantee to buy your products and price them based on the model, age, and condition.
You’ll generally receive a much lower price for products you sell on these sites. However, they do save you a considerable amount of money on sales, marketing, and setting up a store.
These types of sites can be profitable if you can pick up cheap second-hand electronics, or shift stock from your online store which isn’t moving out the door.
When you sell online, it’s really important that you showcase your products in a way that compels customers to buy. Although most online stores usually rely on just images and product descriptions, using videos can be a really good way of highlighting the key features of the electronics you’re selling.
When it comes to consumer electronics, how a product looks is a big part of the buying decision. Just think about how much time, money, and effort businesses like Apple put into creating the sleekest, best-looking phones on the market.
Use well-lit images with a white background to ensure that key product features are easy to identify. You may also take photos of the products being used to give viewers a sense of what it might look like once they have the product in their own life.
Adding a product video to your online store will give customers a much better insight into how it will work. As many consumer electronics rely on different interfaces, you could also include videos to show just how smooth and easy to use the products you sell are.
Product videos are especially important if you’re selling second hand electronics, as they give customers peace of mind that the product is functioning as it should.
When selling electronics online, your product descriptions have two purposes:
- To communicate key information such as model numbers, key features, and functionality
- To inspire your customers by making them imagine having the product in their lives, and that product making their day-to-day better or easier
Take the time to write great product descriptions, and they’ll pay dividends down the line. A good product description that includes keywords can help you increase the search engine rankings of your website. But more on SEO (search engine optimization) a little later in the guide!
How much will you charge for your electronics?
When you’re selling big brand names like Apple, Microsoft, Dell, and HP, each product will typically come with a recommended retail price. This can make pricing your products simple. However, you’ll still need to consider some factors to ensure that you’re pricing your products competitively, whilst also making a profit.
Here are some factors which come into play:
- Consumer demand for the products you sell
- Competition pricing strategies
- How much the products cost you to buy
- Overhead costs such as website hosting and stock storage
- How much you need to pay yourself
Remember, although consumer electronics is a competitive industry, being the cheapest doesn’t always guarantee you success. You can often charge more for your product when you can leverage brand value, customer service, and overall reliability.
The packaging and shipping of products is a crucial, but often overlooked, aspect of every online business. It can make up a large percentage of your overall electronic-selling costs, and therefore should be fully considered to ensure it doesn’t produce any nasty surprises further down the road.
Electronics can vary in how fragile they are – so it’s worth assessing your packing needs. This may include using protective materials, such as airbags, to ensure your electronics aren’t damaged in transit.
Fortunately, there are plenty of shipping companies that can help you get your electronics to your customers. However, it’s important to read their terms and conditions and certain items – such as some batteries – are prohibited.
If you don’t market your business, then no one will know about it. And, if nobody knows about it, then you won’t make any sales. In other words, it doesn’t matter how great your online store is – if you can’t attract traffic, you’re destined to fail. This is why marketing is so important.
There are countless ways to market your business. When selling electronics online, it makes sense to focus on the best methods of digital marketing and promotion. We’ve outlined a few of these below, along with how (and where) they can be best utilized:
Search Engine Optimization
The higher up you are in search results, the more people will click through to your site. So, if you can appear at the apex of Google’s search results for terms closely associated with your products, you’ll get lots of people on your site who are ready to buy.
Great SEO is hard work, and can rely on a lot of technical tweaks to your website – not to mention a considerable investment in driving external traffic from other sites. However, you can get good results by following a small number of basic principles.
- Regularly publishing quality content
- Linking to your own website and other quality sources in your content
- Ensuring that your website is user-friendly and quick to load
SEO is best suited to scenarios where you own your online store, as it can be difficult to build good search engine traffic to individual listings on other online selling platforms.
Social media is a great free way to build and engage an audience. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok hold a huge amount of consumer attention, and represent great avenues to reaching your audience in locations that appeal to them.
Use these platforms to entertain and educate your customers. Don’t always go for the direct sell – instead, earn their attention and position yourself as a leader in the industry, and they’ll come to you with their needs.
Paid ads are a great way to reach those who matter to your electronics business – quickly. Unlike social media, SEO, and email marketing – that all rely on a slow build-up of an audience over time – how many people you can reach by using paid ads is only limited by the budget you have to spend.
There are different types of paid ads, which can be better in different scenarios:
- Paid social – paying for your advert to appear on your audiences social media feeds
- Search engine ads – paying for your ad to appear at the top of relevant search results on Google or Bing
- Sponsored posts – paying for your products to appear at the top of listings on popular online marketplaces
Paid social ads can be used for any online store, but will typically work better when you own your website. Sponsored posts are exclusive to marketplaces.
Building a loyal, engaged email marketing list for your online electronics business can be a slow process, but will ultimately give you an audience who are ready to buy whenever you send them an engaging and compelling email. Finding incentives such as discounts are a great way to grow your email marketing list, too – as is fresh, topical, and relevant content.
Selling electronics online certainly isn’t easy. However, if you get it right there are huge opportunities to generate profit – and potentially even help the environment, too! This guide has outlined every step you need to take to get going with selling electronics online.
We have covered:
Sell Electronics Online: Checklist
- Sourcing your electronics
- Where to sell your electronics
- Showcasing your electronics
- Determining the price of your electronics
- Packaging and shipping your electronics
- How to market your electronics store
The rest is up to you!