Ecommerce ideas for people with “nothing to sell”
When most people hear the word “ecommerce,” they think of Jeff Bezos or Jack Ma or some nameless, faceless tycoon in a suit. They don’t think of their neighbour who plays in a band, or their cousin who illustrates children’s books, and they almost certainly don’t think of themselves. “I’m just a blogger/sculptor/hobbyist chef,” they think. “I don’t have anything to sell.”
We beg to differ. The glory (and peril) of the internet is that it’s turned everyone into creators and publishers and entrepreneurs. These days, with the help of super simple and cool ecommerce solutions like Zillacommerce, there are all kinds of ways people can—and should—be making money online.
It might be an offshoot of your existing business that you’ve been considering awhile, or it might be a passion you only just realized could become profitable side gig. Chances are it won’t make you as rich or famous as “The Bez,” but hey, it’s worth a shot, right?
Today, we’re sharing some ecommerce ideas and selling strategies for people with “nothing to sell.” Whether you’re a niche blogger, freelance developer, hobby photographer, or just someone with an idea, there’s an opportunity in ecommerce for you. All you have to do is go out there and seize it.
Ecommerce for bloggers
If you’ve been running a blog, you already have an advantage when it comes to ecommerce—an audience of people who are avid consumers of your content. But loyal readers and paying customers are two different things. How do you encourage fans of your free content to take the next step?
One way is to enhance, repackage, and sell your blog content in the form of an ebook or video series. Lots of bloggers are keying into this strategy, including travel writer Kristen Luna of Camels and Chocolate, who started publishing eBooks to address some of her readers’ frequently asked questions. By supplementing and repackaging content, she’s allowing readers to rediscover older-but-still-valuable posts, while also adding a new income stream to her blog.
If eBooks aren’t your jam, there are plenty of other ways to break into ecommerce as a blogger. Casey and Matthew Hickey, the husband-and-wife team behind Turntable Kitchen, launched a subscription service that delivers monthly pairings of their two favourite things—food and music. Lizzie Garrett Mettler, the voice and curator of fashion blog Tomboy Style, recently revamped her site as a marketplace for the American-made products she was previously only writing about.
Ecommerce for creators
Do you dabble in jewelry-making? Tinker with circuit boards? Concoct natural beauty products from stuff you grow in your backyard? Congratulations, you’re a creator! (And if Paul Saffo is to be believed, there’s never been a better time for that.)
We’ve all heard the stories of the mother of three making a million dollars a year selling leg warmers and headbands on Etsy, and the 19-year-old who paid her way through college with statement necklaces and hoop earrings. But the creator economy isn’t just about crafts. Designers can design and sell new fonts and icons. Programmers can build themes, plugins and apps. Game developers can create the next Neko Atsume.
If you happen to have an online portfolio of your work, you’re already within striking distance of ecommerce success. Visual artist Jason Ratliff’s portfolio triples as a showcase, blog and online store where you can pick up some pretty sweet superhero prints. Singer-songwriter Holly Maher’s website includes streaming audio and video, as well as digital album downloads and physical merchandise for purchase.
Ecommerce for non-profits
Ecommerce and non-profits may not seem like the most natural pairing, but there are all kinds of ways for non-profit organizations of all shapes and sizes to benefit from selling online. After all, non-profits still need to make money, and ecommerce solutions are a great way to facilitate things like recurring donations and memberships.
And there’s a lot more you can do with ecommerce than accept donations 24/7 with no staffing and low-to-no transaction fees (though that in itself is pretty huge). Organizations like Amnesty International and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society have both capitalized on ecommerce to sell branded merchandise to raise funds for their causes. Animal sanctuary Three Ring Ranch has used it to facilitate its animal adoption and “godparent” program (just note that no matter how much you might want a pet bison, they do specify, “You are not actually taking the animal home with you!”).
Ecommerce for the rest of us
If you haven’t seen yourself in one of the categories presented here, don’t despair: there’s an ecommerce opportunity out there for you. With the popularity of ecommerce exploding and the technology becoming more accessible every day, there are so many ways to make a living selling online. If you take some time to think about what you’re good at and what inspires you, you’re bound to come up with an idea that can put some extra cash in your pocket.