Online selling: how it works

Who I am
Valery Aloyants
@valeryaloyants

Preliminary information

Before starting to explain in detail what are the best approaches to start selling online, let me tell you about an element that is often overlooked in this field, namely the tax issue. While in many cases you will not have to worry about tax obligations arising from online sales, it is important that you know which activities you will have to declare instead.

As easily imaginable, if your intention is to sell occasionally and completely episodic an item on the Internet, you will have no tax obligations. In these cases, it is a sale that cannot be configured as a real commercial activity, but always make sure that you are making sales in a non-repeated and regular way.



The speech becomes complicated if, in the course of your sales activity, you make use of elements that can be considered part of one preparazione e • innovative business organization based on the use of technologies and digitalization of internal and external processes, as well as the active and continued promotion of the services we offer through business development, marketing and communication systems (letter "I" of our logo actually stands for "Innovation"); activity: advertising or buying advertisements, for example, make your sale fall under the profile ofoccasional commercial activity. In this case you will have to declare in the 730 in resulting income.

Finally, if you decide to open a dedicated site for sale, such as a ecommerce, your business will be framed as usual business activity, so you must necessarily open one VAT number and start a full-fledged business, so as to be able to pay income tax according to the provisions established by law.


These, of course, are just a few general guidelines. I am not an expert on the subject and, therefore, I do not feel like going into it further. Before setting up a real online business, therefore, find out precisely about the financial obligations by going to the competent centers, such as a CAF or business consultant, in order to avoid any violations of tax laws and consequent "nasty surprises".


Online selling: how it works

Now that you have some more information, I can start talking to you about how online selling works from a more practical point of view. First of all, you need to know that online sales can be done through different channels, each with their own pros and cons. Make sure, therefore, to read the next chapters carefully, so that you can choose the type of sale best suited to your needs.

Open an ecommerce

If you already have a business and you want to expand your audience or you delight in creating products, one of the first options I can recommend is opening a ecommerce, that is, a real website dedicated to the sale of products and services.

Even if it may seem a complicated operation, know that you can rely on services that allow you to achieve this goal in a very short time and without technical knowledge. Among these services, I point out Shopify, also available as an app for Android and iPhone / iPad, which allows you to create an ecommerce with unlimited products in a few steps, hosted on the platform's servers and identified with a shopify.com domain name free (but with the option to use a custom domain).


Using Shopify you can easily and immediately manage orders, products, customers, payments, shipments and inventory. The service also offers the ability to create social network marketing campaign, by email and SMS and to have shop windows on Facebook and Instagram.

While it's not free (plans start at $ 29 / month), you can take advantage of Shopify's free, no-obligation trial. To do this, go to the official website of the service and type yours email address in the proposed field. Then click the button Start your free trial and fill out the form provided with yours Password and name of your shop.


Now click the button Create your shop and answer the questions in the questionnaire, or indicate if you have already started selling, what your current income is, in which sector are you planning to operate e if you are creating a store for a customer. When you are done, click on the button NEXT and complete the missing data concerning theaddress to receive payments. Finally, click on the button Enter the shop.

Well, now you are ready to administer your personal ecommerce. All the tools you need are located in the left sidebar: then click on Home to display the Shopify main menu, u Order Process to operate on orders, on Products to manage the products of your shop, on Clients to administer customers, on Analysis to have an eye on all sales data, on Marketing to create or manage marketing campaigns, on discounts to allow the use of discount codes in the store, on App to add new functions to your ecommerce with applications, or on Online shop to customize the pages of the site itself.


Although Shopify makes intuitiveness its strong point, you may still not be clear about some steps or not find some features you are looking for. Precisely for this reason, I invite you to read my guide on how to create an ecommerce with Shopify, in order to have more details on its use.

Although Shopify is a great tool to create your ecommerce, know that there are also different solutions that could be for you. If you have adequate technical skills (or a partner who has them), you can for example create your own ecommerce from scratch, customizing it as you wish, installing a CMS (i.e. a Content Management System) on one web space purchased separately, to which to associate a domain, also to be purchased separately.


There are many CMSs to choose from, each with its own peculiarities and specific tools. To help you choose, here is a list of solutions that I consider valid and effective.

  • Aruba Managed WooCommerce Hosting - this solution allows you to immediately get a working ecommerce based on the famous WordPress CMS and the popular WooCommerce plugin (which allows you to transform sites generated by WordPress into ecommerce). The service is for a fee and is managed by the Aruba company that is responsible for creating the website, including the domain name, and configuring it in the best possible way. A solution suitable for those who want to achieve customization and stability without having to deal with the entire configuration independently. You can learn more about its use by reading the guide I wrote about it.
  • Prestashop - this CMS is among the most popular online and allows you to install an intuitive and very complete platform on your website to manage an ecommerce. In addition to providing many free tools in the basic package to manage payments, orders and customers, Prestashop can be extended thanks to the installation of additional modules (some free and others for a fee) rich in features. It is one of the most popular solutions for those approaching ecommerce for the first time.
  • Magento - this content manager is designed for those who already have a certain familiarity in the technical field. It is, in fact, a robust tool, suitable for large ecommerce and also optimized from the point of view of SEO. Thanks to the numerous extensions available and the templates present, it is extremely customizable and therefore a bit of technical preparation is required to make the most of it.

Selling on online shop

If you don't want to open an ecommerce of your own but still want to have an online showcase through which to propose your content to the public, you can contact one of the shop online that allow the sale of objects and goods directly on their platform.

One of the most famous sites in the world of online shops is certainly Amazon. Probably, used to hearing about it as a shopping site, you have never dwelled too much on the possibility of sell on Amazon, but be aware that you can open your own seller account and sell your items on the platform.

Amazon, unsurprisingly, holds back some commissions variable from sales, and offers additional services for its sellers. For example, you can take advantage of the logistics of the ecommerce giant, or use the warehouses Amazon to store goods ready for delivery.

Selling on Amazon means reaching a large number of customers, but you need to know that it's not free. There are in fact different types of seller account, each with its own fixed costs and commissions. If you want to find out more about this possibility, I recommend reading my guide on how to sell on Amazon, which contains all the information you need to get started.

Another solution you can look forward to is eBay. Founded in 1995 as an auction site, the portal has grown tremendously to become the primary choice of numerous sellers. On eBay they can sell both private and companies, both for free and through paid subscriptions.

If in fact you can sell on eBay free for small volumes, as long as you pay some commissions on successful sales, if you regularly sell a large number of items, you can open a EBay shop for 19,95 euros / month, including 250 free listings every month.

If you want to learn more about how this online shop works, I recommend reading my guide on how to open a shop on eBay: I'm sure you will find all the answers you are looking for.

Finally, I want to tell you about a less famous online shop than the two listed above, but still very popular in the field ofmodern art and handicraft. The portal in question is Etsy and is specifically designed to allow artisans and artists to sell online without excessive costs. Registration, in fact, is free and the costs for the advertisements are in the order of cents.

If you want to sell handicraft items or items that you have made by hand, then Etsy is a great tool. Also allowing you to create adverts and marketing campaigns, you can even think about expanding your business beyond the single sale.

To help you use this online shop, I've written a guide that I recommend you read on how Etsy works. I'm sure it will come in handy.

Ad sites

If your intention is not to open an online business, but just to get rid of some used item, you can contact the ad sites. On these sites it is possible to sell goods and services through advertisements between private, often with zero commissions (although to highlight the ads, you have to put your hand to your wallet).

If you decide to sell on ad sites, always make sure you do a lot pay attention to the users with whom you make agreements. Accept secure payment methods, such as PayPal, and never send the goods before receiving the money.

With the proper precautions taken, you are ready to use ad sites for your sales. Although there are many, there are some that are considered more reliable and that are more used by online users: here are which ones.

  • Subito.it - Subito.it ads involve a large multitude of users, who over the years have chosen this portal for the sale of their items. Thanks also to the ability to advertise ads, which are free in their basic form, Subito is a very useful solution if you want to increase the visibility of your ads. It allows you to sell almost any type of asset. To make your listings stand out, you need to purchase paid packages.
  • Kijiji - this classifieds portal, which mainly focuses on local classifieds, is part of the eBay network. Registration and use are free, although there is the possibility to increase the visibility of the ads through the Premium membership.
  • Facebook Marketplace - just have a Facebook account to be able to use the Marketplace of the famous social network, which allows you to place ads and be contacted directly on your profile. The immediacy of contact and ease of use make the Marketplace a quick and effective method to sell your items by offering them to all those who are subscribed to Facebook.
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