How to Sell Online — Your All-in-One Guide (and Pro Tools!)

Here are a few tips as you implement your email marketing strategy:

Capture emails any way you can

The best option for the majority of online stores is WooCommerce. It rises above the rest thanks to its flexibility, scalability, ease of use, cost, and the level of control you have over your store. Plus, there’s a great community that can help teach you how to sell online. 

You should include an email opt-in form right on the homepage of your ecommerce store. But you may also want a separate page promoting your email list so you can link to it, and expand on the benefits to customers. 

This is the most common method for paying online, and customers pretty much expect it. 

There are also block patterns, which are pre-designed groups of blocks that make building a page even faster. For example, you could add a three-column product row to automatically pull in items in a beautiful way.

block patterns in WordPress

With your own online business, you set your policies, and no one can tell you how to sell online. 

Learn more about choosing a WordPress theme.

Create your pages

The most prolific type of online ads show up at the top of search results. It’s like skipping the line for SEO. You can get your site listed near the top with something like Google Ads, but you’ll pay a fee for every click that results. 

You have three general options for where to start selling online. You can sell on a pre-existing online marketplace, your own ecommerce store, or through your social media channels. Here’s a quick look at each:

Online marketplaces

In the Product Data box, you can set all the item details, like product type, price, inventory levels, and shipping information. You can also add variations, which are options that customers can choose from, like size and color. And if you sell digital items or services, you can opt to make the product “virtual” or “downloadable.”

product data box

When customers order something online, they either need to pick it up in person or have it delivered. That means that item is no longer available to be put out in your retail section. So you need systems for managing and storing inventory that incorporate offline and online purchases. 

If you want to sell products or services priced over a hundred dollars, you may want to consider offering installment plans. The Buy Now Pay Later option makes purchasing higher-priced items easier for customers. You can make this available using extensions such as Affirm Payments, which lets the customer pay in four installments. 

The WordPress block editor simplifies the page creation and design process, and allows you to create something beautiful without needing to edit a single line of code. Each element — paragraph, heading, image, video, etc. — is called a “block.” You can drag a block wherever you’d like on a page, then edit style and functionality settings for each one.

creating a page with the block editor

The best tool to use for selling online is WooCommerce, the powerful and flexible ecommerce solution for WordPress. 

Once you begin to sell online, your customer service strategy will need to adjust to the fact that some customers are ordering in person, others by phone, and others online. You need to develop what’s called an omnichannel customer service strategy. 

Google Ads is one of the most well-known online advertising platforms for selling online, and WooCommerce stores have a great tool at their disposal. The Google Listings & Ads extension integrates with your store to automatically add free product listings to Google Shopping and create and manage paid campaigns.

What’s next?

But expanding your business online requires a much smaller set of costs. The bar is much lower, and you don’t have to hassle with managing a second location. Plus, if you can reach customers across a wider geographic area, your sales potential is much greater.

Less risk

And if you’re using WooCommerce, use this guide to set up shipping processes as you learn how to sell online.

Set up taxes

Another aspect of omnichannel customer service is the ability to work with customers who want to pay online and pick up in person. Or buy in person and have it shipped to their out of town address. Can you handle that? 

For businesses selling perishable goods, shipping is a major consideration. In that case, you may only sell products online locally. Or, if you can invest in the packaging required to ship these products, you could expand regionally or to an even larger area.

Understanding payments is a crucial part of learning how to sell online. A payment processor keeps the online payment process secure, while making it easy for online shoppers to pay. You have several ways to do this:

Debit and credit cards

If you’re a US-based business, the free WooCommerce Shipping extension makes it easy to print labels for USPS and DHL, and even includes a discount. 

generating shipping labels with WooCommerce Shipping

Learn more about adding products in WooCommerce.

Security is especially important for online stores, which collect customer information like addresses, phone numbers, and credit card data. And while WordPress and WooCommerce are secure tools, they can fall victim to hacks, just like any other platform.

Likewise, you want your domain name to be easy to spell, and easy to write down. You might have named your business something creative that’s misspelled on purpose, but that isn’t usually a good idea for a URL. 

With email, you can present new opportunities to engage and buy, without having to rely on them to find your online store again.

Not every email should be selling something. Look for opportunities to include a mix of helpful content, insider scoops, free offers, and things like videos, interviews, and topics of interest to your customers. 

Despite the widespread customer expectation for free shipping, somebody has to pay to deliver products to customers’ homes. As an online merchant, you have a few ways to go about this. 

It’s your store.

Your existing customers are the easiest ones to sell products to because they’re already familiar with you. If they had a good first experience, the barrier to selling online to them again is much lower than for someone who has never bought from your online store.

Marketing to existing customers

Even though your actual business isn’t there, that doesn’t matter, because you can work to attract traffic from people who are, and you can ship to them. You could then create pages and marketing for other cities and expand your reach further. 

Prepare the content for your online store

Before selecting your WordPress theme, read through the reviews to see what people are saying, confirm that it’s coming from a reputable source, and make sure that developers update it regularly. If there’s a live demo available, test it to ensure that it has the design and functionality that you’re looking for.

But beyond that, what if someone wants to buy something you sell, but it’s 9pm and you’re closed? If you sell online, they can place the order right then, and either get it shipped to their door or come pick it up in-store the next day. 

But it’s possible that the domain is taken or only available for an exorbitant price. In that case, you’ll need to look for a different domain name. Here’s what to take into consideration: 

Domain length

You can also go full ecommerce and disband your physical store altogether. If you run a service business, you can manage everything remotely.

Expanding your existing business to sell products online is worth your time and effort because of the much higher revenue potential of reaching so many more people.

Differentiation isn’t easy, but you have to look for any edge that will enable you to sell more effectively, and then infuse that across your ecommerce website, from the homepage to the product pages to the checkout and thank you pages.

Choose and purchase a domain name

Without an online store, you can only sell products to people within your local area. But once you learn how to sell online, you can sell to buyers across the country. And if you put the right practices in place, you can sell online across the world. 

You have reasons for selecting the products that you sell. What makes those products better than the ones you don’t sell? Or, if you’re manufacturing them yourself, how can you differentiate yours from all the others out there? 

Brick and mortar businesses that want to grow, expand, and maximize their revenue need to sell online as well as in person. If you’re ready to expand your business and reach more customers, we’re going to show you how to sell products online.

Some of this has to do with your target market. For example, if you want to sell beachwear online, it makes sense to target the coastal regions at first, where you’ll find a higher concentration of prospective customers.

Collecting sales tax and VAT on an ecommerce platform has become much more complicated in recent years, as more governments have begun mandating sales tax for online businesses.

An excellent starting point is WooPayments. This free tool allows you to accept credit and debit cards alongside digital wallets, in a variety of currencies, and manage everything from your WordPress dashboard. You can even set it up to take payments in person, so it’s a strong option if you want to integrate your online and offline transactions.

Choose shipping methods

You can also allow customers to opt in on the checkout page and on the thank you page, which is your last and best opportunity to capture a new buyer’s email subscription before they disappear. 

Send abandoned cart emails

Each state, province, and country can have different procedures and requirements in place. The rules you must follow are based on the location of your business or the areas you serve, which can be hard to define if your employees are spread out across multiple cities or states. 

The WordPress theme that you choose impacts the design and layout of your website. Some act as blank slates, while others include templates that you can just plug your content into and run with. 

You may also be wondering, why can’t I just sell online everywhere? Well, you can. 

Learn more about WooCommerce vs. other options for selling online.

This is harder to make work because it’s not the main purpose of social media, from a user perspective. But there are good options, such as Facebook Marketplace, which functions much like the major online marketplaces and comes with most of the same advantages and drawbacks. 

For packaging, you’ll need to consider ways to keep your products intact and secure during transit. You also need someone to actually put the items in the box or envelope, seal it, and affix the label. You’ll need a place to store your packaging materials.

Finally, on the right-hand side, you can add your images, categories, and tags. 

category and tag options in WooCommerce

Again, don’t make this all about selling. Inject your welcome series with some fun. Show some personality. Be memorable. Make a good impression. 

With Woo Express, you can start right away while maintaining complete control and ownership of your entire store. It’s the fast lane for busy entrepreneurs who are ready to take on the world. Try it free for 14 days without a credit card, restrictions, or complications. 


Opt-in forms, abandoned cart emails, welcome emails, segmentation, and so much more can be done through MailPoet, an email marketing plugin created for WordPress. It’s trusted by thousands of businesses who are now selling online. 

MailPoet + WooCommerce information

Use social media

But even in your local area, there are probably whole segments of customers who don’t know you exist, but would buy your products or services. If you’re not selling online, anyone searching online for the product or service they want isn’t going to be able to buy from you easily. 

Improved customer service