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Starting a business

Selling online without a website

4 min read

It’s often hard to imagine life without the internet, but did you know it may be possible to sell online without a website? Even if you’re a largely offline business, there are different ways to sell products and services online – from coffee to car repairs – without a fully-fledged web presence. Discover how in our guide to selling on the web without a website.

Should I sell online without a website?

Given we’re so used to buying things online, is it a no-brainer that businesses should sell through a website? Well, yes and no. For many businesses, there are good reasons to build a website, such as:

  • Visibility. Customers may be able to find you on search engines, particularly if you’ve optimised the website according to SEO best practice.
  • Credibility. By having your own dedicated website – and not just a social media presence – your business may come across as a professional and reputable outfit that takes its public image seriously.
  • Ease of bookings. You may run a business that relies on booking forms – such as a hotel, dental practice or beauty salon – which may prove to be more user-friendly on a dedicated website.

But as we’ll explore, if you run a business whose customers are mostly on social media, and you don’t need to build a complex booking form, you may be able to sell online with a lighter and more nimble web presence.

Benefits of selling online with no website

On paper, here are some of the possible advantages of selling on the internet without a website.

  • Save money. By not having a website, you could swerve potential website costs like hosting, maintenance and your own signature domain name.
  • More time. Maintaining an active website, including writing a blog, takes time and energy. By sticking to a smaller online footprint, you may free up time to work on other aspects of running your business.
  • Customer engagement. By interacting directly with your customers on social media, rather than waiting for them to come to your website, you may be able to attract local support and build brand loyalty.

How to sell online without a website

So, if you’re keen to sell online but don’t fancy setting up a website, what are your options? You may want to explore these different avenues for selling online.

Social media

Who needs a website when you could sell on social media? Platforms like Facebook have billions of active users, so there is almost no limit to the number of customers you could attract.

If what you’re selling is visually-led – like fashion and artwork – visually engaging social channels like Pinterest and Instagram (although other social platforms are available) might help you turn heads, generate some hype and link to online marketplaces – more on those later. While a website gallery is a great shop window for showcasing products, social platforms may be able to perform the same function without the set-up costs.

Alternatively, if you’re making business-to-business sales, or looking for investment, you could consider platforms like LinkedIn.

You could also create a payment link to sell your products or services on social media. One example (although there are many other providers out there and you should always do your research) is PayPal, who offer a Sell on Social feature, which allows you to generate a product link from your PayPal account and share across your platform of choice.

Online marketplaces

Some businesses prefer to sell through external marketplaces rather than their own website. Amazon is of course a huge e-commerce platform; in fact, 51% of UK consumers are frequent Amazon shoppers, according to Statista. There are different Amazon pricing plans for sellers depending on your needs but do remember that there are a number of other platforms available with different pricing plans so you should always do your research to find the best external marketplace for your business.

Elsewhere, Etsy is a popular platform if you’re looking to sell crafts and creative goods. Alternatively, you could sell products and freshen up your inventory using a classified ads-style service such as Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree or eBay.

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This has been prepared by Tyl by NatWest for informational purposes only and should not be treated as advice or a recommendation. There may be other considerations relevant to you and your business so you should undertake your own independent research.

Tyl by NatWest makes no representation, warranty, undertaking or assurance (express or implied) with respect to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness, or reasonableness of the information provided.

Tyl by NatWest accepts no liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential losses (in contract, tort or otherwise) arising from the use of the information contained herein. However, this shall not restrict, exclude, or limit any duty or liability to any person under any applicable laws or regulations of any jurisdiction which may not be lawfully disclaimed.

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