While global retailers spend millions on the latest mobile optimization strategies, many small business owners are still struggling just to get basic websites up and running. Forty-five percent of small businesses in the U.S. and U.K. still don’t have business websites, which means those merchants are missing out on their share of the $1.47 trillion worth of revenue being generated by e-commerce sales worldwide.
Understanding that many SMBs don’t have a business website, a number of hyperlocal vendors have introduced platforms that give merchants a way to participate in e-commerce and sell their wares online. Here are six examples of tools that merchants can try.
1. QWIQQ: Sell socially through any online network.
QWIQQ helps local merchants generate more revenue by providing those business owners, along with consumers, with a way to share their best products online. Once merchants have “claimed” their accounts, they can snap photos of their products, enter brief descriptions, select the prices, and enable PayPal. This generates a QWIQQ listing, which can be shared on networks like Facebook and Twitter, as well as through SMS and email. Consumers click the “Buy” button to purchase products online, and they come into the physical stores to pick up their purchases. This drives in-store traffic, as well as sales. QWIQQ charges 3.5% to sell, with no revenue sharing, listing fees, or monthly plans.
2. Soldsie: Monetize social networking pages.
More than 25 million small businesses have Facebook pages. For those merchants who can’t direct their social media followers to an existing website, Soldsie offers “social selling” tools that can be used to monetize any social media page. Merchants connect Soldsie to their accounts on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, and they upload photos of the products they’d like to sell. To purchase those products, followers just have to type “Sold” in the comments. Soldsie sends an email invoice and directs the customer to a checkout page where he or she can pay through PayPal or WePay. Businesses ship their inventory once transactions are complete. Merchants can contact Soldsie directly for pricing information.
3. Hashbag: Create a storefront on Instagram.
Once described as the “mutant love child of Instagram and Craigslist,” Hashbag gives local merchants a way to get their products in front of Instagram’s 200 million+ active users. Merchants snap photos of the products they’re selling, and they post those images on Instagram with the hashtag #forsale. When this occurs, Hashbag automatically emails the merchant asking for the price, and the product goes live on the business’ “personal storefront.” Buyers who discover products via hashtag searches can transfer over to Hashbag’s website or buy the product through the Instagram photo directly. Payments are handled through PayPal. Merchants can post products for free, however Hashbag takes a $.99 fee for each item sold.
4. eBay: Unload excess inventory from brick-and-mortar stores.
For nearly two decades, local merchants have been able to expand their customer base by listing items for sale on eBay. Small business owners can liquidate excess inventory or simply expand the number of customers they’re able to sell to by using the global marketplace, all without having an existing business website. Merchants can set fixed price listings (rather than auctions), and they can enable local pickups for online shoppers who live in their communities. eBay also offers marketing and merchandizing tools that businesses can use to promote their online stores. Monthly costs for running a store on eBay start at $15.95 per month
5. Wazala: Build an ecommerce site with DIY tools.
For businesses that would like to create a more custom-looking online store, Wazala is an ecommerce shopping cart solution that integrates with blogs and social media. Businesses that don’t already have their own websites can add their Wazala online stores to their Facebook pages, or they can direct mobile shoppers to a custom Wazala URL. The platform offers tools that merchants can use to design, manage, and promote their online stores. Merchants maintain full control over how their stores look and function, and they can even offer in-store pick-ups for local customers. Pricing for Wazala ranges from $16 to $64 per month.
6. inSelly: Sell products through Instagram.
inSelly is a marketplace for Instagram users, where merchants can set up online shops without having their own business websites. Instead, business owners snap photos of the products they’d like to sell, tag those images with the #inselly hashtag, along with relevant category tags to reference the store’s location or the type of product. (For example: #NYC and #Scarves.) Consumers who stumble upon the images can make purchases directly through the platform thanks to the “Buy Now” button that’s added when sellers leave their PayPal email addresses in the “Contact Information” section. In addition to selecting the currency, sellers can also include the item’s physical location and delivery options. inSelly doesn’t charge any sales commission.
Know of other tools that merchants can use to sell products online without having a business website? Leave a description in the comments.
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.