When you start learning how to sell things on online or listing items to sell I always recommend having some background knowledge about SEO. Rather than just winging it, SEO (search engine optimization) can help even your physical products show up in searches across the internet.
Yes, Google is still the number 1 search engine out there, but Pinterest YouTube, and even some social platforms are using search-based algorithms to connect an audience to a curated feed. Why not start to get in front of them, and grow an email list so you can continue your journey? No matter what path you decide.
One of the biggest questions we get asked is why should I begin to sell physical products online. You can create passive income with a well-established product that meets customers’ needs. Your business becomes scalable. As you sell more products you might need to upgrade your website to handle more traffic. Or find a team to help with shipping. And you can reach a global audience with online sales versus a brick-and-mortar store that needs literal foot traffic.
Basically, you are only limited by your imagination- you can create physical products for any niche or audience and reach them on a broader scale. It's easier to communicate with customers around the world since you’re selling online. Time zones no longer matter in the online space. Information is at your fingertips! And when you use optimization strategies your audience finds YOU, instead of you having to physically go out and look for THEM. No more door-to-door sales!
First, you need an idea of what you want to create to sell online. Then you need an eCommerce platform. This can be any number of platforms. Woocommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, Squarespace, Network Solutions, etc. If you aren’t quite ready to tackle this step on your own website you can look into eCommerce platforms like Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, Amazon Storefronts, and more.
Whichever platform you choose it should provide you with all the tools you need to build your eCommerce site and manage your store merch. The best eCommerce platforms include pre-made templates, drag-and-drop page builders, integrated shopping carts and checkout, payment gateways, plus inventory management tools, shipping calculators, etc.
If you can create a Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok account, you can create a physical product shop. It really is that easy. You don't want to spend all your time trying to market everything all the time, so find one platform to begin and go all in.
Understand how the algorithm works for the platform you decide to sell on, even if it’s your own website, WooCommerce, Shopify, or Etsy. The algorithm might be different depending on the platform you choose. So have a variety of templates for your images, video, and preview files. No matter which eCommerce route you choose, you need to be able to understand search engine optimization for the platform you're using.
One of the best-selling things right now online is sensory boxes or sensory kits. Because teachers are qualified to understand what kids could (and would) actually use it's a great idea to create something that goes with your niche.
In the beginning, many teachers want to create a little bit of everything. Stickers, t-shirts, mugs, planners, digital resources, books, so many choices. But when you niche down and stay true to your brand — That's where you’ll begin to find your specialty.
Printing all the materials or creating it all first and then shipping it can be a daunting task. Plus you’ll have to decide if you are ready to ship internationally. It does take time to pack and ship orders. But we encourage you to find the fun in designing all the packaging components and stamping your own bit of flair on the project.
Once you have an idea of a product to sell and have created the product. Then it's time to market. Take your inventory photos, create your optimized listing, and showcase how your product solves a problem, or fulfills a need for teachers.
Get creative when you decide on what products might work well. Is it a cookbook that showcases how to meal prep as a teacher on a budget? Quick meals that can be consumed while standing at the copy machine!
Maybe it's coordinating makeup that a teacher could put on in the car in the parking lot. Or an inspirational water bottle they can take with them when they are headed out to get in their steps for the day.
You know your audience, so be sure to speak to them when creating your listings and products.
90 million customers show up on Etsy every day looking for their perfect match. And a lot of our teachers like to start small and kind of get their feet wet. Etsy could be a great platform to kind of see how it all works. The shipping, packaging, keeping up with inventory, marketing, etc.
But if you know you want to create your own hub there is plenty of room for your ideas in the online space.
Planners and Curriculum or Lesson Plan Books are popular. And not just before the new school year or the new year. Teachers are always using planners to organize their lives. If you already create digital planners, you can easily create a printable planner. Print and bind physical copies of your ideal planner, lesson planner, or curriculum book and list them for sale. CEO Teacher® Kristi DeRoche printed her digital planners to add a physical product to her storefront.
Create custom stickers with either an at-home sticker maker or print-on-demand company. Create stickers that support your mission, and align with your brand. Stickers are super easy to ship since they weigh almost nothing. Listen in while CEO Teacher® Kayla from Move Mountains in Kindergarten shares how she used stickers to bring awareness to her brand.
T-shirts with branded colors, quotes, and phrases are always trending. People like to buy them for themselves and for their friends and coworkers. Think about all the spirit wear days in your district as you create teacher T’s. You could use a platform like Teespring to design t-shirts for your store. Check out how CEO Teacher® Alyssa Broome created T-shirts she couldn't readily find to diversify her income.
Mugs, travel cups, and water bottles are always on trend because teachers want to stay hydrated. Why not offer a personalized container with a branded slogan or image? Think about all the hype a certain cup receives. What could teachers do with your drinkware to simplify their lives? A coffee cup turned iced coffee cup around noon would be magical! There are merch websites that will help you create designs for your drinkware so you can sell them directly to your audience. You could create teacher gift guides to market your physical products.
Whether creating a physical product storefront still seems a little daunting, or you are already rocking your ideas. If you are ready to create additional streams of revenue… We do have step-by-step CEO Teacher® Success Paths for you to follow.
Or if you simply need the business and marketing skills and know-how to blaze your own trail.
You do you! Be BOLD and BEAUTIFUL in your choices!