Top tips for selling your designs online

From prints and phone cases to t-shirts and mugs, there’s a huge online market for design-led wares, and a growing choice of virtual marketplaces in which to set up shop. If you want to make money working from home by creating and selling your own products like vintage posters or doodle art, it’s important to make an informed decision about where to list them.

Start with your target audience in mind. “Think about who your customer is,” says Susannah Bradley, community programmes manager at Etsy. “Knowing what they like can guide a lot of decisions when creating your online business.”

So how do you ensure you’re selling where potential customers are looking? Many market places claim impressive traffic statistics (although some, such as print-on- demand sites, tend to keep these under wraps), but visitor hits won’t tell you what’s actually making money.

Look for products similar to the ones you want to sell to find out what’s on offer already and for how much. Don’t just look on the websites themselves – search on social media to see what people are buying and from where. Hashtags like #bought can be handy for this.

It would make life easy if there was one stand-out site for each type of merchandise, such as a single top marketplace for phone cases. In reality, you’d be hard-pushed to find a piece of merchandise that isn’t available almost everywhere, so your decision needs to be based on more subtle factors.

Take a look at other sellers with similar products on offer. Does their aesthetic sit well with yours? How easy is it to see and search for those products? Does the marketplace have established keywords or categories that will help customers find your listings? Are there any free features – such as Etsy’s Treasury lists – that can help you promote your wares?

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