The rise of the Internet has brought so much opportunity to every individual. If you have mobile phone with an internet connection - your ready to go. There are hundreds of "platforms" where you can sell your products or services to a huge, browsing audience at very little or no cost. With so much opportunity - what is holding you back? In this blog post we will outline some main marketplaces where you could start and how to start sourcing products.
Where to start ?
Facebook & Instagram are online social hubs with billions of users. Using these platforms to start selling online is free, easy and gives you access to billions of people. The basic strategy to get started would be to create a Facebook business page and an Instagram account - you can then link them together. Regularly posting engaging, creative and visually-rich content will help you gain some likes and followers, sure, but one main key to growth is ads. Facebook and Instagram ads are still underpriced compared to Google Adwords or traditional marketing techniques such as leafleting, direct mail, signage or TV/Radio advertisements.
Facebook & Instagram have over 3 Billion Users Combined
By using Facebook and Instagram ads, you can target specific potential customers through various data points such as age, gender, interests, hobbies, location and more. This means you can narrow your search for a very specific type of person who you know will have a higher chance of being interested in your product.
Unfortunately, more and more businesses are catching onto this and competition is growing. This should not deter you from using this strategy - its free (except ads), it has potentially huge reach, can help you achieve many direct sales and also allows you to build an online following of your brand.
The powerhouse marketplace has been around for a long time now and continues to be a large player in the e-commerce market. Although Amazon has now overtaken it in terms of sales, I still believe that as a seller, eBay is more user-friendly and generally a better place to start. eBay seller fees are lower for most categories compared with Amazon and the process of listing products on eBay is simple.
eBay and Paypal provide a great sales channel and payment provider
You can create an eBay account for free and begin selling straight away. You will also need a Paypal account to sell on eBay. Paypal do charge a fee but the service they offer is excellent and always protects you and the buyer, so its well worth it. You can begin listing products on eBay straight away although you will have relatively low listing limits. These can be raised by selling items and providing good customer service. The basic strategy is very simple - list items, when sold provide good customer service and your account will grow in terms of feedback and listings limits. Its all very straightforward and I would suggest that if you plan to sell physical products then eBay should be a priority. Some individuals may not like that they have to pay a fee when they sell something (normally around 10-12%) but I personally think that the fee is well worth it to get access to millions of shoppers on a safe, secure platform.
Amazons has risen to become one of the largest marketplaces in the world and shows no sign of slowing down. However, just as Amazon focuses on providing the customer with an amazing experience, this does come at the expense of the seller. The amazon seller experience can be a bit more difficult due to the way that products are listed and specific criteria relating to product images, product titles and other product information. Amazon also uses something called the "Buy Box" when selling products. This means that every item only has one listing and multiple sellers compete for being the first in the queue (or "win the buy box") to sell the item. This can drive the price down, force you to use other sellers pictures and means that for many products you may not be first in line to make the sale.
Amazon is the largest online marketplace outside China
Amazon also "gate" many different brands and require specific paperwork or invoices to "ungate" these brands. This can prove difficult depending on where you source your items. Although I seem a little negative about Amazon, please be aware that it can deliver a mammoth number of sales and huge potential should you fulfil all of their criteria and build a trustworthy, well-run seller account. In terms of long-term strategy, you NEED to be on Amazon - but is it the easiest place to start? - I would say probably not.
Other Sales Channels
There are countless other channels to sell your products through - new marketplaces are launching or growing all the time. Some main sales channels that are worthy of note and should definitely be considered are: Shopify website, Depop, Whatsapp messenger group sales and more. These are free or very low cost and can provide you with further exposure and channels to sell your products.
One of the hardest parts of selling online when just starting is sourcing products that you can sell AND make a profit on. Here at Style Centre Wholesale we provide mens high-end designer clothing at wholesale pricing. This can provide a starting point for those looking to start an online business or even just make a little bit extra each month. When sourcing products, a few general rules can provide a good guideline:
1. Is the item at least 65% off RRP? If not, is it over 50% off RRP and very popular.
2. Is anyone else selling the item? If so, would you make profit if you matched their price?
3. Can you make at least 25% profit on the item?
4. Are potential customers searching for that item or similar items?
5. Are customers buying these items - search eBay sold listings.
If you can answer yes to most of these questions, there is a high chance that you have sourced a good product to sell. Now choose how you will sell and get going!
Our wholesale website has hundreds of products that fit the above criteria and would be a good place to start!
Once you have sourced your first product/s, you are ready to sell. Nothing beats the buzz of that first sale, it really motivates you and drives you to press on. In our next blog we will go through how to complete your first sale, dealing with customers and marketing your products.