So, after much deliberation you have decided that you want to become an e-tailer, you want to make money by buying and selling goods on the internet – why? Well, selling goods online enables you to access a massive customer base from day one, overheads are considerably lower than setting up a physical shop or stall and all this amounts to a huge potential for profit. Here’s how to get started.
Identify a Demand
There is little point in purchasing stock and putting it up for sale online if nobody is interested in buying it. Identifying a demand for particular products is the first step towards being a successful e-tailer. For example, Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso, started her business selling vintage clothes on eBay and she now runs a multimillion dollar empire.
Having a niche may pay dividends in the long term as it will help you build a brand and will mean you are more likely to get customers returning.
The number one rule here is that you must source products at a price that will enable you to cover your costs and also to turn a profit – buy low, sell high. Often this means you will have to buy in bulk in order to get a reduction on the price and websites like Alibaba will act as good research tools for this.
If alternatively, the type of products you want to sell cannot be bought in bulk, then factoring the time it takes you to source the goods will be important when considering the sell on price – you need to be paid for that hard work.
Use Online Marketplaces
You could do far worse than starting your e-tailer ventures using an online marketplace, such as eBay. Signing up to use eBay is easy, you only pay commission on items sold and so there are no upfront costs. When setting up an account choose a name that is relevant and that you think people will remember – this may be important moving forward, particularly if you plan to set up your own website and/or start branding your products.
Once you have an online marketplace account, it’s time to start listing the products you want to sell. Start by taking photographs that look professional. One tip here is to create a backdrop for the photographs using a sheet of fabric – a plain white background will make the products stand out and will help make the photographs look well lit. When writing descriptions for the products try to use keywords that you think people would use in a search and do your research before setting packaging and postal costs.
Navigate the Logistics
When items begin to sell, you will need to ship them to the buyers and here using a reliable parcel delivery service is important. Not only do you want your products picked up and delivered on time, but you also want good care taking of them whilst they are in transit.
In the long term it would be useful to build a relationship with the service you use and so finding one that is reliable and sticking to it can be beneficial.
Taking it to the Next Level
If you find that you are making money and demand is high for your products then you may want to consider taking things to the next level. Here you will need to start marketing your service and ultimately build your own website to become an independent e-tailer.