New options abound for merchants thinking about or already selling products online.
Opportunities to profit are available from eBay to Amazon and include numerous lesser known yet interesting “all in one” online sales options becoming available on an almost daily schedule. Small businesses have numerous easy display opportunities available for their products like Etsy, Bonanzle, Bidtopia, OnlineAuction, Dawdle, Overstock, Plunderhere, Ubid, ePier and many more
Setting up a diversified mix of sales channels is a long term goal of most successful Internet merchants. Selling product online through all in one options like eBay or Amazon while maintaining an eCommerce website or adding a shopping cart option to an existing website is less complicated more attractive than ever before. Many merchants who would not have considered this track in the past are now looking hard at dedicated multi-channel web development.
But What to Sell?
Many merchants, either online or brick and mortar, already have established sources of supply for merchandise. Existing supply is a good reason for small businesses to investigate an online sales initiative.
But many people are looking for new business opportunities in an ever tightening economy, these emerging entrepreneurs may have no established source of supply for products to offer online. As a result, one of the most common questions we hear is…
“What do I sell, and where do I source product?”
This single question is the most common inquiry heard by service providers and web developers at conferences and trade shows across the country. The “small business opportunities” crowd may simply lead the customer to a drop ship source, importing company or a stale list of these sources, legitimate or not for a fee or a portion of the monthly subscription fees earned by these types of sourcing suppliers.
As a trusted advisers, web developer and Internet consultants here at iBusinessLogic.com we do not simply offer a link to a drop shipper or a wholesale list to our clients. We prefer to talk with our clients with a goal to listen to them, learn what motivates them and find the strengths of their individual or company goals.
Many entrepreneurs and small business owners have trouble recognizing the opportunities available to them. At iBusinessLogic we like to help identify the best business plan available for Internet initiatives and as a result, avoid the pain of possible missed opportunities.
Some Guidelines for finding online opportunity
- It is very difficult to succeed on the Internet by selling products no one wants.
- Successful merchants sell what people want to buy!
Sounds simple? Maybe, but more often than not these simple and obvious facts seem to elude some merchants, as a result they fail before ever really starting. Find out what people desire, what they buy, what they can not find locally (meaning wherever they live in the world – something common in your part of the world, may be a rare and desired commodity elsewhere), and give it to them. Ignoring this fundamental tenet of Internet sales will certainly cause more pain for the merchant than profit.
Let’s look at a list of some of the initial steps we perform with our clients and potential clients when there is a question concerning “What Do I Sell Online”?
- Check Ebay’s eBay Pulse to find out what products and services are selling well on eBay.
- Look at Amazon’s “Movers and Shakers” and the Amazon “Most Wished For” list to find products people want and products people are actually buying.
- Use research tools like Terapeak and Wordtracker to aggrigate more information about what products are being searched for and the keywords used to find them.
Once these steps have been performed and a category of products with sufficient demand has been identified, the next step is to find a source of supply.
Locating a local wholesaler, offering products which fit within the parameters of the research already completed, is the ideal solution.
If a local wholesale source is not available, two options exist.
- Search for a wholesale source in a nearby state or as a last resort, overseas.
- Work from the source backwards to see if there is a demand for products available locally.
Finding a local wholesaler which offers a product or product line in high demand may be easier than first imagined. Many of these wholesale sources have established local retailer relationships but may not have explored Internet sales recently. While in the past, the word Internet or eBay were considered taboo for wholesalers, todays economy and a changing image of online sales may open doors for an enterprising entrepreneur.
What do I say when speaking with a local wholesaler?
- Ask for buying privileges – this is easier if your already set up and established with a business identity and established credit. (Of course these steps should be performed before becoming active in any business).
- Seeking a Non-Disclosure Agreement and/or a Joint Venture Contract is a consideration. They are both simple documents that you can find and download from the Internet. These will protect both parties but some wholesalers may not be interested in this option with an established track record from you as a merchant.
- Determine shipping options and costs with the wholesaler. Ask about dropship programs or educate the wholesaler on this option if they are not familiar. If this option is not available, secure storage space or a shipping agent for the product.
- Arrange for a regular update of the product list in Excel format, it is easier to add to a product line when your aware of the available inventory and costs of same.
Test the product – in limited quantities – on different sales venues. Not all products that sell on Amazon will sell on eBay and visa versa. Your selected product line may do well on a stand alone website or on another venue but if you have done the proper research and have started with products people buy, then the venue should be the last decision.