General Online Selling Tips
Online vendors use channels such as eBay, Craigslist, Amazon, other online shopping carts or their own e-commerce websites. As an online vendor, here are some of the things you should look out for:
- Focus on products that are high-value and low bulk – items that you can resell for a good profit and that are small enough and easy/cheap enough to ship with UPS or USPS. Larger items are okay but will cost your customers a lot of money in shipping which can reduce your sales.
- Branded clothing, shoes, small consumer electronics, cosmetics and such items can make great online products.
- As a customer of Via Trading, you have the option of listing our wholesale lots on your eBay store or e-commerce website. We can either ship these to you and you ship them to your customers, or we can dropship them directly to your customers so you never have to touch or work the merchandise. Selling wholesale lots can also allow you to make a larger profit margin on an individual sale.
- You can also maximize your revenue by supplementing with local sales.For instance, items that are too big and expensive to ship on eBay (like appliances, furniture, tools, etc) can be sold with a “pick-up only” option or on Craigslist.
- Use eBay and similar sites as a research tool to figure out pricing for items before you purchase and/or list them. There are dozen of third party websites that offer research information like terapeack.com, vendio.com, etc.
- Try to find a particular niche and become an expert in it. Niche businesses develop loyal customers much faster than business who try to cater to a wide variety of customers.
- Take advantage of 3rd party websites like Amazon.com or eBay. They have a loyal customer base, lots of website traffic, built-in payment methods, seller and buyer protection plans and more. If you’re just starting out, considering selling on one of those sites until you build some credibility and branch out into your own stand-alone website.
- Source from lots of suppliers. Even if you find 2 or 3 that you particularly enjoy working with, it doesn’t hurt to have a good contact book of suppliers you could potentially work with. If one is out of stock on the product line you carry, be sure you can source this product from somewhere else so you don’t have a service interruption for your customers and so you don’t have to scramble to find new product.
- Research your market. Check out what other items like the ones you are listing are selling for and try to find a competitive edge. If you can lower your item by a few dollars or offer free shipping, you will make yourself stand out and drive the customers to your store instead of someone else’s. Don’t just base your selling price on your purchase price. See what others are doing and do better.
- Don’t be afraid to buy larger lots and liquidate. Many online sellers are afraid to get their hands on a larger load of merchandise for fear of the space it will take up, the time it will take to sort through it all and what to do with any unwanted items. There are tons of liquidation services available out there to move unwanted inventory, and the money you will save overall by purchasing larger lots at a time will put you ahead of the game.
- Make sure your service is impeccable. There are hundreds of sellers on the internet carrying very similar products at very similar prices. If you prices are good but your service doesn’t follow, customers may be inclined to go to your competition who might charge a little more but provides better service, faster shipping times, etc. Make sure you answer customer inquiries quickly, get orders out the door fast and keep an open line of communication with your buyers.
- Consider drop shipping to offer merchandise you wouldn’t normally stock. Suppliers that are willing to drop ship will allow you to offer their products for sale without buying any inventory up front. If you get a sale, you simply place the order with the supplier and they ship it directly to your customer. Not only is this a great way to offer merchandise that you can?t afford to buy in bulk, but it?s also an excellent way to test the waters on a new product you?re unsure of without risking your hard-earned money buying it up front.
This post is also available in Español.