We are all after some sort of side hustle to keep us going in a financial sense. A lot of us think about making money on eBay by selling whatever junk we’ve got in the back room, but if you are serious about setting up a selling empire, there’s a lot more to think about. The game of selling your items is a vast market, and if you are serious in getting involved, you need to get schooled up in the basics, but also, decide if you are able to go the distance.
Choosing Your Platform
We are spoilt for choice when comes to the number of online platforms these days. From Shopify to Bonanza, or even Craigslist, there is no shortage of quality online marketplaces. But at this point, you need to look at what you want from your marketplace. Each platform has its own individual pros and cons. For example, Amazon is a very traditional retail site, but it’s also a very large network, so if you are intending on selling items via this marketplace, you will have to work harder at getting your products seen. However, there are various perks if you sign up to Amazon. You could set up your own platform via sites like Shopify or Etsy, and these come with their own individual costs but you also need to think about certain technical issues that may arise, such as if you experience Shopify merchant account problems, but this is not exclusive to any one platform. What you need to consider is if the service the platform provides is something you can place your trust in, should any problems come up.
Crunch The Numbers
Once you’ve found the platform that suits you, it’s time to get that calculator out! Even if you choose one of the numerous free platforms, you still have to place an investment up front. There are costs relating to e-commerce plugins, as well as setting up an email or a domain name. But, a lot of these costs are one-offs, but on sites like Shopify, there are monthly fees, and the same applies if you want to host your own website. On top of this, you need to think about how much you want to make from each item. A lot of people mark their items down at a low cost so they are competitive; however, you need to set the price to ensure that you make a comfortable profit. This means, as a general rule, that you mark your prices at least 30% over the cost you got the item for. It cannot be said enough, make sure you do the math before getting involved properly! If you find that you’re making zero profit, it will only be a matter of time before you give up completely.
Do You Have Any Competitors?
A lot of people give up the ghost because they find that there’s just too much competition out there. Keep yourself competitive, not just in terms of the smaller businesses around you, but you need to think about the big companies too! It’s all about analysis. Regardless of the platform you choose, you still need to find ways to make yourself competitive in the market. This is why the bigger businesses place so much importance on the analytics side of things. You can do this by implementing simple processes, such as by looking at the trends in the products you are selling the most of. For example, if you look at the most popular product to sell, can you see a certain through-line relating to your customers? For example, is the low price one of the defining factors? Once you get an idea as to what sells the most and for the reasons why you can get more of these products so you are staying competitive in the market. In addition to this, you need to think about the experience that the customer has when they buy from you. If you are going via platforms like Shopify, you can customize the experience, but if you are going via Amazon or other big names, you don’t have as much of a handle on how you present everything. Finding ways to keep yourself apart from your competitors is an ongoing battle because there will always be people looking to cover a certain area of the market. This means that, even if you are just selling items on the side, you’ve still got to have your ears to the ground for certain changes and trends. If you sell a certain product, and it’s trailed off as far as quantities are concerned, then it’s time to find another, more interesting, product. But, if you are going through sites like Etsy, where you are selling products that you’ve made yourself, you still need to find ways to stand out and retain your own sense of uniqueness.
You Need To Make Yourself Stand Out
Making yourself unique isn’t just about how you present yourself, but it’s about the products you sell. Of course, going via the self-made route, with sites like Etsy, means that you can retain your identity. But, when you are trying to make yourself stand out in other ways, it’s about social media marketing, as well as photography. Photography is one of the great lost arts. And when you scour eBay for items, you can easily tell the difference between a professionally shot picture and one that’s been done on a camera phone. Think about making yourself stand out, not just buy the products you sell, but by the overall image too.
Selling items online can be a very lucrative market, but when so many people are heading into it now, it can be a challenge to keep yourself competitive. In many respects, you have to treat yourself like a business and find ways to get into the swing of things, not just by the image you present, but the overall working methods you implement. A lot of people make the mistake in treating selling items online as a part-time job and don’t put much effort into it. If you want real results, you have to put more into it.