It is customary for me to chat up merchants on our online platform. This allows us to better understand our merchants and anticipate their needs. So here I was, having a chat with a merchant that just signed up for a free online store and before long, the question was asked:
What should i sell online?
Its simply amazing how often this comes up when i am discussing with people and since it seems to be a re-occurring question, I decided to blog about it. I am aware that determining what to sell is critical for every business and i have highlighted a few questions for your consideration. By trying to answer these questions, you should be able to make an informed decision.
- Are the products sold locally and can your potential customers find them easily? Selling items online that can be easily purchased around the corner may be difficult to pull. But then again, if this is the route you decide to take, you should be able to overcome this by having a unique selling point.
- How would you source for the products you intend to sell? Would you get your supplies locally or would you be importing them? Where would you get the best deals from suppliers? How would you handle shipping your stock?
- What type of product would you want to sell? – Are you interested in those ‘hot selling’ items like the latest phones, gadgets or new designer bags? You basically need to decide on whether you want to sell trendy items, essentials or maybe both. Would your products be delicate in nature and require special handling because they are fragile or perishable? All of these would affect your handling process and associated costs.
- Have you considered your target market? Do you have a profile of what your potential customer should be? Identifying these would affect everything from how the products are displayed, look and feel of the online store, language style, promotions etc.
- How much would your product cost? What is the lowest price you can sell it for? How much would you be willing to pay for it? How much are your competitors selling the product? The eventual price of the product is dependent on a lot of factors like cost price, handling charge, packaging costs etc and some of these costs can be reduced depending on certain decisions you make.
- How competitive is the market you are considering? Some products currently flood our markets and if you decide to join in (since that seems like a winner), you need to find out what sets your product apart from the rest. Think of ways maybe in terms of added value that would help pull you from the crowd so as to have your niche.
- What needs would your product meet? Are you trying to solve a problem with your product? Did you notice a gap and feel the need to close this gap with your product?
- Is the demand for your product seasonal? Are there things you could do to boost sales during your off-peak periods? Are there items you can cross sell to push the product?
- Are there special government regulations you should be aware of before you can sell the product? Your desired product may require special approval from government agencies such as NAFDAC, SON etc. Be sure that you are aware of any special permit and make provisions to get it.
- What is the size of the product? How would your product be stored and where? Would space limitations affect warehousing? These questions are also linked with how shipping is handled.
It is important to invest your time in doing a bit of research on the product you are passionate about. Because sincerely, there would be times when it is your passion for the product that would keep you going.
Kick off your Valentine’s Day sales with these beautiful graphics from our team.