From coming up with your business idea, starting to choose a product, evaluating the product selected, sourcing product supplies, setting up your online store, promoting your online store, order fulfillment and customer service and more.
As you can see, there is a lot to be done. But before you start selling online, you need to have your products. Here are some tips on sourcing your products to get you started.
1. The idea is always around with you.
Ask yourself a question, are there any product that you are interested to sell or passionate about? It's time to got for it.
What are some of the problems that you face daily? You can turn it into your business idea.
Getting ideas from your friends and family. Great product ideas may come from the people close to you. Ask your friends what have they bought recently or what is it that your family needs but don’t have.
2. Approach traditional brick and mortar businesses
Over 70% small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia haven’t gone online yet. This shows there exists a group of sellers who needs people to help drive them to go online. Just go knock on the door of a physical shop nearby, invite them to go online and sell online together!
3. Get ideas from marketplace's product categories.
Visit some of the few hottest marketplaces from global (ex: Amazon, ebay). Browse through their product categories and look for the best selling products that might not be available in your country or to your market. You can supply those products to your target market.
4. Resell from marketplace sellers.
This is common in Malaysia. If you are not able to deal with suppliers, you may just go to some marketplaces, find the product that you think is worth to sell and then just resell it. That's all. The most popular marketplace is TaoBao. Sellers always browse the products from Taobao and resell the product with higher price in their country or to their target market. This is considered a low-cost method, it is because you don't need to shoot the product photo, just take all the product photo and info from marketplace sellers directly.
5. Trade Show
Attend the local or international trade show or fair to get some ideas from exhibitors. You will have a sense of the latest products in the market. If you are confident about it, just directly ask the exhibitor about supplying the product.
What is dropship? A retailing practice of sending items from a manufacturer directly to a customer.
In the online business, you don’t necessarily have to keep stocks. How to do it? You deal with the manufacturer in advanced and you are only responsible for managing your online store, promote the online store and customer service. Means that, when you receive the order, you inform the manufacturer to send the item to the buyer directly. It will reduce the risk of your business. This is recommended for new sellers.
You may not have any ideas at all at this point, it’s ok. Just browse through your Instagram and find out some related #hashtags. For example, #hotselling #sales #buy. Compare with other social media, Instagram is mostly photos. So you can quickly scan all the photo and brainstorm your product idea. You can try it anytime.
There are many ways to help you find product ideas using Instagram but the tips above are more suitable for new sellers to get the inspiration. You may go through some obstacles when finding that perfect product. You just need to keep testing the products that you are interested in.
Just list down whatever you have in your mind. Starting something new is always hard, but most importantly, you never reject any possibilities. Keep going, set the first target for your online business : Decide on your first product within 3~5 days!
Welcome to the business world, starting an online business always is an exciting decision in your life. I believe that it is good try to kick start something because business opportunities and challenges always exist. It just depends on how you run it and find out the niche in the market.