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Do you sell product or do you just make a front end?
Hugene




msg:3882147
 3:09 am on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

Been running a content/ad-sense site for years as a hobby; now I am thinking that selling online is the way to go.

I have a very beginners' question: are you, ladies and gents that contribute to WW's e-commerce section, are you running e-commerce sites where you sell merchandise that you actually own/produce? Or is the business in e-commerce simply to build front-ends/web pages where you sell the products of others (like wholesalers or producers) who deal with the client and send them the merchandise?

Thanks a lot for the help

 

JohnRoy




msg:3882170
 4:26 am on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

There are Both!

Jack_Hughes




msg:3882315
 11:23 am on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

We resell products but we ship the products to the customer most of the time and handle support.

Hugene




msg:3882422
 2:19 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks a lot for the replies. I would assume that selling merchandise you own is a good option for people that already owned a brick and mortar shop and took the logical step of taking it online. Otherwise, it must be difficult to build proper inventory and provide a competitive enough pricing in order to be a viable seller.

Is there resources online about how to go about becoming a reseller?

JohnRoy




msg:3882687
 8:09 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

> competitive enough
  • Many charge a lot online! They build and dominate a niche.
  • Others set up accounts with wholesalers and (buy and) ship after the order is in. If they get many orders for same item, they start to keep inventory.
  • There's a "drop ship" industry too. Where you don't stock or ship anything. Just an e-storefront and checkout button. Can't point to specifics due to TOS. But beware of "get your account and free website" for thousands of items.
  • Lexur




    msg:3882704
     8:33 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

    I think best option is to sell directly.
    To solve the basic question of inventory, the only solution (if you do not have deep pockets) is to begin with a short number of items in your chart (I hope your hobby site is not about spaceships :)).

    Hugene




    msg:3882724
     9:24 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

    Actually my hobby web site is not about anything tangible, it's about (more or less) culture/travel. So it does not relate to anything tangible that can be sold. However I have built-up good experience and I am thinking of trying my hand at e-commerce, but I am just starting, so I am not sure where to locate resources on that.

    callivert




    msg:3882768
     10:39 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

    it's about (more or less) culture/travel. So it does not relate to anything tangible that can be sold

    There's this thing called the "travel industry"...

    [edited by: callivert at 11:12 pm (utc) on Mar. 31, 2009]

    LifeinAsia




    msg:3882779
     10:50 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

    it's about (more or less) culture/travel. So it does not relate to anything tangible that can be sold

    Um, off the top of my head:
    - destination guide books
    - general travel books
    - language books & tapes
    - maps
    - luggage
    - other travel accessories (passport holders, money pouches, approved containers for liquids, etc.)

    Not to mention:
    - air tickets
    - hotel reservations
    - tours
    - cell phone rental

    Hugene




    msg:3893129
     6:44 pm on Apr 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

    Good suggestions, thanks a lot.

    My main problem is that my market is small, and still very competitive. I used to have Expedia affiliate advertisements and I made only peanuts with that. Considering that sites like Expedia/Orbitz rule the air/hotel reservations, I got discouraged from that market really quickly. And I think a lot of visitors to my city actually drive to here.

    As for books, long ago I also did the Amazon Affiliate sales thing, to even lesser success.

    Since these early days of experimenting with affiliate sales, I got disappointed and stopped, and switched to AdSense instead.

    Maybe I should look at avoiding the affiliate business model and selling directly myself to clients.

    MrHard




    msg:3893135
     6:57 pm on Apr 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

    Are you willing to rent a warehouse and import products directly from asia in bulk to save on shipping?

    [edited by: MrHard at 7:00 pm (utc) on April 15, 2009]

    wyweb




    msg:3893144
     7:14 pm on Apr 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

    are you running e-commerce sites where you sell merchandise that you actually own/produce? Or is the business in e-commerce simply to build front-ends/web pages where you sell the products of others (like wholesalers or producers) who deal with the client and send them the merchandise

    Commission based. I have tons of traffic. I could sell bags of rocks if the price was right...

    Hugene




    msg:3893926
     6:19 pm on Apr 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

    MrHard :
    No, I am not ready to start importing in bulk. Why are you asking that? Is that what is needed in order to start direct e-commerce? I doubt it, otherwise no one will be doing it. As far as I know, if you want to start a small book shop, you don't need to rent a warehouse and order in bulk. Or do you?

    myweb:
    I understand that high traffic is key for commission based, but I get about 1000 uniques a day, I think that's not enough.

    MrHard




    msg:3894088
     9:26 pm on Apr 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

    Just buy a little then and work your way up...

    [edited by: MrHard at 9:43 pm (utc) on April 16, 2009]

    MrHard




    msg:3894248
     2:19 am on Apr 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

    Since you will by buying in relatively small quantity, the first step would be to get in touch with a manufacturers distributor who is what they say they are and does what they say they will. If you call the manufacturer they will usually refer you to one. Some manufacturers will even sell directly to you depending upon what you are selling and how nice they are.

    Where to find manufacturers. At trade shows, trade publications, internet research, going into a store that sells an item you like and looking at the brand on the bottom and then looking them up online, brands other online stores are selling.

    The more you buy the better price you will get and the bigger your profit margin. But buying more takes more space which costs more to store things. The less you buy the more important each sale will seem and the more time you can spend on customers rather then inventory, financials and bureaucracy.

    Most places calling themselves manufacturers are not manufacturers, but rather places that ship in from asia cheaply in bulk and resell the products of others.

    Like anything else there is a long downline of middlemen trying to make money between the true source of somebody making something from scratch which they truly own and produce and the customers hand, unless you are similar to an artist making and selling your own stuff or an author writing novels.

    Hugene




    msg:3896476
     9:16 pm on Apr 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

    Thanks a lot for the info.

    I have found a wholesaler of particular widgets that can be sold online. However, I have no idea of the success of other selling these widgets online, basically, I need to do market research, but I am not sure how?

    Also, is there pointers that someone could give me on how to approach the decision GO or NO GO for a certain widget e-commerce market.

    I was thinking of doing a competition study: list all my target keywords, list competition for these keywords, research to see if I could rank higher for these keywords.

    Is this a good idea, or should I just go for it regardless of what is out there already?

    Thanks a lot

    JohnRoy




    msg:3896528
     9:58 pm on Apr 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

    However, I have no idea of the success of other selling these widgets online, basically, I need to do market research
    If it would cost more than $500usd, it will not sell easy. If it will cost $10 your ROI would be very low.

    I was thinking of doing a competition study: list all my target keywords, list competition for these keywords, research to see if I could rank higher for these keywords.

    Not a wise approach when choosing an ecommerce commodity. First you have the item to sell. The keyword list can always be expanded and reversed.

    Artsyrat




    msg:3896554
     10:39 pm on Apr 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

    I make my own product, development and manage the website I sell it on, just learning the ropes of e-commerce. I've made some sales and it is a total rush...feels great. Doing it all is a lot of work. With each new aspect of website development, seo, product production, sales, etc., I'm learning there is more and more to learn to become/stay competitive and current. I'm getting good at some things and really suck at others.

    This website (webmasterworld) is a great tool and info center for me right now. I'm on it every day reading the posts.

    Hugene




    msg:3897279
     8:13 pm on Apr 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

    JohnRoy:

    Not a wise approach when choosing an ecommerce commodity. First you have the item to sell. The keyword list can always be expanded and reversed.

    Not sure if I understand / agree: I already have an item to sell, how do I know it is a good item to sell? I read some posts here and some people seem to argue that having a niche is key [webmasterworld.com] or that you need to be interested/knowledgeable in the widgets you want to sell.

    What if this is not true, what if I am not interested in the widgets at all, but I have a good supplier so I can sell them? Will this be good enough or will that cause my doom? And how do I even know that the widgets are salable, a part from the fact that there are tons of other merchants selling that online already?

    JohnRoy




    msg:3897378
     10:49 pm on Apr 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

    If you have a good supplier, that can be a good reason to find interest in the begining, and gain knowledge at the end.

    Agree that having a niche is great, but it's not the ultimate and only way to succeed.

    If all vendors on the block sell cold drinks, it's an indication that it's summer outside.

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