Category feature: PPE and safety gear

Ppe-And-Safety-Avasam

As the nights continue to draw in over the next few weeks, and the global pandemic continues to cause problems for many of us, there will be more people than ever before that will be searching for different types of products to help keep them safe. We’ve recently added a wide range of products from a supplier of high-quality safety gear and workwear to Avasam, which means sellers can start capitalising on the year-round demand for these types of products immediately.

Why should you sell PPE and safety gear?

If you’re already familiar with PPE products and really good safety gear, then it is likely to be clear to you why this is a great category to sell in, although the need for personal protective equipment has become ever clearer as COVID-19 progresses.

Pandemic aside, there are a few great reasons to start selling safety equipment:

  • It is a mature industry that has few changes to the types of equipment required each year
  • There is a need for safety equipment in many industries, which means a good demand
  • Sales of safety gear are strong year-round
  • Safety products are functional and consumable, so are ordered regularly by businesses and employees
  • Items can easily be customised for businesses

With the current personal protective equipment market worldwide standing at $56.31 million, and expected to double over the next ten years, it is clear that starting to sell PPE and other types of safety gear is going to be a wise move.

How to start selling PPE and safety gear

With a bit of prior knowledge and research, getting started selling protective equipment and safety items is pretty straightforward – but we’ll guide you through the steps to get you started.

Before you get started

If you’ve got experience working in a field that requires different types of PPE or safety gear, then you’re almost certainly going to have opinions about what works well and what doesn’t. Firstly though, a couple of really important points:

Safety products and PPE need to be CE marked and conform with the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002 – so when you are sourcing your products, be sure that they meet these requirements. If they don’t, you are likely to encounter requests for returns and refunds, especially if your target customers are employers.

At the time of writing, there are restrictions on some marketplaces regarding the sale of PPE, (particularly masks) to prevent prices being inflated. If you have not already been selling protective items on those platforms, you may not be able to sell them until the pandemic has passed, so check with seller information on marketplaces that you want to sell on before taking further steps.

Establish your customer base

There is a need for protective equipment and safety gear in all kinds of industries – and each area has completely different needs.

  • Workers in the building industry
  • People partaking in sports and fitness activities
  • Children travelling to school during darker nights
  • Horse riders
  • Hobbyists
  • Nurses and care home staff
  • Hair and beauty salons
  • Landscapers and tree surgeons

Choose your products

There are thousands of products that you could be selling. Once you have narrowed down your target customer, you can start with a set number of products to start selling. It might be one, five or ten different items, but starting with a smaller product base means you can manage your sales and scale your business at the pace that suits you.

Having a plan, and selling products in certain sub-categories, before branching out into other subcategories will help you to make the most of the products. Here are just a few items that you might consider selling in your safety products business:

  • Masks and respirators
  • Reflective items
  • Safety signage
  • Workwear and clothing
  • Protective gloves
  • Work and utility footwear
  • Hi-viz vests
  • Eye protection
  • Ear plugs and defenders
  • Kneepads
  • Back belts
  • Fall protection
  • Head protection
  • Safety cones
  • Safety tape

Within these areas, you’ll find a whole range of products. Taking protective gloves as an example, you might think of disposable surgical gloves, but there are also marigold type gloves for cleaning, thicker gloves for use with chemicals, heatproof gloves and gloves that are cut-resistant, for use with chainsaws and similar equipment.

Look for products that are durable, and technical – such as clothing that has moisture-wicking properties, or waterproofing – they will be more popular than standard cotton, for example. Steel toe capped boots with anti-microbial properties are likely to sell better than those without – because nobody wants a pair that will encourage stinky feet!

We’re not experts in the field of safety equipment though – so if you’re thinking of adding protective equipment to your inventory, you’ll need to have done your research carefully.

Sourcing products

You might already be working with wholesalers and importers to obtain inventory for your business. But when you’re in the busy quarter four, you need a more efficient solution. Working with UK suppliers who fulfil orders on your behalf can be a great way to make those sales. Although this is technically DropShipping, it is DropShipping without all of the hassle that you know is usually attached. Because those products are already in the UK, the quality has already been verified, and your customers won’t need to wait for delivery in the same way that they would if you were DropShipping from China. UK suppliers on Avasam dispatch orders at the same speed that is required by Amazon for Prime deliveries, and if there are any issues, you’ll process returns and refunds through the automated system.

Getting started with sourcing your products on Avasam is pretty straightforward. Once you’ve signed up for your account, you’ll simply browse the catalogue and click source on the items that you want. Then, you’ll set up your sales channels, connect Avasam with them and start selling. Inventory levels get updated automatically, orders get passed to suppliers automatically, and shipping updates from suppliers get pushed to sales channels automatically – all you’ll need to do is pay for your orders and keep selling.

Setting prices

We don’t need to tell you that doing pricing research is going to be an essential step before you start selling. Ensuring your profit margins are maintained, and that products are priced competitively will be essential. Knowing the RRP (recommended retail price) for your products, and whether any competitors are undercutting that will help you to set pricing appropriately.

Sales channels

You’ll have carried out your target customer research when you were researching your products. Your target customers will inform your decisions about your initial sales channels, whether that means you’re selling on just one marketplace, or across several and your own website. When you’ve made your decisions, and you’ve got your seller account set up on each, then you can add the product information from Avasam, and start selling.

After a while, you’ll be able to review where you are selling well, and decide whether you’re going to add extra marketplaces, or stop selling on certain ones. If you’re comfortable selling on eBay and Amazon and considering where else could be a good fit, read this post about how to choose your sales channels – there are a lot of other options!

Product promotion

Once you’ve got your sales channels set up and ready to go and your products are listed, you’ll need to promote your products. There are plenty of ways that you can get word about your products out there on social media – regularly posting, adding posts in relevant Facebook groups for your target customers and using the right hashtags are all good places to start.

Refine and increase your products

Keeping your products updated is a really important part of your business when you’re selling safety gear. If you’re selling clothing, adding winterised items for the colder months will mean that your store continues to make sales. As new products become available, you’ll need to consider whether they will appeal to your customers, and whether you’re going to add them to your inventory.

Stay current of the most recent products and recommendations by keeping an eye on industry leading companies, the Health and Safety Executive and industry-specific publications.

You might choose to diversify your business too – adding kettles and packs of mugs (essential for workplaces), or tools that are specific to the niche you’re selling in can be a great way to extend your offering, or consider personal care items such as hand creams, and hygiene products such as soaps and sanitisers.

Grow your safety gear business

Once you’ve got a great core product offering, you can start to grow your business further. Collecting reviews, and building trust in your company will be one way to keep your business growing – which also means looking at opportunities for content marketing.

Many types of safety items and PPE need to be replaced on a regular basis, which means there are opportunities to make sales on a regular basis too. Setting up subscription options for your customers will ensure that you will make sales – so consider offering an additional discount to encourage potential subscribers to use the service. If you have your own website, most website builders have apps and add-ons that can implement this functionality automatically. If you’re an Amazon seller, Subscribe and Save is an option (subject to terms and conditions), and other marketplaces may allow you to provide subscriptions too.

The takeaway

Safety gear and protective equipment is a strong category that continually sells well year-round. With that in mind, sourcing high quality products at competitive prices can really help to expand your business, or to start a new business from scratch. Finding your inventory is easier when you don’t need to deal with storing, or dispatching products – and with Avasam, you can sell products with no investment in stock required.

To find out how Avasam products will benefit your business and how Avasam can work with your existing systems, book a call – we can help you to get started in very little time. If you’re not quite there yet but want to take a look around the platform and see the products you can access, sign up for your free account here.

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Dawn Matthews

Dawn has worked in technical and customer supporting roles for over 20 years. Most of her career was spent in technical services at top rated UK universities, which has given her a keen eye for detail. A lucky escape led her to the field of eCommerce in 2017, and she’s never looked back.

Dawn studied in the field of social sciences with the Open University, achieving an MSc in Forensic Psychology at the same time as working two jobs. She regularly applies principles of psychology from her studies to her work, and outside of her role at Avasam she is busy writing her second book.

Follow Dawn on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/dawn-matthews

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