Small business ideas that’ll make you money

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Have you seen those Facebook and Instagram posts? What about YouTube adverts? The ones that promise you it’s so easy to get started with your side hustle? That it will be no time at all before you can quit your job. You’ll be living on a beach in Bali, checking your emails just a couple of times a day in no time. We’ve seen those ads, and it’s a great daydream when you’re stuck in the 9-5. If you’ve seen the ads too, and you’re stuck in a 9-5, that might be why you’re here!

If you’re looking to start your own business, it’s better to be realistic. You’re going to have a lot of work to do before you can leave your 9-5 job – but that’s OK. That hard work will really pay off when you start seeing profits!
Youtube Advertising Summary

Reasons people start small businesses selling online

Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to build a business selling online. We’ve heard about stay-at-home mums who want to earn a bit extra and fit their work around their family. We’ve heard about people nearing retirement who want a way to earn money to supplement their pension. We’ve heard about city workers building their business on their commute so they won’t have to take the train anymore… You name it, we’ve heard it. Whatever your reason for wanting to start your business, you’re welcome!

starting a business with laptop

Best business ideas in 2019

Fashion business ideas

Although fashion is a huge market to break into, demand is never-ending. Customers are looking for high-quality products at low prices. The beauty of these ideas is that there are loads of ways for your business to grow and diversify. Start out with a niche product, and as brand awareness increases you can add more items to sell. The sky is the limit!

Shapewear

Shapewear is a good item to sell year-round as demand is consistently high. Typically we see peaks during summer (for weddings and events) and around Christmas for parties and so on.

Suggested target customers:
Men and women. Although shapewear has typically been marketed toward women, we discovered shapewear for men is a winning niche too.

Suggestions for promotion:

  • Wedding guests, summer parties, holidays
  • Comfortable fabric
  • Looking great, feeling great – improving confidence
  • Weight loss (some waist-trainers claim to help with weight loss!)

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Use clear images taken from different angles
  • Minimise returns by including accurate measurements so customers can easily identify the correct size
  • Use realistically sized models, and beware of photoshop – unrealistic images may lead to negative reviews
  • Use images and wording to reflect your target customer – language such as ‘sexy’ may deter some customers

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Other items of shapewear – e.g. when marketing a corset or waist-trainer, cross-promote Spanx type knickers and shorts
  • Other specialist underwear such as strapless bras
  • Fake tan products

Though this is shapewear, we’d advise against using words such as ‘flab’, ‘fat’ and so on. Users of shapewear don’t want to be reminded why they’re buying it, or why they want to wear it! Use language such as ‘flatter your figure’, ‘smoothing effect’ and ‘corrected posture’.

Adding accessories that complement this type of product to your store can be simple with Avasam – even from different suppliers! That means you can profit from customers purchasing several products from you, rather than a different seller.

Shapewear

Strapless bras

Strapless bras

Most women know that strapless bras can be a tricky thing to get right. Don’t limit your offering to just one style – women are different shapes and have different requirements from a bra! By listing several options allow customers to find the style that suits them, without heading to a different retailer.

Recommendations

Suggested target customers
This is typically going to be women of all ages and sizes. However, searching Amazon for ‘bras for men’ brought back some interesting items, so this could be a niche worth investigating!

Suggestions for promotion

  • Year-round, but particularly summer – for use with strapless tops
  • Christmas party season

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Add plenty of sizing
  • Use plenty of pictures – If possible, use different sized models for comparison
  • Think about your language – is the bra supportive? Multiway?
  • Refer back to your target customer profile

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Shapewear and other lingerie items
  • Strapless tops and dresses

Athleisure

If you’re thinking what the heck is athleisure, where have you been? Athleisure is the trend for wearing workout gear, or athletic clothing when in other environments. This isn’t ratty old tracksuit bottoms though. It’s about sleek lines that can go from gym to office and back.

Athleisure

As Forbes says, everyone from Gap to Givenchy have launched mass-market athleisure lines. If that’s the case, is there still space in the market for selling athleisure? Well, Who What Wear are still putting together collections of stories about athleisure… so we think it’s it’s safe to say athleisure is here to stay.

Recommendations

Suggested customers:

  • People of all ages who want to look put together but comfortable

Suggestions for promotion:

  • Highlight levels of comfort
  • If your items are similar to ones worn by a celebrity, use ‘get the look’ content
  • Athleisure spans the year, so remember to switch up your items according to the seasons

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Although you might target everyone, be sure promote items for men and women differently
  • Refer to your target customer profiles
  • Provide details of fabric – is it suitable for working out, or is it purely suited to leisurewear?
  • Add detailed measurement information – people are looking for perfect levels of slouch!

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Bags – look at options that are convenient and allow hands-free, have room for laptops and so on
  • Trainers
  • Other fashion items that coordinate

Sunglasses

Sales of sunglasses tend to peak in early July. As you might expect, when the sun comes out – searches go up – and then drop off through the winter. It’s possible to make sales year-round though – especially if you target people travelling to long-haul destinations in your marketing.

Sunglasses

Recommendations

Suggested customers:

  • People of all ages! List a range to suit different tastes, and ages, or specialise in a specific age range

Suggestions for promotions:

  • Should go without saying, but summer!
  • Winter travel – long haul and ski holidays
  • Quality – ensure your chosen styles offer UVA/B protection
  • Consider a free case with sunglasses – this will depend on your supplier and margins

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Detail clearly the suggested age range
  • If the sunglasses are unisex design, or different age ranges, include measurements
  • Detail the UVA/B levels offered – do they meet European standard tests? Are they CE marked?

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Sunglasses cases
  • Reading glasses
  • Hats, beachwear

Neon dresses

When Cosmopolitan magazine states it’s a trend, you just know it’s going to be a huge hit! This trend might not last long – but that’s the beauty of selling fashion – it never stands still and is rarely boring. You can add and remove listings within Avasam quickly and easily to capitalise on micro-trends.

Neon dresses

Recommendations

Suggested target customers

  • Fashion conscious young women and teenagers
  • Young girls and pre-teens

Suggestions for promotions:

  • Summer events such as the races, hen parties and going to the beach
  • Capitalise on it being a trend – talk about it on your website and social media

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Consider variation listings – is the dress available in all fluorescent hues? List them all!
  • Add plenty of sizing information – you don’t want to deal with unnecessary returns
  • Remind customers variations in colours may occur on different screens

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Lingerie and accessories
  • Neon bags or smaller accessories such as earrings allow for a nod at the trend without being all-in

Beauty ideas

The Global Wellness Economy Monitor 2018 reported that the wellness industry grew 12.8% to $4.3 trillion in 2017. That’s almost twice the rate of global economic growth! The 2019 report isn’t out yet, but personal care and beauty accounted for over $1 billion in 2017. It’s safe to say that there’s plenty of business opportunities in the wellness industry. Here are just a few to get you started:

Beauty therapist, spa, towels

Laser hair removal

Laser hair removal

When people start to wear more revealing clothing in the summer, they start to consider long-term hair removal. It’s not just then though! Think about when people typically book holidays, they might start to consider it, and around Christmas parties.

Suggested target customers:

Many household electrical brands specifically target women in their information. However, the information tends to ignore men. That means there are opportunities to target men who prefer removing body hair, whether for sports or simply personal preference.

Suggestions for promotion:

  • Highlight the benefits of longer-term hair removal – especially with summer approaching
  • Ease of use and convenience of not having to shave
  • Highlight the environmental benefits compared with single use shaving products

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Detail how the product works – does it use batteries, or a charger?
  • Including a video is a good idea, so people know how easy it is to use
  • Include details about the product’s size
  • Is there a storage case? What is included in the box?

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Other hair removal or personal care products
  • Beauty products
  • Hair care products
  • Fashion items such as shorts and skirts

Clean beauty products

As customers become more aware of the impact of what they use has on the environment, their decisions are changing. More and more beauty influencers are jumping on board with this, and even Vogue is talking about it. You don’t have to be making the products – you can sell these products directly from suppliers.

Woman with clean beauty products on her face

Suggested target customers:

Ethically-minded customers – don’t restrict your offerings to just women though! More men than ever are searching for environmentally sound skincare.

Suggestions for promotion:

  • Highlight the benefits to the skin – less irritation etc
  • Talk about how the product benefits the environment over other products

When creating your listings, remember:

  • State if the packaging is recycled/recyclable
  • State the ingredients
  • Emphasise your stance on animal testing

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Bamboo toothbrushes
  • Ethically sourced items
  • Fashion items – clean beauty doesn’t equal boring fashion choices!

Beard oil

Beauty products aren’t just for women! With the trend for men taking better care of themselves than ever, so male grooming products are booming. This isn’t likely to be a trend that goes away either – like athleisure, sales continue to steadily increase.

Man with beard

Suggested target customer

This will be mainly men, but remember, many women buy products for their partners. Although beard oil may be for the man in a relationship, you may need to target women in your marketing.

Suggestions for promotion:

  • Highlight the benefits of beard oil for keeping beards in good condition
  • Ease of use
  • Promote the environmental benefits compared with single use shaving products
  • Natural beard oils can be promoted with the clean beauty trend

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Detail how long the product lasts with typical daily use
  • Size of the bottle/tin and what is included
  • Include an ingredients list

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Other male grooming products such as moisturiser
  • Men’s fashion items and accessories such as sunglasses
  • Bathroom items and accessories such as wash bags

Blackhead removers and facial tools

None of us like to get spots, do we? And yet, there’s that weird trend on YouTube of people filming themselves popping their pimples that get thousands of views… We just can’t get behind that, but we do understand why people want to get rid of their acne! It’s unsurprising that there is a huge market for blackhead removers and facial tools such as cleansing brushes. There’s also been a trend for face massagers and jade rollers to help combat puffiness and wrinkles!

Woman wearing a face mask

Suggested target customers:

  • Teenagers
  • People of all ages who suffer with acne, or who want to improve the appearance of their skin

Suggestions for promotion:

  • Try targeting parents of teenagers
  • Emphasise product benefits – clearer skin and removing bacteria

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Detail what is included in the box
  • Provide sizing information
  • Does the product need batteries, or is it mains charged?
  • Is there a CE mark on the box, or is the product endorsed by an official skin organisation?

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Other skincare tools
  • Beauty products designed to clear acne such as cleansers, toners
  • Clean beauty products
  • Sustainable bathroom products such as flannels and washable cotton pads

Health and fitness ideas

Health and Fitness Ideas

As we mentioned in the beauty ideas section, sales in the global wellness sector are incredible. The market size of the global health club industry worldwide currently at $87.23 billion USD! It’s clear that health and fitness is firmly on our agenda. Here’s a few ways you could capitalise on the demand to improve health and fitness:

Portable blenders

As the weather turns to summer, people become health-conscious – but they want it in a convenient format. Take advantage of good weather to promote portable blenders, but any time people focus on becoming healthier is a good time! Think New Year’s resolutions, and as winter fades to spring as well as summer.

Juice in glass with carrots

Recommendations

Suggested target customers:

  • Gym goers, people who want to lose weight
  • Families with small children or babies
  • People with disabilities or elderly people who have difficulties chewing

Suggestions for promotion:

  • How the product adds to a healthy lifestyle for the whole family
  • Simplicity & convenience of the product
  • The product can be used everywhere – target hikers and campers as well as people’s daily lives

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Include details about size
  • How is the device powered? Are batteries required?
  • What is included? If there’s an additional cup included, mention it
  • How long is the warranty?
  • Is it BPA free? What is the product made of?
  • Is the product dishwasher safe?

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Other healthy living items
  • Fitness equipment
  • Dietary supplements

Posture correctors

In the 21st century, we’re all attached to our devices – be it laptop, phone or tablet – 24/7. That means there’s more people than ever suffering with back and neck pain. (this writer being one of them!) Although there’s a lot of products currently listed on Amazon that fall in this category, there are still opportunities here. If you’re already an expert in this field, the possibility for content and passive income is almost limitless too.

Man with neck pain

Target customers:

  • Anyone with back pain – men and women alike
  • Millennials and Generation Zs who are more likely to spend more time on their devices

Suggestions for promotion:

  • Prevent pain and further injury
  • Easy to wear, comfort levels

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Provide details about the material – is it machine washable?
  • Include plenty of sizing information
  • If the product is adjustable, include smallest and largest sizing
  • Is the product endorsed by any organisations or charities promoting posture or back care?

Cross-promote with:

  • Other posture correcting items such as balance boards, neck braces and seat cushions
  • Items for sports injuries such as knee supports
  • Fitness equipment

Compression socks

Compression socks are designed primarily to prevent problems in the leg veins, such as thrombosis. They’re different from athletic socks as they’re made of much stronger elastic. As air travel is ever more common, people are taking long distance flights and remaining seated for long periods of time. Certain members of the population who may be at risk of thrombosis use them as a precaution when flying.

Runners in race wearing compression socks

Not only that, athletes are using compression socks during sports to enhance their performance and prevent injury.

Suggested target customers:

Depending on the type of sock, you might be targeting:

  • Athletes
  • Older people
  • Frequent fliers

Suggestions for promotion:

  • When people are likely to travel long distances
  • All year round – both athletes and travellers
  • Promote health benefits

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Including sizing information is absolutely crucial
  • If you have different colours, detail them
  • What is included – are you selling a twin pack?
  • Include fabric and laundry details
  • Are they designed to be antibacterial?

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Sportswear
  • Other supportive garments, such as knee or elbow supports
  • Gym accessories such as bags, water bottles etc
  • Travel accessories – suitcases, passport holders and so on

Back massagers

This category of products comes up for exactly the same reasons as posture correctors. You could look to capitalise on this niche by selling both! Back massagers encompasses a huge range of products, from hand-held massagers to kneading pillows with heat to chair sized items. That means there’s opportunities to cross-sell, while helping ease the pain your customers are experiencing.

Back massagers

Suggested target customers:

  • Adults experiencing back or neck pain
  • Adults who enjoy a back massage, but don’t have time or money to see a massage therapist regularly

Suggestions for promotion:

  • Target gift givers at traditional gift-giving times such as Christmas and birthdays
  • Promote to time-poor, cash-rich office workers

When creating your listings, remember:

As there are so many items that fit this category, you’ll need to make sure you examine each product carefully! Think about:

  • Does the product need batteries? Are they included?
  • Sizing information
  • How to use it – videos are a good idea
  • What is in the box?

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Posture correctors
  • Other styles of back massager – e.g. with a chair-based massager, you might promote a hand-held roller ball style
  • Sports equipment
  • Other wellness products such as facial massagers

Bamboo toothbrushes

Sustainability sells right now. We all need to clean our teeth daily, and many of us prefer electric toothbrushes at home.When travelling, or as spares for visitors, we might buy manual toothbrushes. To reduce the use of plastic, bamboo toothbrushes that are biodegradable are increasing in popularity.

Panda chewing bamboo

Suggested target customer

  • Everyone, but particularly vegans and eco-conscious people
  • People who are travelling

Suggestions for promotion:

  • The benefit to the planet of bamboo over plastic
  • At airports, or selling alongside luggage/travel accessories

When creating your listings, remember:

  • What your product is made of is VERY important – they need to be bamboo that pandas don’t eat!
  • Include sizing information
  • If you have different colours, include that information
  • How is the product wrapped? It needs to not be wrapped in plastic if you’re highlighting the environmental benefits!

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Other dental products such as charcoal toothpaste
  • Other eco-friendly products
  • Travel products

Technology ideas

Technology ideas

Although this is a highly competitive market, new businesses can succeed if they have the right tools and excellent suppliers. As new models launch, ensure your suppliers can provide updated productsas quickly as possible so your business stays relevant. With Avasam, you can switch your suppliers – and your products – as often as you need.

Mobile phone accessories

Mobile phone accessories are consistent sellers as new phones enter the market continuously. Think about cases, cord protectors, waterproof pouches, selfie sticks, phone camera lenses, handles or stands… The list really is endless. It’s a good idea to start with one product and increase your offerings, bit by bit. Maybe you’ll pick one product, like cases, and list as many cases as you can. Maybe you’ll specialise in a particular brand of phone? Start with your research, get great suppliers, and you can start to build your business.

Mobile phone cases

Suggested target customers:

  • Anyone with a mobile phone! Refer to your target customers though when writing listings

Suggestions for promotion:

  • Convenience
  • Improved experience with their phone
  • How much cooler they will look! (especially if capitalising on micro-trends in the industry!)

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Be very clear about which phone the product suits
  • Include size measurements
  • What is included in the box?
  • If you have the same product for a different brand of phone, mention that!

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Other mobile phone accessories – headphones, cases, photo lenses, cables
  • Power banks
  • Sports equipment (if the product is a clip to attach a phone to a bike, for example)

Wireless earphones

When Apple launched their AirPods in 2016, many people dismissed the idea. Now there are plenty of copycat options, as well as wireless earphones and headphones designed for different purposes. No matter the size of the budget, there are options available.

Wireless headphones

Suggested target customers:

This will depend on the design of the earphones!

  • Music lovers
  • Runners and gym-goers
  • Workers in a corporate environment
  • Children

Suggestions for promotion:

  • Convenience – lightweight and no wires to get in the way!
  • Improved listening experience
  • Makes a brilliant gift

When creating your listings, remember:

  • How do the headphones charge?
  • Include information about what’s in the box
  • Material the earphones made of
  • How long the battery lasts
  • Sizing information, particularly with earphones for children

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Other mobile phone accessories – cables, cases, photo lenses
  • Sports equipment
  • Tablets designed for children

Power banks

It’s estimated that by 2022, the power bank industry will exceed $25 billion USD worldwide. That’s a lot of money for a battery you can plug your phone into! That said, we all depend on our devices, when travelling for long periods or to remote places, they’re great products. With over 80% of internet users owning mobile devices, it’s little wonder that power banks are popular.

iPhone on charge

Suggested target customers:

  • People doing outdoor activities such as camping and hiking
  • People travelling to remove locations
  • Commuters

Suggestions for promotion:

  • Convenience – never have a dead phone battery ever again!
  • End of school year gifting – for those gap year students and endless days at the beach!

When creating your listings, remember:

  • The amount of charge provided
  • How many USB slots are there? Can it charge more than one device at a time?
  • Size and weight measurements are important, especially for backpackers!
  • Mention what is in the box – are cables included?

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Phone cases and other accessories
  • Wireless chargers
  • Travel gadgets

Smart devices

We’re talking about Google Home, Amazon Echo and Alexa devices and Apple HomePods. That’s not all though! There are so many devices that are compatible with them, such as plugs, lightbulbs, and many, many more.

Woman with iPad controlling smart home

Suggested target customers:

Although almost everyone could benefit from smart devices, you could target:

  • Homeowners
  • People with disabilities
  • Older people, or people with mobility issues

Suggestions for promotion:

  • Convenience
  • Gift ideas for Christmas, birthdays, new homes and so on
  • Potential for money-saving and energy saving

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Include what is in the box
  • What the device is compatible with – remember to be very specific
  • Include sizing information
  • Does the device require anything to else to function?

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Other smart products
  • Homewares
  • Energy-saving products

Dash cams

Dash cams are video cameras that set up on dashboards of cars to continually record the view of the road ahead. Although elsewhere they’re not permitted, they are legal on UK roads. They’re becoming more popular to protect drivers legally, particularly as footage can be used in court.

Cars queuing in traffic

Suggested target customers:

  • Drivers of all vehicles, but particularly those whose work takes them on the road a lot

Suggestions for promotion:

  • Footage captured can be presented in court or to insurers
  • New drivers

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Include the size of the device
  • Technical specs are important – HD? Night vision? Mention it!
  • Warranty and after-sales service is important

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Dashboard mounts for mobile phones
  • Sat-navs
  • In-car products such as cleaning products

Outdoors ideas

Although products for the outdoors might be seasonal, remember! When it is winter in the UK, it’s summer in the southern hemisphere. If pursuing the outdoors market,consider adding channels such as Trade Me, selling in New Zealand to your business plans.

Picnic sets

Picnic sets are popular through spring and summer, so they make a great addition to your product listings.Like everything, ensure your product is good quality. If the items in the set break after a couple of uses, you can’t emphasise the environmental benefits.

Woman with picnic set

Recommendations

Suggested target customers:

  • Families looking to save money
  • Environmentally conscious individuals
  • Individuals who enjoy the outdoors

Suggestions for promotion:

  • Convenience of a great picnic set in a backpack with pockets & blanket
  • Stylish design
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Saves money in the long term

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Be specific about what is included
  • Include sizing information
  • Are the dishes dishwasher safe?
  • Is the item BPA free?

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Cross-sell related products such as flasks and foldaway raincoats
  • Picnic rugs
  • Outdoor toys such as kites

Camping chairs

With so many people doing outdoor activities through the summer months, there’s a great market for camping chairs. So many of us buy cheap chairs on special offer and then find they break, which isn’t sustainable or convenient! (speaking from experience here!) By choosing high quality products, there are opportunities to build businesses around camping chairs and equipment.

Dog sitting on camping chair

Recommendations

Suggested target customers:

  • Fans of camping
  • People who enjoy fishing
  • Festival goers

Suggestions for promotion:

  • All outdoor use – camping, festivals, fishing, beach, garden

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Include measurement information, including the weight of the product
  • Include information about maximum weight allowance
  • Does the chair come with a storage bag?
  • If you have different colours, include that in your listings

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Other camping items – tents and airbeds
  • Items for picnics and outdoor dining
  • Outdoor and beach toys

Inflatable sofa beds

Inflatable sofa beds

We think these are a great idea. They have endless uses, but there’s also the benefit to sellers that they will, eventually, break. When that happens, (hopefully after many uses and not because someone jumped on it!) customers will return to replace it.

Suggested target customers:

  • People who are keen campers but want a bit more comfort
  • People with small homes but want the option of an extra bed
  • Students
  • Parents with children who like sleepovers

Suggestions for promotion:

  • Late spring/early summer, for camping
  • Around traditional visiting times such as Christmas and New Year

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Include what is in the box
  • If it is self-inflating, include photos or video to demonstrate
  • Is a repair patch included?
  • Include weight measurements with inflated and deflated measurements
  • Include maximum load weight

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Camping gear
  • Bedroom items – bedding, bedside tables, mirrors and so on

Garden hose

Items for home and gardens such as garden hoses typically peak in spring and summer. Remember though, when it’s winter in the UK, it’s summer in the southern hemisphere – there’s always potential to make sales.

Dog with garden hose

Recommendations

Suggested target customers:

  • Anyone with a garden
  • Car owners – for washing the car!

Suggestions for promotion:

  • Convenience of the hose packing down small
  • Convenience for watering the garden, cleaning the car
  • Colour is in keeping with garden colours – looks appropriate
  • Cross-sell with other garden tools, shelters and seating

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Detail length of hose and size when coiled
  • Type of fitting required
  • Is there an additional purchase required?
  • Is the product rust-resistant?

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Other garden equipment
  • Car cleaning products

Travel bags

The travel industry is enormous, so we recommend carrying out research to find the specific niche you want to fill. Perhaps you’ll only sell bags that are suitable for hand luggage? Maybe you’ll branch out to all things for travel. What about travel bags for children? Or elderly people? There’s thousands of ideas, so identify your specific niche and go from there. You never know, this could even lead to a side career as a travel blogger!

Travel bags, suitcases, luggage

Suggested target customers:

  • Travellers of all ages – identify whether you’re aiming for one kind of customer, or everyone

Suggestions for promotion:

  • Year round, but particularly at common travel times such as Christmas, New Year and so on
  • Convenience

When creating your listings, remember:

  • Size and weight is everything – be very specific
  • Unique colours and patterns can be useful
  • Are there any specific features of the bag? Locks, pockets etc?
  • Is there potential to add or remove sections, or do sections zipper open for more packing space?

Try cross-promoting with:

  • Packing cubes
  • Compression socks
  • Mobile phone accessories and wireless headphones
  • Power banks

General advice for selling online

Getting started

Identify your target customer
The key to your business success is knowledge. The main thing you need with your business is your target customer -it will drive absolutely everything else. By identifying your target customer(s), you’ll know where your business is heading, and where to focus effort for maximum returns. Don’t just keep the idea of your customer vague and in your head. Get specific. If you’re selling laser hair removal devices, don’t just say ‘women’ are your target customer. Find their age bracket, their likely pay bracket. Are they married? Do they have children? If so, how many? Which supermarket do they shop at? These are all key considerations that can help you dramatically. If you have several customer profiles, use names for them, and use stock photos to help you remember them.

Target customer

List on the marketplaces your target customer uses
Don’t just rely on Amazon & eBay!Once you know where your target customer(s) shop, you can use that information to develop your marketplace strategy. If your target customer doesn’t head to eBay very often, you know you can put your effort elsewhere. You might decide to list there anyway, but it can be lower on your list of priorities.

List products that your target customer wants to buy
Not only that, make sure you’re switching items up or adding new lines regularly. Once you’ve made a sale, you need to give your target customers incentives to come back for more. Or, if you’re selling products that someone only needs to buy once, give them reasons to buy for someone else, or to recommend you.

Complete a SWOT analysis
No, we’re not talking about being a geek and teacher’s pet – although there’s nothing wrong with that if you are, or were! (Full disclosure: most of our team most definitely were!) A SWOT analysis is a strategy tool that can help you evaluate your business prospects. It’s been in development since the late 1960’s and has been helping businesses ever since. To find out more about SWOT analysis, head over to toolshero and discover the benefits to your business.

Listings

Make the listing relatable
How does the product you’re selling fit with your customer’s lifestyle? Refer back to your target customer profile. Your listing needs to appeal to them, and the language you use may be different between customers. You need to make the reader feel how well it will suit them.

It’s important that when using information provided by the manufacturer, do your own quality checks (spelling etc). Also, for best results, use content that suits your target customer(s).

Use good English in your listings
If your listings aren’t well-written, they’re littered with typos or they just don’t read well, people get put off. This is especially true for busy marketplaces where there are hundreds of listings for alternatives. If your English writing skills aren’t the best, use tools such as Grammarly as a minimum. It’s ideal if a native English speaker can write – or proofread your work. There’s no shame though – there are nuances in the English language that even the most fluent non-native speakers miss.

Look to industry leaders when writing listings
Emulating leading brands, but using a tone that suits your target customer help you find your voice. They can also help guide you with what to include on your listings and how to present information. Don’t copy though! If you copy wording exactly, your listing may not get picked up on a Google search. Not only that, some big brands may pursue you through legal channels for trademark and copyright infringement.

Images

  • Always use high resolution, clear photos of the product from multiple angles. If you have different colour or size variations, be careful to show those options too. For example, if selling dresses, you might choose a model in size 8, but have another model at size 16 to show the differences in fit.
  • Clear, high quality video content such as unpacking, using the product in an everyday context is a good idea. It helps customers get a feel for the product, and they’ll be more confident about what they’re going to receive.
  • If you add text to images, proofread that carefully too! Poor spelling looks sloppy, and the mistake won’t get picked up by spellcheckers. Type your on-image words into Word, or Grammarly before pasting them.
  • For active/lifestyle products, using bright colours on graphics (maintaining clarity of the product image) can attract customers. Be careful to use Photoshop well though – poor image editing can deter people from buying as much as poor English!
  • If permitted, watermarking or using your logo on your image can prevent other sellers stealing your image.It can also draw people back to buy from you and your own listing instead of a ‘copycat’ seller.
  • When showing people in your images, make sure they are emoting positively (happiness, excitement) to create a positive association for the customer.
  • Include how to/usage instructions as graphics help illustrate the product is easy to use, and creates confidence in the purchase. It’s also a great way to help people if they accidentally dispose of their instructions.You’ll also know where to find them if a customer contacts you for help.
  • Ensure that you match illustrations to written instructions or explanations correctly. We see this all the time on Amazon, and where mismatches occur, customers are less likely to make the purchase.

Marketplace considerations

Marketplace considerations

  • Customers shop differently on different platforms. Therefore, using the marketplace structure correctly is critical to your success on each one. As always, do your research and get it right. Tools such as Avasam can help you manage this without needing to learn the seller side of each individual platform.
  • Consider the platform you are listing to – Some will restrict your usage or customisation of graphics. Review listings on the site and docs for the features and details required or supported, and make sure you have all the right information and to fit it into the correct framework.
  • Differentiate between specifics as supported by the marketplace. Use relevant searchable keywords, allowing for filtering (dimensions, battery capacity), so that customers are sure they have chosen well.
  • Make use of built-in advertising and cross-promotional tools on each platform. If you’re promoting a product, it’s a no-brainer to consider advertising options on the platforms you’re already listing on!
  • Be aware of the customer journey to purchase on each platform. If there are specific details they need to know, make them clear in the listing on that platform.
  • Remember to use all the available fields on the marketplace listing, not just the Description field. You want your products to be as visible as possible, don’t you?

Social media presence

Once you start listing products, you need to encourage people to buy them! The items being on the platforms won’t equal sales. You have to promote your items, which is why we’ve added suggestions for promotions in this article. You can use those ideas, and your own, to promote your stock on your social media channels. As a minimum, start with Facebook and Instagram, but you can make use of Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube… There are plenty of others worldwide too! Make sure you’re marketing on the social media channels that are right for your target customers in the country you’re selling.

Marketplaces you might not have considered yet

While you’re almost certain to have looked at Amazon and eBay as part of your strategy, don’t restrict your opportunities. It’s easy to sell across multiple marketplaces and even in multiple countries when you have the right tools in place! Here are a few platforms that you can connect with if you’re using Avasam:

coolshop

Coolshop has around 7 million unique visitors each year from across northern Europe, and has marketplaces in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands and UK.

Fyndiq

The biggest Swedish online superstore with a mission to create small moments of joy, Fyndiq has brought bargain products to over two million monthly visitors since 2010.

Reverb

Sellers with quality musical instruments in their inventory head for Reverb – the number 1 marketplace for instruments, equipment and accessories online.

Tophatter

Offering customers an entertaining auction experience since 2009. Reaching over 20 million users, over 3 million items are sold each month in 90 second auctions!

wayfair

With over 14 million items on the Wayfair platform, it’s clear why it is the premier destination for homeware, furniture and gift ideas.

Groupon

No longer just the daily deal emails that started in 2008, Groupon now sells to around 50 million active customers in 15 countries worldwide.

Privalia

Over 16 million registered customers buy mid-range to premium items from Privalia, with sellers benefitting from brand campaigns lasting 3-5 days.

Spartoo

A household name across most of Europe, with over 450 million users, Spartoo sellers list premium brand clothing and footwear.

Trade Me

As New Zealand’s most popular eCommerce platform with auctions & classifieds, Trade Me is the fifth most visited in New Zealand.

Wish

With over 100 million users of the Wish mobile app worldwide, Wish app downloads outstrip Amazon’s.

Lazada

Lazada sells to millions of customers across south-east Asia. With over 52 million visitors to the Malaysia marketplace alone, the Lazada marketplace is hugely successful.

Bol.com

Bol.com sells across Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. With around 30 million people across the area, Bol.com is a favourite marketplace with customers.

How to manage your online business

how to manage your online business

There are plenty of tools out there that can help you manage your online business. We think we’ve developed the best, most comprehensive platform for managing an online sales business though! The industry agrees too, as we won UK eCommerce Software or Extension of the Year at the UK eCommerce Awards 2019! With suppliers providing thousands of products you can sell, it’s never been easier to manage – or get started with – your online business. It’s free to try, so you can start your business with absolutely no upfront cash. Give it a go – it takes just a few minutes to sign up.

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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 first book.

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

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