Know your products and services
Make sure that you have some experience or knowledge of the products or services that you offer. Consumers (and businesses) prefer to buy from a business or individual that has expertise in the products that they sell. Most people will look for advice and guidance, or maybe just some tips or hints. So if you want to be successful selling a product, you need to know that product inside and out. How its used, its specifications, applications and service requirements. This will result in more satisfied customers, return customers and recommendations.
Ok so the first answer will sound kind of simple. GOOGLE IT. Yes start by using a search and then try to narrow down the focus. This will show you who else is selling the product and identify good competitive information. It will also help narrow down the likely suppliers and distributors. OK so that was too simple!
Marketplaces can be great places to find product opportunities. The first two that come to mind are eBay, eBay Wholesale and of course Alibaba. The latter really specialises in B2B and wholesale and there are millions of products. There are many other marketplaces and trade centers that you will find.
There are dedicated systems that will provide you with a range of information about products and markets. One of the most used is Terapeak.
Terapeak helps sellers to grow their businesses. Terapeak help you to navigate ecommerce, revealing how products perform and how shoppers behave online. They make sense of some of the biggest data sets around to tell you about trends and selling opportunities that matter right now.
Another great source of product opportunities are the numerous trade shows and associations that exist. A great example that has been servicing the Australian market for many years is the Australian Gifts and Homeware Association (AGHA).
AGHA represents (and connects) wholesalers and retailers, the AGHA is the official convener of the industry and a trusted forum for gift and homewares best practice, community and belonging.
Do not forget trade show apart from a great opportunity to find new products and network, trade-shows can be fun. Tourism Australia maintains a calander of trade shows that you can search online. There are also lots of international tradeshow sites such as The Trade Show Network and Trade Show Calendar. There are also speciality trade shows and events for many industries so just start by searching online.
The short answer is generally yes but there are some exceptions. Certain types of products such as pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, supplements and others may need special licenses or accreditation. If in doubt check and there are many sites that provide assistance such as business.gov.au and The Australian Business License Service as examples.
Once you make a decision about your products (and before you start selling them) consider the business issues around shipping and payments. These are two key business issues that you have to consider in order to make your online business successful.
Most online shipments in Australia will use Australia Post and StarTrack so make it the first stop for help. If the product that you select is large, heavy or dangerous then it will not ship using Australia Post so you may need to find a specialty shipping company. There are some excellent organisations that can help such as Temando or Couriers Please.
You need to get paid and getting paid online is not always a simple process. There might be limitations based on the product that you sell or they might be restricted or risky, all can mean that getting paid might be an problems. So always go and ask hyour payment provider if you want to be sure that the product that you stock can be sold and paid for online. We always suggest using a know payment provider and in Australia our recommendations are SecurePay, eWAY, Payment Express, PayPal and if you have larger vaue items aalso talk to ZipMoney.
Do your homework! Finding products and services to sell means a lot of searching and potentially travelling and talking. Make sure you have the right process (business processes, contracts etc) completed so that you have some security that the supplier will not let you down. Remember the basics: