You may be an experienced ecommerce seller looking to boost your sales or perhaps you are thinking about taking your first steps into the world of selling online? In this article we hear from Rebecca Kimber, who has been selling online for over 10 years, as well as a range of tips from inspirational sellers across theCreate.net network. Get the lowdown from the real sellers and make the most of your own online business!
Rebecca Kimber is the MD of Create.net, a UK based business whose products enable you to build and manage your own website and online shop. What you may not know is that she has over a decade of experience as an online seller. Today she share’s her story with us, alongside some tips from successful sellers in the Create.net network.
So how did you get into ecommerce?
My mum got me into it really. We used to go around charity shops finding items to sell on Ebay, which was a lot of fun! After a while I decided to focus on selling books as these were easy to pack and I could apply a simple criteria based on weight and size that helped with working out which items were the most financially viable to purchase. At one point we had over 10,000 books! It was during this time that I set up my own ecommerce website with Create.net.
At large volumes of sales, I noticed that it made a lot of sense to resell the same item again and again, rather than selling different items that would all require time spent on producing separate listings and descriptions. I started selling new toys through my website KidClever. One year Mini used an Etch A Sketch in their ad campaigns so I bought 1000 of them and they sold well so I recommend that you keep an eye out for these of-the-moment opportunities and take action quickly.
What was your biggest challenge?
It became very difficult to compete on the book market as more big competitors entered the market. Repricing software on Amazon meant that the big competitors drove down prices very quickly and it was very hard for individual sellers to stay competitive and make a profit, I focused instead on selling niche and rarer items which were less affected by this.
What are your tips for other sellers?
Have products that people want to buy. Sounds simple but it can be challenging. I found it was a case of trial and error, see what sells and focus on that. Also, find your niche, preferably something that large suppliers would find hard to replicate.
Create.net has over 10,000 customers, many of whom use the system to sell online. So what are their top tips for you?
Find appropriate awards to enter your business into.
“In order to win awards you usually have to enter yourself. Some awards are given by media outlets, such as the Hitched Award. It’s always useful to just keep an eye out on industry news via newsletters, their websites and blogs to see what awards are out there.
A good place to start would be to take a look at your competitors’ awards to see what they have won, to see what is available and achievable.”
Rosalind Miller, Rosalind Miller Cakes
Use social media intelligently.
“It has taken me five years to reach the amount of followers I have on Twitter, so I’ve definitely worked hard on that. I am an ‘early adopter’ of all things social media. It helps to get there and sign up before everyone else and start building a following as soon as you can. I’m careful with what I say in real life and I carry this attitude on to my social media profiles. I reply to every single tweet I get because communication is key; that’s the purpose of social media. Install something like Hootsuite or TweetDeck to your computer or smartphone. This will allow you to schedule tweets to go out throughout the day.
Sarah, Temporary Secretary
Always be evolving your product
“I have a firm understanding of my demographic but it would be nice to find different audiences and perhaps step out of my comfort zone a little bit. We’ve recently been doing a lot of partnership projects to do just that, teaming up with other artists and companies to create something a little different to keep ahead and to ensure we’re constantly evolving. I think this is another reason why my company is so unique: we’re not scared to try something different. I’m always creating.”
Nat Rigby, Thrasion
Always be evolving your website.
“In the first few months of running the business I would be up all night editing the site and making little tweaks here and there. It was brilliant to be involved with every aspect of the process and have the ability to make changes as and when I wanted to freshen up the image of the brand. The website has evolved with the brand and I am always making changes to ensure it looks as professional as possible.”
Kathryn McCormick, Lily & Albert
Use your website to compliment sales from other sources and build your database.
“As the business grew it became clear that we needed our own shop to complement the third party websites we sold through and the stockists around London with whom we worked. We were keen to build our database of customers and be able to market to them directly, as well as understand more about what they buy.
Lucy Stephens, LucyLovesThis