Considering starting an online retail business. Please can I have some advice?

(9 Posts)
SoftKittyWarmKitty Sun 17-Nov-13 21:03:46

I've been looking into starting an online retail business but quite honestly don't know where to start. It all seems so overwhelming. I might struggle to hold stock at home as I rent so I'm not sure if there would be any restrictions, plus I don't have much space to store stock. The items I'm thinking of selling aren't very large but x100 or something would take up quite a bit of room. I do have a spare room though, so could utilise that if I get rid of some of the crap in there.

Would you start off with an Ebay shop or just go straight to setting up a website with shopping cart function? What do I need to look for in a wholesaler/supplier?

What else would I need to consider, look into or sort out? I currently work part time in marketing so would do it alongside that.

Does anyone have any advice, or can recommend any books on the subject? Any info would be appreciated.

Saffra Sun 17-Nov-13 21:25:40

What type of product are you thinking of selling? That would drive a lot of the types of decisions....

SoftKittyWarmKitty Sun 17-Nov-13 21:44:24

Pet accessories - collars, leads, bowls, beds, towels etc.

Saffra Sun 17-Nov-13 21:59:34

Ah, ok, great.

Two sites I find really useful are UK business forums (they have an ecommerce forum and seo forum) and MOZ for seo.

If you're going down the route of launching your own site, you def need to be seo-savvy.

Re: space, if you can supplement your stocked lines with dropshipped lines, that could maybe help.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Sun 17-Nov-13 22:02:28

Thanks Saffra, I'm off to bed shortly but will look at those sites tomorrow.

I've been wondering about dropshipping. How do I find a good dropshipper?

Saffra Sun 17-Nov-13 22:11:18

Not sure about your niche, sorry! Tbh, I would have a look at finding suppliers for your products in general first - regardless of whether they dropship or not.

It's easy to lose track, but I would put together a marketing plan so that you crystallise all your thoughts and intent. Even though it's online, it's still a retail business - so it's all about the usual 'p's of marketing with a big emphasis in online marketing!

Bunbaker Sun 17-Nov-13 22:16:17

I think you might need to check with your landlord whether you can run a business from home in the first place.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Mon 18-Nov-13 11:35:55

Yes I'll definitely check with him, that goes without saying. At this stage I'm just planning and researching, so if he says no I'll have to wait until I own (which will be difficult if I can't better myself and earn more).

m0nkeynuts Tue 19-Nov-13 12:07:00

You'll also need to check with your home contents insurer, as there's an added risk if you are holding business stock in your home so it could affect your policy (plus you'll need to insure the business stock).

Most of the small online retailers I work with started on Ebay first as it was a good way for them to test the water with their product lines. Once they established their customer base and brand, they gradually moved operations to their own website.

Depends on your techie skills & budget though, as it's quite do-able to set up an e-commerce site without needing to fork out thousands of pounds. Run your own website at the same time as selling on Ebay and you're increasing your chances of being found smile

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