Posted by Alex Jackson on March 30, 2018
Selling is a lot like fishing in many ways, sure you can catch a few fish with a line and get by but if you ever want to bring in a big haul you need to cast a big net. If your selling online, you’re going to need a wide array of options for your customers. Just starting out? Maybe it’s a hobby that you are hoping to turn into a full-time career? This is absolutely possible with some planning and perseverance. Build up that catalog of goods for sale, after all the widest net catches the most fish. So let’s look at a few points you should consider when building a net of products to catch sales.
Build your foundation- Just like building a house you need a strong foundation on which you can grow and expand your sales. You should establish a broad catalog of goods for sale from the beginning in order to generate consistent sales. Starting small may minimize your risk but it’s also limiting your sales potential. Go big and you will see those sales grow quickly.
Consistency is key!- Never stop building on that foundation you have established. If you have ever worked in sales, you have probably heard of the concept of filling the pipeline. What this means is that you need to be constantly looking for new customers to maintain and grow your sales. Filling the pipeline in online retail is no different, instead of prospecting for new accounts you are putting more items out there to entice the customer to come to you. If you let your pipeline run dry by letting items sell out and not replacing them, this will lead to decline in sales and income. Want your sales to flourish? Keep filling that pipeline.
Understand your numbers- what’s your sell-through rate? List a 100 items a month and sell 10? That’s a 10% sell-through rate per month. It’s a decent number but what are your margins? Are you selling those 10 items and pocketing $100? Sure an extra hundred a month helps but it’s not enough to quit your day job. Think of a number, that number should be how much income you want to make a month from your business. Want to hit $1000 per month profit? Based on your sell-through rate and margins that’s 100 sales off of 1000 listings at a $10 profit per transaction. Obviously you can make more than $10 on each transaction but the goal, that $1000 per month is the important thing. Once you have that number in mind build a plan of action. Create that wide net of goods we talked about and then understand and modify your sell-through rate and margins to achieve the monthly goal you set for yourself.
Find a balance- the most successful sellers have a well-balanced mix of items that sell quickly and items with healthy margins. The concept of big-ticket high margin only merchandise can be very appealing. To most sellers, it means less work and more profits but this also means slower and less consistent sales. There are a finite number of clients looking for these high dollar items and your cash flow can dry up quickly if your customers are not in the market for these items. Instead, try and find a healthy balance between those high dollar items and those more affordable fast movers.
The wide net applies to where you sell as well- with the wide array of online marketplaces shoppers have no end of options of where to spend their dollars. These days it’s very easy to miss out on sales because you're just not fishing in the right pond. Your merchandise should be available for sale on as many sites as possible. Don’t rule any out try out a few and see if they work for your business and expand out from there.