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How to source products to sell online
Business advice

How to source products to sell online

27 July 2021

3 min read

A guide to sourcing and selling online products

Dipping into the world of e-commerce can be a satisfying and rewarding way to run a business. But what are the best ways to sell products onlineand what types of items might sell like hot cakes? We’ll explore all that and more in this Tyl Talks guide.

What’s a good product to sell online?

These days, there are no shortage of products that could be successfully sold online. Here are just some examples of the best selling online products and services:

  • Electronics
  • Household appliances
  • DIY tools and accessories
  • Homeware
  • Groceries
  • Garden products
  • Toys
  • Sports equipment
  • Jewellery
  • Furniture.

However, some sectors might be harder nuts to crack when it comes to selling online. For example, while there are many successful online fashion retailers, a 2018 Barclaycard report found that almost half (47%) of online clothes bought by UK shoppers are sent back to the seller. In contrast, a clothes shop on the high street may not experience such a high rate of returns, as customers can try on different sized items before making a purchase. And of course, there are some products you simply can’t buy online, like grabbing a coffee or visiting your dentist or local beauty salon.

How to find products to sell online

There’s more than one way to sell products online, and one consideration is your relationship with your suppliers.

If you want to create your own products, you could use a manufacturer and process your orders through them. If you have a good relationship with your manufacturer, you might be able to have a degree of influence over the products’ design, as well as your pricing strategy, as there would be no other stakeholders, and no precedent for the items being sold elsewhere.

Alternatively, you could decide to use a wholesaler (or distributor) if you wish to sell products that already exist. If you take this approach, you might be able to source products at a cheaper rate, but may have less influence over the prices you can charge. If you’re happy to maintain relationships within a bigger supply chain – compared to a manufacturer-only relationship – then using a wholesaler may be a reliable way of keeping your inventory well-stocked.

Another way of selling online is to work directly with the makers of products. This could be an exciting way to create unique items in partnership with talented craftspeople. However, bear in mind that you may need to share the profits between you, so it could be necessary to think about the overall effect on your cash flow.

Other things to consider when selling online

  • Size matters. You may pay less in postage costs if your products can fit through a letterbox.
  • Can you afford to return items? Issuing refunds and returns is part-and-parcel of many businesses activity, but you may wish to consider if there is an impact on your profit margins.
  • Are you data compliant? Following best practice regarding PCI and GDPR regulations can protect your customers’ personal information from fraudsters.
  • Where are you shipping to? Shipping costs and red tape can vary – especially in a post-Brexit world – so it may be worth researching your responsibilities when selling online.
  • What about a hybrid model? Solutions like Click and Collect could offer an ideal way of selling items both online and offline .

Discover more at Tyl Talks

Tyl Talks is home to a number of articles and guides on running a business. For more insights which could help you on your journey, check out some of our latest pieces:

Disclaimer

This has been prepared by Tyl by NatWest for informational purposes only and should not be treated as advice or a recommendation. There may be other considerations relevant to you and your business so you should undertake your own independent research.

Tyl by NatWest makes no representation, warranty, undertaking or assurance (express or implied) with respect to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness, or reasonableness of the information provided.

Tyl by NatWest accepts no liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential losses (in contract, tort or otherwise) arising from the use of the information contained herein. However, this shall not restrict, exclude, or limit any duty or liability to any person under any applicable laws or regulations of any jurisdiction which may not be lawfully disclaimed.

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