Most people hold themselves back from launching an online store because they have no idea what to sell and how to source products.
What products you should sell depends on a variety of factors:
- Your experience and knowledge in a particular industry
- The availability of a particular product in your city
- An analysis of the market for your product (How popular the products are, what margin you can expect etc.?)
- An analysis of your competition
- And the online channels you are going to use for selling.
Let me first explain why I decided to sell kurtis and woman apparel. The reason is that my hometown Jaipur has a big garment market.
It’s not as big as the one in Surat, but the labour is cheap here. Good quality material and fabrics are readily available so I can source this product easily and make a good profit from each sale.
Another reason is that Jaipur is known for unique designs and fabrics. They are popular not only in India but overseas also. And since I consider myself somewhat an ecommerce expert, it makes sense for me to sell online.
So you should keep these factors in mind when choosing a product to sell.
Now the big question is how to source products.
Should you spend weeks, even months visiting manufacturers and wholesalers?
How do you make sure that you are getting the best quality products?
How do you compare prices and pick a wholesaler or manufacturer who is offering the best price and quality products?
While sourcing the product may not be easy, it’s not as difficult as you might believe it to be.
Here is how I found the manufacturers and wholesalers without even leaving my home when I launched my ecommerce store:
When it comes to sourcing products from business directories, IndiaMart is my favourite platform.
When I was looking for wholesalers and manufacturers, I simply created a profile on IndiaMart and provide details of my requirements as a reseller. From the very next day, I started receiving calls and WhatsApp messages from some of the most prominent wholesales in Jaipur.
There is no denying the fact that I had to visit a lot of wholesalers and manufactures as they invited me to their business locations to take a look at their inventory, but I was at least not groping in dark.
To win the trust of wholesalers and manufacturers, I had already built my ecommerce website and uploaded a few sample products. When they called, I would tell them that I have a website and provide them the URL. They would trust me immediately.
This is why I put so much emphasis on having a website if you are planning to sell products online.
Since my business is doing well now, I have identified a couple of manufacturers who provide me good quality products at competitive rates. The business directories such as IndiaMart and JustDial helped me find them.
Now I have my own profile as a wholesaler on some of these directories and I get many leads from them on a regular basis. I am contacted by resellers – mostly from Southern Indian states such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
You can use Facebook Marketplace to buy heavily discounted items.
Once you have Facebook Marketplace appearing on your personal Facebook profile in the app, you just need to click the tab. You will find heavily discounted products from whatever listed category you choose.
Most sellers provide the retail price on the marketplace, but many of them are wholesalers and manufactures. You should contact them directly.
Introduce yourself (you can ask for reseller discounts after telling them about your e-commerce website and your future plans) and negotiate the reseller price.
These two sources helped me to launch my online store easily.
I didn’t have to even leave my home to find the wholesalers and manufacturers. In fact, they started calling me once I created a profile and provided my requirements on the business directories.
Now that I have gained experience, I have learnt some advanced strategies on how to source products. I have in fact identified factories in Jaipur where I can have my own customized products manufactured.
It takes a lot of time and efforts, but the tips outlined above will make it extremely easy for you to source the products, particularly if you are new to the world of online selling.
I would love hearing about your experiences. Leave a comment and let me know how you source products and what challenges you faced.