Over the past few weeks the world has changed – a lot, for everyone. If you sell products, you might well have questions about what you can and should be doing now. These are just my thoughts, but I hope they help you.
Should I continue to sell my products?
Overall – yes, but there are things to consider.
If you have a physical shop, or you usually sell your products in stores (or at markets and pop-ups) then this may need to stop for now (depending on what and where you sell).
You can still sell online, providing you think about the fulfilment.
If you fulfil your products yourself then I’d recommend taking hygiene precautions if you intend to continue.
Post Offices are still open and there are a number of ways you could manage this, including paying for postage online and just dropping your parcels off at a branch or parcel box.
Another option would be to arrange a courier service. (You should be able to manage this while still maintaining social distancing.)
If you have a third party manage your fulfilment you’ll need to check in with them to see if they’re operating and what hygiene precautions and social distancing measures they’re taking.
If you’re able to sell online, and fulfil your products, there’s no reason not to continue.
If you’re not already selling online this could be a great time to get started.
If your question is more around the morality of selling now, I’d still say yes.
I know that not everything is still selling now. If your sales have dropped, I want to acknowledge how hard that is.
I think all we can do is to keep faith that it shall pass. People will start shopping again and they will buy your product again. (I know believing this is easier said than done at times. I’m in the same boat too and this is what I keep telling myself.)
In the meantime, is there anyway you can change what you offer to help people during this time?
I was about to launch a new product / place an order. Should I still do this?
It depends. If your product is something that will still sell now, you can afford to invest in the stock, and you feel comfortable doing so, then go ahead.
If you’re in any way unsure (which is understandable, these are very uncertain times) then I’d recommend holding off.
If you’ve spent the time creating a great product, don’t give up. Why not spend the time now getting everything ready to launch? You could get your product descriptions, photography, website, social media, etc, ready to give yourself a head start.
Perhaps you can even take pre-orders!
I have a product idea – is it worth me even pursuing it now!
Yes, absolutely – if you have the time, energy and desire to do this.
If you’re in the early stages, there’s a lot of research you can do, all online, for free, before spending any money or making any kind of commitments.
I’m always talking about verifying your ideas before going ahead – and now it’s probably even more important than ever.
I have a few episodes on this coming up, including an interview with a specialist. In the meantime, I’ve linked below to some blog posts that should help you with this.
How and why to validate your product ideas (blog post)
Products businesses and Coronavirus - can you still sell? INTRO (00:00:08):
Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas to Life podcast, practical advice and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products. Here's your host Vicki Weinberg
Vicki Weinberg (00:00:21):
Hi. So we are weak too, into the podcast and already, this is the first episode that I'm doing it wasn't planned, and she had an interview scheduled for this week, but I've decided that in light of, you know, everything that's going on in the world right now, it would be a good idea to do this. Episode rather than, than what I had planned. And that will come next week. So I am recording this at the end of March. I think it's the 26th of March. And I can't be sure I'll be honest today. It's a kind of learning and to what I do, you know, it's a first date and yeah, a lot has changed since I lost that down to a record. So we have been at home, not left the house since school ended last Friday.
Vicki Weinberg (00:01:05):
So that's almost a week now. Thankfully, everyone here is safe and well, but the world feels a really different place to have. It did even a week ago and yeah, a scary time. So I'll just start by saying, I hope you and your family, all of your friends and everyone, do you care about us all safe and well, and so in light of everything is
happening. If you are currently selling products or you are thinking about it. So I think so far that, cause you might want to have questions about what you can be doing and what you should be doing. So I just wanted to share my thoughts on this with you. As I say, they're just my thoughts, but I really hope they do help you.
Vicki Weinberg (00:01:46):
So a question you might have is should I continue to sell my products overall? I would say yes, but there are a few things to think about. So the first thing to think about is where you sell your products. So if you have a physical shop or you's you say your products in stores or at markets are pop ups, this may well need to stop for an hour at a time of I've recorded this shop, selling groceries and food, and essentially are still trading in
the UK. At least by the time you listen to this, I don't know if that will still be the case. So many of us, depending on what products we sell may not be able to suffer, sell them in physical locations anymore.
Vicki Weinberg (00:02:26):
However, this doesn't mean you can't sell online, providing you think about the fulfilment. So if you're selling online and you're fulfilling your products for yourself, then I recommend, I recommend taking precautions before sending your products out. So things like washing your hands. If we begin to disinfect in the surface, you'll be using to package your products. And I guess if anyone in your home or whatever it is, you're sending your products out from has shown any symptoms of being ill. I'm I think, I think carefully about whether it's still safe to actually send your products out. I don't know the definitive answer on that, but my gut feeling tells me that it's probably not a good idea.
Vicki Weinberg (00:03:07):
Also, if you're in it, you need to be taking care of yourself. So the post office is still open at a time of
recording. So in theory, you can still draw parcels off if you need two, and if you feel comfortable doing so, and you may not feel comfortable doing that, of course you can also drop and go if you prefer not to queue. So that's where you pay for your postage online and just go into the post office and post your parcels idea,
being you in and out a lot quicker. However, in this situation we have been, I don't know if that's going to make much of a difference or not. I guess that depends on your post office where you actually use another option is they might be a parcel post box near You. And there's actually one. So not far from us, if I was dispatched and things from home, I probably could pay to my page online, dry around there and the fact of the car, but them in the box.
Vicki Weinberg (00:03:56):
The only thing with that is that you can't be special or a track delivery because there's no way of proving that you've actually posted it. But if you really need to get things out, that's an option. And I guess I find new option. If you are sending Products at yourself, would it be to arrange a courier service where they actually collected at your door? You can, I'm sure you can manage this about having to any concept of towards the career and maintaining social distancing. I know lots of caveats when they're doing drop-offs now that knocking on the door and then they're going to, you know, a good way back checking that you received your parcel and then leaving. And I'm sure something similar can be range for collections as well. So that's possibly something to think about.
Vicki Weinberg (00:04:37):
Now, if you have a fair as policy management, you have fulfilled and you will need to check in with them to see how they're handling the situation. And if there are actually indeed are still operating, I believe most fulfillment centers are operating at the moment. I haven't heard anyone say there isn't, but of course I'm sure there are some of our clients and I would also check with him, okay, what are they doing to make sure they may take a tie gene, that there are workers maintaining social distancing, and what are they basically doing to keep everyone safe and healthy? And of course this can and will, will possibly will change. So I think communication is really key here. So I guess in summary, if you're able to sell online and you're able to fulfill your products wherever you're doing it yourself or someone else is doing that for you, I don't think there's any reason not to continue.
Vicki Weinberg (00:05:27):
And if you're not already selling them online, this could potentially be a really good time to get started. I, one thing it's worth noting is the Amazon who I know are often the first side people think of when it comes to online, marketplaces our place in restrictions on the table or who can actually sell it in there and what products it can be sent in to their warehouses. And they provide prioritizing shipping orders in certain categories. So I'm, I'm not going to give you a list of what these are because can and possibly will change. And it, you know, there is going to be a little bit of a gap between me recording this and you're listening. However, you can go on to Amazon seller size and you can see, you know, how things stand.
Vicki Weinberg (00:06:11):
If that's something you want to do, what category so accepting sellers. And if you want to do fulfillment by Amazon, which is where they fulfill your orders for you, they have to explain which products they are currently accepting. And then, yeah, I think they're the best place to go directly for UpToDate information. However, remember it, if you're not eligible to sell on Amazon right now, there are other places you can try a great places on your own website, if you haven't done so already. And if you don't have a website yet, and I recommend Shopify for this, because this is the one I use. And I think it is a great platform for sailing, but there are a lot of others out there. Now, if your original question, it was more around the morality of selling now sort of, should I still be selling?
Vicki Weinberg (00:06:54):
I still say yes, because of providing you have a good product that would improve the lives of the people who buy it. Even if it's just in a tiny, tiny way, then go ahead. You know, I'd like to think that if you're listening to this end, you know, you spent some time thinking about your product, then you've got a great product and I don't see any reasons why you shouldn't still sell it. Although just a final note on that. I know that not everything is selling right now. I've had him, lots of people who sales have fallen or in some places are completely stopped depending on what they're selling. And if that has happened to you, I just want to acknowledge what I know how hard that is. I know how hard you work to get where you are and now, and I think that all we can do and this probably applies to this entire situation is to keep faith that it will pass.
Vicki Weinberg (00:07:40):
People will start shopping again. If they were buying our products before there is no reason they won't buy it again, I noticed it easier said than done. I am in the same boat to you, by the way, I'm, this is just what I keep telling myself, because I'm not sure what else I can do other than keep faith that people will start buying again soon. And in the meantime, I guess a final thought is, is there any way that you can change what you offer to help people during this time? And Perhaps there is perhaps there isn't based definitely something to think about. So if you, or someone who is about to launch a new products, or perhaps you've even got to the point where ever you are just about to place an order with your supplier, you might be thinking Should, I still do this. And I'd say, honesty.
Vicki Weinberg (00:08:22):
My honest thought is, it depends if your product does something that is still selling now, or you can afford to invest in the stock and you feel comfortable doing so then by all means, go ahead. If you're in any way on short, which I think is an understandable given that we have been very uncertain times right now, then I would recommend holding off. If you spent the time creating great products, I'm sure of it would still be relevant in a few months or however long it takes for the world to go back to normal, whatever normal is. And you could instead spend the time. Now it gets everything in place. So you can get a really good product description written. You can perhaps get some photography arranged. You could be able to have a website. You could get your social media will in place, which will give you a headstart when your product is here and
ready to sell.
Vicki Weinberg (00:09:07):
And in fact, the final thing you can do now, if you're planning to go ahead a later date, as you can even take pre-orders that it might be a nice way to get a little bit of income now, before you're even ready or before you even have anything to start selling. And finally, if you are someone who has a product's idea and you're thinking, well, is it worth me even thinking about it now? I would say, yes, absolutely. If you have the time, the energy and the desire to do this, by all means, go ahead. And as I say, only if you have all of these things, I personally read a lot on social media and things lately about all the things that people can do that either in their businesses or their personal lives, because everyone's got so much time now, cause we were all at home.
Vicki Weinberg (00:09:48):
And I know that isn't a case for everyone. It was definitely not the case for me. I got two kids at home. I've got, if anything, less time that I had before. But if you do have the time and the motivation and a great product idea, absolutely get started because if you're ever in the early stages, anyway, there was a load of research you can do, which is all online is all for free before you spend any money or make any kind of commitment. And if you, if you, you might have heard that, I talk about verifying new ideas before going to our heads. Anyway, I think now it's probably even more important than ever. And I have a few episodes on this coming up, including an interview with a consumer research specialist, which I think is going to be fantastic.
Vicki Weinberg (00:10:30):
And in the meantime, I've linked to some blog posts in the show notes that I think will help you with this. So whenever you know, whichever of these applies to you, I just want to say, Oh, of course, this is going to hold you back a little bit is going to change things a little bit, but don't let it put you off completely because if you've got a fantastic idea for our products, I'm an, you know, you've got a commitment to say no to work at. It there's absolutely no reason why it was still can't be success that it, you know, it might not be now. I, and I don't know whether it will be as easy as I say, the world is changing quite quickly, but I am set and that it's, you know, you, you will be able to make a success of it.
Vicki Weinberg (00:11:11):
It, it might be for all of us that we just need to, I don't know, have a little bit of patience, a little bit of courage and yeah. And, and see how things pan out. So I hope you found this helpful. And if you've enjoyed, listen to this episodes, please share it with your friends, please rate, please rate and review it. And I know they also love to hear from you. So you'll see in the show notes, how you can get in touch as well. So if you have any more specific questions yeah. I'd love to hear them. Just let me know. Well, thank you so much and speak to you soon.