**READ THE BLOG POST**

If you’re thinking of creating a product (or products) to sell, where to sell them is something you need to consider. (In fact, I know for most people this is one of the very first things they think about – sometimes even before nailing down the details of the product!)

I’m going to give you a rundown of some of the online marketplaces you might want to consider, my thoughts on who each one is right for and the pros and cons of each.

We’ll cover:

  • Selling on Amazon – including Amazon FBA (2:18)
  • Selling on eBay (17:34)
  • Selling on Etsy (24:05)
  • Selling on Not on the High Street (27:50)
  • Selling on niche sites – such as All By Mama (31:48)
  • Setting up your own ecommerce website (35:05)
  • The importance of building your email list (40:00)
  • Selling on Facebook and Instagram (41:21)

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Amazon FBA fee calculator (UK)

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Transcript

Where's the best place to sell products online?

(:

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 (:

Hello and welcome. I'm feeling quite chirpy today. Quite possibly because I've got two children in school, which is exciting, but irrelevant. I know say today, I want to talk about where the best places are or where some places are to sell your products online. Because if you're thinking of selling physical products, the chances are, you've already had a think about where to sell them. And in fact, I know some people, this is something they think about right at the start. Sometimes even before they fought too much about the product itself, I get plenty of people contacting me. Who wants to say, I want Amazon, for example, and then we will talk about that a bit later. So what I want to do today is cover off some of the places that you can sell your products online and talk about the pros and cons of each of them.

Vicki (:

And w one was few reasons I want to do this one is because I'm going to give you a rundown of lots of different places. You can sell your products, and I might throw out some ideas of places that you haven't even considered before. So for example, my products at the moment, and for the last little while have done really well on eBay, which isn't a marketplace I ever thought about selling them. I just didn't think it would be a good fit, but actually it turns out that it's doing quite well. So, you know, you might get an idea like that. And then the other reason I want to talk about some of the places that you can sell is because they might or might not be a good place for your product, for your brand. And just for you because each of these marketplaces, while they obviously have upsides, there are some downsides as well.

Vicki (:

So I just want to give you a really honest of you so that you can start thinking about where, which marketplace might be best for you. And as I say, perhaps thinking of considering some that you hadn't been thinking about already. So the first marketplace I'm going to start talking about is Amazon, which is obviously a huge one. As I say, I sell my products on Amazon. I get lots of inquiries and people wanting to start selling on Amazon. And I help them work with a lot of Amazon sellers every day. So it seemed like the sensible one to start with. And as I say, it's a huge marketplace. So according to Google, when I looked yesterday, there were over 200 million people visiting amazon.com every month.

Vicki (:

And you have to remember, that's huge, but that is just one of Amazon's marketplaces because wherever you are in the world, but I say wherever, perhaps there are some restrictions, but technically you can also sell on all of the European sites, which now include the Netherlands and Switzerland. You can say on Amazon, Japan, Amazon, China, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, India. I'm not sure how many I've listed, but there are 14 in total. So that's a lot of marketplaces and obviously some of them are believable, Singapore. That's another one I've just thought of, obviously some of them are going to be bigger than

others, but that's a lot of marketplaces and a lot of customers that you have access

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To.

Vicki (:

So what kind of product is Amazon best for? So you can sell a lot of things on Amazon. Although I would suggest doing your research first to check that there is actually demand. And I would do your research based on the marketplace or marketplaces that you want to sell your products because obviously demand is going to vary on the different marketplaces. So just because a product sells very well on amazon.com, for example, doesn't necessarily mean it will sell as well on Amazon in the UK. There are some products where competition on Amazon is really, really high. So it's gonna be really hard for you to stand out or people just wouldn't think of going to Amazon to look for those products in the first place and there.

Vicki (:

And if you're looking to sell products that fit over face categories, I think it's a really hard place to start from. If you're wanting to launch really unique product. For example, as Amazon is driven by search results. If people don't know your product exists, they might not be searching for it. So it committed to be really hard place to launch. If your product is unique, that doesn't mean it's impossible because you can, if you do some really good keyword research. So you've got an understanding of the kind of things people be searching for if they were looking for products similar to yours, or if they have problems that will, you know, if you know the problems that your product solves, and you have an idea of the kind of things people would be looking for, you know, if it's, so that problem, you know, you can, you can definitely still do really well on Amazon, but it is quite a hard marketplace to get started on.

Vicki (:

And I personally think it's getting harder all the time, simply because they were just more and more sellers joining it every day, every week, every month. And if you're planning on using fulfilled by Amazon, so that's Amazon FBA where Amazon store your stock for you, that can get expensive. It doesn't sell fast enough. So if you're not sure whether your product is an ideal fit for Amazon, but you want to sell on there, I would suggest either not using Amazon FBA and fulfilling orders yourself, which is a lot cheaper. You can set up, what's called. I think I've forgotten what this is called. It's basically an individual seller account. What you don't pay a monthly fee and you fulfill all the orders you get there yourself.

Vicki (:

You do still pay a little fee on each item that you sell, or I would suggest sending a small quantity of items to FBA. If that's something, you know, you definitely want to consider because what you don't want to do is have hundreds of items in there that you can't sell. And then you, you basically starting curbing really big fees, but Amazon to store them. And also you get really big fees if you want them to send them back to you.

So if you're thinking of launching a product that you're not sure whether Amazon is the right fit or not, that's how I certainly would suggest you go about it. Definitely don't go all in if you know, if there's a bit of a question Mark. So let's talk about some of the pros of selling on Amazon. Well, I guess the first one and the obvious one is it's a really large marketplace.

Vicki (:

People know Amazon people trust Amazon. I don't know about you, but quite often, if I'm looking to buy anything, it's one of the first places I go to depending on the product, obviously there are things, as I say, more unique products. So I was looking this week for some prints to go on my son's bedroom. Whoa. And I didn't go to Amazon for that. I went to a different marketplace. I went to not on the high street, which we'll talk about later on, because I felt that was the better fit for the kind of thing I was looking for. But nine times out of 10, if I want to buy anything, I go to Amazon and home. Possibly you do to another prey is if you decide to use Amazon FBA. So that's again, that's fulfilled by Amazon where they handle the logistics. So they store your products and they ship them for you.

Vicki (:

And they handle the returns. Okay. There is a cost to that, but it does save you time. And it does save you having to figure out all the logistics by yourself, say there's definitely arts and benefits there. Amazon also has a built in algorithm that recommends your products to people who might be interested in them based on what they've purchased or searched for already. This doesn't happen overnight. So if you're a very new seller, you're only just on there, this possibly won't happen. But what you do you find with Amazon is they reward sales. So if your product selling reasonably well, they start showing it to more people, which is always nice. And I guess you have a pro is the customers are there.

Vicki (:

So you don't need to worry about necessarily about going out to find customers. You just need to focus on the, customer's been able to find your product because all kinds of people shop on Amazon. So it's fairly likely that you're quite dependent on, again, it all comes back to what you're selling, depending on what you're selling. Chances are peop your customers are shopping on Amazon. So it's, you know, it's not like you're having to drive them to your website, for example, however, they do have to find your product when they get there. And then we're going to cover that. Now, when we talk about some of the, and some of the downsides of selling on Amazon. So I guess the first one is, is there's a bit of an art to creating an Amazon product listing. If your listing isn't well optimized for search results, it doesn't sell the benefits of your products rather than the features.

Vicki (:

It doesn't have great images. You will struggle to get found. And if you'll also struggle with, to convert your visitors into sales, I spend a lot of my time now helping Amazon sellers I've write or optimize the Amazon product listings. If you want any help with this, you can get in touch. It's Vicki@tinychipmunk.com because

writing an Amazon product listing, as I say, is a bit of an art. And the quality of listings on Amazon is, is getting higher. There's something called Amazon A-plus content now, which is where you might've seen extra images and graphics and things on listings as a seller. This is brilliant that you can take advantage of these of these features, but it does mean you have to put a lot of work into making sure yours is a listing one that gets found in the first place.

Vicki (:

And two that stands out and convert visitors into sales. And also on top of all of this, you also need to ensure that the listing you create is Amazon compliant. There are lots of rules around the photography. There were lots of rules around the words you can, and can't use no listing. There are character limits, which are very strict, and these rules change constantly and often without any communication, which is, as you can imagine, pretty frustrating. As I mentioned before, for some products and categories, there's a lot of competition which can make it harder and harder to get initial sales and having Amazon is, and with a lot of marketplaces, you need sales to help with your ranking because the more so as you make, the more Amazon likes you because you're making them more money effectively.

Vicki (:

And the more customers you get sold to you get shown to so you can make more sales and it's, but it's really hard to get sales initially. So I usually suggest when you start out paying for Amazon sponsored products, which is basically pay-per-click marketing, and the downside here is this Tang gets expensive and it obviously is not guaranteed to work. It gives you a better chance of getting seen in those first weeks and months. And if you don't pay for any marketing and you just hope you get found organically, I think getting found organically on Amazon as a new product where you haven't built up any sales history, any reviews is really hard. Amazon sponsored products can definitely help with that.

Vicki (:

However, it can get expensive as always. I'd love to be able to tell you sort of how much it costs. People ask me this quite often, but actually it really depends on the product that you're selling on the category you're selling in because the cost per click like with Google shopping or any other pay-per-click Facebook ads, anything at all the cost per click really varies based on however many people are competing for that keyword. So, so variable it's, it's really hard to say. I would say, as a ballpark, you'd be wanting to spend at least five pounds a day, possibly 10 pounds in order to kind of really get seen in those first weeks and months, which is another investment in something.

Vicki (:

If you're looking to sell on Amazon, I think it's definitely something you want to be sort of building into your, to your budget. So speaking of things that are tricky, not all products can be sold on Amazon. So I don't think there's many things you can't sell, but you know, there definitely are some, and there is actually a list buried somewhere that tells you all the products that you can and can't sell on Amazon. So if you're selling

something and you're, you're a bit dubious, so actually will they let me sell this, do check the list. You also need permission to sell some products and to sell in some categories. So I can't give you a definitive list here as this changes such a lot, and again, without much communication.

Vicki (:

So I'm a coziness at the beginning of October, and I know that lots of, so for example, face masks at heart to sell on Amazon. Now you need to get approval for that. Handwash certainly used to be, I don't know if that's still the case supplement to something where you need to go through some approvals for some products. It's

not that you, it's not like you're going to get a yes or no as such. It's like, they want to see safety data information, and you know, other information to prove that your product safe before you can list it. So there are sometimes some hoops to jump through. And again, I'm not saying this to put you off by any means. I just always like to be honest with you, and I just want you to know what to expect and yeah, definitely don't get pissed off.

Vicki (:

I think the thing of Amazon is, and we're going to talk about this a bit now is that their systems, aren't simple, the seller support, isn't always helpful. So it's basically the customer service. The people that help you. If you have a problem, the rules when to call them rules, guidelines, whatever often change. And as I say, little communication, no communication. And my top tips to anyone who's trying to get anywhere by Amazon is just persevere because I find it takes a lot of perseverance. Get your questions answered and your issues resolved. You can ask Scott a support or a question and you'll get like a, what, what you can basically tell is like a copy and paste the answer. Doesn't answer your question and you might have to send your original question in again, and then you get another copy of, Hey, start and start.

Vicki (:

And then you send it in third or fourth or fifth time. And finally, someone's answered your question and it, it sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Because if you've ever contacted Amazon customer service as a customer, I'm sure you've had great Tufts, my service. Well, I always have, I've never had a problem as a seller. It's just not the same, lots of new sellers struggle with this. And I am sure this is one thing that puts people off. Because as I say, the system, isn't always that intuitive. You know, you can try and add a product list in and you've got a problem. So you contact seller support to find out why. And you know, you get an answer back that maybe doesn't make any sense to you. Doesn't answer your question. Lots of people over give up or they contact someone like me or another.

Vicki (:

Amazon I'd want to say expert, but I don't call myself an expert, but you know what I mean? They contact someone. Who's got experience selling on Amazon who can help them out. And there are, you know, there are those of us out there that can help you. If you don't fancy doing it yourself, I wouldn't blame you. It's quite a lot to tackle. I've only got, I've got two more cons and I'm sorry, it does sound like there were a lot of cons

of selling on Amazon, as I say, it's a great marketplace, but yeah, there definitely are some downsides. So the fees can be quite high, particularly if you're doing FBA. So that will eat into your margins. Something to factor in there is a calculator available. And I will put the link to this in the show notes actually, cause I think this will be helpful, but if you actually, if you type in FBA fee calculator, you may be able to find it where you

can use that tool to work out what the fees would be in advance before you sort of sign up and commit to anything.

Vicki (:

I think that's useful. One thing just to consider is that they will add VAT to what you see showing up on the calculator itself. So just bear that in mind because that sometimes isn't clear and if you haven't added the three 80 into your calculations, then obviously they're not going to be that accurate. And then the final thing is that Amazon own the customer. So what I mean by this is you don't get access to Nate as you do. You can't see the name of the people who've bought your products, but you don't get email addresses and things like that. So if you're trying to build up your brands, you're trying to build up your own email list that can make it a little bit more difficult as we've everything they've always around this. So I send follow up emails to everyone who buys off me on Amazon, Alyssa, we email and Amazon do allow me to put my logo in there.

Vicki (:

So that's quite good. And obviously my logos and my product as well, which is good for brand recognition. I also put an insert inside all of my packaging, which directs people to my website. If they want to take a look at more of my products and I've got like a freebie, which is a swaddling guide, people can get hold of if they would like that. And it's only available on my website with email sign up in the hope that, you know, some people buy my product on Amazon. They'll like what they see. They'll like the sound of getting this guide and they'll go to my website and give me their email address. Obviously not everyone does, but certainly I think more people do than if I wasn't offering that. But yeah, you don't get all the customer details on Amazon.

Vicki (:

However, and I know that I've just given you a huge list of downsides. I do still say it's a good marketplace is where I make the majority of my sales. And I do think that for some products it can, you know, it can do exception you, well, I guess my main thing is I wouldn't want that to be the only place you sell your products, just because, you know, things can go wrong at the moment. For example, I'm experiencing an issue where I can't edit any of my product listings because some sort of internal Amazon era it's been like that for a week. And obviously that's a massive inconvenience. So I would, and they can kick you off that Sierra thing. You can get your listings deactivated for various reasons.

Vicki (:

You just have a bit less control when you don't own the marketplace. I've heard people say this about social media. You know that it's not your own houses where you don't make the rules and you can get kicked off. And I feel the same about selling on Amazon or any other third party marketplace, if I'm honest. And that's

why I always advocate for having your own website, however basic it might be on top of anywhere else that you sell. And we'll talk about your own website a little bit later, but the next marketplace I want to talk about is eBay. So again, eBay is a huge marketplace. There were a lot of people that shop there every day. I didn't actually look at the figures for this one, but you know, we know it's a lot and you have much more control on eBay than you do on Amazon.

Vicki (:

So what kind of products is eBay good for? I personally think it seems like anything goes, I know that you might be thinking, well, actually it's a place for used products, but I sit on, as I say, I sell new products on there and also refurbished ones, you know, ones with a box, you know, box damage and stuff that I can't sell this new and both sell, but very well on Amazon, I would always suggest research. And before you decide to purchase to sell on there, not because of sort of money, it doesn't actually cost anything to throw up an Amazon listing. I don't think, or I don't think you pay unless you sell to that's, you know, that's another, that's a plus side, but just to save you the time really. So you can look at comment listings to see the kind of, if people have got a buy now price for listing similar to yours product, similar, you can see what that is.

Vicki (:

You can also look up previous, so prices on eBay. So you can do quite a bit of free research on there to get an idea of what the competition's like. And you can list up to 20 items a month about face. So I think it's a good place to test out your product to see how well it sells. And you might find it surprises you so while yeah, I would do a bit of research before putting something on there just to make sure it's worth your time. But actually, you know, it's, it's fairly simple to set up a listing. It's not going to take a huge amount of time. So it might be one that is worth you just going forward anyway, and just seeing what happens. So let's talk about the pros, the upsides of selling on eBay. So the fees I think are fairly reasonable. They're certainly less than on Amazon anyway, although they can and do change.

Vicki (:

So depending when you're listening to this, they may or may not be as reasonable, but I still think they're probably fairly low. There aren't that many restrictions on how you present your products at a kind of photography you use, how you write your listing, the words you use, how you format them, things like that, which makes it pretty simple

to get a listing up in the first place. As I said before, if you don't sell your product, you don't pay anything. So yes, you might spend some time creating a listing, but you won't have spent money on it, which is good. You can. Now this, I think this is a fairly new thing. Anyway, pay for promotions. Drive traffic to your listings is not that expensive. You self set, a percentage fee you want to pay.

Vicki (:

Should you get a click from a formated listing? Personally, I haven't seen that many results for promotions on eBay yet. I've been running them for a couple of months and I'm still getting more organic sales, but I guess that shows that that's a good thing as well. Obviously you still need to be thinking about keywords when you

sell on eBay. So that's something worth mentioning, probably not to the same extent that you do on Amazon. However, if you've done research on Amazon into product keywords and you know, you've got an optimized product, title and description, I would just used the same text for eBay because you kind of already know that people are searching for those terms on Amazon. Chances are they're going to be searching for similar ones on eBay as well.

Vicki (:

And if you haven't got an Amazon listing, but you're looking to sell on eBay, I would just do a little bit of research on eBay, search for some products and kind of see the words that other sellers are using for product similar to yours, whatever words they're using in the title and the description that you just need to make sure you have in yours. So you show up. And the other thing I like is since I first started selling on eBay, which was a while ago, and I'm talking now, you know, just for personal things, I've actually noticed that the interface has improved quite a lot. It's really easy to navigate some new dashboard features, which are quite nice. All in all. I think the user experience is pretty good. And in fact, it's probably even more on them. I'm aware of is on there.

Vicki (:

There's probably more you can do and more you can see. But personally, I think going on, there's quite a nice experience. I've never had to contact eBay seller support or customer service. I don't know what you call them for anything related to selling on eBay. I've just found it to be quite a seamless process. And let's hope it continues that way. So talking now about the downsides of selling on eBay. So the first one is you have no control over who else is selling your products, what they're charging for them and how they represent you, your product, your brand. And I guess you could say the same, you know, that you could say the same about Amazon, but I guess at least on Amazon, if someone else is selling your product and let say, Amazon have something called brand sellers.

Vicki (:

So for example, tiny chip monk, my brand is a brand. It's a registered brand, have a UK trademark. I'm registered as company. If someone else tries to sell my products, I can go to Amazon and say, well, look, I haven't given anyone else permission to sell my product. This is my product. You know, here's all this information and they'll kick them off on eBay. You can't do that. So it does mean that somebody else could buy your product. They could be selling it for what they, you know, trying to undercut you, selling it cheaper than you. They could be selling used versions and there's nothing you can do about it. It's also harder. I believe to build a brand on eBay than it is on some other platforms, although you can pay for a shop.

Vicki (:

So what I mean here is I think on Amazon, you still have the option to make your brands quite prominent. Whereas if you buy something on eBay, I'll be quite honest. I don't know about you, but I, I, I buy a little bit on eBay. I couldn't tell you the name of the seller ever. Possibly. I could say the brand of the product if I was

looking for branded products, but if not, if I was just looking for a generic product and I bought whichever one best fit the bill, I probably wouldn't know which brand it was, which comes back to my point about why I think it's also good to have your own website. So listings expire. So you need to keep on top of them. So on some place marketplaces, you create a product list and it's there forever. That's not actually the case on eBay.

Vicki (:

So you need to think about this. And if you hit your listing limit, which varies. So basically this is the number of products you're allowed to sell in a week in a month. Then you can't create any more listings within that month without implying for an increase. And if you apply for an increase, that chances are, you know, you'll get one, I've never had any problems there, but it's just something to be, Oh, way above say next market place I wanna talk about is Etsy. So Etsy is a marketplace for handmade, originally designed vintage items and craft supplies, although that set and that's certainly the way the Etsy itself would describe the marketplace. So in terms of what kind of products it's best for Etsy, a specialized marketplace and your products have to meet, you know, a set criteria.

Vicki (:

I've definitely seen products on there though that aren't handmade, but are unique. Say for example, digital downloads of clothing patterns, I've seen some affirmation cards, definitely printed. I wouldn't say they're handmade. They've also been freshly printed. However, they are unique products and I'm not sure how well the site is policed in that sense, because I believe it just used to be handmade products. But given that people tend to go there looking for original products, I'd say that if your product doesn't fit that category. So if you're looking to sell something really generic that you, you know, could be on, Amazon could be on eBay, could be anywhere. I'd say that Etsy probably won't be the marketplace for you.

Vicki (:

There are some plus points stay as they're all marketplaces. So if, if you know, you're, if you're selling a product that is a good fit for it. See, so one of them plus points is that you don't need to purchase UPC codes or barcodes sell on Etsy. Whereas on lots of other marketplaces, you do need to register your products with barcodes to sell there. So as it's quite a niche site, lots of businesses will head there before we even do an, a Google search if they have something specific in mind. So you kind of, you know, as with Amazon, you, you know, the customers are, are there, it's just a case of them finding your product on the site. Say, setting them up on Etsy is simple and it's initially free. I've been told that it's a really easy platform to use, to create listings, edit listings, and just basically to navigate all the feedback I've heard from Etsy sellers is it's a good place to be.

Vicki (:

And you can sell digital products as well as physics core ones. And there were also integrations within Etsy. So say you're selling some kind of digital download. You can have it set up. So customer orders, the payment's taken the downloads emailed to them and you haven't had to touch a thing. You know, you set all

of that up and it's automated. It happens for you, which is obviously a really big time-saver. And of course it takes some work to set up as these things do, but it's quite nice that once it's done, it's all automated and does it for you. So some of the downsides is that really can only sell a very specific type of product. So, you know, this might not be the marketplace for you. Well, that's not really a downside though, but just a fact, I guess it's becoming quite saturated.

Vicki (:

I believe that there is a lot more competition than there was before, but then again, isn't everywhere. I think, I don't know. I know so many more people and perhaps it's just the circles I move in, but I feel like I know so many more people who sell products. And I did say five years ago, and as I say, it might just be because of who I'm sort of engaging with, but I've do believe that all marketplaces are, you know, getting new sellers quite a high rate. So it's not something that I believe should put you off. If you've got a really good product, then absolutely go for it. And it can also be hard to build that brand awareness is often people know they bought something on Etsy, but they don't necessarily know who they bought it from.

Vicki (:

However, I have been told by Etsy sellers, I don't sit on Etsy, but I have been told by Etsy sellers that people do sometimes come back to give lovely feedback, particularly if they've bought some sort of bespoke item and they love it. They will often still come back and, you know, give feedback, give reviews, find, find sellers on, on Instagram. So I think that that's not so much of an issue as is on some of the other marketplaces. Okay. So next I'd like to talk about not on the high street. So not on the high street is the biggest online gifting marketplace in the UK. And there were more than 39 million unique visitors annually. And I took that directly from their website. So hopefully that's right. So in terms of what kind of product it's best for unique and customizable products tend to do really well?

Vicki (:

Not on the high street, says it's on the lookout for innovative and original ideas and something, a little different. So I actually applied to sell on not on the high street a while ago. And I'll say while I think it was couple of years ago now and they turned me down on the basics that a lot of my products were well, my put some, my products are unique as in then uniquely designed. They wanted them all to have the option of personalization and at the time, and actually still now there's only one of my products that I can personalize it for name on there. And I think so that was basically the reason that they weren't happy with it. So I think if you're selling like a standard out of the box products, unless it's exceptionally unique, it might not be the best place for you.

Vicki (:

But I think it's a fantastic place for gift items is certainly somewhere I go, if I'm looking to buy gifts. And I, I think that if you're, yeah, if you're in the gifting sort of, if your products in the gifting arena, I think that's, there is definitely somewhere to consider. And so again, the pros are that you can get in front of a lot of

customers. It's a site people have heard of, it's got a lot of credibility, not on the high street, does a lot of marketing as well and often features different products and brands. And I was about to say, you don't pay for that. So you don't directly pay for that. But I think he might do indirectly, which I'll talk about in a minute. And it tries not to have too many similar products on their site, so they won't be too much competition.

Vicki (:

This is something that they actually state that they don't want hundreds of people selling a very similar product. So interrupt for a seller. I think that's a good thing because it means there's more, there's less competition for you and more chance you'll sell out. So in terms of the downsides, as I mentioned a minute ago, not everyone who applies to sell here will get accepted. However, I will say that if you apply and don't get accepted, I said to Nick got really good feedback as to why that was the case and what I could do if I wanted to get accepted in the future, which is really positive. If this is a place you think at Joe really wants to be on here, absolutely reach out and ask for feedback on what you would need to do to make your polo products eligible.

Vicki (:

Because my experience was, they were very happy to actually talk to me about that. And the other downside is you need to pair setup costs. The last time I checked was it was 199 pounds plus VAT, and you pay 25% commission, every item sold. So that's quite high. That's higher than Amazon higher than eBay, higher than a lot of places. I think. So just something to bear in mind, obviously, I don't know what kind of traffic and sales you would get from being there, but you would, I think it's something to consider sort of carefully. And something else to mention is recently, I've actually found out that if you want to sell on the high street, they don't actually want you to have your products available on other marketplaces.

Vicki (:

So if you were selling on Amazon, for example, and you wanted to turn that on the high street, they'd actually want you to stop. So again, if, if you're selling on Amazon and you're, you were generating, you know, really good revenue every month, you, it would be a bit of a gamble. So as I say, none of this is of course ever intended to sway you or to put you off anything. It's just, you know, get you thinking about what might be best for you. And of course these rules do can and do change as well. So whenever you're looking to get started on any marketplace, do go and check out, you know, how they're operating now, what the fees are now, what their requirements are now, because a lot can change between me recording this and you listening.

Vicki (:

So next page, I want to talk about our niche websites. So by this, I mean, sites that either specialize in a certain kind of product or assess and kind of seller, for example, and niche site might be a store that sells craft supplies, or it might be a marketplace for sellers who are parents, which is actually one that I sell on. So if there's a niche website that fits your product or fits you as a person or you as a business, and it's definitely

something worth considering the marketplace I sell on is called all by mama. So it's a marketplace for products and services actually by parents. And I'll link over to that in the show notes, in case she wants to go and take a look.

Vicki (:

And so there are again, pros to this. So one is that visitors to these websites are there as they have an interest in products similar to yours. So if you are selling craft products and you join a niche marketplace, it sells craft supplies. You know, you already have a captive audience who want what you have to sell. The fees can be lower than on the bigger marketplaces, which makes it more affordable. But of course this varies across marketplaces. So this is something you need to actually look into. Don't, you know, I can't guarantee this will be the case sometimes at these marketplaces, particularly if they're for type of seller, rather than hyper product also have like a community element to it. So as I say all by mama, which is one of the ones that I sell on by selling on there, you actually met, you can actually join a membership.

Vicki (:

So you're connected with other parents who are also selling products into this, a really nice community element to that as well, which I think has lots of benefits, which, you know, I've talked about, have lots of guests, lots of podcast episodes. So I won't go into that again now, but I do think that's a really nice benefit of selling somewhere a bit more niche. And you also have a bit more access to the people running the site. So this, you know, the service you receive, if you have any problems that you need sorting out, I think all of that can be better than working with somewhere a bit bigger in terms of the downsides. There may well be other salads and perhaps lots of other sellers selling the same or very similar products to your own.

Vicki (:

So you might need to work hard to stand out because especially if other sellers have been selling for longer than you, they might have built up a bit of credibility and some sales history that you won't necessarily have. However, that's the case on lots of marketplaces. And again, the benefits perhaps of being on a more niche site is that, you know, I feel like there might be less competition and you might actually be able to help each other rather than being in competition. And these marketplaces might not be as well known as some of the

bigger ones I've already spoken about. So they might not be the only place you want sell online. If you're looking to get lots of traffic, because people might not, that might mean necessarily be coming to these website as often as they are to some of the bigger ones like Amazon eBay, norm high street.

Vicki (:

However, if as I say, because they are a bit more niche, it might be that yes, less people are visiting them, but the people that visited them are, you know, they're, they're more of your ideal customer and they've actually visited them with an intent to purchase rather than just browsing. So all of this is things that I can say, okay, the next thing he wants to talk about is having your own website. And if you want to grow your brand, your customer base, your email list, I think having your own e-commerce site is a really good option

for you. I actually think that all brands should have one. Even if you think you're going to make most of your sales elsewhere and in terms of what kind of product is best for or anything, I mean, it's, your site is yours.

Vicki (:

I mean, you have total control, which is the first probe I want to talk about. I mean, you have complete control of the look and feel of your site, the content of your site, the photography style of your site, abstain, everything, because it's yours. There are lots of user-friendly e-commerce website builders that you can choose from. Now. I actually use Shopify, which I really like. It was really simple to set up really easy, to get it, to look how I wanted it to look. I didn't have to do any code or anything like that, but actually, maybe I did a little bit for something, but you know, there are lots of apps that integrate with it and you can, you can do a lot without having, you know, just clicking buttons and filling in fields. Basically, if you're a bit daunted by the thought of building your own site, depending how you decide to fulfill your products, you might find that some of the sites, the ins, the inventory can also integrate with our channels.

Vicki (:

So Amazon, eBay, and other marketplaces. So you can control your stock from one place. Shopify certainly does this. I really like it because everything's sort of sinked up. You're in complete control of your cross because there are no hidden fees. You're not going to pay referral fees or anything like that. So you're going to set your own prices. You're going to set your own shipping costs and you're, you know, you're much more control of your margins. And of course, if you want to drive more traffic to your site, then you can use things such as Google shopping to do, which you can't do to Amazon or anything else that you, for example, you can set up a Google shopping campaign linked to your Amazon listing, but you can to your, to, to, to a listing on your main website and equally, if you don't want to have any commerce website, you just want to have a website with a bit of brand awareness.

Vicki (:

You can link from your own website, which could be a really simple, even a one pager. You could link free to your Amazon listing. You're not on the high street listing or wherever it is. You want to direct people to make the actual sale space. If you're in control of everything, which is nice. And also you own the customer details.

So what I mean by this is, as I said before, places like Amazon keep the information from you. You know, you're never going to get a customer's email address from Amazon, but if someone buys from you on your own site, you get their email address and other contact details. So it's basically, it's a nice way of building up your email list and your followers, right? So let's talk about some of the downsides of selling on your own website.

Vicki (:

So, first one is, if you're building a website from scratch, you will have to do a bit of work to actually get traffic to your website in the first place. So SEO or search engine optimization is important and you will need to work hard initially to get people onto your site. So wherever you do that organically by SEO, wherever you

do Facebook ads or Instagram ads or any, you know, Google shopping or any kind of ads to get people over there, you may not have to do that, but it's an option. Or you may choose to just rely on really good SEO, really good content, but it's definitely not a case of building a website and, you know, hundreds people turn up with their credit cards. It just doesn't happen. People have to actually be able to find you, which is a little bit harder.

Vicki (:

They don't maybe know that you're there. You will also have to pay for a domain and usually also a monthly fee for whatever platform you're choosing. So for example, if you want to use Shopify, there are different monthly packages, depending where exactly you want to sell. So there's like a basic package. And then they sort of tid upwards depending on the features that you need. And then of course you pay for your domain fee. So for my case, that's tiny chipmunk.com. So I pay, I use GoDaddy for my hosting. I paid them for that domain. And then I pay Shopify a fee for actually having the actual website. So just something to consider and setting up your own website is a bit of a commitment in terms of time and the cost.

Vicki (:

So just that's how does I say just the fact of him, because presumably once you set up your vain website, you're going to have it forever, or at least for the lifetime that you're selling your product so that you know, that hosting fee, wherever that is, and that monthly fee or annual fee for having a website, that's going to be like an ongoing

cost that doesn't disappear, but it's not something you pay once. And then you're done. You're going to be paying that consistently. So that's just something to bear in mind. I don't think any of these things you put you off, I really think that having your own e-commerce store or, or even if you don't want an e-commerce store, a very basic website of just brand information, although ideally an e-commerce store I think is, is, you know, I think you really need to have it.

Vicki (:

And I also think you need somewhere on that store or website where you can capture people's email addresses. So of course you can do that checkout. So if someone buys from you, you get their email address and you can sort of building up an email list. And if you, you know, you can also do, as I do and offer some kind of freebie, maybe it's some sort of download like my thought-leading guide, or perhaps it's even, you know, a percentage discount. If somebody buys, you know, signs up to your email list, I do think is worth having. And I know I've been saying as a few times, I just, just briefly explain the reason I think you need an email list is say that when you launched your products or you have a sale, you know, you've got products you want to not get rid of, but you know, you want to sell off a bit quicker, or maybe you want some feedback from your customers on, should I offer this product in this color or that color, whatever it might be.

Vicki (:

You've just got an audience of people that you can tell and ask and engage with. And yet of course you can do that on social media, but like anything you don't own your social media platforms, you could inferior, I

suppose, get thrown off them. I don't really know if that happens. Hopefully it never happens to any of us, but it could. Where is your website? Your email list is yours and you've got a complete control. And I really think that's something that's important. So the final platform or marketplace I want to talk about is selling on Facebook and Instagram, which is one that you may or may not have considered before. But if you have a business Facebook page, you know, this client, you can't do this on your personal site.

Vicki (:

It has to be a business page. You may or may not know that you can add a shop and you can sell your products directly on Facebook. And on Instagram, you can tag products into your posts and then a customer can click through to buy them on your website or wherever you want them to click through to. So it's basically me makes Facebook and Instagram quite shoppable. So in terms of what products this is best for, I guess, most things I think Facebook, do you have rules around what you can and can't sell, and you can obviously go and check these out. So the plus sides for doing this is it's free. There isn't a fee involved in doing this. There might be a fee involved in the actual product setup.

Vicki (:

If, for example, in my case, I have a Shopify site and I have to pay for a different Shopify package because I want to use Facebook shops. So basically I want my Shopify sites integrate with Facebook. So I don't have to set up the Facebook shop as a separate entity. It's all tightly to my site and it all just integrates. And I have to manage everything in one place, which I like automation. And you can't tell already. And that's my, one of the other pros I wanted to mention is that many eCommerce platforms do integrate with Facebook, which means you only need to set up and manage your listings in one place. And it also means that customers can browse

and buy in one place without having to go to a separate website. So you can run Facebook ads to your Facebook shop or Instagram ads to your Instagram shop so that people can buy within the platform.

Vicki (:

And certainly at Juven Instagram, even if people click on a shoppable paste or an ad and they go through to buy your products, it goes through to your website, but the website actually opens up within Instagram. So in the same it's browser window. So I think that's quite nice as well. Sometimes people don't want to leave wherever they are to go and buy something in terms of the downsides. So, as I mentioned before, you'll need a Facebook business page. It sets up a shop in Facebook and you'll need an Instagram business account with a connected business Facebook page, if you want to sell there. So that might also sound hope. It doesn't sound too technical. I think it's fairly straightforward. I sat and he managed to get mindsets up without too many issues, or I do know that people do, but I do think, you know, this is probably something that you can get a little bit of help on if needed.

Vicki (:

I find that it's actually quite hard to get engagement on Facebook. Now, I don't know if anyone else had an experience. I certainly do. So I guess one thing you might want to think about is if you, weren't already

thinking of setting up a Facebook page for your business, if you know, if Facebook isn't a channel you use, wasn't when you, you're planning to use, you have to think about whether you want to, or maybe you have the time to keep up with a social media channel because you don't really want to have a business Facebook page where shop on it. If that's the only content, I honestly don't think people, I could be wrong here, but I don't think anyone's particularly going to be happy to hand over their money and buy from a page. That's just got a shop and absolutely, you know, nothing else on there. Unless of course, maybe you have a link free to, you know, your business website, which has a bit more information.

Vicki (:

And I think it's also, probably not the only place you'd want to be selling because unless you've built up a good following and a good reputation, I don't know how likely is it. Someone will buy something from someone they've never heard of on social media. I think I could be proven wrong. And in fact, I bought something off a company on Instagram the other week that I'd never heard of. So perhaps I'm, I'm completely contradicting myself, but then again, they had lots of social proof. So they had an Instagram page with like 30,000 followings followers, you know, and a bit, you know, they had a website that I went through

to where you could see reviews. They want Trustpilot I guess what I'm saying is if you're first starting out, this sort of thing might be a little bit harder.

Vicki (:

And again, that's not to put you off of that, putting you off is never, ever my intention with any of this. I just want to make sure that you think through what you're doing because you know, whatever marketplace or marketplaces you decide to sell on, it's an investment of time and probably a bit of money as well. And so I think that, you know, I just want you to have think about everything that I've said, and then before deciding which marketplaces are right for you in which you're going to go ahead with, I think you also don't do need to go and do a bit more research on your own. So I think this episode is hopefully a really good starting point to give you some ideas of the places that you could sell that might work for you for your products and how you want to on your business.

Vicki (:

And you can now go and have a look at them forever in the block paste. For this episode, I've also put lots of links to information about selling on various marketplaces. So some of them are links to posts on my own website where I've had experience selling somewhere, and I can actually talk from experience and share some best practice and hints and tips and things like that. And some of the links are to, you know, help pages for various sites designed to help you get started. There also remember that it's definitely possible to sell in multiple places. It's also possible to try something and see if it works and stop. If it doesn't, you're assuming you haven't put in too much investment, that is, and if you're feeling unsure or perhaps overwhelmed after this episode, first of all, no, that's not my intention.

Vicki (:

It's never my intention. This is quite a long episode, but I wanted it to be quite comprehensive. I just wanted to give you lots of, you know, honest information and realistic as well. I think I'd always want to be, you know, be realistic with you and honest so that you can think about where you want to take this next. But if you are feeling really overwhelmed, I would suggest picking one pump marketplace plus your main website. Because again, I think every brand should have their own website and start there. The thing is you can always add in more channels as you go. So at the moment I think I sell on about, well, I think I sell on about six different marketplaces. There were ones that I haven't mentioned. So I sell on of for sustainable products, for example, that didn't all happen overnight.

Vicki (:

I started off just selling on my own Shopify store and on Amazon, I then sort of over time, started to sell in other places. There were some marketplaces that I sold on a few years ago that I don't sell on now, simply because, well, for various reasons, I don't think it's worth continuing. And you just, you know, you can stop

things any point. I think the main thing is that you start somewhere. So I would pick a marketplace that sounds good to you. That would be a good fit for your products over then do some more research into it to see if it, you know, if it is a really viable option and then just, you know, get, get started there and remember that you can change, stop and change at any point. So I really hope the episode was helpful.

Vicki (:

I'm aware that it was a long one. There was a lot of content. It might be one. Maybe what's come back and listen to maybe a time when you can take some notes. As I say, there is a very detailed blog post to go alongside this as well, which covers everything we spoken about if you prefer that format. So as always, thank you so much for being here, please do remember to rate, review and subscribe to the work to the podcast and tell all your friends we'll thank you so much. I'm gonna look forward to seeing you next week, where I have another fantastic interview to share with you and until then take care and have a fantastic week.