products to sell online - How to Build Your Online Consignment Business
by Chris Malta
Consignment is a simple concept - taking other people's products and selling them for a percentage of the sale. According to renowned eBay PowerSeller Skip McGrath, of SkipMcGrath.com, "Consignment selling is the fastest growing phenomenon on eBay." The key to successful online consignment is marketing your services. You have to aggressively promote your business, and McGrath shares some techniques for doing just that. There are four areas you'll use: advertising, public relations, networking, and your own web site.
The market you're in will determine your course of action here.
The Retail Market - selling products for ordinary people:
- • Door hangers
• Classified ads in small to medium-sized market newspapers
• Radio spots
• Estate executors and bankruptcy processors
- • Classified ads in business journals
• Direct mail
• Local charities and not-for-profits (Rather than always asking their supporters for money, they can ask them to donate products you know will sell. So you can build a relationship that's profitable for both of you.
• Write a press release, print out a copy and mail it to all your local newspapers - often, they'll promote your new business in hopes you'll advertise with them.
• Join a community group - the Lions, the Jaycees, or your local chamber of commerce. These are especially useful for business marketing. Your chamber of commerce should have a newsletter that you can advertise in and every chamber member in town will get. If you sign up for a community group, volunteer for something. You'll make more contacts and be taken more seriously than if you just show up to the meetings to gain more contacts.
• Implement the McGrath "Three Foot Rule". Explains McGrath, "I always have business cards on me, and anyone that gets within three feet of me is going to learn what I do."
• Cold call on potential customers.
Walk around the business section of town (or your neighborhood for retail) and let them know that you can help them liquidate their surplus merchandise. If businesses seem reticent, offer to let them give you one or two pieces as a trial, and then make sure you do a good job selling those pieces.
• Build a database of your customers. Collect business cards and stay in contact periodically. Send an email, send a Christmas card. Retaining customers is a lot easier than finding new ones.
Create a Web Site
• Try to include your city and the word "consignment" in the title - these are very popular search terms right now.
• Have a link from your site to your consignors so they can check the status of their own auctions.
• Send out emails or newsletters through your web site to your customer database.
You may find some methods work for you better than others, but the main thing is just to spread the word and let the world know you're there.