Tuesday I traveled to Manchester to attend iwoca’s Online Seller Meetup at the Red Lion Pub in Didsbury. It was well attended with around 50 online sellers gathering to share experiences, views and industry trends over a couple of beers. The Online Seller Meetups have been initiated by iwoca, who provide small business loans to eBay and Amazon sellers.
iwoca invited Jane Bell to talk about eBay Best Match, Ian Walker of 3PLogistics to discuss fulfilment, and myself to give an overview of upcoming changes affecting eBay and Amazon sellers. If you’re interested in finance for your business then the Meetups are also a great chance to meet the guys from iwoca.
iwoca have created a great opportunity for online sellers to gather in relaxed spaces offering them the opportunity to meet other sellers and share experiences with industry specialists. This is something that’s been missing from the industry for several years since eBay cancelled the eBay University program. Since May last year the number of Online Seller Meetups have continually increased and they are now hosting meetups every month around the country.
I have attended several of iwoca’s Online Seller Meetups over the last few months and received a huge amount of positive feedback, with sellers travelling from all around the country to participate. There have also been numerous requests for iwoca to host Meetups in even more locations so watch this space!
Why do iwoca sponsor the Meetups?
Online selling is an exciting and fast growing industry but it can be a lonely business at times. The opportunity to share thoughts, knowledge and concerns with like-minded people is not as easy as when you’re working in an office, but can be essential when you want to develop your business further. So far, most sellers have been looking online for these resources and while the internet offers many great opportunities for this, the face to face communication has been lacking for the online community.
“The whole purpose of iwoca’s business is to help online retailers grow and develop their businesses”, iwoca founder Christoph Rieche explained, when I asked why they invest so much time in organising the Meetups (and financial support too – iwoca are not shy when it comes to buying a round of drinks!). “But finance should be accompanied by other elements in order for these sellers to make the most of their business”, Christoph added, iwoca are giving sellers the opportunity to grow their business with guest experts on hand to talk through the issues online retailers face and give free advice.
Future Meetup Dates
The next Online Seller Meetup is scheduled for the 13th of February in Hammersmith, London (Next week, put the date in your diary!). Fedor Dzjuba of Linnworks and Karl Ciz of Frooition have been invited to present. Get there early as London is always a well attended Meetup.
If you’re driving park after 5.30pm in Mall Road and you’ll only pay for an hour’s parking, it’s free from 6.30pm onwards but fills up quickly once you don’t have to pay!
20th March – Birmingham (Internet Retailing Expo)
On the 20th of March the Online Seller Meetup Group visits Birmingham. The Birmingham event is a great networking opportunity for everybody who is attending the Internet Retailing Expo, which takes place on the same day so book a hotel and plan to stay the night!
iwoca’s initiative is a great example how a young company can make wise use of it’s marketing budget to create real value for the entire community. All events are free of charge and you can sign up on the Online Seller Meetup Group website.