Where should I be source stock from is the one question that hopeful marketplace sellers always want a quick answer to and there is never a simple solution. So where do you start if you want to become a marketplace seller? There are a number of options.
Starting to source stock for the first time
If you have no idea where to find products, then there are a number of suppliers in the Tamebay Guide Product Sourcing section that could prove useful. Everything from discount wholesalers to auction sites where you can bid on lots of excess stock or returns are available. This is how many sellers originally got started on eBay – buying a mixed lot of goods and selling them on at a profit and as they grow gradually increasing their order size and buying bigger lots by ploughing profits back into the business.
Source stock from Distributors
As you grow you’ll doubtless start looking at more traditional supply chains such as distributors and wholesalers. This will add the ability for you to have repeatable lines and have some certainty in your business by knowing you can reorder your best selling products when stocks run low.
Source stock from Brands and Manufacturers
Ideally you will want to strike direct relationships with the brands and manufacturers of the products you sell. Although this is difficult for new business with no track record but well worth pursuing as your long term goal. Getting a signed distribution agreement means that you can become an authorised seller of a product set and this will stand you in good stead for a couple of reasons:
Amazon Brand Registry
Increasingly brands and manufacturers are signing up to Amazon’s Brand Registry which means that they can control which retailers are allowed to sell their products. If you are an authorised seller you know you’ll be safe if your favourite brands and manufacturers sign up.
With Brexit just 18 months away, you’ll want to have distribution agreements in place which authorise you to sell not only in the UK but also across the EU. There’s a level of uncertainty which isn’t good for business but being an authorised seller across the EU today will at least give you some level of certainty for the future
Becoming a brand
Your long term goal may well be to move from becoming a retailer to manufacturing your own products. This gives you the ultimate protection as you own the Intellectual Property for your brand and no manufacturer can restrict where and how you sell your products.
Often times this will mean working with a manufacturer, often in China or India to keep costs down, but possibly with UK manufacturers if you want to fly the British Made flag.
You may also find that other retailers wish to sell your branded products and become a fully fledged distributor in your own right.
Although you may be selling similar products to other retailers, building a brand is also one of the strongest ways to plan an exit from your business as it then holds true value for potential business purchasers or investors.