Today, retailers and consumers have a very different relationship than they did a decade ago. With the advent of social media and e-commerce, buyers and sellers interact more closely than ever before. Although retailers can certainly benefit from the strong sense of customer loyalty, it requires a lot of work to maintain the relationship—providing free shipping, excellent customer service, and quality merchandise are a must. Owners of a reselling business have to play by these same rules. That is especially true if you’re selling through a vendor like Amazon—they are a household name that is associated with prompt delivery and great customer service. And, while well-known brands typically have higher prices, some buyers are more likely to purchase from a name they know rather than opt for a less expensive option they perceive to be a risk.
For resellers, that means spending time developing your own trusted brand. While small resellers might not have the marketing and advertising resources available to large companies, those who take the time to build a consistent and trustworthy brand will stand a much better chance of selling their merchandise more quickly and at better prices.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Decide on a Name. Step one is pretty straightforward: choose a brand name for your reselling business. If you’re already a seasoned reseller, you already have one chosen. It’s your seller profile name and the name you want happy customers to search for the next time they are shopping. If you haven’t created one yet, make sure to consider two key tenets. First, make it professional—something that would work on a storefront (Elliott’s Electronics), and not something that looks like a screen name (Sk8t3r1234). The second important consideration when coming up with a brand name is thinking about what you sell. If my store name is Elliott’s Electronics, I’m signaling to customers that I specialize in electronics, and that I don’t sell anything besides electronics. If the merchandise you sell tends to vary, find something more general like Quality by Elliott.
- List Products Professionally. Everyone knows the saying, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’ but people do it anyway. That’s especially true when it comes to online shopping. Customers, unable to see or try out the item they’re purchasing in person, are forced to make judgments based on the appearance of the listing. The same way you would be wary of making a purchase from a sloppy website, your customers will hesitate to buy if your product listing looks sloppy. For resellers, it’s essential that your reselling business photos and descriptions look professional. Start by making sure your photos are clear and high-resolution—you don’t need a fancy camera, just make sure you know some tricks for capturing quality photos with a smartphone. For descriptions, be clear and succinct, and make sure to do a quick spell-check before you post. If you’re selling on a platform and there are photos and descriptions available for you to use, give those a second look. While you didn’t create them, they are still a reflection of your business and your product. If you notice a mistake or would like a better-quality photo, simply send a note to the support team to request a change.
- Collect Feedback. Outside validation of your seller profile is essential in converting shoppers into buyers. Commonly referred to as “social proof,” reviews from satisfied customers help build trust and can also increase your seller ranking overall. Positive social proof is actually more influential than the opportunity to save money. While it might seem like something that’s out of your control, think again.There are a number of strategies you can employ to start building a foundation of feedback. Try asking for feedback through follow-up emails to customers who have ordered your product. If you sell on Amazon or eBay, you can also identify top sellers and ask them to review your product. Reviewing products for other resellers can also help encourage them to give feedback when they purchase from you.
- Build Your Own Website. Having a website is another great tool for establishing your credibility with potential buyers. Even a simple “about me” page gives your customers a way to connect with you as a person, separating you from the slew of anonymous vendors. If you’re a reseller who specializes in selling a certain type of product, you should share more information about that product on your website. This way, you can establish your “expertise” in a certain category, which will encourage consumers to purchase from you. You can also use your website as an online marketplace, separate from products you’re already using.You don’t have to be computer-savvy to set up a website—and you don’t need a huge budget either. If you’re only interested in a website for a quick bio, website services like About.Me and Flavors have free offerings that are quick to set up and easy to use. More advanced sites like Squarespace and Wix.com are also low-cost and offer the opportunity to create a beginner website that you can build from later on. Many resellers actually use selling platforms to drive shoppers to their personal site where they can sell items at a higher rate. If you’re interested in selling products directly to consumers from your site, expect to pay $20-$40 monthly for the website space. (For more information about website options, check out this breakdown from PCMag).
- Keep Finding Ways to Grow. These are great areas to get started, but remember—the sky’s your limit. Depending on the success of your reselling business website, for example, you may want to invest in a more sophisticated platform or pay a designer to give the site extra flair. You could also try experimenting with developing a logo or a tagline. Be mindful about the direction your business is headed, and be prepared to make investments along the way to build your reseller brand.