How to Find a Manufacturer or Supplier for Your Product Idea

If you’ve been thinking about starting a business, you may have brainstormed some ideas of your own, like capitalizing on one of the many in-demand products already on the market. 

However, many entrepreneurs find themselves hitting a brick wall when it comes time to actually source products. Whether you plan on manufacturing something of your own or finding suppliers to purchase from wholesale, good products aren’t always easy to find.

In this post, we’ll look at the basics of sourcing a supplier for your next project. We’ll give you ideas for some places to search, and examine how you should approach suppliers and what to ask them when developing a product for your e-commerce business.

What is a manufacturer?

A manufacturer is any business that produces finished goods from raw materials. They sell these goods to consumers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and other manufacturers wanting to create more complex items. 

Manufacturers typically stick to one type of product. For example, you could work with a glassware manufacturer who creates glass bottles and jars. You could work with one manufacturer for boxes and another for plastic or natural products. 

Retailers often work with multiple manufacturers at once to create an inventory for their store.

Is a manufacturer a supplier?

Suppliers and manufacturers are pretty much synonyms. For the purpose of this post, when we refer to suppliers, we’re referring to anyone who has the capability to provide you with products and inventory. This encompasses manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors.

There are a ton of helpful resources online that you can find through Google. But before you begin, there are a few things you need to know and decide.

First, you should figure out what type of supplier you’re looking for. This will help determine the terminology you need to use in your research. Check out our post on ecommerce business models to help you get started. There are several supplier options, the most common being:

  • A manufacturer who produces your own product idea
  • A supplier (who may also be a manufacturer), wholesaler, or distributor who purchases already-existing brands and products
  • A dropshipping company that supplies products and fulfills orders of already-existing brands and products

Domestic vs. overseas suppliers

If you plan to manufacture or wholesale, when looking for suppliers you’ll need to decide whether you want to source domestically or from overseas. Overseas can refer to any location abroad. 

It’s a good idea to secure two manufacturers: one domestic and one overseas. Your local manufacturer can be used as a backup. So, if orders from overseas are late or incorrect, you can fall back on your local supplier. They are often more expensive, but it’s better to keep products stocked and customers happy than having them wait for overseas shipments. 

It’s often cheaper to source your products overseas, especially in Asian countries, like China, India, and Taiwan because of lower labor costs. But there’s a lot more to the decision than just the upfront investment and cost per unit.

Both domestic and overseas sourcing have their advantages and disadvantages:

Domestic sourcing

Advantages

  • Higher manufacturing quality and labor standards
  • Easier communication with no language barrier
  • Marketing appeal of being made in North America
  • Easier to verify reputable manufacturers
  • Faster shipping time
  • High intellectual property right protection
  • Greater payment security and recourse

Disadvantages

  • Higher manufacturing costs
  • Less product choice (there are many items that just aren’t made in North America anymore)

Overseas sourcing

Advantages

  • Lower manufacturing costs
  • High number of manufacturers to choose from
  • One-stop services like Alibaba have made it easy to navigate suppliers

Disadvantages

  • Lower perceived quality from customers
  • (Usually) lower manufacturing and labor standards
  • Little intellectual property protection
  • Language, communication, and time-zone barriers can be difficult to navigate
  • Difficult/costly to verify manufacturer and visit on-site
  • Longer shipping time
  • Cultural differences in business practices
  • Product importation and customs clearance
  • Less payment security and recourse

When working with overseas manufacturers and suppliers, it’s a good idea to hire a manufacturing manager. These contractors are locals who live near your manufacturers and handle negotiations, orders, and managing your partners. They can also be the in between for your business and freight companies. Think of them as the central hub for your overseas supply chain. 

If there’s an issue, the manager will work directly with the manufacturer to solve it. Managers also speak the local language, which helps improve communication and make production smooth for your business. 

Communicating with manufacturers and suppliers

Chances are you won’t use a manufacturing manager when starting your online business. You’ll have to communicate with suppliers on your own. There are three main ways to do this:

  • Skype calls
  • Email
  • WeChat

Look for companies that are responsive and eager to work together. If someone is slow out the gate with your emails and samples, do you want to trust them with your business? Probably not.

Finding your supply partners

Sourcing suppliers and manufacturers is a unique process but it’s one of the costs of starting a business. Trying to locate suppliers that are a good fit is a critical decision for your new business, and they aren’t always easy to find.

It’s easy to get frustrated when you hit dead ends or brick walls, but in most cases, it just requires a little more patience and perseverance to find the perfect partner for your new venture.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Black Friday Email Subject Lines for eCommerce

Black Friday is one of the biggest retail events of the year. It is the curtain for Christmas shopping and in 2020 it grossed a shocking $188.2 billion from online and mobile purchases alone. For many retailers, such as jewelers, it’s a significant day since up to 40 percent of their annual turnover can occur between Black Friday and Christmas. With sharp discounts and deals, it is not surprising many consumers want to fully leverage this occasion to stock on their wish list and get ahead of Christmas shopping in one go. Consequently, nearly all brands and online retailers are looking to make a difference on this day, starting with email campaigns that increase awareness and drive traffic to the websites. In today’s post, we share inspirations on Black Friday email subject lines along with a few not-so-traditional Black Friday email approaches, to help you distinguish your email campaigns from the very first impression!?

Focus on OmniChannel Marketing

Most eCommerce businesses tend to use email campaigns to drive maximize traffic from Black Friday, either online or in-store, in a creative way. In this example, Apple used email campaigns to build awareness for its in-store sales:

Apple Black Friday Campaign
Example: Apple Black Friday Campaign seeks to drive in-store traffic.

The rule of thumb dictates that Black Friday email campaigns must start building awareness about 2 weeks prior and intensify anticipation as time progresses. As more people choose to stay out of busy streets and cashier queues to enjoy Black Friday shopping from the comfort of their homes, the need for brands to reach all possible digital channels is intense. Maximum visibility can be achieved via multi-channel campaigns, with integrated campaigns across online and offline channels which will spread awareness and create a top-of-mind effect for your audience.

Taking a Path Most Unexpected

eCommerce businesses generally opt to gain from the Black Friday & Cyber Monday momentum. However, as of the past 2 years, some brands decided to go against the tide, and as a result, further distinguishes the brand ideal from the crowd. A good example of such is REI, a retailer for outdoor apparel. An email message was sent directly from REI’s CEO, Jerry Stritzke, to its customers announcing that REI is closing all the stores on Black Friday.

REI Black Friday Email
REI choose an alternative approach for Black Friday Email

By choosing to uphold its’ brand values as an outdoors gear retailer, REI was able to garner brand recognition for its core customer base. Although forgoing the potential sales for Black Friday, such brand marketing and choices will have a significant effect on the company’s bottom line for years to come.

Release Your Creativity

Black Friday is a great opportunity to make a difference with your ‘revolutionary’ marketing campaign strategy, starting with a set of attention-catching email campaigns and creative Black Friday email subject lines to create anticipation, grow awareness, traffic, or better yet, long-term branding. Whatever the case, make sure your holiday marketing is planned to a T. All the best!

BTW, We Introduced 3 Black Friday Email Templates

Apart from the Black Friday email subject lines above, we’ve also created 3 new Black Friday email templates that will help you build your promotion campaigns quicker.

Template 1. 6 Products Table

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Black Friday Email Template 1
Black Friday Email Template 1

Template 2. Black Friday Sales

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Black Friday Template 2
Black Friday Template 2

Template 3. Single Column Products

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Black Friday Template 3
Black Friday Template 3

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Platforms to build an eCommerce website in 2021

For small businesses just getting started with selling online, we identified five essential features that every platform needed to have.

  • Anyone had to be easily able to build a good-looking, modern store that worked on any and all devices with the tools and themes offered. There also had to be enough customization options that they could make things fit their existing brand reasonably well. Platforms that required you to have some knowledge of code to make use of them or only offered a limited selection of themes with no way to make changes didn’t make the cut.
  • The platform had to enable you to sell what you wanted, where you wanted, how you wanted. This meant they had to be able to deal with both digital and physical goods, integrate with multiple different payment processors, and offer a way to handle the various national and international sales taxes. That last point is particularly important for small businesses as, if you have a physical premises or plan to sell internationally, you may be liable for collecting and filing taxes.
  • The platform had to enable you to manage orders, ship goods, track inventory, and otherwise handle the back-end of running a store without you needing to resort to spreadsheets or other apps. We were only considering complete eCommerce solutions, rather than ways to just charge customers.
  • The platform had to offer ways to integrate with other services, marketplaces, apps, and the like, either through a healthy plug-in and extension marketplace or built-in features. Businesses seldom run everything using a single software suite, so apps had to let you do things like automatically add new customers to your mailing list or sell through social media.
  • All these features had to be offered at a reasonable price. Fully customized, done-for-you solutions are wonderful, but they cost thousands of dollars per month—far outside the budget of a small business just getting started in eCommerce.

eCommerce platforms charge a little differently than a lot of other services, so working out exactly how much you’ll pay can require a bit of math.

  • First, there’s the monthly fee. This can be anything from free to hundreds of dollars per month, with around $30 being the standard for a basic plan.
  • Then there are the payment gateway fees. Some platforms, like Wix and Shopify, operate their own payment gateways, while others rely on Stripe, PayPal, or another service. When you charge a credit card, you pay a fee to the gateway; the normal fee is around 2.9% of the overall charge plus an additional $0.30, although this goes down with volume and higher upfront payments.
  • Finally, there are transaction fees. These are a percentage rate that’s charged on top of any gateway fees. A lot of services bill themselves as having 0% transaction fees, but this merely means there’s no extra charge. Other services charge a 1% or 2% transaction fee if you don’t use their gateway.

We’ve avoided any services we felt had unreasonably high fees, transaction charges, or ridiculous volume expectations for them to make financial sense.

With those key features as our guide, we were able to cut the list of 50 options down to just the six best eCommerce platforms for small businesses.


Best eCommerce platform for getting up and running quickly

Shopify (Web, iOS, Android)

Shopify screenshot

Shopify has been around for almost 15 years—with more than a million stores built using the platform—and it’s hard to find a better platform for most small businesses looking to get an online store up and running quickly.

Sign up for a credit-card-free 14-day trial, and within a few minutes, you can have the first build of your store ready to go. The onboarding wizard walks you through adding your products, customizing the look of your store, connecting your own domain, and getting set up to take those all-important payments.

Even if you’ve never built a website before in your life, you’re unlikely to get lost in Shopify’s intuitive web app. Adding a product, for example, is as simple as clicking Products in the sidebar and then the Add Products button. Fill in the name, price, quantity you have on hand, and any other relevant details, change its status to Active, and it’s straight in your online store and ready to be sold.

While Shopify ticks most boxes right out of the gate, its extensibility and app store are what really make it so powerful. Take the theme situation: Shopify has 10 free themes and more than 50 paid themes starting from $140. To browse them, go to Themes, and then, under Theme Library, click Visit Theme Store. Not a bad selection, right?

But because Shopify is so popular, you can also find more than 1,200 themes available on ThemeForest or get a professional designer who is already experienced with the platform to make you a custom one.

It’s the same with almost any feature you could want. If it’s not built into Shopify, you can find an extension, plug-in, or service that does it in the app store. Just go to apps.shopify.com, find the app you need, and click Add App. Head back to your Shopify dashboard and click Apps in the sidebar to manage all the ones you’ve installed.

It should be no surprise that Shopify integrates with Zapier, so if you want to automatically add new customers to your email marketing list or track orders with a project management tool, you can do it easily.

Best eCommerce platform for selling in-person and online

Square (Web, iOS, Android)

Square screenshot

If you want the option to sell in-person, like at a farmer’s market or craft fair, as well as through your online store, Square is the best choice. Your online and offline orders are all organized under a single dashboard, so there’s no jumping between apps or trying to track down customer details using random spreadsheets.

Square bought the website builder app Weebly in 2018, so when you set up your store, that’s what’s running under the hood. If you occasionally see a URL direct to weebly.com, it’s nothing to worry about.

Square has some of the best onboarding around. When you sign up, you have to fill in a quick questionnaire about your business and its needs. You’ve got the option to set up a single booking page, a full online store, or simply checkout links, depending on what you’re looking for. The default theme will also be tweaked to match the business category you chose.

In terms of storefront customization, Square is a little more limited than some of the other options. Instead of picking a theme that does most of the work, with Square, you have to make your own design using the ( admittedly excellent) site builder—or you can hire a designer from $99 to do it for you.

From the Square Online Dashboard, click Edit Website to get started. In the sidebar on the left, you can select the different page elements, or you can just click on them directly. For more options, click the three little dots. You can change the colors, fonts, and layout of everything individually and, of course, upload your own images. It works well, but it is a bit constrained.

You can create “items,” what Square calls products or services for sale, through both the regular Square Dashboard and the Square Online Dashboard, and they’ll be synced to a common Item Library. This means that you can sell the same products both online and off, or have some things you just list in one location. Just go to Items > Item Library, and click Create an Item.

When you want to make an in-person sale, open up the menu and select Virtual Terminal, which acts just like a digital cash register. If you have a Square credit card reader (available for free), you can swipe your customers’ cards for a 2.6% + $0.10 fee from Square, and their details will automatically upload to your account. Otherwise, you can type in your customers’ credit card information for a 3.5% + $0.15 fee per charge. Online, Square’s charges are similar. On the free plan, you’re charged 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.

Square also integrates with Zapier, so you can do things like post your in-person transactions to a Slack channel for the rest of the team to see or record the details using Airtable.

Best eCommerce platform for getting started for free

Ecwid (Web, iOS, Android)

Ecwid screenshot

If you’re launching an online store but want to minimize your initial outlay, Ecwid is the best place to start: it’s got a great, free plan that lets you start selling your first 10 physical products, and affordable upgrade tiers starting at $15/month as you grow or need extra features. There are also no additional transaction fees on top of what your payment gateway charges, so it isn’t skimming any profit with hidden fees.

When you sign up, Ecwid gives you the option to integrate your store with your existing website—it supports most platforms like WordPress, Weebly, Drupal, and the like—or to set up your own store with a company.site the domain name (although you can change that to a custom domain at any time by upgrading to the Venture plan).

At the Dashboard, you’re presented with a big, bold to-do list that walks you through setting up your site, adding your first products, localizing your store, and choosing how you want to deliver goods—and get paid for them. Working through the full list takes less than 15 minutes.

Where Ecwid stands out from some of the other free options is its customizability. In the sidebar, click Website and then Edit Site to open the site builder. To change the theme, click Themes and choose from one of the dozens of different options. Whatever you’re planning to sell, there’s a decent base theme to work from. Then, dive deeper into the intuitive builder to customize every section, text block, and photo.

While Ecwid is a great free option, it doesn’t skimp on the features with the paid plans. It integrates with social channels like Facebook and Instagram so you can sell directly to your followers, you can list your products on Amazon or eBay, or take payments in person. It automatically calculates tax, offers discounts, and tracks your inventory. If you set up a free store on Ecwid, you don’t have to worry about moving to a new platform if things take off.

Ecwid integrates with Zapier too, so you can do things like receive texts when someone places an order or track sales with Google Sheets.

Best eCommerce platform for large volume sellers

BigCommerce (Web, iOS, Android)

BigCommerce screenshot

BigCommerce is, unsurprisingly given the name, an enterprise eCommerce solution used by multinational companies like Ben & Jerry’s. BigCommerce Essentials offers a similarly powerful platform for small businesses looking to sell online, at significantly more affordable prices.

With that said, BigCommerce Essentials is still aimed at businesses that are already selling a lot, either in units or dollars. Unlike most other options, for example, as part of the onboarding process, you’re prompted to set up sales taxes and automated shipping; both things that smaller stores that are just getting started can kind of improvise on until they’re up and running properly. If you only sell 10 T-shirts a month, you’re not going to suddenly be on the hook for a multi-thousand dollar tax liability.

Similarly, while BigCommerce integrates with online payment processors like Stripe, PayPal, Braintree, and Amazon, you can also configure your store to take payment by bank transfer, check, or money order.

It’s also super simple to list your products on other marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, and Facebook, so customers don’t have to buy directly from your store. Just head to Channel Manager in the sidebar and connect the option you want. BigCommerce will automatically import any products you’ve got set up, and keep any changes you make up to date across all your channels.

This focus on bigger small businesses isn’t without its downsides, however. While BigCommerce has 12 free themes built-in, the majority of the ones available in the theme marketplace (in the sidebar, click Storefront > Theme Marketplace) cost between $150 and $300. They look great, and the drag-and-drop site builder is powerful enough that you can customize themes as you please, but you need to be in a position to justify the investment.

The $29.95/month Standard tier is capped at $50,000/year in sales, while the $79.95/month Plus tier is capped at $180,000/year. You don’t necessarily need to be shifting that level of inventory for BigCommerce to be the right choice for you, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

BigCommerce integrates with Zapier, so you can automate tasks like sending all of your customers to your CRM.

Best eCommerce platform for adding a shopping cart to an existing WordPress site

WooCommerce (Web, iOS, Android)

WooCommerce screenshot

Most eCommerce solutions work best if you use them to build your full online store, rather than to add payment processing to your existing site. It’s just simpler if everything runs seamlessly from a single dashboard and is built using the same tools. What, then, do you do if you already have a website set up?

Well, presuming you use a service like Squarespace or Weebly, then their built-in tools should be your first option. But if like huge swaths of the internet, you use WordPress, then WooCommerce is your best bet. Instead of starting over on a different platform, this WordPress plugin seamlessly integrates into your WordPress site for easy selling.

Installing WooCommerce on your site is ridiculously easy. Sign up on WooCommerce’s website. Then, when you reach the final step of the onboarding process, select Auto-install WooCommerce on an existing WordPress site. You’ll be prompted to log in and then set up the plugin. If you’re already rocking WordPress, it couldn’t be handier.

Similarly, WooCommerce slots perfectly into your existing backend. You can manage your orders, create coupons, and view sales reports from your WordPress dashboard. Adding new products is as simple as creating a typical post—since WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, it has the same interface as WordPress, which means that you won’t have to take the time to learn a new platform. The only difference between adding a new product and creating a new post is that you’ll have to add specific information about your product, such as a description, image, categories, and tags.

If WooCommerce doesn’t have some features you need, there’s a serious extensions marketplace. WooCommerce offers a variety of free and paid options that can enhance your store: get real-time shipping rates with the USPS extension, integrate various payment gateways, or add WooCommerce Subscriptions to let your customers subscribe to your product or services. You can even combine these extensions with any plugins from WordPress to customize your store even more.

You can connect WooCommerce to thousands of other apps with Zapier, to do things like saving orders to a spreadsheet or adding new customers to your email marketing tool.

Best eCommerce platform for simultaneously creating a store and business website

Wix (Web, iOS, Android)

Wix screenshot

Most eCommerce platforms make it possible for you to add an about page, contact page, or even a basic blog to your site, but it’s normally more of an add-on than an out-and-out feature. If you’re looking to build a full website where an online store is a part of things, but not the whole package, then Wix is your best option. It’s a powerful site builder—but it doesn’t skimp on the eCommerce features like order tracking, automated sales tax, and abandoned cart recovery.

When you first sign up, you fill in a kind of questionnaire that Wix automatically uses to set things up. Toward the end, you get the option to choose from one of more than 500 templates and make your own site, or answer a few more questions and let Wix’s “Artificial Design Intelligence” or ADI do it for you.

The ADI option is surprisingly quick and effective. Click Start Now, and, after answering a few questions about what you plan to sell and what sort of look you like, selecting the features and pages you want to add to your site, and adding your details, you’ll have a site ready to go in a few short moments. You can even import content from an existing site or Google Places listing. And, of course, you can dive in and customize things further once Wix’s robot designers are done.

With so much going on, Wix’s onboarding to-do list is long but comprehensive. As well as adding things like shipping rates and your shop’s opening hours (if you have a physical premise), you’re guided through setting up a professional email address, building an email list, advertising on Google and Facebook, setting up a payment gateway, and a lot more. At times it might veer a little close to hand-holding, but too much guidance is better than too little.

Wix is one of the most popular site builders around, so there’s also a healthy third-party app and extension marketplace. If you want to integrate your store with accounting services like QuickBooks or shipping coordinators like Shippo, there’s a simple one-click install app. Or you can use Zapier and connect Wix to thousands of other apps like Trello and Google Tasks.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Delivery and supply chain problems are multiplying – and yes, it’ll probably affect Christmas

How retailers should respond?

As retailers plan their holiday season, they need to start thinking about flexibility since there will likely be continued unplanned disruptions throughout the rest of the year. That means having a backup plan if they can’t get the items they want.

Retailers should also place orders much earlier to make sure they have the right products in stock for the holiday season, Valente said. Echoing Singh, she said the risk of doing that, however, means they might misjudge what is trending, she added.

“Retailers will have to rely on their technology and the ability to predict, plan and optimize and [they] will also have to factor in the dynamics” of what the supply chain looks like today, she said. For consumers who are used to getting something off the shelf of a bricks-and-mortar store, the new normal is having to wait for months for items.

“From a brand perspective [retailers are] going to have to manage risk in their supply chains better and the visibility into the risk that affects all their supply chains better and use that information to better plan, predict, allocate and improve that experience,” Valente said.

A longer-term strategy is to incorporate risk management into their supply chain, she said. It’s not enough for them to just manage the risk inside their supply chains today related to not being able to get the best price or not planning or ordering efficiently.

“I’m also talking about the risks that come from their ecosystem of suppliers and making sure those suppliers have business continuity and backup plans,” Valente said. Larger suppliers need to ensure they are working with their suppliers, especially those struggling financially to make sure there are no bankruptcies, she said.

“It’s about managing risks you can’t control,” such as geopolitical fluctuations, climate risks, economic uncertainty and changing customer preferences, Valente said.

“What happens when you have consumers buying based on their values and things that are sustainably sourced?” she said. “If you’re not keeping an eye on how those trends unfold you’ll find yourself stuck with the wrong products and inventory and products that don’t appeal to your customers in the way they once did.”

In a time of high-demand variability, if a retailer cannot increase inventory, the best way to cope would be to smooth customer demand, Dai said. “In fact, we have already seen this trend: ‘Black Friday’ is no longer a thing and retailers now operate under a much longer holiday shopping season, knowing that people do their holiday shopping at very different times and over a much wider period of time.” 

Retailers should also manage customer expectations—not lower them, Dai said. “The key is to provide operational transparency so that customers’ expectations are just about right and match retailers’ strategic objectives.”

Singh offers some other tips for retailers:

  • Think and strategize about how to stick through and survive the pandemic rather than generate revenue. Think more in terms of crisis management and business continuity. 
  • Tap more into digital’s potential.
  • Embrace a working model that is agile and accommodating. 
  • Utilize omnichannel marketing that is inventive and responsive.  
  • Overhaul physical store experiences completely.

Why hasn’t my parcel arrived yet?

Does it feel lately like your parcels are taking forever to arrive? You might have seen online suppliers warning customers to expect delays, thanks to COVID-related pressures on the postal system and other delivery services.

E-commerce is booming but despite rerouting deliveries and staff working extra shifts, delays are becoming the norm. So what’s happening, and will all your purchases make it in time for Christmas?

Manufacturing troubles

A lot of what we buy these days is made overseas. Many products get to us after a long international journey, which has been made even more complicated by COVID-19.

The first crack in the system is at the manufacturing level.

Manufacturers can’t always guarantee volumes at the moment. Some are out of parts, with critical suppliers pausing operations due to lockdowns. Some are out of power, with many factories in China having to stop production for hours each week due to power shortages. Some are out of cash, with many commodities doubling their prices in just one year.

Transportation woes

Transportation is not a given.

Shipping containers sit for two weeks or more waiting for a berth and the cost of transporting it is four times as much as in 2020.

While international commerce rebounded quickly after the initial shocks caused by COVID-19, repositioning containers and ships take time. Also, there just aren’t enough of either.

With crews unable to go onshore in several countries, there are fewer hands on the deck.

Storage is struggling

Storage services have also been profoundly affected by COVID-19.

Retailers have to adapt from working with large stores in bricks-and-mortar retail stores to sending parcels to individual consumers from the online channel.

It is a new mindset. The equipment is different, the flow is affected, processes must be redesigned, and complexity increases.

Additional obligations apply to warehousing and distribution centers.

If COVID-19 finds its way into a retailer’s facilities, doors must be closed for hours for deep cleaning. Sick employees and close contacts go into quarantine, removing entire shifts from the operation. Mandatory vaccination rules are updated constantly.

The last mile is suffering

Delivery services represent the crucial “last mile” to get the product to the buyer.

But since the pandemic struck, truck drivers have been scarce and must contend with new delivery protocols, COVID-19 tests every few days, movement restrictions, long hours, and soaring fuel prices.

So if your package is late or you can’t find a product, don’t just blame the official Post or the purchasing platform. The delay may be caused by problems much further up the supply chain.

Supply chains are used to find solutions to problems. What’s new is these problems are now happening everywhere, at the same time, and staying for longer than expected.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Know your customers’ needs

Knowing and understanding customer needs is at the center of every successful business, whether it sells directly to individuals or other businesses. Once you have this knowledge, you can use it to persuade potential and existing customers that buying from you is in their best interests.

This guide tells you what you need to know about your customers, how to use this information to sell to them more effectively, and how to win business from your competitors.

Why do your customers need you?

Every business needs a reason for its customers to buy from them and not their competitors. This is called a Unique Sales Proposition (USP). Your USP can be identified by completing the phrase “Customers will buy from me because my business is the only…”

Your USP can change as your business or your market changes, and you can have different USPs for different types of customers.

For example:

  • a stationery store could offer a free same-day delivery service for its business customers within a local area – an effective USP for businesses that need fast delivery
  • the same stationery store could offer a 5 per cent discount to businesses that spend more than $1,000 a month – this would be a USP for cost-conscious customers
  • the stationery store could also make sure it offers the most comprehensive stock of artists’ materials in the area – a USP for local professional or amateur artists

All of these USPs can be effective because they are driven by what the customer looks for when making a buying decision.

It’s a good idea to review your USPs regularly. Can you tailor your products or services to better match your customers’ needs? Consider asking your customers why they buy from you. This will tell you what they think your USP is – this may differ from what you think your USP is.

It’s also useful to check constantly what your competition is doing. Remember – if your competitors are doing the same, your USP isn’t unique anymore.

What do you know about your customers?

The more you know about your customers, the more effective your sales and marketing efforts will be. It’s well worth making the effort to find out:

  • who they are
  • what they buy
  • why they buy it

If you’re selling to other businesses, you’ll need to know which individuals are responsible for the decision to buy your product or service. For information on targeting decision-makers, see our guide on how to target the right people in an organization.

You can learn a great deal about your customers by talking to them. Asking them why they’re buying or not buying, what they may want to buy in the future, and asking what other needs they have can give a valuable picture of what’s important to them.

Strong sales are driven by emphasizing the benefits that your product or service brings to your customers. If you know the challenges that face them, it’s much easier to offer them solutions.

It’s also well worth keeping an eye on future developments in your customers’ markets and lives. Knowing the trends that are going to influence your customers helps you to anticipate what they are going to need – and offer it to them as soon as they need it.

You can conduct your market research and many existing reports can help you build a picture of where your customers’ markets – and your business – may be going.

The customer’s current supplier

Chances are your potential customer is already buying something similar to your product or service from someone else. Before you can sell to a potential customer, you need to know:

  • who the customer’s current supplier is
  • if the customer is happy with their current supplier
  • if buying from you would offer the customer any benefits – and, if so, what those benefits would be

The easiest way to identify a potential customer’s current supplier is often simply to ask them. Generally, people are very happy to offer this information, as well as an indication of whether they’re happy with their present arrangements.

If you can find out what benefits they’re looking for, you stand a better chance of being able to sell to them. The benefits may be related to price or levels of service, for example. Are there any benefits your business can offer that is better than those the potential customer already receives? If there are, these should form the basis of any sales approach you make.

Ten things you need to know about your customers

  1. Who they are
    If you sell directly to individuals, find out your customers’ gender, age, marital status and occupation. If you sell to other businesses, find out what size and kind of business they are. For example, are they a small private company or a big multinational?
  2. What they do
    If you sell directly to individuals, it’s worth knowing their occupations and interests. If you sell to other businesses, it helps to have an understanding of what their business is trying to achieve.
  3. Why they buy
    If you know why customers buy a product or service, it’s easier to match their needs to the benefits your business can offer.
  4. When they buy
    If you approach a customer just at the time they want to buy, you will massively increase your chances of success.
  5. How they buy
    For example, some people prefer to buy from a website, while others prefer a face-to-face meeting.
  6. How much money they have
    You’ll be more successful if you can match what you’re offering to what you know your customer can afford.
  7. What makes them feel good about buying
    If you know what makes them tick, you can serve them in the way they prefer.
  8. What they expect of you
    For example, if your customers expect reliable delivery and you don’t disappoint them, you stand to gain repeat business.
  9. What they think about you
    If your customers enjoy dealing with you, they’re likely to buy more. And you can only tackle problems that customers have if you know what they are.
  10. What they think about your competitors
    If you know how your customers view your competition, you stand a much better chance of staying ahead of your rivals.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Guideline to sell your products or services

The way you approach selling can make a huge difference to your chances of winning new customers and making sales.

You need to do as much as you can in advance to find out about the customer and their needs. Good sales techniques can help you reach the right individual, overcome any objections and close the deal.

1. Developing a sales strategy

Ensure you know as much about your target audience as possible

  • Check you understand what your target customers do, what products they need and why, what key benefits they require and when, where and how they buy.
  • Keep an eye on key trends in your market, such as changes in buying patterns and the activities of competitors.

Decide which customers in particular you want to target

  • Be clear how much each potential customer is worth to you. This allows you to determine the time and effort you should put into selling to each one.
  • Aim to focus most of your efforts on customers who will provide the most profitable business. Only sell at a loss when the deal will bring in more (and profitable) business from that customer in the long term or could attract new business from others.

Decide which sales methods to use

  • A mixture of methods might well be appropriate.
  • Direct sales methods include face-to-face, direct mail, telesales and ecommerce.
  • Selling face-to-face is best for high-value sales and for complex products or services that require demonstration or explanation.
  • Direct mail, telesales and ecommerce are more cost-effective options, especially for lower-value products.
  • You might use an intermediary, such as a retailer or wholesaler, to enable you to sell goods to individual consumers. In this case, you will need to focus your sales efforts on selling to the intermediary.
  • If you want to sell your product or service overseas, you might wish to consider using a sales agent.

Establish your sales forecasts

  • Map out monthly sales targets for the year ahead.
  • Try not to be over-optimistic. Initial sales of a new or untested product or service may take longer than expected.
  • Monitoring actual performance against your forecasts can help you identify potential problems and areas for improvement.

Remember the importance of generating repeat business

  • It is far cheaper to sell to existing customers than to generate new business.
  • There is a huge range of software available to help you keep records of dealings with customers, including free versions.

2. Planning your approach

Identify decision-makers and other individuals who influence purchasing decisions

  • Your aim is to talk with individuals who have both the budget authority and the need to buy your product.
  • Looking at a company’s website or having a brief conversation with a receptionist can often reveal information about a business and who you need to talk to.

Before making contact, be clear what you want to achieve

  • For example, do you want to make a sale, set up a meeting, or simply ensure that the customer will be receptive to future contact?
  • Some large companies and public sector organisations invite selected suppliers to tender for business. Your aim will be to ensure that you are invited the next time they are buying your sort of product or service.

Prepare your pitch

  • Be ready to sell the benefits your product or service offers for this particular customer.
  • Anticipate and be ready to handle objections.

3. Getting access

If you are telephoning a customer, follow a few basic rules

  • Ring at the right time. People are naturally more responsive to calls in the morning.
  • Get the crucial first 30 seconds of your pitch right. If you fail to prepare your opening carefully, you have little chance of interesting the customer in what you have to offer.
  • Check you are speaking to the right person. Ask what involvement he or she has in making purchasing decisions.
  • Always get your customer’s name and give your own, too.

Get receptionists and assistants on your side

  • Be friendly, not pushy. Ask them to help you. Make a note of their name and use it the next time you call.
  • Part of an assistant’s job is to prevent unwelcome sales calls getting any further. Explain the benefit the customer will get from taking your call or giving you an appointment.

When you make contact with decision-makers, treat them considerately

  • Check that you are talking at a convenient time. Be ready to keep your call short.

Engage the customer’s interest

  • You need to establish right away that you are not wasting the prospect’s time.
  • Introduce yourself and establish the basis for talking. For example, “Did you receive my email?” or “X suggested I call you”.
  • Briefly outline the key benefit your product has for this particular customer.
  • Ask if the customer is interested in what you have said so far. If the answer is yes, go on to ask more questions. If not, ask if your product or service might be of interest at a later date.

Be prepared to be persistent, particularly if you do not already have a relationship

  • If you get an immediate brush-off, try to keep the conversation going. For example, if you are asked to put something in the post, say that you would like to send something tailored to the customer’s specific needs.
  • If customers say they need to think about it, ask what their concerns are.
  • Stay focused on what you want to achieve. If you want a meeting, ask for one. Suggest a time and a place. Customers prefer and are less likely to cancel meetings on their own premises.
  • Use each time you make contact to build your understanding of the customer. Record useful information including details of the customer’s circumstances and needs. For example, about budgets and the names of decision-makers.

4. Asking questions

Whether you are selling face-to-face or over the phone, asking questions is essential if you want to understand your customer’s needs. Do not attempt to sell at this point.

Make the customer want to answer further questions

  • Start with questions to which you know the answer will be yes. For example, “Are you interested in reducing your production costs?”

Find out the customer’s situation

  • Use open questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. For example, “How do you plan to reduce your production costs?”
  • Ask questions that uncover problems the customer may be experiencing that your solution will address.
  • Then explore the value of finding solutions to those issues, before showing how you can address them.
  • Try to establish what the customer’s business would be worth to you.
  • Show your understanding of the customer’s field of business. For example, “Now that you are getting orders abroad, distribution must be more of a challenge.”
  • Encourage the customer to ask you questions.

Listen to the answers carefully and take notes

  • Check you have understood the customer’s needs by summarising in your own words what has been said.

5. Selling the benefits

Once you understand what customers are looking for, show the benefits they will get from buying your product or service.

Emphasise the benefits your product or service offers – not the features

  • Features describe what a product can do. Benefits explain what these features can do for the customer.
  • A feature is an attribute of the product or service, such as size, design or simply what it achieves. A feature of a new PC might be that it has a processor speed of 3.6GHz. The benefit might be that it lets you do things twice as fast.

Match the benefits to the customer’s needs

  • The same product may be sold differently to two different customers, according to their priorities.
  • For example, if you are selling a car, you might stress the benefits of its safety features when selling to parents, while focusing on style and design when selling to a non-parent.
  • Try to quantify the benefits, perhaps by stating how much money a customer could save by using your product or service.
  • Stress the knock-on effects your product’s benefits could have. For example, “If your accounting software was easier to use, your accounts staff could spend more time chasing debtors.”

Produce evidence to back up your claims

  • Photos, cuttings, research reports and testimonials all help reinforce the point.
  • Mention other customers and their comments.

Be prepared to discuss rival products

  • Provide proof of the advantages you offer.

6. Handling objections

Do not be put off by objections – they can be a sign that the customer is interested. Make sure you handle them in a direct and positive way.

Show the customer that you take the objection seriously

  • Listen carefully to find out what the customer really means. For example, “The price is too high” could mean “It’s over my budget sign off” or “I’d buy it if you gave me a discount”.
  • Summarise what you understand the objection to be.

Isolate, test and address objections

  • If there are several, clarify what each one is before tackling them, one at a time.
  • Test each objection. For example, ask: “So, if I could satisfy you that delivery would be reliable, would you place an order?”
  • If an objection is valid, address it and then ask if you have satisfied the customer’s concerns.

The most common objection to making a purchase is price

  • Try to find out exactly what aspect of price the customer is unhappy with before deciding how to respond.
  • Demonstrate the savings your product or service would bring.
  • Sell the full package you offer, including your reliable after-sales service and the fact that there are no hidden costs.
  • Explain how payment terms, credit or financing could make a deal possible.
  • If the individual you are negotiating with does not have budget authority for the level of spending you propose, ask your contact to refer you to someone within the organisation who can authorise the purchase.

Ensure you have responses ready for other common objections

  • You will soon begin to recognise what these are for your particular product or service.
  • If doubts are voiced about quality, explain how your product meets the customer’s specification and stress your quality control procedures.
  • If the customer says it has an established relationship with an existing supplier, try to make an opening for your business. Emphasise the benefits you offer and suggest the customer tries you out with a small order.

7. Closing the deal

Create a sense of urgency

  • Try to convince the customer that your product is needed now. Link a quick sale to meeting the customer’s own needs and deadlines. For example, “If you book the holiday now, we can get you the best rooms in the hotel.”
  • Do not falsely state that a product will only be available for a limited time in order to get consumers to buy there and then – this is illegal.

If the customer makes buying signals – stop selling

  • Typical buying signals might be: “When would you be able to deliver?”; “What other colours do you have?”; “That would be really useful”; “This is just what we need”.
  • If you do not stop selling, you might go on to talk yourself out of a sale.

Take responsibility for closing the sale

  • The simplest way may be just to ask, “Can I take your order now?”
  • Take your cue from the customer. For example, if he or she asks about the price of a product, say “So is that the product you would like to buy?”
  • Propose alternatives. This makes it more difficult for the customer to say no. Ask, “Would you prefer it in green or blue?”
  • When only one objection remains, make closing the sale conditional upon removing this obstacle. For example, “If I can guarantee to bring the delivery date forward to meet your schedule, will you place the order now?”
  • Once you have asked for the sale, stop talking. Your silence encourages the customer to think things through and reach a decision.

Agree actions and confirm these in writing, including timescales

  • Confirm that you have understood correctly what the customer wants.
  • Give your customers good after-sales service, so that they will want to buy from you again.
  • Confirm your terms of trade including your terms of credit. This will minimise the risk of late payment and subsequent cash flow issues.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

Creative Black Friday Strategies for Retailers

Is Black Friday profitable for retailers?

Black Friday can be profitable for retailers. A winning Black Friday campaign with offers can lure shoppers to your site and sell more products — hence increasing profits, despite lowered prices. The key is reaching your customers before the big event and keeping them engaged with your brand.

Benefits of Black Friday for retailers

Aside from the expected sales increase, there are multiple benefits to participating in Black Friday for retailers.

  • Increased traffic and sales due to Black Friday campaigns.
  • Gaining new consumers through offers, social media buzz, giveaways and more.
  • Incremental sales via promotions, discounts, etc.
  • Reduce seasonal inventory, since early shoppers are looking for a great deal. This means they are likely to purchase products from past seasons at a discounted price — the perfect chance for you to move your older inventory items without compromising your brand.

How do retailers prepare for Black Friday?

  • 2021 will bring the oddest Black Friday of our lives. Retailers need to take additional actions in multiple dimensions so as to inspire consumers to trust them this odd year. You can read more on how to prepare for Black Friday 2021 here
  • Start marketing your brand early to reap more sales and engage customers with emails, blog posts and in-store specials (if brick and mortar).
  • Integrate and personalize your Black Friday Marketing campaign to tailor to your targeted audiences. For example, for returning customers, suggest products that are on sale or bundles that other customers with similar interests have bought.
  • Set a countdown clock to create urgency for sales that are both starting (to create anticipation and excitement) and for sales that will soon be ending (such as an early bird sale, etc) which creates a sense of FOMO.
  • Use an omnichannel approach. Despite proven benefits, the majority of retailers today have not adopted omnichannel marketing and selling. This means missing out on sales. Read on to learn more about why omnichannel marketing is a must for your brand.

1. Run an omnichannel Black Friday campaign

Many consumers prefer to conduct their research online and purchase in-store, or vice versa. A smooth transition between online and physical stores, desktop or mobile, is a must to avoid customer frustration and lost sales.

An example of a brand with a stellar omnichannel holiday campaign is Disney. First, vacationers start out on Disney’s mobile-friendly website, where visitors can design their custom-made dream holiday plan within the My Disney Experience account. When visitors arrive at the Disney destination, they can link the My Disney Experience account to a smart wristband called the ‘MagicBand’. It contains a touchpoint sensor and grants visitors directions and access to theme parks, hotels, and attractions that visitors have planned within the trip.

How: Running an effective omnichannel marketing campaign to work requires a robust CRM capability. One that tracks your customers across various stages of their purchase lifecycle, which provides you insight on when to best engage with each customer. A marketing automation platform, such as ContactPigeon, centralizes all customer interactions (e.g., web behaviors, campaign interactions, eCommerce transactions, etc) in a single repository. The customer data is captured within the platform in order to run segmentation and trigger marketing messages automatically.

2. Create mixed product bundles to increase profit margin

Product bundling works because it gives shoppers a sense of getting a great deal. Furthermore, bundled pricing allows retailers to bundle high-margin products along with ones that are low-margin to increase profitability. A win-win for both sides.

How: Consider which products go well together from your product offerings and create the bundle based on products that are complementary to each other (e.g., matching top and bottom, products frequently bought together, etc).

3. Contact your subscribers on a daily basis during the Black Friday week

During the days leading up to Black Friday, shoppers are flooded with offers discounts, giveaways and more. To stay relevant, it’s important for your brand to keep up the frequency of the touchpoints and be more creative in your messaging.

Communicate valuable information about your sales offer early on with clever content to convince consumers to shop from your brand.

How: Use an automated marketing platform to send personalized emails. You can include countdown clocks for sales beginning and ending, or special early bird deals such as gifts with purchase or additional discounts, etc.

4. Create special BF themed exit intent pop up

Set up an Exit-Intent Popup and catch customers before they leave! While exit intent works primarily on desktop browsers, don’t forget that desktop accounts for ~40% of sales.

How: Use Black Friday graphics to lure shoppers into staying on your site with great deals. Try something like: “Save 20% off your order NOW!” to see an increase in conversions.

5. Create a Smart Product Recommendation workflow based on products seen

This workflow will help you re-engage the vast majority of Black Friday traffic that viewed a product but didn’t convert, with monthly/weekly personalized product recommendations.

How: Tackle Browse abandonment by using an automated marketing platform. This way, you can suggest personalized product recommendations to shoppers via cross-selling or up-selling based on the products they have viewed but not purchased. The workflow can start from the Black Friday period but can continue into the holiday season or even beyond.

6. Create a Repurchase reminder automation workflow for each participating product

This workflow will help you re-engage with the customers a few weeks/months later with a relevant message, thereby extracting more value from your Black Friday marketing investments.

How: For products bought over Black Friday, create reminders via pop-ups and emails using an automated marketing platform. This works great with products that have a short to medium lifetime cycle.

7. Write 3 blog posts featuring 3 awesome upcoming BF deals

Drive potential shoppers to become enticed and more engaged with your brand and, ultimately, to shop your brand on Black Friday!

How: Provide subscribers with relevant and valuable information about your Black Friday sales. This will make them feel as though they are getting the inside scoop on the upcoming sales — a token of gratitude for their loyalty to your brand!

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

How to Buy Wholesale Merchandise

Having a successful retail business depends greatly on offering the right product, at the right price, at the right time. Therefore, it is paramount to the success of your business to locate the best sources for those products. Once you know what products or product lines you want to sell, you can then locate the right wholesaler.

Starting Steps to Wholesale Merchandising


Before you buy wholesale merchandise for your store, visit a competitor or a store selling a product line similar to yours. Browse the store’s product selection and note the brands they carry. Try to determine what products are selling well and which are in the clearance bin. If you visit a similar store located too far away geographically to be a competitor, that retailer may be willing to share with you the source of their wholesale merchandise.

Retailers can often find products to sell in their stores by searching online, joining buying groups, using library resources, and attending trade shows or buyers’ markets.

Once your store is open and doing business, it will be easier to find wholesale merchandise to sell because suppliers will solicit you rather than you having to seek them out. Customers can also play a large role in finding suppliers as they can recommend products they would like to see in your store. Building a relationship with customers and seeking their feedback is crucial to ensuring that you are meeting their needs.

Trade Shows as an Information Source


A trade show is one of the best places to find a wholesaler. Retailers can find many suppliers serving the same markets with a range of product offerings. The biggest trade shows are held annually in Las Vegas and California, but there are local trade shows also.

Conduct an online search for tradeshows in your industry to find the nearest event. Websites like Trade Show News Network will have listings for shows happening in most states. However, trade shows are not open to the general public so be prepared to show proof that you are an established business. A resale certificate, tax id, business card, or some other form of license or permit should suffice.

Manufacturer Suppliers


Some manufacturers will sell their products at wholesale prices directly to the retailer. If they do, they may sell their products in large quantities or at a high minimum order. If you have a particular product you want to sell, contact the manufacturer and ask if they sell directly to dealers. If not, ask what distributors they sell their products through so you know where to buy the items.

Buying From Importers


Globalization has made importing products much easier. Retailers can purchase from importers or buy the products directly from a foreign company. Before using this type of supplier, do your homework. It is important to understand all the aspects of the paperwork, shipping time, product lifecycle, and all of the costs involved.

Distributors as Suppliers


A distributor generally sells a large variety of a certain classification of products. They must make a profit too, so their prices may be slightly higher than if the item was purchased directly from the manufacturer. Retailers can buy lower quantities with little or no minimum order. Some even offer free freight on orders over a certain amount.

Wholesalers and Liquidators


In searching for products at wholesale prices, you may find wholesalers that don’t sell just one type of merchandise but many different products. Some wholesalers will act as liquidators and will sell closeouts, truckloads, and pallets of merchandise and even damaged goods. Before buying wholesale merchandise from this type of supplier, be sure you completely understand the condition, price, and terms of the sale.

Buying at Auctions


Retailers can find many bargains on eBay, the world’s largest auction site. Just browse the Wholesale Lots category according to the type of store you have and you’ll find tons of merchandise. Not all product prices on eBay are truly wholesale, but if you spend time watching the auctions and learn how to buy effectively, you are sure to find a deal. Don’t miss out on live auctions for bargains on merchandise for resale.

Choosing a Vendor


Once you’ve located several sources of products, evaluate each vendor on a variety of factors. To offer the best merchandise to your customers, you’ll need to buy from someone offering quality products, reliable delivery, and superior customer service. This information can be gathered through references, marketing materials, or by simply asking the sales representative how they conduct business.

Price and Other Considerations


One of your primary considerations, as you start your wholesale business, will center around price. Keep accurate records and review them regularly to track your costs and the prices you set to sell your goods. Stability exists when average prices are constant over time, or when they are rising at a very low and predictable rate. The retail price of a good or product is the cost when it is sold to the end-user for consumption and not for resale through a third-party distribution channel. While costs are a primary concern, there are other items you will need to consider as well.

Location


Consider the space you lease for the selling of goods to consumers. When it comes to business, retailers have one overall goal, to sell merchandise—hopefully at a profit. That’s why they focus on sales floor space, adequate parking for customers, and an overall image that draws in customers. Think about your hours of operation or business hours. This is the time of operation when the retail store is open to the public for the purchase of goods. Your hours of operation should match the buying habits of your customers.

Shipping Options


This is the cost to the consumer to deliver goods. Generally, retail outlets ship by FedEx, UPS, and USPS (the least expensive and least common). The cost varies by location, product size, and how quickly the consumer wants the product. Some upscale boutiques will messenger goods.

Customer Payment and Conditions


Consider how convenient your payment system is and if you need a policy for processing refunds and returns. Also, think about any terms you may set for higher-priced items such as lay-away. These plans should be as clear to your customers as they are to you.

Customer Service


No two retail stores have identical customer service. To provide excellent customer service you need to get the desired item into the customer’s hand, give them the tools they need to decide to purchase quickly and enable them to purchase without effort.

Handling Returned Merchandise


Some returned goods will be resold by the same retailer for the full cost, but many will not. More likely, they’ll end up in the mark-down bin selling for a fraction of the cost. Try to avoid returns in the first place by doing everything you can to make sure the customer is satisfied. Provide as much information as you can upfront regarding your products.

Good Planning Equals Good Results


Don’t get discouraged. It may take some time, research, and several vendor negotiations to find the best merchandise to sell in your retail store. Starting any business will not happen overnight, but nothing beats being an independent business person. Finally, as a new business person, be sure you have an understanding of the laws in your state for your type of retail business and also understand how to go about filing and paying your taxes on your merchandising storefront.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M

What to Sell: How to Select the Right Product for Your Business

A key question often asked by start-up entrepreneurs is what to sell in the business. What products or services could you sell that will make you money?

The selection of the right product or service is critical. In fact, the choice of a product or service for your business can make or break your business. Choose a product that requires significant production capital when you have none and couldn’t find any, and your business is compromised from the start. Offer a service that a hundred other entrepreneurs offer in your locality and you may find it hard to get noticed above your competitors. Or select a product with an extremely specialized market yet you do not know how to reach the potential customers, and your business can go kaput.

Your products or services define your business. Your products are your business! If you want to turn your business into an income-generating machine, the first step is to choose the right product or services to sell.

With the right products, you even stand a better chance at keeping your customers. The idea is to keep your customers forever by continually offering them a valuable product or service, thereby diminishing your costs of reaching and appealing to them. Wise product selection is therefore critical to your business success.

How do you choose the right product to sell? Here are a few questions to help you narrow your focus and hopefully select the product that will work for you:

1. What are your primary considerations for choosing a particular product?

Make a list of your selection criteria, and what you think are important to you in identifying what business to engage in. There are a myriad reasons for selecting a product, and these reasons can include: financial benefit to your business, relatively low investment requirements, positive return on investment, fit with present strategy, feasible to develop and produce, easy to source and procure, relatively low risk, and time to see intended results.

2. Can you meet the needs of the customer and solve a specific problem?

Your product must address a need or an opportunity. You need to know how your products or services can assist customers. It must have a real value that customers can recognize, want and need. Include in your product information and sales materials how your products can benefit the customers, e.g. help reduce time, effort and expense.

3. How capable are you to produce the product?

Just as an athlete needs to know his physical condition before he enters a race, you must also know if you have the time, resources and capability to produce your product. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of going forward with a business idea only to find that they cannot afford the manpower required, or do not have the resources to outsource the product development. As a result, many experience slippage in release dates making the mistake of launching half-finished web sites. You must also evaluate at the onset how you can scale up the production if there is a strong demand for the product.

4. What is the size of your potential reachable market?

You need to at least get an idea of the size of your market. Know who are likely to use or benefit from your products. If you are selling an information product on how to sell at eBay, define who will be your potential customers you think will be interested in your product. Many small and home business entrepreneurs view market research as an unnecessary and expensive cost, but understanding who and how big your market can pay off in the long run.

5. Would you need to comply with government rules and regulations?

New laws or government rules and regulations can impact your product. Some products can be sold immediately without the need for government approval. Others, however, require permits, licenses and approval from the government.

6. If a similar product exists, can your product be superior in its functionality, presentation or marketing?

This entails knowing and understanding your Unique Selling Proposition. Your unique selling proposition is the one thing that makes that your product different than any other. It’s the one reason they think consumers will buy the product even though it may seem no different from many others just like it. It may be that the product has a lower price or more convenient packaging, or it may taste or smell better, or last longer.

7. What barriers must be overcome for a potential new product entry?

Barriers to entry include high research and development expenditure, high presence of start-up or sunk costs, and international trade restrictions such as tariffs and quotas. Patents are likewise important barriers for many small and home-based businesses, where your competitor may hold legal protection for an integral component of your product and hence may prevent you from manufacturing your product. Other barriers to entry include predatory pricing of competitors that will force you to operate at a loss, high advertising and marketing costs to compete with established brands in the industry, and the cost advantages enjoyed by your competitor that allows them to set lower prices.

8. What are the potential sales, growth, profits, and time for payback?

Before starting your business, run your numbers first. Get a clear idea of your cost structure, how much sales you need to have to breakeven and post a profit, and what your return on investment will be. 

Recommended Books on Selecting the Right Product:

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

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5 reasons global shipping costs will continue to rise

Shipping costs have risen sharply and fierce competition for ocean freight capacity is the new normal. With new capacity only slowly coming onstream, freight rates are expected to continue to reach new highs this year and will remain above their pre-pandemic levels in the longer term

No short-term relief

Shipping costs have been growing strongly since the autumn of 2020, but the first months of this year have seen a new surge in prices across different freight rates (dry bulk, containers) along major trade routes. Prices for several trade lanes have tripled compared to last year, and charter prices for container vessels have seen similar rises.

There is little sign of relief in the short term, and rates are therefore likely to continue spiking in the second half of this year, as rising global demand will continue to be met with limited increases in shipping capacity and the disruptive effects of local lockdowns. Even when new capacity arrives, container liners may continue to be more active in managing it, keeping freight rates at a higher level than before the pandemic.

Here are five reasons why costs aren’t going to come down anytime soon.

1 Continued global imbalances push prices up further

Problems that had built up from the beginning of the pandemic have included imbalances in the production and demand for goods, with countries locking down and opening up at different times, as well as shipping companies cutting the capacity on major routes and shortages of empty containers. As the recovery has progressed, global demand has recovered strongly, especially in the sectors which are most closely linked to international trade in goods. Competition for ocean freight capacity has intensified as economies open up further and inventories are rebuilt across the several links of supply chains.

Global shipping costs

China Ministry of Transport, Harper Petersen & Co. and Baltic Exchange via Macrobond, ING Year on year growth in freight rate indices, 2018 - May 2021
China Ministry of Transport, Harper Petersen & Co. and Baltic Exchange via Macrobond, ING
Year on year growth in freight rate indices, 2018 – May 2021

2 Few alternatives to ocean freight

A lack of alternatives to ocean freight means it’s hard to avoid surging transport costs at the moment. For higher value products, alternative modes of transportation would normally be an option, such as the shipment of electronic devices by air or via train, not least through the ‘Silk Road’. But capacity is currently limited, and tariffs have spiked as well. Shippers of lower value products such as household items, toys, promotional articles or t-shirts have seen freight costs increase from around 5% of their sourcing costs to more than 20%.

The difficulty of absorbing increases on this scale in margins means that consumers may start to feel the impacts through price increases, or changes in product availability.   

3 An unbalanced recovery throughout 2021

Some countries are already exporting more goods than they did before the pandemic, while in others, including the US, exports continue to lag behind the overall recovery in output. Trade in goods will rise further while not only the major trading countries, but also their trade partners, continue recovering. With the competition for ocean freight capacity set to remain, the unbalanced recovery will continue to exacerbate some of the problems for world trade, including displaced empty containers. It all adds up to more pressure on freight rates in the near term.

4 Reduced blank sailings will help ease capacity constraints

Globally, capacity on major shipping routes has recovered to levels before the major lockdowns in 2020, although blank sailings (cancelled port calls) continued to cut 10% of scheduled capacity through the first quarter. There are signs of improvement this quarter, which on current plans will average at 4%. But cancellations have partly been a response to delays, so while the system remains congested, shipping capacity may continue to be taken out of the system at short notice.

Deployed and cancelled shipping capacity

eeSea, ING Total capacity on routes between Europe, North America and Asia

 

eeSea, ING
Total capacity on routes between Europe, North America and Asia

5 Port congestion and closures keep creating delays

As the link between cancelled sailings and delays suggests, congestion is part of the problem. Shipping performance in 2021 has carried on where 2020 left off, in terms of lower rates of vessels keeping to schedule, and average delays for late vessels rising. There are some signs that average performance will start to improve as the share of vessels reaching their destinations on time stopped sliding in April, and average delays improved. But overall performance remains the lowest it has been in ten years of records.

Share of vessels arriving on time

Sea-Intelligence, ING

 

Sea-Intelligence, ING

 

At the same time, the pandemic is still leading to disruptions, like the sudden closing of China’s Yantian container port – part of the world’s 4th largest container port Shenzhen – in early June. Even though operations have resumed, congestion and the continuing need for measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 mean delays continue to mount. Although China and other major trading countries are making progress with vaccination programmes, creating immunity will take time and consequently handing interruptions will remain a risk over the coming months.

Flood of new container capacity will ease price pressures, but not before 2023

Container liners have enjoyed outstanding financial results during the pandemic, and over the first 5 months of 2021, new orders for container vessels reached a record high of 229 ships with a total cargo capacity of 2.2 million TEU. When the new capacity is ready for use, in 2023, it will represent a 6% increase after years of low deliveries, which the scrapping of old vessels is not expected to offset. Along with global growth moving past the catch-up phase of its recovery, the coming increase in ocean freight capacity will put downward pressure on shipping costs but won’t necessarily return freight rates to their pre-pandemic levels, as container liners seem to have learned to manage capacity better in their alliances.

In the near term, freight rates may yet reach new highs thanks to the combination of further increases in demand and the constraints of a congested system. And even when capacity constraints are eased, freight rates may remain at higher levels than before the pandemic.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us: 

www.shopshipshake.co.za

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

https://bit.ly/3ks0m1M