In certain areas of your business there are ways of making sure that, for want of a better phrase, you ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ and end up suffering a complete nightmare should something go wrong.
Take your sales for example. No matter how long you have been selling for, you will find that there are times when it can be rather an unpredictable business.
How to keep your business safe from market fluctuations
Not only should you have back-up products… if you want to keep your business safe and protect your income, you should consider diversifying the methods that you use to generate your sales. eBay is very likely to continue to be one of your bigger earners, but you should establish other income streams so that you will never suffer from a prolonged dry spell.
An important lesson I’ve learned during over 6 years of selling online, and as I’ve said, ‘never put all your eggs in one basket’: don’t just sell on eBay. What you should not do is get lulled into a false sense of security in thinking that having eBay listings is enough to keep your online business going through the difficult times.
I’m of course talking about introducing your products to customers via other venues such as Amazon, and I also suggest you set up your very own website.
Consider selling on eBay, Amazon and through your own website… in that order!
Whilst you don’t need your own website right from the word ‘go’, most successful eBay Powersellers that I know do have their own websites and also sell on Amazon.
Why? Well firstly – and sensibly – top sellers do not wish to be at the complete mercy of eBay, who we know are wont to change the rules at a moments notice (although to be fair, recently we have had more advanced warnings). With Amazon, rules rarely change and with your own website, it’s you who makes the rules and it’s you who is in charge.
Secondly, successful eBay sellers have realised that eBay is actually a very powerful tool which can be used to generate traffic to their own websites! This opens up numerous doors including the opportunity to start building a list of clients and/or subscribers to a newsletter or similar, increased credibility and the opportunity to create a ‘brand’.
But there is a third reason too: you can make more money selling through your own website.
Look at it this way: If you had your very own exclusive shop (your website) and you also had a smaller shop but in an area that attracted major amounts of customers (eBay), wouldn’t that be a huge advantage to you?
Of course it would. And what’s more, because we are dealing with online sales here and a 24/7 timescale, you can be in both places at once – perfect!
The other advantage here is that you can alter your pricing according to your market.
It’s not unusual to price a product at a higher price on Amazon or on your own website compared with your eBay price. Does that sound daft to you? Well, I recently wrote a short article covering this issue which you can read here.
So, it’s very important that you diversify and grow your business. Not necessarily right now if you are just starting out, but it is something you should absolutely consider for the future.
There are many advantages to spreading your business around, but in my opinion, these are my top five:
- If something goes wrong in one area it’s not the end of your business
- Less immediate competition
- The opportunity to create a bigger brand
- Increased credibility
- More sales – more profits
Just think about it. If you only sell on eBay and then eBay goes ‘pop’ in the morning, how will you survive?
If you are already selling on Amazon and have other income streams such as your own websites then yes, of course you will see a reduction in sales but your business is still running and bringing in profits from other venues and you won’t be caught out.
So, weigh it up!
As I said earlier, if you are relatively new to online selling then you don’t have to consider diversifying right now, but it should definitely be on your list of things to do.
Your decision should also be based on whether in the long term you want to create a brand, build your business and give yourself options, rather than just sell in an ‘ad hoc’ type of way!