Starting a reselling business is a great way to make money on the side. You can even do it in the comfort of your own home. Reselling items online is one of the easiest businesses to manage and it could even be an excellent option for those starting their entrepreneurial careers. But what if you don’t live in close proximity to mom-and-pop stores or thrift shops? Thankfully, there’s online product sourcing.
Online sourcing is a business process of finding, evaluating, and purchasing products online. This type of sourcing method allows you to access a broader range of suppliers and assess various products that you are planning to sell. But before we talk about sourcing inventory online, let’s go back to basics. What exactly does sourcing mean?
What does sourcing mean?
In business, sourcing refers to the process by which a company procures the products that it plans to sell. Regardless of the type of business that you have, product sourcing is an important aspect of your operations as it lets you identify potential suppliers that would provide you with the best bang for your buck. These days, however, more and more business models are relying on sourcing their products through the Internet.
What is the purpose of sourcing inventory online?
As the business landscape becomes increasingly reliant on technology, companies are recognizing the potential benefits of sourcing inventory online. The same goes for independent entrepreneurs like resellers. Factors such as time and procurement costs play a significant role in a reseller’s decision to use online inventory for their sourcing needs. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of sourcing inventory online.
What are the benefits of sourcing inventory online?
- Reduced costs – Sourcing inventory online eliminates costly paperwork, in-person site visits, and errors that happen frequently during traditional sourcing methods.
- Increased productivity – In online sourcing, resellers can essentially sift through hundreds of items without having to physically visit brick-and-mortar stores. Having your payment records stored electronically also makes it faster and easier for you to pay for the products that you are planning to resell.
- Improved transparency – With online sourcing, resellers can enjoy improved transparency when it comes to data acquisition and budget management. Since almost all information is centralized, resellers can make informed decisions and ensure that procurement procedures are aligned with their policies.
- Access to technology – Resellers can make use of procurement software that can help automate the entire sourcing process. This mitigates the risks associated with sourcing and streamlines inventory control measures to keep your bestsellers always in stock.
Are there any drawbacks to sourcing inventory online?
- Due diligence can be difficult – Since all transactions are made online, it can be difficult to scrutinize the quality of the products that you are purchasing.
- Susceptible to shipping problems and delays – Even the most successful resellers experience shipping problems and delays every now and then. There will be circumstances where items are lost or damaged which could affect customer satisfaction.
What are the different online sourcing options?
Resellers can choose from a wide range of sourcing methods that can cater to their overall business goals. It is of utmost importance to take a step back and spend considerable time when choosing a sourcing strategy to make sure that you are implementing the right approach. If you’re considering sourcing your inventory online, here are some of the most common sourcing options to help you get started.
- Online arbitrage – Similar to retail arbitrage, online arbitrage is a sourcing method that involves buying discounted products from an online marketplace and selling them for more money elsewhere. The key to online arbitrage is to use various tools to be able to find the right products that can be sold at a profit. For resellers, it’ll also pay to visit multiple online platforms like Amazon and eBay to make sure that you are getting the best prices possible.
- Dropshipping – Dropshipping is a fulfillment method that enables businesses to open an online storefront and address customer demand by passing sales orders to a third-party supplier. The supplier then takes care of the logistics involved in shipping the product to the customer. This eliminates the need for storage facilities which would incur overhead costs.
- Wholesale – When resellers buy wholesale, they take advantage of bulk discounts to be able to purchase a large number of goods at a lower price point. Resellers that use this type of sourcing strategy purchase products from a wholesaler and sell their goods at retail prices to turn a profit.
Tips for successful online sourcing for resellers
There’s no way around it – reselling is one of the most affordable business ventures that you can start in your spare time. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. In this section, we’ll provide you with some tips on how to successfully source your products online. Check them out below!
- Do your research
- In any kind of business undertaking, research will be critical to your future success. As a reseller, it is necessary for you to conduct market research as you look into potential products to resell. Market research will help you determine if there is enough demand for a specific product and provide an overview of your potential target market. s
- Pay attention to the quality of products
- As a business owner, one of the most important things to do is to ensure that your products are of good quality. Sometimes, it can’t be helped that discounted products contain design flaws that justify their low price. Make sure to pay attention to the quality of the products that you are about to flip before you list them on your online storefront.
- Shop around and look for reasonable prices
- Shopping around enables resellers to look for more reasonable prices when sourcing their products. While shopping around may seem tedious and overwhelming, it allows you to learn more about the products that you are trying to procure and gives you a better idea about how these items are priced in the market.
- Look for products that are easy to source
- Sourcing inventory, as a reseller, can be a complicated task. This is why it makes sense to look for products that are straightforward to source. Consider factors such as cost, supply chain stability, as well as logistics when sourcing your inventory. Make sure to employ a sourcing method that’s flexible enough to support your business as you scale and grow.
When it comes to reselling, online sourcing can be a great way to save on the plethora of costs associated with procurement. But before deciding to become a reseller, it’s important to conduct your due diligence and get a feel of the current market to determine the best products to resell. If we could leave you with one piece of advice, it’s this: take it slow. It’s easy to get caught up in the reselling business especially if you experience success early on. Always remember to take only what you can handle and put emphasis on satisfying your customers first before anything else.
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