Breaking into the online retail space: OnBuy's top five tips

OnBuy's founder & CEO Cas Paton shares his top tips for entering the world of online selling for the first time

Written by Georgie Dobie

Posted 11.05.2020 | Retail

Breaking into the online retail space: OnBuy's top five tips thumbnail

With social distancing and lockdown measures still in place across the UK, and ‘non-essential’ retail stores remaining closed, more independent retailers, who have traditionally operated as brick and mortar stores, are turning to online channels in an effort to continue selling safely during these times.

In an effort to help support businesses who have not previously had an online presence, and for those retailers who are still keen to learn more about selling online, Cas Paton, founder and CEO of OnBuy.com, one of the world’s fastest growing online marketplaces, has shared with TNP.MEDIA his top five tips for online retail.  

Written by Cas Paton, founder and CEO of OnBuy.com 

It is fair to say that the current situation caught the retail world off guard. Nobody could have predicted that there would be a scenario where the majority of the UK population are confined to their homes, and urged to only leave the house when it was absolutely essential to do so.  

While this may have initially presented a big problem for independent retailers who do not yet have an online presence, it also presents a big opportunity for them to make that leap and branch into the world of online selling. 

Here are my five top tips for businesses entering the world of online selling for the first time: 

1) Make sure you have quality, accurate and well-organised data 

We see a lot of sellers listing on various marketplaces and sales channels then having issues trying to update/export their data. It’s essential to keep secure copies of your data so that you can easily update products and listings on all sales channels. Making sure you keep your data organised and up to date is also crucial as this could save you hours of admin (and a headache!). It’s worth noting that you might only be able to export limited information from certain channels, so having a master copy really is essential. 

2) Sell on multiple channels 

Simply put, the more exposure you can create, the more sales you will generate. However, it’s vital to check out the credentials of your chosen marketplaces before you join. At OnBuy, for example, we’re continuing to expand our marketplace and build on our customer base to reach a short-term growth target of £500m. 

Use a stock management system to automate multi-channel selling to ensure that stock levels are accurate across the board; this will prevent any mix-ups or over-ordering of products. A stock management system will be especially useful if you plan on growing your business and expanding your inventory count in the future.  

3) Have a dedicated customer support person 

Even if you are running a small business, you will need to be able to resolve issues in a professional and timely manner while being aware of consumer rights and relevant legislation. 

It’s always good to have a clear returns procedure in place as well. This will not only ensure customer satisfaction but will also attract potential customers knowing that they will be looked after and in safe hands throughout their experience with you.  

4) Offer competitive prices and include delivery charges  

Overpricing your products can put people off immediately, so check out the competition and try to do better. It’s really important to consider your costs (such as overheads, marketplace fees etc.) and take these into consideration so that you know what you need to price the product at. 

Bundling any delivery charges into the product price is a proven way of attracting buyers with the alluring offer of free delivery. 

5) Familiarise yourself with marketplace fees 

Different online marketplaces will have different fee structures, so make sure to familiarise yourself with these fees in order to calculate the expected profit you can make from selling on that marketplace. At OnBuy, we’re transparent and have kept the fee structure simple. Along with offering competitive fees of five to nine per cent, we guarantee that all sellers pay the same fees, no matter what size you are or the volume of sales you make. 

There has never been a better time to branch out into online selling than right now and while it may seem daunting at first there are plenty of resources out there to help you. As with setting up a shop on the high street, building trust is one of the most important drivers of success and as always, it helps to be cheaper than your competition.  

OnBuy is the world’s fastest-growing marketplace. Founded in the UK, OnBuy offers competitive prices on millions of products supplied by thousands of trusted online retailers. From household names to independent sellers, OnBuy offers products from a range of categories, such as electricals, baby and toddler, home and garden, and cars and automotive. 


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