I have bought 100 iPhone 5/5S cases from a wholesale in china expecting to make around £200 profit by selling them individually on ebay, in person etc. Unfortunately none have been sold and I have tried selling the whole lot to shops at a cheaper price but also this way they didnt get sold.
Selling any product including "iPhone cases" on websites with high competition like Ebay is surely not an easy mission. There are hundreds of sellers on Ebay and other websites who are already selling cases. If you need to get some sales, you need at least one of the following:
1. High reputation, reviews or feedbacks on the website that you are selling on.
2. The product that you are selling must be unique in some way or simply not found anywhere else.
3. If your products are featured at your own website, then that website of yours must be ranked properly online and marketed decently around social media networks.
In your case, a possible approach would be to create your own website to sell your products on or work as an affiliate marketer for other big sellers in exchange for commissions.
Depending on your budget, you need to draw the right plan around. If you have a good budget to invest in your business, then creating a website for yourself is a must. Otherwise, you need to rely on other websites and seek to provide unique or special products to get an edge around.
Hope that helps!
As I can see from your question it is noticeably clear to me that you are planning for a B2C business. First let us naively consider what is going on if we buy something via the Internet. The process starts when the customer generates an order via an online shop. The order is processed in the backend ERP system(s) as a sales order and all ordered products and components are verified. If products are available in the quantity, which the customer has ordered, products can be delivered to the customer’s location, and at that point of time, which is convenient for the customer. After that verification, the processing of the order continues in preparing that order for packing and shipping and preparing it for billing. The customer gets an acknowledgement of his order. Customer and order data are available via a portal solution to all stakeholders. But is E-Commerce so simple? A series of questions arises:
1. How did the customer find the “right” online shop?
2. Is the order legally binding?
3. Is the customer allowed to change his order ex post?
4. How is the consignment processed through the provider?
5. Do processes differ between producers and traders?
6. Does the trader have the ordered goods in his warehouse or does he himself send a corresponding order to the producer?
7. What happens if the ordered goods and services cannot be delivered?
8. How are the goods provided?
9. Can the customer pick up the ordered goods by himself?
10. Where can the customer pick up the ordered goods?
11. How is it ensured that the customer or a representative of the customer is on site when goods are delivered?
12. How does the customer have to pay?
13. What is going on in the case of a customer complaint?
14. What is going on in the case that the customer does not accept the delivered goods and that a return shipment must be initiated?
Let us understand the step by step process:
The first variant is, that the customer becomes active. Even here we have to differentiate because the starting point may be different:
1. Product/service is clear, the supplier has already been selected,
2. Product/service is clear; the supplier has not yet been selected,
3. Product/service has to be determined.
The customer may enter the process via search engines, marketplaces/multi-shops, communities, rating platforms or known providers respectively their websites or online shops. Within those entry paths some questions arise:
1. Who pays the information provider, if the process is started via online communities, rating platforms or search engines? Normally the customer does not pay for thoseservices.
2. Who is owner of the information sources? Rating platforms for product and price comparison are often operated and owned by publishing companies. Online communities are many a time established and administered by providers or lobby organizations.
3. Who benefits?
4. And finally: How does the payer, if it is not the customer, restrict or filter the information, which is forwarded to the customer?
The result of this step will be that
i. the customer identifies relevant products/services,
ii. the customer identifies relevant providers,
iii. the customer conducts a pre-selection or
iv. the customer makes his final decision.
The second variant of the information step is, that the supplier initiates it. Here we can differentiate, whether the customer is already known to the supplier or not. If the customer is already known, then the process may be initiated via a specific contact or a general information (relationship management) or a specific offering (1:1-marketing/personalization). If the customer is not yet known to the supplier then he will try to call the customer’s attention via supplier communities/marketplaces/multi-shops, via online communities, via banner advertising or via “adwords” (intelligent small ads). Advertisements are placed in search engines or websites of public interest. Sometimes sports and other associations take advertisements to fund their website or organization. If the supplier wants to appeal to the customer specifically then he should have appropriate customer profiles. Those profiles are an asset and contain information about properties/preferences/behaviours. This information may either be provided by the customer voluntarily or extracted from former behaviour of the customer (automatically) through analysing his visits, communication, and transactions. This generation of customer profiles can be done by each single supplier or by an aggregation of data collected by several suppliers. The latter can be an independent business.
When customer and supplier at the end of the information step know that they want to conduct a business transaction together, then they initiate it according to the specific nature of the goods to be sold respectively bought. If standardized products without individual offers are sold, then an electronic shopping cart is provided. The customer picks up interesting products or services and puts them into his shopping cart. He removes products or services, which are not interesting for him. The financial volume is always transparent so that he knows at any time how much he would have to pay if he would decide to buy the actual content of his shopping cart. The customer can order or abort every time. If goods or services have to be personalized, then this is done via requests and offers. The online shop must provide an appropriate functionality to run this dialogue between supplier and customer.
At the end, both, the supplier as well as the customer, have to “sign” a contract. Initially all relevant data have to be put together. The customer has to be identified and his name and contact data have to be documented. Then invoicing address, delivery address and payment data must be selected. If the customer has previously bought from the supplier then these data may be available in the supplier’s customer database or CRM system. However the customer must be able to change or extend these data with every order. Then specific order data like preferred delivery time and notification method have to be registered. Of course, the shopping cart content is fixed with defining the order. The request of the customer to buy something from the supplier must be answered by the supplier. He will run a solvency check either based on his own customer profile data or (sometimes) by sending a request to a specific financial information service provider. At the end he accepts or refuses the order and sends a confirmation note to the customer. Normally the customer expects that this is conducted within seconds or even parts of seconds, but effort and duration of such checks may depend on the ordered goods and the financial volume of the order. A severe problem for many online shops is the so-called junk orders, where people order things just for fun and never plan to accept delivery and pay for the delivered goods. Suppliers will try to find out whether there is a risk of junk ordering by checking the previous behaviour of the customer. In the case of digital goods, the process may be designed such that the digital good can be downloaded to the customer’s client, but not used until a specific key is provided to the customer. This key will be sent to the user when the supplier is sure that the customer has paid or will pay.
If real goods have been sold, then the contract between supplier and customer is followed by the compilation of the ordered goods. If goods are not in stock of the online shop they have to be ordered at the producer and either they can be taken from the producer’s warehouse or they have to be produced. When the ordered goods are available, they must be consigned, packed and forwarded to transportation. Now the delivery can be made directly to the customer’s address or to a station, e.g. an authorized retail shop in the customer’s neighbourhood or to another home address if we are in an omnibus buying where an “agent” orders for his friends, colleagues or neighbours. At the end of the shipment the package with the ordered goods has to be physically given to the customer. Because the customer is not always at home or in his office, the delivery time must be coordinated. When this time has come the shipping company will be on site and transfer the goods to the customer. The customer then will confirm the delivery and that he has taken over the goods into his responsibility. Sometimes the delivery will not be possible. It may be that the customer is not on site whether he has forgotten the delivery time or had to change his schedule short term and was not able to inform the shipping agent. It may be that the acceptance is refused, e.g. because of transport damages or the delivery had been initiated by a junk order.
Depending to the nature of the ordered goods an installation or assembly will be necessary at the customer’s site. If complex (technical) equipment is delivered an instruction of the customer’s representative has to be conducted. Finally, old equipment has to be removed and packaging material has to be disposed.
The process step is finished with a confirmation of the delivery by the customer. If services have been ordered the process has to be modified. The reason is that the customer is an active part of service production. The service production equipment must be provided and be shipped to the location of service delivery/service production. Also, the time of service delivery must be determined. The process step finishes again with a confirmation of the service delivery. If digital goods have been ordered they may be either documents or rights to use something. Documents will often be delivered due to the push principle; the ordered documents is sent to the customer. If a right has been sold, then the delivery mostly is conducted due to the pull principle; the customer has to download software or a key or whatever he needs to realize the benefits of his purchase. The transfer of the digital good to the customer is closed with a proof of delivery. In the case of digital products, the delivery process can be completely digitalized and processed with the Internet.
Finally, also in this variant the process step is finished with a confirmation of delivery by the customer. This may be integrated into the proof of delivery. After the confirmation of delivery, the billing and invoicing step can be started. If the customer had to pay before delivery then it may happen that the invoice has to be corrected and a credit note (if the value of the delivered goods was lower than the value of the originally ordered goods) or debit note (if the value of the delivered goods was higher than the value of the originally ordered goods) must be created.
Customers do not like additional charges. So, the customer relationship management has to think of appropriate charging strategies. If the customer has not paid before delivery, then the ideal situation is the identity of delivery and order. If there is a deviation from order an adjusted invoice must be created. Here we also have the problem of the customer’s acceptance in case of higher invoice amounts. The supplier should carefully consider the process and optimize it so that the expected invoice total is exceeded only in very few cases.
Billing seems to be simple but of course it is not. Tax regulations must be followed. It also turns out that costs of paper invoices are alarmingly high (paper, envelopes, stamps, processing cost). Also, the run time of invoice letters at postal services may be an issue. If the customer gets the invoice one day later, he will also pay one day later. If the supplier wants to create electronic invoices, he must be sure that the lawfulness of electronic invoice is given, and he has to follow corresponding law requirements for (electronic) invoices. The receipt of payment depends on the agreed payment method. If the payment is done after delivery and not in combination with delivery, then there may be a delay of payment and the supplier must initiate a corresponding dunning process to get his money. First, he will send friendly reminders to the customer, later-on dunning letters. If the customer does not just yet pay, then it comes to a lawsuit. After the lawsuit, a compulsory execution will be initiated to get the money from the customer with the help of governmental authorities.
If the supplier wants to have no trouble with the payments he could change to factoring. Here he will sell the debt claims to a third party and this third party will take over the cashing. The supplier will get a (major) part of the claimed amount immediately and does not have to wait for weeks or months. This improves his solvency. Finally, there is an exceptionally good advice for getting your money from your customers: Tell your customer that you have an effective cashing process – and be consequent in running that process.
To be successful in E-Commerce does not only depend on interesting products, low prices, and fast delivery. To generate a high customer satisfaction presumes a professional service and support. There must be an effective complaints management. Supplementary and replacement deliveries, including return consignments, must be in place and run smoothly if needed. The customer expects appropriate assembly support and installation help, of course a good documentation, e.g. user manuals, FAQ options. If a repair of a delivered component is necessary picking up and sending back of the component to the supplier should be as easy as possible for the customer. It may be that an on-site repair is the best alternative.
Return orders should be avoided, because it always leads to an expenditure of time for the customer and a financial effort of the customer. The customer is strongly involved in the execution. E-Commerce allows checking the customer’s satisfaction with each specific transaction. This can be done but there is the risk that the customer feels stalked by the supplier. Some enterprises exercise an approach where specific transactions initiate an assessment of the supplier in general.
Customer and supplier want to monitor the order processing status. This presumes a seamless and automated data capture during the total workflow, e.g. by scanners or RFID technology (RFID = Radio Frequency identification). RFID is the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically stored information. Prerequisites for this seamless tracking and tracing are the interconnectedness of all actors, e.g. sub-contractors, the harmonization of data structures and communication protocols and the identification of goods to be conveyed.
As you can see that best platform for your iPhone cases will be online in today’s Covid-19 world. I will suggest don’t leave the e-commerce platform just yet. You have said that you tried to sell it on eBay, but no profits were made. While marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon are good places to list your phone cases, you can also open an online store to own your brand, expand your marketing efforts, and build a long-term business. And, if you want, you can even sell them offline in a kiosk using a POS system.
As far as marketing goes, the following are recommended channels and tactics you should try, as well as resources for how to execute them:
a) Search engine marketing: Search engine marketing help you reach people who are searching for phone cases for smartphones. The buying intention behind these searches means you will get the most relevant clicks through to your products and the phones you support. You can achieve this organically through SEO or paying to promote through Google Ads.
b) Facebook advertising: If you are targeting a specific interest group with your designs, Facebook ads can help you market to people who fit a certain profile.
c) Instagram marketing: Instagram is a highly visual platform, perfect for showing off your designs with the option for paid advertising as well.
d) Influencer marketing: Partnering with micro-celebrities, YouTubers, Instagrammers, etc. lets you harness their influence and established audiences to get your phone cases in front of more people.
When you are writing product descriptions for your phones, be as specific as possible in your messaging and consider the biggest selling points for your phone cases. Anything from the material to water resistance to a video of your phone case passing a drop test can make your cases more appealing to customers beyond just the design.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call: https://clarity.fm/joy-brotonath