Staying at home is the new normal, making selling from home a necessity for retailers wanting to maintain and grow sales during from the safety and comfort of their own houses. In this article, we share 6 ways to sell from home successfully now and well into the future.
When to sell from home?
There are many reasons why a retail business has to or wants to start selling from home. Currently, these reasons are predominantly coronavirus-related, including:
- The temporary closure of your physical retail store
- The temporary closure of your offices or warehouses
- Compliance with social distancing or isolation rules
- Using your lockdown time to start a new eCommerce venture
However, there are many more reasons to master selling from home, including:
- A better work-life balance
- Lower office and warehousing costs
- Starting a part-time or hobby business
6 Tips to successfully sell from home
Whatever your reason for wanting to sell from home, it’s important that you’re successful. This requires having a viable business idea that generates sales, and having the resources and procedures to handle those sales from the comfort of your own home.
Here’s 6 tried and tested ways to sell from home.
1. Adapt to changing priorities
COVID-19 is affecting purchasing behavior, and this will continue into the year, with different stages of the pandemic and lockdown prompting different purchasing needs and priorities.
Accordingly, you need new or expanded product lines to meet current market demand – something that you can establish using the following home research tools:
Google and Google Trends provide insights into current Google search activity, allowing you to see what products generate the highest search volumes.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest give you insights into consumer behaviors that influencing online shopping behaviors. For example, more people talking about decorating their homes or entertaining the kids leads to an increased demand for home furnishing products or toys and games.
Your own data
Your own sales data gives you invaluable information on products declining in popularity, allowing you to identify changing needs and cater to them. For example, if party dresses aren’t selling well (because people aren’t going out), you can introduce a new loungewear line.
Further reading: What to do if you have an underperforming product
2. Diversify your supply chain
Selling from home necessitates more outsourcing of your supply chain because you don’t have the time, space, or resources to do everything in your spare room. However, this also necessitates the diversification of your supply chain.
Diversifying your supply chain spreads the risk of your business becoming unable to operate because one function is suffering travel restrictions, staff shortages, or any other issue preventing them from working.
The main ways to achieve supply chain diversification are:
- Partnering with suppliers in different countries, or at least, in different regions
- Using freight forwarding to overcome shipping difficulties or restrictions
- Maintaining regular communication with every function to identify potential problems
3. Diversify your sales channels
When selling from home, it’s essential to maximize your avenues of income. This can be achieved through multi-channel selling.
Multi-channel selling involves selling on two or more different online marketplaces and/or your own websites, enabling you to:
- Reach different audiences, based on shopping channel preference
- Achieve different search result placements, based on shopping channel competition
- Maintain strong sales based on the current marketplace of choice
Popular sales channels for home-based sellers include Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Wish, and Shopify.
Further reading: Coronavirus survival tip for eCommerce sellers: think beyond Amazon
4. Automate where possible
When selling from home, it’s easy for your work-life balance to blur. This can cause you to become overworked, stressed, and tired, which is never good – especially not when your health is of the utmost importance.
To maintain a good work-life balance, use marketplace and Shopify integrations to automate parts of your business, including inventory syncing, repricing, listings, advertising, and customer support.
Further reading: 3 reasons why eCommerce sellers should be using a repricer
Other ways to maintain a healthy work-life balance when selling from home include:
- Using an office or space that you can shut the door on, pull the curtain around, or cover up when you’re not working
- Scheduling lunch breaks and adequate time off
- Outsourcing tasks that you struggle to complete in your working day
5. Pick the right fulfillment method
Picking the right fulfillment option when selling from home is fundamental for success. You have two options:
You can fulfill orders in-house by storing stock in your garage, spare bedroom, or office, and then taking processed orders to your chosen shipping carrier for delivery.
This is great if you have adequate storage space, and the time and resources to process orders yourself. However, this is not suitable if you don’t have spare space, can’t fulfill orders quickly, or simply don’t want to fulfill orders yourself.
If in-house fulfillment isn’t possible for your home, you can use a third-party fulfillment partner to store, process, and ship orders. All you need to do is ship your inventory to its warehouses and allow integration access to your sales channels.
This is ideal if you want to give customers fast shipping speeds, or if you want to offer a larger range of products than you can fit into your garage or confidently process yourself.
Further reading: When to shift from in-house to outsourced fulfillment
An altogether different option is dropshipping. This involves sourcing products from a supplier who stocks and directly ships products to your end customer. You can learn more about dropshipping in our how to start dropshipping guide.
6. Boost sales
What good is having the right products, a diverse supply chain, multiple sales channels, and a third-party fulfillment partner if you haven’t got the sales coming in?
Just because you sell from home, doesn’t mean that you can’t generate phenomenal sales – even during a global pandemic.
Quick and easy methods for home sellers looking to boost their online sales include:
- Qualifying for fast shipping tags on your online marketplaces, such as Amazon Prime, Walmart Free 2-day delivery, and eBay Fast ‘N Free, to increase visibility and customer reach
- Advertising on Amazon, eBay, and Walmart to increase your product impressions and clicks
- Using Facebook and Instagram to boost sales on your Shopify or other eCommerce website
Are you ready to sell from home?
The eCommerce industry was made for people that wanted to start, scale, and succeed when selling from home.
There are plenty of big eCommerce players who have used the above techniques to grow substantial businesses from their home office, kitchen, or garage – and you can too.