Singapore Expats Forum

Online Business

Discuss your views about Singapore business & economy, current policies & issues, starting a business in Singapore.
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ksl
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Re: Online Business

Postby ksl » Tue, 06 Jun 2006 2:05 am

Lost wrote:Agreed that the sky is the limit but not storage. I will be importing from China, housing in Singapore and shipping directly to USA consumers. It is difficult for me to forecast inventory without benchmark of potential high and low of online sales. Hence, my earlier request for help. :?


To be honest you will not sell very much, if anything, until your website gets the exposure to these new mothers and ladies. Figure this out and your well on the way to understanding how difficult it is.

I have seen many businesses on the web, with very little knowledge of website marketing these will not survive,.

The website you purchase ready built or designed for you, do not include website marketing and very few include keywords, if you have no knowledge of website marketing you will have to pay. I can honestly say that i am not very positive about the idea of online sales unless you have the skills to market your website.

I learned online marketing myself becuase of my interest in website promotion and brand building, and i can tell you that my hobby, turned into a business after 12 months. I was requested to help a friend brand his product online, without experience of marketing, I said i could only do it in my spare time as a hobby, and he agreed to pay me a percentage of the sales, It took 12 months of trial and error before i had branded his product world wide the first 6 months was around 15 to 20 units a month. after 15 months we was selling 1000 units a month.

If you are going into online sales, it's better if you can agree with your manufacturer to start off slow, to build your online image, you must have a plan of action, to get your potential customer, and that takes time, once you get the customer to your site, other factors kick in, price, quality, trust, service, delivery time. and the competition.

Its a slow process to build your website image, so i wouldn't count on selling much the first year, if its clothing, try and test the market on ebay, and see what reponse you get under the product ID, better still sell it on ebay, you can rent online shop for a small monthly fee, and you can also measure the response on your products. I can advise you only to purchase very few items and introduce them slowly, no more than 10 sales a month if your lucky, there are really many competitors, so you have to reinvent yourself all the time

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Oriental
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Re: Online Business

Postby Oriental » Tue, 06 Jun 2006 11:45 am

Lost wrote:Agreed that the sky is the limit but not storage. I will be importing from China, housing in Singapore and shipping directly to USA consumers. It is difficult for me to forecast inventory without benchmark of potential high and low of online sales. Hence, my earlier request for help. :?


Why not source locally in Singapore. There is bound to be importers/wholesalers here that carry your line of products in stock. You can make a deal with these importers/wholesalers that will enable you to pick products directly from their stock according to what you sell.

One benefit of the above model is that you do not have to stock products yourself and thus improving your liquidity. Secondly, you do not bear the risk of investing in a potentially unsaleable stock of products. There are more benefits like being able to offer a wider product range, access to new products etc.

You may have to pay more for the products you sell, but as I mentioned before I think it is better to share your profits rather than incur high fixed costs. Initially I think you should not think too much about the profit (% on sales). That part will improve dramatically when economies of scale start to kick in.

However, one of the most important questions is, as KSL stresses, the marketing. How are you going to market your products successfully? I would use 80% of my resources on marketing.
Impossible is nothing!

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ksl
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Postby ksl » Tue, 06 Jun 2006 11:19 pm

Lost wrote:Agreed on your various points. I wish they are feasible. Unfortunately, I created the products for US markets so it is not available in Singapore hence I will be required to keep an inventory locally. KSL mentioned that he charged his friend a "percentage on sale" for his marketing hobby and was curious what was the percentage - who knows, I may need his help marketing products.


It all depends if the product is a fast moving product, I was branding digital camera's and actually had to convince the new manufacture, that he was being unrealistic, to expect buyers to purchase large quantities of an unknown brand.

On my advice of letting me promote his product of one export carton minimum order, I was able to build a distributor network globally rather quickly, most of these sale were done through ebay, just to get exposure and distributors who were selling also for a hobby on ebay, soon built up their sales from 20 to 300 a month within a year.

More and more became interested, I encouraged the distributors to drop ship, rather than take to many into each market, otherwise resentment builds up. The problem with high tech is that margins are very low, so volume is required quickly. One export carton of 20 units can be delivered world wide within 5 to 7 days.

One very important point is that customer service must be tip top, especially RMA, if this is neglected, your image will be destroyed rather quickly through online forums. Many brand name manufacturers make this mistake, because there goods are actually manufactured in mainland China, with a poor record of quality control.

Digital cameras are a little bit like washing powders, the components are the same, and the outer camera case are used by many brands. Anyone can produce these products providing you pay for 1000 units at a time.

In this area of fast moving product one is looking for 3% to 5% of sales, for it to be worth while as a hobby.

Clothing industry is quite different.

You can always PM me, if you would like me to evaluate your products and opportunities. No fees! but you will have to decide rather quickly because I leave for Europe very soon.

Lost
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Postby Lost » Wed, 07 Jun 2006 8:35 am

I agreed with you that excellent service is critical to a business success hence I am housing the inventory in Singapore. This way I can control the quality and shipment but it means keeping stock which translates to capital. At the moment, I am still working with China on a satisfactory sample and till I get them and estimate my cost, I will not be able to proceed. I like your suggestion to post it on eBay to test market and aggressive marketing strategy. My target to launch is September so your Europe trip will not hinder progress. Thank you for your offer to help. In light of the fact that I don’t have a satisfactory sample yet, could I call you when I did? I would like to hear your opinion on the samples and its marketability. BTW what does PM means?

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Postby Guest » Wed, 07 Jun 2006 4:11 pm

Lost wrote:I agreed with you that excellent service is critical to a business success hence I am housing the inventory in Singapore. This way I can control the quality and shipment but it means keeping stock which translates to capital. At the moment, I am still working with China on a satisfactory sample and till I get them and estimate my cost, I will not be able to proceed. I like your suggestion to post it on eBay to test market and aggressive marketing strategy. My target to launch is September so your Europe trip will not hinder progress. Thank you for your offer to help. In light of the fact that I don’t have a satisfactory sample yet, could I call you when I did? I would like to hear your opinion on the samples and its marketability. BTW what does PM means?


Yes you can contact me through the private message system, located at the bottom of the message box. In the meantime I suggest you check out the ebay online shops, costs around 6.50 a month, with product listings around 35p, these shops also need marketing, you can choose World wide exposure at no extra cost, or just USA. There are tools included to market your product, but there is a specific technique to master this kind of sales channel which i can explain to you later, you can also consider alternative, products to enhance the product range, something that compliments your product. In this way you will encourage more individuals to look at your shop on line.

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ksl
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Postby ksl » Wed, 07 Jun 2006 4:29 pm

Ooops! Sorry that was me above, forgot to log in. It may interest you to know, that, I have very good networking contacts in Taiwan in manufacturing in many sectors for out sourcing and my wife is Taiwanese, educated in the US to MBA level, business & marketing.

Chinese language is not a problem for us, if you need translation or communication help. We are basically involved in International Trade for many years, and take on tasks to help reinvent small and medium sized companies to turn around loss making ventures.

9133
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Online Business

Postby 9133 » Sun, 18 Jun 2006 12:12 pm

Hi Lost

We are a trading company based in China and have helped many online sellers on Ebay , auction sites , online stores in US and Canada to source for products in China.

If you are interested, please contact me for discussion.
thanks


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