I apologize for the length of this post but I am hoping to be able to contribute something to the newer community here for something to think about. So please read on if you are looking for new ideas or wanting to share your thoughts with me on this topic.
I am also looking for feedback and opinions from others to share successful ideas for online selling.
A BIT ABOUT ME:
First off I am a fairly new member to Salehoo I joined earlier this year. Like everyone else I was looking for ways to sell products online by dropshipping, wholesale, liquidation, etc etc. I am a realist though I am not in this to try and get rich quick or expect instant results by any means. I will just put that out there right off the bat.
I have by no means made a million dollars yet with Salehoo but definitely the things I have learned from here especially the forums have made me so far over $5000 net in the last 3-4mos. Well worth the price of admission. But it hasn't been easy and it has taken a ton of research and hard work. Finding profitable markets online is very difficult and so far I have mainly made my profits from purchasing wholesale products and selling them at lower than retail prices. I have sold them here in local markets as well as online at sites like Ebay, Ebid, Craigslist etc.
Like some others here I have done lots of research on finding good wholesalers and suppliers and have had my challenges. Most of the advice I have seen online has been to source products from China (of course) at wholesale prices to sell to the big North American Markets Canada and the USA.
To be honest I started out like many others dealing with replica branded merchandise. I saw all the various items everyone wants at unbelievable deals, it was so tempting. You guys all know what I'm talking about the designer clothing and replica jerseys etc etc. I dove in and gave it a shot and to be honest made some good money with them. People were happy purchasing these items at great bargains and these really were the top items I was selling. Nothing else like toys, novelty items, tools, (all unbranded items also from China but coming at great low prices) none of these things would sell.
Alas I had to stop selling the replica items. Every single one of my listings on Ebay were removed and flagged and my account was suspended. Even though many people still get away with selling replica items online, it just can not be sustained and really SHOULD NOT BE DONE AT ALL. I admit I'm a culprit too but we all learn our lessons and I'm sure a few other newbies here have fallen into this trap as well.
Eventually after getting my account up and running again, I began just selling products that I could source from China at dirt cheap prices. Sales have been slow and minimal profits since then.
So many of the articles and information online was telling me not to stop to pursue it and to continue to find good suppliers at good prices and sell items for profits. I find this does not work that well anymore because of the amount of current competition online in almost every single major industry that there is. Almost every single hot Niche market is already flooded with online sellers. How can it be possible for a newbie to gain any kind of market share? Even if you do get some sales the big guys catch on to it fast and undercut you.
I have found it INCREDIBLY difficult to make profits online dropshipping anything with any sort of consistency. There is too much competition out there and not enough market left for us New Guys to get in on it.
What I now throw in for debate is whether or not this method is even worth the effort anymore? With so much competition from almost every good Niche market, there's just not that much "pie" left over.
How about an alternative? What I am now getting into is no longer trying to satisfy the North American markets at all but rather to focus on satisfying the needs of the EMERGING markets in China and India. Why should we keep trying to find Niche markets for the populations of 300-350 million in Canada and the US? We all know that the american market is almost completely saturated. Same with Canada. Me being in the Vancouver area trust me I have tried catering to both countries here. Of course there is still ways to make money in some areas but none of the ones that I can find good suppliers and make a profit on.
What we all can not deny is that the populations of China and India combined are now over the 2 Billion mark. By shifting the focus to providing goods and services to this market I think it could be a profitable idea. I know I know alot of these people are living below the poverty line, where's the profits in that right?
EMERGING MIDDLE CLASS:
There is no denying the fact that India and China will be the world's new superpowers. They have the population, they will have the money, they will all require goods and services. While many of the people live below the poverty line in these countries, there is a massive emergence of a middle class in this region. Even if you think even only 20% of the current populations there can currently be classified as "middle class" that means a market base of more than 400 Million! And that number will only rise in the next 5-10 years.
Companies like McDonalds, Starbucks, MGM Mirage, Las Vegas Sands are all examples of companies that now make as much or more in the Asian markets than they do in America. Stock prices for these companies have been SOARING even amidst the stock markets slumps not because of how well they are doing in America, but because of how well they are doing in China. Places like Maccau are now bigger profit makers to these casino giants than their casinos in Las Vegas. This is a fact.
Many other larger corporations have been moving or adding headquarters and major offices in China. They all recognize these areas as large growth potential. So why don't we follow them?
MY NEW DIRECTION:
Why don't we start to focus on supplying these people with what they want and need. Mind you this is not going to be easy. You will find that ALMOST everything is made or manufactured in China or even India. These people can get SO many things at such low prices most people don't even think about trying this way. I challenge you to look around all the various items in your household you will seen what I'm talking about.
What I've found though is that there will always be a market of people who will want what they CANT HAVE or CANT FIND locally. There will always be niche markets of people who will be searching for items that ARE NOT or CAN NOT be made in China. For example if someone was looking for Fresh BC Salmon, where would you find it? In China? Nope. Maple syrup? Original Native Art? Various other wood and steel products.
Ok these are not the greatest examples but what I'm trying to say is something like this. When I want to eat authentic Indian food I don't want my chef to be from Italy. I want it directly from the source. When I want authentic mexican food I don't go looking for it in Germany. I will look for suppliers in Mexico.
If someone from China or India is searching for something American or Canadian where do they go? I'll tell you there is not many places at all. If they wanted to find authentic Canadian Roots Gear or maybe Surfboards from California or Beef from Alberta, where would they look locally? And online?
And while there are plenty of these sites already on the web, very few places cater to these specific buyers. The trick obviously is to find some hot Niche markets just like always. But also to not only find what products and services these people want and need but also designing your stores to cater to and market to these new emerging markets.
I also see that many sites are only enabled to be viewed in English and only accept payments in USD. Why not enable our websites to be fully viewed in different languages like Cantonese, Hindi, Mandarin etc to make them ULTRA USER FRIENDLY for people from these markets. The key is to make it very simple and easy for buyers to purchase North American goods for export.
What I've been doing so far has been trying to search the Wanted sections in Craiglist China and India and also research what the top things Canada and USA export to places like China and India. I'm also planning to take some more trips to the International section of the Vancouver International Airport so that I can see first hand what people from these markets are buying as souvenirs from shops that are right inside the airport to take home from Canada.
So far I've found the most popular stores in the Airport on the International side are the Roots clothing stores, pre-packaged salmon and other seafoods, native american arts and crafts, various Canadian and American branded ciggarettes and alchohol, and many different kinds of local engraved wooden items. Also the usual souvenir keychains, tshirts, pens and this year Vancouver 2010 Olympic items and clothing especially have been very hot.
The most important thing is that this method is not saturated and this is the key. Why battle with all the people catering to the North American and even European markets when you can try a new different angle and find out what these markets want and need. Let's find and discuss things that are good Niche markets for people in these countries for goods that are found, made or manufactured here in North America.
-Must be items that are not easily available in countries like China and India specifically.
-Must be items that can easily be shipped or dropshipped worldwide.
-Must be profitable.
Any thoughts or Ideas are most welcome! I will continue to post updates and contribute to the forum regarding my future progress in this New Method because I have learned alot from these forums and find them very useful.
Thanks for reading.