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No matter how far along you are on your own private label journey there will have been some key concerns and issues that have crossed your mind.
This is the mark of an entrepreneur who has their priorities in order. After you’ve decided that setting up a private label business is what you want to do the next big decision you have to make is about what you’re going to sell. Of course you need to find products that will suit your expertise, or your interests and fit a niche that your research has led you to believe will be profitable.
That’s what this article is about: how do you find products to private label? Not only do your products need to fit your brand but they also need to be able to bring in the kind of sales that will sustain your business. You need to consider the long-term profit as well as short term gains. If you want your brand to become recognized as a leader in a particular niche, the products you pick now can affect the future of your business. Decisions you make now about products can influence decisions you make in the future and affect the profit that will lead to a more comfortable lifestyle.
However, before you can think of finding the right products to sell, you need to have a process in place for finding products that fit your needs and those of the niche you intend to dominate.
How do you find your niche?
Prior to starting up your private label you will have done some research and laid the groundwork for your own business. You will know that you shouldn’t be, for example, trying to take market share in a niche from an already established national name. Part of this research will be to observe how new products in your intended niche are doing. Take a look at the Hot New Releases tab on Amazon. This will reveal to you the products that are currently popular and that you will need to understand and sell in order to work in a particular niche. Finding product you actually understand and will want to sell will be keys to finding a niche that appeals to you.
When it comes to finding stock from suppliers and manufacturers, many people like to feel “in control” of the entire process. They believe that this will put them in a better position to make as many savings as possible and track any potential problems with greater ease. Many are wary of communication issues arising from working directly with Chinese suppliers. They are also worried about quality control problems with smaller manufacturers that may impact their sales and ultimately their brand. One of the latest ideas is to use the sourcing departments of major international retailers to find reliable manufacturers and suppliers. If they are being used by some of the biggest retailers you will be reassured that these suppliers and manufacturers will have some pedigree. Also it will cut down on the time you spend researching from scratch if you already have a shortlist of suitable manufacturers. Being able to put out products with speed will give you an advantage over your competition.
What are your basic criteria for finding a product?
One of the first tentative steps towards running your own successful business is to find the products to match your brand. This is the first hurdle that many people find difficult to overcome. From my own experience I can say that I have seen people stumble over the basics such as the necessary criteria for finding products that will best fit their niche.
Take my word for it that you will have to have your process in place from as early as possible on in your private label journey. Try to source products without viable criteria and you may find yourself making an immediate loss on stock that is difficult to shift. Instead take the time to come up with a plan that takes into account some reasonable steps that you stick to. Often we all make plans that we find difficult to stick to. Especially with private labeling, sometimes we see a product that we think is cool and that we would like to stock and carry our branding. However, it doesn’t fit our sensible criteria and is difficult to sell at a reasonable profit. If we make a plan and have criteria in mind we need to stick to it in order for our wider business strategy to work. Examples of criteria your products should fit:
1.Product should not already be supplied to the consumer by a well-known brand
2.Product should measure maximum of 8 x 8 x 8 inches - preferably smaller
3.Product should not weigh any more than 3 pounds
4.Can easily have your own branding applied
5.Product is durable and will not break during shipping
6.Avoid categories that require you to have special stockrooms (e.g. refrigerated) since you will incur extra expenses. Any category that relies on products that have a limited shelf life can lead to losses – this isn’t limited to just groceries. Magazines, for example, will only hold their value until the next issue. If you haven’t sold them within a month you will have made a loss.
7.Pick a category that will allow you to easily sell add-ons. This will also make it easy for you to give your customers an unexpected bonus product and foster good relations with them.
8.Find a category that you’re actually interested in since this will make it easier for you to understand the needs of your customers and how they use their products.
You might already have your own criteria but these are tried and trusted by myself and many others. If you’re just starting out you should stick with this until you feel more comfortable branching out.
How many sales do you need to make?
You need to pick products that can easily ride the coattails of other already successful products. If you have a product that can not only work well with another but add value to it you will have a product with almost universal appeal. For example, a phone case that shrink to adapt to any phone shape or size.
The flip side of this is that you need to think about how you might need to handle things if your line really takes off and you find yourself with more demand than you can fulfil. How will you need to react if you are stocking a product that suddenly becomes super-popular?
Starting your private label business can be a rewarding undertaking but you need to be diligent and make sure your products are being manufactured by a reliable supplier. Also you will need to have selected a product that can be manufactured quickly enough for you to take advantage of the demand and make as much money as possible.
How much profit do you need to make?
You need to think about how much money you need to make to sustain your lifestyle as well as your business. Your business will only expand if you have more revenue to invest in additional lines of stock. But how much is enough? For those of us who run private label businesses this is a constant battle. We need to sell low enough to compete with the other private labels coming into the market but we also need to make enough profit to make the entire endeavour worth our whiles.
The answer is to keep an eye on your prices and those of your competitors. Ranktracer and repricerexpress are great tools that allow you to do this with minimal effort. Refer to your business plan for the income you need to keep your business profitable and make sure that you are not pricing yourself out of the market