Months ago, I set-up an online store for my pre-loved stuff. I was able to sell a handful of items. However, I did not gain much in terms of money. Why? Because I did not research beforehand the shipping rates! The shipping costs ate up the proceeds of my sales. Anyway, even if I did not earn money from selling online I must say that I did learn valuable lessons which I’m certain I could use in my future endeavors, like if and when I decide to enter the world of entrepreneurship again. Here are my key takeaways from that experience:
Honesty. This virtue is to be applied not only in online selling but in every dealing we do. If you are not honest with your followers or customers you are not only registering your business for doom but you are also attracting stress, negative energy, disagreements and possible complications (legal or otherwise). How to exercise honesty? Simply put, lay it all on the table especially those you think would make or break a customer’s decision to buy or not to buy. Bare it. You can emphasize what is good with your products but you have to be honest enough to declare flaws too.
Patience. In online selling, you would be dealing and talking and chatting with different kinds of people. Some people are on your wavelength and some are not, unfortunately. There are interested people with what you are selling who are so makulit then end up not buying. Yung tipong, you already mentioned in your ads or post all the necessary details and yet they ask you again through personal message. And, after several chats, they decide not to buy or worst do not even bother to tell you that they are no longer pursuing the transaction. Some haggle the prices to the max, too! Some insist on their conditions and preferences. So, even if I turn down lots of offers, I do it in a direct yet peaceful and respectful manner.
Do your homework. Although I did the online selling for the sake of trying it, fun, experience and decluttering, I should have researched beforehand everything there is about it. My failure or laziness to check shipping rates made me shell out money for my very first sale. I shouldered half of the shipping cost! I did it because that was my very first customer and I was so thrilled and I do not want to earn a negative feedback, especially on my first transaction. Now, I vow to make a sound financial forecast before I venture into any business again.
Do not be afraid of negative feedbacks. Why? Because you can always build on that. Also, if you are honest and willing to own up to your mistakes and do a refund if that is the case then people would give you a second chance. I am an avid online shopper. As in I can no longer remember the last time I went to a physical store such as a mall to do my shopping, even groceries. And, modesty aside, I can proudly say I’ve always been rational and kind with online sellers. But, after being the seller online, I realized that not all online buyers are as nice as me. There are a few who’d hit a nerve or two. But, if you are respectful and honest, you can always stand your ground. When one of my customers had a complaint, I instantly said sorry, explained the possible reason for the damaged item (not totally) and offered an immediate refund. But, she kept on complaining. I again said sorry and requested for her bank account details to facilitate refund and then she just fell silent and left a negative feedback. Maybe she wanted me to offer more than just a refund. If I were running a legit business, maybe I would offer a freebie or something but since I was not for I was only selling my excesses, I just offered an immediate refund, to her dismay. (Disclosure: My mistake was I did not bother to bubble wrap the item and a metal part was detached.)
Set business hours. I have stopped selling my pre-loved stuff online although I still have a ton in the inventory. Why? Because I no longer have the luxury of time to take images and post them on the platform ever since I went back to the workforce. Because my husband is getting annoyed at my deliveries. I ask him to go to the courier for me. Hehe Because I can no longer stand receiving messages, day-in, and day-out. Sometimes I receive messages in the wee hours in the morning and while I try not to touch my cellphone when I’m in bed, inquiries are what greet me in the morning and they are my last reads in the night too. It has become bothersome especially when some demands for an instant reply and hate me when I don’t. That is when I figure that it would be nice to post your business hours and shipping schedules so you have something to reiterate with them once they question why you are not replying or why can’t you ship right away. Hopefully, it would also filter your customers although based on my experience many do not bother to read the seller’s policies.
Like I said, I have discontinued selling online. I am such a busy bee nowadays with homemaking, a full-time job, and trading stock. I’m thinking to just give away the rest of my pre-loved stuff, here on my blog and others on Caritas Manila. Nonetheless, I am overjoyed with what I’ve learned while selling online. For my readers selling online, high five! It’s not an easy feat. For those who are planning to join the bandwagon, take note of the above lessons.