If you’re not selling goods on Alibaba by now then listen up! Alibaba.com is the world’s largest Internet market. That’s right, it’s bigger than eBay, and even bigger than Amazon; in fact, Alibaba is more profitable than both of those sites combined.
But, with approximately 8.5 million other merchants to compete with it can feel almost impossible to be seen by potential customers. In order to find success on Alibaba it’s really all about what you sell. But, how do you decide exactly what to sell? There are five simple questions you should ask yourself:
1. Who is your demographic?
Before you decide on a range of products to sell you must first determine who you want to sell them to. To begin your demographic research you must focus on three factors:
a) Age/Gender: Perhaps you’re thinking of selling simple, inexpensive products that every household needs (spoons, for example), in which case, your demographic would be middle aged couples. Or, maybe you want to sell something more niche like prom gowns. In this case your demographic would be young females.
b) Salary: This is an important factor to consider about your customers because the amount of money they earn determines how much they can afford to spend on your products. Salary also tells us a lot about a person’s lifestyle. For example, a middle-aged couple who perhaps don’t earn much will be comparing prices on several items before they decide on one to buy. But, a high-flying city worker would be willing to spend a lot more money for a high-quality good that really appeals to them.
c) Location: When selling on Alibaba, location must be considered as you have the possibility to reach an incredible 240 countries around the world! But, the products that you choose to sell will ultimately determine which customers you attract as culture is very different in different countries. For example, if you were to sell the prom gowns, one that an American would like to purchase may look very different to a gown that a Chinese girl would buy.
The above are just the basic three things you should think about before targeting customers, but you can make your demographic as detailed as you like by also studying factors like your customers’ occupations, values, hobbies and so on.
2. How much profit do you want to make?
Obviously everyone wants to make as much profit as possible, but realistically the type of products you sell, and the customers you sell them to, will reflect on the size of your profit margin. Continuing with the above example, if you sell spoons to average, middle-aged couples, then you won’t make much profit PER product, but you will expect to sell A LOT of the product, as they are essential for every household. In this case, your profit would rise slowly and steadily.
However, if you decided to sell the prom gowns then you would make a much larger profit per product, particularly if you made them yourself, but your profits would only come at certain times in the year.
3. Is your product easy to sell?
The simple way to find out if your product is easy to sell is to ask “Is it in demand?” If the answer is yes then you’re in business. But, the above products we have mentioned “spoons” and “prom gowns” cannot really be considered as “in demand”.
Products that are in demand are those from top brand names such as: Nike, Unilever, Forever21, L’Oreal and so on. These brands are trusted and customers know that when they buy these products they are getting genuine, high-quality goods.
The great thing about selling on Alibaba is that it is the go-to online marketplace for Chinese consumers. So that’s 640 million Internet users at your disposal who do not have access to these brands. This means that they are willing to pay a premium for products from the above brands and therefore by buying and reselling these products you will turn high profits.
4. How much can you spend on merchandise?
All of the products we have mentioned so far (spoons, prom gowns, brand goods) have the potential to make you profit on Alibaba. But, how much you can afford to spend is a large determining factor in what you should sell. For example, spoons can cost almost nothing. And, even the material to make prom gowns can be quite inexpensive. However, if you are purposely buying prom gowns in order to resell them then this may cost slightly more. And, brand goods also vary in price depending on what you want to sell.
To determine how much you can spend on merchandise you first need to calculate how much profit you expect to make, and how much you can afford to spend before you reap the profits from your sales. You should also calculate how much of your profits will be spent on buying further stock.
5. Can you compete?
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are millions of other merchants to compete with on Alibaba. If you follow the directions from this blog to find a product to sell then you will already know a great deal about your customer from your demographic plan. This gives you an edge over competitors because if you understand your customers then you will have a better chance of meeting their needs with your products. Another thing you can do to ensure you are a worthy competitor is research the competition. If you find out what other merchants are doing, particularly those that you will be in direct competition with, then you can adapt the things they are doing correctly, and steer clear from the things they are doing badly.
Alibaba.com has so much potential for online merchants to reach a worldwide market that they could not otherwise. Once you have decided upon the best product to sell be sure to read the free downloadable e-book, Instant Profits with Alibaba.com, by Issa Asad. This e-book is filled with detailed instructions on how you can start making money immediately with Alibaba.com!