Masia Andrisano runs Cute Baby Angels Ltd, selling baby products on eBay and Amazon, and they’ve just launched a new website. With nine years of experience as an online seller, Masia shares her tips on getting started and how to compete against low prices on eBay.
Why did you start selling online?
I was working as a flight attendant when I became pregnant nine years ago. You need to be more settled when you have children so at first my husband went on sabbatical leave and started the company while I went back to work. After a year I took over the business as it was starting to do well.
It’s always been an online business: we started selling on eBay and it went really well, then after four years we started selling on Amazon. You can reach more people selling online, some of the products we have on eBay sell internationally quite often. We’ve now just launched our own website as well using Shopify.
Do you notice a difference between eBay and Amazon?
They are two very different places, I find that items that sell on eBay don’t sell on Amazon. People usually go to eBay looking for a bargain. It can be very competitive on eBay, listings appear with low prices that can’t be enough to cover costs and fees, but they don’t last long. You need to have consistently good customer service, and good feedback scores because people will check. Often those listings with very low prices will have poor feedback as well.
While you need to obey the rules, you get the benefit of selling on a well known site: they run advertisements and your listings can rank well in search results. Even when our website picks up we’ll still sell on eBay and Amazon.
How do you choose your products?
The key is to sell products before others do, get a new product listed first. There are some products I stick to, but I’m always looking for new items. New parents are very concerned about the products they buy, they want the best. On top of that, when you sell baby products you always need to have safety in mind.
What have been your biggest challenges selling online, and how have you overcome them?
I think our biggest challenge is the need to always provide excellent customer service, it can be very demanding and sometimes the requests are absurd. Selling on eBay you have to follow a lot of rules, and their rules tend to be very customer-focused, against the seller. You need to be prepared for when something comes up, and very patient when dealing with customers.
When I’m handling problems I always try to keep the customer happy, I’ll apologise, accept the return and if necessary offer a discount. Most of the time I end up with happy customers.
What are your top recommendations for people starting out selling online?
Before starting to sell online you need to understand the market, you need to be able to understand what customers want and need. You also need to fully understand all of the costs that are involved, and be aware that you might not make a profit straight away. Apart from that, I would say you need to be focused and to believe in yourself and the business.
Why do you use Zenstores Dispatch?
Zenstores Dispatch has helped me a lot, it’s been a lifeline. I was using Royal Mail OBA and DMO to print 2D barcode labels and it was really time consuming. So I started browsing online for an alternative and came across Zenstores.
It’s been great since day one, it’s got everything under one roof - I can print labels, dispatch on Zenstores and then the tracking numbers are added to eBay and Amazon. I wouldn’t go back. It is an extra expense each month but on the other side it probably saves me one to two hours a day so if you count hours as money then it’s definitely worth it.
Do you have any plans for growing your business?
We’ve just launched our own website using Shopify, so we’re going to be promoting that and I’m looking forwards to seeing it grow. Eventually, I would like to launch my own brand of baby products; design them myself and get them manufactured. That’s a long way off but I believe that I’ll get there eventually.