This week’s blog is about breaking the glass ceiling on your market and expanding it beyond its local reach – even if you are a localised service provider like a shoe repairer, a mechanic or a beautician.
Colin Hatcher from Speedie Shoe Repairs has used online trading to take a local market on the Gold Coast and expand it Australia-wide.
The small business owner has made $5,000 in the last six months solely from selling products on Bartercard’s online trading platform mybc – not bad for a side initiative with minimum overhead costs.While shoe repairs and key cutting is the bread and butter of his business, he said that selling remotes and engraved pet tags on Bartercard’s online trading platform mybc has attracted a new market of customers around Australia.
“That’s is the beauty of e-commerce,” he said.
“Business owners in service orientated industries who are typically restricted to a local market can find new ways of reaching a bigger pool of customers online.
“Logistically, you can’t sell shoe repairs or key-cutting, but I’ve sold stock that I can post out, and mybc is an excellent platform to use because it reaches a unique market of consumers transacting in a digital currency which they want to spend instead of cash.”
His advice is to think outside the box.
“If you’re a mechanic, why not sell parts online, or if you’re a masseuse, could you sell oils? You need to be constantly thinking 'is there anything that I can post out to customers?'”
Colin joined Bartercard six months ago and has since traded $20,000 in buying and selling combined.
He said that Bartercard is an excellent tool for small business owners in service-orientated industries because it lets them continue providing their services in their down-time, and stay competitive against bigger brands that are pushing prices down through e-commerce.
“So, while you’re quiet in the cash economy you’re still providing services where the only cost is your overheads, and earning a digital currency that you can spend on business expenses (all tax deductible) or cover a host of lifestyle costs instead of reaching into your pocket.”
He said the key to Bartercard is finding ways to spend the trade dollars which he’s used to cover the cost of renovations, a business coach, marketing services, his children’s haircuts, pest control, getting his lawn mowed each fortnight, a gym membership and a personal trainer for his wife, and taking his family on holidays.
“I’ve had two bathrooms fitted out on Bartercard, all funded through the extra business I’ve attracted,” he said.
“It’s also paid for a chiropractor that would have cost me thousands of dollars in cash, and accommodation in Yamba, NSW for a family holiday which let me keep $1,700 in my pocket.”
I joined Bartercard because I would rather still be earning in my downtime, and the trade dollars earned have paid for a range of business and lifestyle costs. This all assists to conserve my cash flow.”
Colin’s 5 tips for selling on mybc to expand your market include:
- Think outside the box – “If you provide a service, are there any products you could sell online?”
- Offer free postage – “This is a value-add for buyers and can push them over the line when deciding whether to purchase or not.”
- Refresh your listing each month to keep it at the top of the search page – “Add content to your listings - this pushes it back to the top of the list.”
- List under several categories to make your product more searchable. “I list my garage remotes under electronic, miscellaneous and a couple of other categories to help buyers find them easily.”
- You can also list services targeted to a local market and bundle services into a package – “For example, three sets of shoe repairs at a package deal – anyone who wears heels will know the value!”