Don’t let the big guys intimidate you

Untitled-1Selling customised goods online is very competitive. There are big players with big pockets, and they can feel a bit intimidating for small businesses. Brenden Prazner, product manager of DecoNetowrk, explains why you shouldn’t let this intimidate you.

Just look at Zazzle; the company has acquired external investment of over £32m to grow its online business. Spreadshirt has raised £8.9m in two rounds of investment. CafePress has annual sales of £108m in 2014. These companies have built empires around the concept of selling customised products online.

But don’t worry. There’s no reason to let the big players hold you back. You have something that the big players don’t.

What’s your advantage?

That’s simple: You’re local.

You’re connected to local needs. You understand your market.

Most importantly, you’re on the spot to take advantage of the lucrative opportunity that is business to business. You don’t have to rely on business to customer.

What’s B2B and B2C?

Business to business (B2B) is where one business makes a commercial transaction with another business. In our industry this translates to a school, charity, sports club or local business buying your products and services.

You’re the face that your locals recognise and rely on for prompt, reliable service. The big guys are anonymous. You’re a person, and your customers can go offline when needed and talk to a hum being.

You’ve probably realised the value of personal service in your business to consumer (B2C) transactions. That’s when an individual buys a product for their own use or as a gift.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you’re stuck in a B2C niche. Business to consumer seems to be most dominant consumer business model on the internet, but that’s not the dominant business model in terms of revenue. B2B will make you more money.

We survey businesses who use DecoNetwork and found that business to business is 305% more lucrative in terms of total revenue. It yields a pre-order revenue value 681% greater than business to consumer.

Revenue-wise, that’s a massive £319.81 versus £40.93.

The reason for this massive difference is the size of the market segments. There are far more businesses, schools and organisations who require custom decorated products than there are consumers looking for personalised products and gifts. And your local business or organisation will typically purchase larger quantities than a one-off private consumer.

Over time, happy B2B customers will develop confidence in you and start placing their orders directly online. Reducing manual order management means increased revenue. What’s not to like?

Should I ignore B2C?

Not at all. Embrace both opportunities. Many software solutions designed to help you tackle the challenges of selling B2B decorated products also provide a website and web designer element to help you capture any online B2C consumers that float your way.

But get out there and think big. Your face and your local presence matter. Because your customers know who you are and where to find you, you have an advantage over the big guys. Use it. Take advantage of that lucrative local business to business cash cow and grow your business.

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