I've been working hard on my new website this week and am just about to let it go live - scary and exciting, a bit like childbirth really. My site promotes and sells premium goods made in Somerset - cider, Cheddar cheese, willow, sheepskin/leather goods, also original handmade art & crafts -find us at www.love-somerset.co.uk.
I still haven't got all the products I would like to list yet, but as this will be an organic process -have decided to open up the shop anyway. Am using a mix of affiliate links through Amazon etc, as well as a personal approach to local independent producers/suppliers to set up trading agreements and sell their goods direct from my site.
It has been harder than I thought to get agreements with medium-size companies, many have their own sites and only want to fulfill full-price private orders or larger wholesale trade orders; unfortunately I am somewhere in the middle! I didn't want to hold stock, as apart from the obvious expense I knew it would limit what I could offer in my shop.
I was surprised at the number of small Somerset independents I found already retailing through Amazon, some still fulfill orders themselves, but I think some have sent stock to some of Amazon's central warehouses and these orders get fulfilled by Amazon. As I can get a small commission on each order that's directed through my site, this can work out better than processing the order myself, paying merchant fees and the subsequent order processing admin.
After extensive! research, I've found that Amazon is often the cheaper/quicker option for quite a few products (especially books/CDs), so have decided that this is the way to go for some things at least for now. Maybe as my site grows, I will be able to come to a better agreement with these producers and make it worthwhile selling their products direct from my site.
My site's main USP is to offer a high-quality comprehensive collection from the whole of Somerset and it's going to take most of this month to fill the categories I've created.
If there are any independent Somerset producers / manufacturers / retailers reading this blog and you would like to sell your items in my shop (we take order and payment - you despatch), please contact me at the site or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone who has tried to do something similar, please mail in with your advice and suggestions, also any comments on my new site would be really great - it's hard to be objective when you look at something for long hours every day.
Love and Peace from Somerset xxx