Homeware and giftware shop... What are your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Websites & Ecommerce' started by doubledutch, May 8, 2012.

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  1. doubledutch

    doubledutch UKBF Newcomer

    14 0

    I am seriously considering setting up a small (to start with) Homeware and giftware shop. We would be selling beautiful gifts bought from wholesalers (think shabby sheek, vintage etc) as well as hand made ceramics by credible artists such as paul Cardew (mr tea pots) and others, as well as hand made local goods like cushions and aprons and a range of tableware designed and produced by me. We would also like to sell framed prints and are in the process of talking to a local gallery about selling art as well.

    Soooo it's a gift and Homeware shop that also sells real art, one off ceramics by credible ceramicists and possibly framed prints and of course some bought in gift and Homeware - everything will of course be beautiful!

    My question to the good people of this forum is am I jumping into an already saturated market? Am I flogging a dead horse or is there a usp in there that just might make this viable?

    I am happy to give more details such as budget/experience etc but didn't want to overload my post (my first one at that!)

    Thanks in advance
    Posted: May 8, 2012 By: doubledutch Member since: May 3, 2012
  2. darren atkinson

    darren atkinson UKBF Big Shot

    815 174
    If you are talking about an ecommerce shop (?) then it is a very saturated and competitive market.

    The first issue is how you are going to effectively display your goods in an electronic format, will pictures do them justice?

    Secondly you have the age old advertising problem, how are you going to attract visitors. PPC or paid search advertising is expensive as is search engine optimisation (SEO).

    It's like anything really, if your heart is in it and you are dedicated to making it a success then go for it, but just don't underestimate how difficult it is going to be.

    If you are not ready for an uphill battle and to work all hours with little or no reward then don't bother starting up.

    I started my ecommerce site almost 4 years ago now and although I had the massive advantages that I could build the site myself, was an SEO and paid search consultant and had a good product with decent profit margins I'm still battling at it even now. It never gets easier, but because I'm dedicated to it then it makes it do'able.
    Posted: May 9, 2012 By: darren atkinson Member since: Sep 21, 2005
  3. dougie_bulldogbackup

    dougie_bulldogbackup UKBF Newcomer

    9 0
    Having been running an online business since 2010 I can only echo what Darren has to say.

    My advice would be to look down the Ebay shop route in the first instance, that way you can get yourself in front of people who are actively searching for the types of items you propose to sell. It may not carry the kudos of your own Ecommerce store but it will allow you to test the market and see if this is something that will fly.
    Posted: May 9, 2012 By: dougie_bulldogbackup Member since: May 8, 2012
  4. webstore

    webstore UKBF Ace

    700 106
    Every ecommerce sector is saturated albeit in varying degrees.

    As others have suggested start with eBay and maybe Amazon but also do start your own low cost on-line shop of which there are plenty of very low cost options out there.

    That way you are not putting all your eggs in one basket !
    Posted: May 9, 2012 By: webstore Member since: Nov 7, 2010
  5. doubledutch

    doubledutch UKBF Newcomer

    14 0
    darren thanks for your response. And yes im looking at ecommerse, hence posting in this forum :)

    Displaying the goods shouldn't be a problem, I have experience in this field so am not to worried about that.

    Advertising is something im looking into and am finding quite scary. I don't have a huge budget so am looking for alternative options, but yes agreed, it's full on. I am looking at a bit of ppc to get me started and obviously some (fairly basic) seo on my site but not going to go nuts to start with, I plan on mailing a lot of magazines and trying to get advertorials placed or even editorials (my current business partner was in editing so she can help) as well as going bonkers on the old social media.

    Interestingly im in a similar situation that you were when you started out but more on the creative side, i dont do code but I do do everything else, and I have a great team of techies I use a lot, so they can help me with the stuff I cant do as well as having business partners in PR and marketing... Well im dedicated and mad for it so hopefully that should help!!!

    Hope your business picks up soon!

    Posted: May 9, 2012 By: doubledutch Member since: May 3, 2012
  6. doubledutch

    doubledutch UKBF Newcomer

    14 0

    Webstore thanks for the reply. That was exactly my plan! cheap off the peg web store (velusion, big commerce etc, I have a whole load of questions around this but I'll save that for another thread!) and ebay shop and possibly amazon and take it from there. I also already run a business (with 2 other people) so Im not planning on this being my only job or source of income, Im really just testing the waters and at the very least hoping to make the money back that I invest... So nothing to risky I hope!
    Posted: May 9, 2012 By: doubledutch Member since: May 3, 2012
  7. darren atkinson

    darren atkinson UKBF Big Shot

    815 174
    No problem at all.

    Everyone who asks me about eCommerce seems to think its a pretty easy life, it's not at all but doing it well is very rewarding in every sense.

    You mentioned above about getting advertorials and editorials, I think this is good and you obviously have some good help to lean on with this.

    From the web side of things actually getting guest blog posts and getting involved in online communities for people interested in your area will be really beneficial to you. Guest posting is one of the best ways to get good quality links, if your writing and content are good enough that is, but I'm sure you will have this covered!

    Good luck with it all.
    Posted: May 9, 2012 By: darren atkinson Member since: Sep 21, 2005
  8. AmazingGiftBoxes

    AmazingGiftBoxes UKBF Regular

    201 48
    There is so many gift shops it is unbeliveble and all of them are selling similar goods.

    The only way you can succed is by having exclusive product.

    I cold called few gift shops in my town with my gift bags and I hit a jacpot, why???? Because I sourced some exclusive hand made gift bags and gift boxes that you will never find in any gift shop.

    Now I am in the process of finishing my e-commerce shop and I hope that I can take it to the next level.

    Amazing Gift Boxes - Wholesale of handmade gift bags and boxes.
    Posted: May 9, 2012 By: AmazingGiftBoxes Member since: Oct 30, 2011
  9. designhull

    designhull UKBF Newcomer

    33 6
    Hi Poster,

    eCommerce is a very strategic, painful, rewarding, heart breaking niche to get involved with.

    I've done a number of projects for clients around my area/local to me, many of them shops sell artwork, electrical goods, home and leisure products etc.

    Out of 10 of them clients, 3 was aware from the beginning what it would take in terms of investment, effort and commitment to try and make their business successful online, sadly the other 7 did not last long at all.

    You are looking to go in to a very saturated niche/market, so to try and succeed you run the risk of coming up against some of the below problems;

    - Blowing large budgets using PPC networks (Google Adsense - In a competitive market you'll be paying a hell of a lot for a visitor), with very little return (unless of course your products/website converts, which would be great).

    - Products not being unique, what I mean in unique is the same products not being peppered all around the web on other shopping carts at different prices.

    What separates your products from competitors, uniqueness? price? quality?

    - You will find it hard to target a specific target audience.

    - Traffic will be hard to come by, the cheaper methods of gaining traffic for your website would to be try and rank organically, with a new domain name, and the possibility of many other websites targeting the same keywords, with what you call authority on the search engines, it would be an uphill battle, it can be cheaper if done correctly, and you employ the correct person to do the job in hand.

    I wish you the best of success if you go ahead and try and establish your new business model online.

    Us guys are just giving our honest views, and worse case scenarios... I could mention many positive things leading to success, but to succeed in business you have to way up the risks, and accept it's a possibility.

    If you go ahead, and your still biting your lips to crack on with it, I admire you and your half way there to becoming successful.

    If you know what your going to be selling, and you know the keywords you want to target, before hand it would be a good idea to use the google adwords keyword tool, to see the local and global searches for certain keywords, you can select additional information via the options tabs, including CPC etc for them keywords, so you can get a rough idea of what you'll be looking to pay if you go with PPC advertising.


    Have a look at the ranks of your competitors online for keywords you want to target too.

    I'm a web designer, html, css3, php, i'm a master with wordpress, very good with magneto, and SEO is what I really enjoy doing.

    If you ever need anything drop me a PM, or any of the thousands of great users on these forums.

    Last edited: May 9, 2012
    Posted: May 9, 2012 By: designhull Member since: Oct 11, 2010
  10. doubledutch

    doubledutch UKBF Newcomer

    14 0
    Designhull Wow thanks for the response! Good honest no nonsense stuff! It's exactly what I was hoping for.

    On reflection I'm thinking I will cut the bought in wholesale products to half my original planned spend due to it being everywhere and increase the one off, hand made or exclusive products, of which I'm lucky enough to be able to get quite a lot of... Lots more thinking to do!

    Thanks again

    Edit: oh and thanks for the keyword advice!
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
    Posted: May 9, 2012 By: doubledutch Member since: May 3, 2012
  11. doubledutch

    doubledutch UKBF Newcomer

    14 0
    Thanks to everyone who posted so far! I really apreciate you giving your time and thoughts, it's invaluable, no matter how scary!

    I'm off on holiday tomorrow so may not get a chance to check the thread for a week or so, but I will be back.

    Thanks again
    Posted: May 9, 2012 By: doubledutch Member since: May 3, 2012
  12. j600com

    j600com UKBF Big Shot

    752 201
    Also be aware that selling unbranded products is a lot harder than selling branded ones online. Usually unbranded products are much tougher/more expensive to market.

    So whilst unique and querky unbranded goods may work in-store (because you've already got the footfall and customers have stumbled over them) this is often not the case online, so consider stocking some kind of branded goods even if nothing else they are used to get people to the site, who can then be cross-sold with the unbranded stuff.

    You can use various tools online to see which homeware brands are getting searched for.
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
    Posted: May 11, 2012 By: j600com Member since: Apr 27, 2011
  13. Matthew hedger

    Matthew hedger UKBF Newcomer

    1 0
    I have recently started my own business and its amazing.

    There is some good advice on here all ready, but all i would say it you just have to go ahead and learn as you go. You can read hundreds of these message with there very own input and experience, but the best way to learn to to actual do it yourself.

    Start small and always work to a plan. Business fail because they don't execute it in the right way... That's it.. Business is simple you just need to get the basics right..

    Good luck...
    Posted: Nov 19, 2012 By: Matthew hedger Member since: Nov 19, 2012
  14. japancool

    japancool UKBF Legend

    5,299 1,236
    No, but I have some exclusive homeware that you won't find anywhere else. ;)
    Posted: Jul 10, 2016 By: japancool Member since: Jul 11, 2013
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