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How to Source Zero Waste Products for a Brick and Mortar Retail Store?

Sourcing zero waste products wholesale for a brick and mortar retail store is difficult. There are hundreds of different brands and thousands of different products. As a shop owner, the question is, which products and brands are not only the most ethical, but also which ones will help your business become profitable?

As a successful zero waste business, the number 1 method we use for sourcing new and popular products is to look at Etsy!

Etsy gives potential buyers lots of valuable information to indicate whether a shop or product is successful, high-quality and has a good sales history! Check out this picture below and we’ll analyse the details that could help you make a buying decision 1-by-1.

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How to Analyse Sales Potential of a Store or Product

1. Total sales

Every store on Etsy has a shop page which details exactly how many sales they have had since joining the platform. In isolation, you might say that perhaps this shop has been on Etsy for 10 years and actually, that’s not so many sales.

However, if you scroll down, past the reviews of any Etsy store, you can see the date that they joined, and therefore calculate how many sales that particular brand achieved over the period.

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Here is an example of a product that for whatever reason has not been successful on Etsy. We’ve blocked out the store name to protect the business. Remember that the sales figure on the product page indicates the total sales for the entire store

You can see that the entire store has generated 135 sales, which may indicate to a potential wholesale client that the products have a smaller sales potential.

2. Product Ratings

Next to the total number of sales, Etsy puts an overall star rating for the store. This is helpful to a potential buyer because it gives you some insight into the overall quality of the store’s products.

The store pictured above offers a range of products that includes safety razors, coconut bowls, bamboo cutlery, coconut shell candles, shaving soaps and natural body soaps.

As you can see, the range of products is quite large, so it’s important that as a potential buyer we did a little bit deeper into the shop before sending them a message.

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Scroll further down the store page until you see the reviews. You’ll then be able to see that although the average review for the store is 5 stars, this does not necessarily mean that each individual item has an average review score of 5.

In order to see the reviews for each individual item, scroll through the reviews, paying particular attention to the photo next to the review and the comments that the buyer has listed.

This should give you a good idea of the overall quality of each product and also how happy the customers were with their purchase.

Although fake reviews are common online, (an estimated 50%). Fake reviews are generally more prevalent on Google and Amazon. Even if we conservatively say that 50% of reviews are indeed fake, then this store still has more than 1,500 reviews and you should still be able to gauge the quality and sales potential of the products by reading carefully into the reviews.

If you’re very concerned about fake reviews, read this guide that will help you spot fakes.

How to spot fake reviews online

3. Favourite shop

When looking for new wholesale zero waste products for your business it’s important that you source products that your customers will resonate with. Etsy is a particularly good platform for finding these types of brands because it includes a “Favourite shop” button which shows potential buyers how many customers have marked this store as one of their favourites.

This blog explains that when customers click favourite on a store, it means that they want to track it for sales, product releases and latest news.

If a store has a lot of favourites, then it’s a good indicator that customers will return to your shop to see if you have any new product releases from that particular brand!

4. Buyers are raving!

The buyers are raving feature on Etsy shows potential customers that in the last 7 days, shoppers have left multiple 5 star reviews for this particular shop.

The reason that this is important is that it lets you know that this store is actively selling well and pleasing their customers.

It may be the case that a shop’s sales have fizzled out, or that their quality standards have dropped, but paying attention to this marking will show you that the shop is still performing well and may be a good fit for your business.

How to purchase wholesale on Etsy?

Etsy is a champion of small businesses and unlike other platforms, there is nothing in their terms of service that prohibit customers from requesting to buy wholesale. In fact, if you scroll past a shop’s reviews and down to the very bottom, there’s actually a small piece of text that confirms whether or not that particular shop offers wholesale purchases.

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Once you have found a store that you would like to purchase from, simply message the store owner and request a wholesale brochure.

The fastest way to obtain a wholesale account with a brand is to tell them the following information:

  • Where you are based.
  • Are you online or brick and mortar?
  • Link to your website.
  • Tell them which products you’re looking for.

Once a brand has access to this information and can verify you as a legitimate business, they’ll more than likely send you out all of the information you need.

Conclusion

Now you know how to analyse the sales potential and quality of a product on Etsy! Log on and start searching for profitable products for your shop!

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