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E-Commerce: Setting up a website

I am currently bringing handcrafted jewellery from Africa in the UK and selling to shops. It has proved very popular and I have an almost 90% success rate. I myself have recently began selling at craft fayres, gift shows and music festivals and have done very well.

At these events I enjoy the face-to-face interaction with the customers and seeing how they respond to the jewellery. Many ask if I have a website so they can purchase more jewellery in the future. I am now interested in seeing if I can sell via a website but am not sure about my pricing.

If I set a price on my website that is lower (say by 30%) than the retail shops are selling the product for won’t the shops react unfavourably? I should add that I give the shops an ‘information tag’ that they can give to their customer on which is printed information about the women who craft the jewellery but there is no contact information on the ‘tag’.

This same ‘tag’ is given to the fayre customers but is of not much use because there is no contact info. If I go ahead with the website should I inform the shops to which I sell that I am selling online? It has been suggested to me that I should develop a new business name so that the shops aren’t aware that I am undercutting them.

Fadi Shuman, e-commerce director and founder of Pod1:
Firstly, congratulations on managing to have a 90% success rate, you must be doing something right! If you can apply this talent to your website, then I’m sure you’ll do very well.

To answer your question on pricing. The web is no longer the place that you have to necessarily sell your goods at a discount rate. People are buying online for convenience and breadth of choice more than the fact that they can get the same goods cheaper. Online can also help you create a brand for your products, providing background on the jewellery, how they’re made etc. So I don’t think you should be selling your products any cheaper than retail shops.

Having a new business name for your online brand is an easy way around all this but in the long run, your business will benefit more by getting the same brand name noticed in all touch points.

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