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How to start out selling Avon online through online market places

I often get asked the question "how do you sell Avon on eBay and Amazon?" I guess what the reps are really asking is how do they start out.

I started out in 2010, the day it snowed so hard that I couldn't get my car off the drive to go and collect brochures from my physical customers. With time on my hands and after to speaking to a colleague who had mentioned about Avon reps selling on eBay I decided I would have a look into it. There is plenty of information on the eBay help pages about how to set up a shop and at the time the cost of a shop was £14.99 so I decided I would give it a go. After all the most I could lose was £14.99 given that eBay include 100 free listings in the subscription and no other fees are payable unless an item sells. I started out with around 20 mascaras that I had bought whilst they were on offer at £1.99 each in the customer brochure. I looked what everyone else was selling them for and pitched in around the same level. Within 2 days they had all gone.

That was the beginning of my online business which today has expanded onto Amazon and is currently turning over £225,000 per year.

eBay is without doubt the best place to start out, graduating to Amazon at a later date. Amazon is more lucrative but it's more expensive and it's harder to start up as a professional seller without jumping through what I describe as "Amazon hoops". Both eBay and Amazon have checks and measures in place to make sure you're a genuine trader but Amazon's are more stringent and harder to meet if you are just starting out.

Wherever you choose to start out there are a number of things you will need but the most important of these is capital. Online buyers do not want to and will not wait 3 weeks whilst Avon deliver your order to you. If they order something they want it in a couple of days. Therefore, before you can start out you need money with which to buy stock. Ideally, you will have some money in savings but you could borrow some if you are prepared to take that risk. The other alternative is to focus on your Avon door to door/family & friends business and save the profits you make until you have enough to set up shop and keep you going for a couple of months.

In an ideal world around £500 would be enough to get going. You could get away with £350 or possibly lower if you have regular customer orders. The main thing is that you have enough to pay Avon for at least the first 3 campaigns until your business is generating enough income to pay for the stock you ordered in the previous campaign. At the time of writing the HOV (high order value) to get 25% discount from Avon is £160. Therefore you would need to make sure your Avon order was above this amount as you want and need the biggest discount possible. Remember the lower you pay for an item the more money you're going to make.

It will take around 2 months to get any real volume of sales so you need enough money to pay the Avon invoice when it falls due. Below is worked example of how the money might come in and go out, otherwise known as cashflow.

Worked example of a cashflow forecast

So you will see that in this example you really don't break even until around your 4th campaign trading online. It can happen sooner or may happen later but you will notice that in the above example there is still £70 left of the initial capital so if the break even point happened later then there would still be a reserve of money to keep paying Avon.

Until you have the £350 minimum and have bought your stock and Avon have delivered it to you (stock on hand) there is really no point in opening your shop as the subscription fee starts running from the day you open. My next blog will guide you through the process of getting your shop set up and first items listed. Be sure to check back in next time.

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