If you’ve read my blog before or you’ve seen me talk about third-party marketplaces previously then you know how popular they are becoming especially during these times and I truly believe that they have a lot of potential and benefits if you want to wholesale your products.
I recently spoke with Jana from The Completist on a live webinar all about the third party marketplace Faire.com and her experience with them. Jana founded The Completist, a successful and beautiful printed paper and stationery brand alongside her husband in January 2018 and it has quickly become one of the ‘go to’ brands for fashion inspired stationery and paper goods.
Since founding The Completist Jana has been selling on Faire.com since 2019 and she kindly shared her knowledge and time with my Facebook group, which was a huge success and I am very grateful to her for being so generous.
The Completist was one of the first UK brands that Faire.com approached and Jana told us how they help to keep them going in the quieter months and how easy it was to get started. Faire.com is a US marketplace that has grown rapidly and is ideal if you want to have a presence in the US.
Some of the key questions Jana answered about Faire.com were:
How easy is it to get set up?
It was quick and easy for Jana as she was approached but some users have reported that if you apply it is a slower process. You can also recommend other businesses which may make the process faster.
Has Brexit messed everything up with shipping to the US?
In short, No it hasn’t made any difference. Jana ships 99% of her shipments with DHL using a comparison marketplace https://www.inxpress.com/ which she highly recommends.
How do you price your products for the US market?
As the conversion rates fluctuate it can be hard to always have a direct conversion of your product price when you are selling in different countries. The ideal situation is to round up your price to make sure you cover yourself and you have a bit of buffer. Jana has a lot of repeat orders on Faire.com and recommends having a consistent price not only for yourself but also for the stockists.
What has made you a success on Faire.com?
Faire.com recommends to ship quickly so if Jana can send an order out on the day that she receives it this helps with building trust and relationships with the US stockists. They also recommend adding products every six months to keep your store looking fresh. Cancellations from your end and return rates can also affect your positioning in the search.
Do you sell in packs on Faire or singles as well?
Jana sells just in packs but if you have a higher-priced product you could sell on a one-off basis. I would recommend treating marketplaces the same as you would with your usual stockists.
Do you have to follow up with your buyers on Faire?
Faire has a great automated email system which means they will try and push your products out for you at the start including promotions and they also have the functionality to do marketing emails through their platform.
How do you package your wholesale orders to the US?
As your parcels are travelling a long distance you need to make sure that they are packaged securely and are unlikely to get damaged. You also need to consider the size and weight of your parcel as the bigger it is the more expensive it will be. Double-walled boxes are always a good choice but it’s also worth adding a lining or padding the boxes out just in case. You don’t need to hand wrap every item but make sure your items are packed tightly and use light items that won’t add to the cost of the shipping.
Do you recommend existing stockists and enquiries to order through Faire.com?
For the US Jana recommends that you definitely refer them to Faire as you don’t pay commission so it doesn’t make a difference to you. The benefit to your customers is that they can choose preferential payment terms on Faire so this could be 60 days or 90 days which will be different to working directly with them. As a note Faire will always pay you within 30 days regardless of the payment terms as well which is less risk for you in the long run.
Do you get UK buyers on Faire?
If you are not established in the UK within wholesale then Jana recommends using Faire.com as part of your wholesale strategy to find UK buyers as well as they are coming through. Faire also run discounts and add ons such as free shipping so if you can offer this to your customer through Faire then it seems like a no brainer!
Do buyers expect the same wholesale price even though I have to pay commission? Should I add an extra 20% to my prices to cover this cost?
Jana does not recommend adding an extra 20% to your prices and Faire keeps an eye on your prices which means they could penalise you for doing so. You can factor in the commission to your wholesale prices in the first place if possible and don’t forget that it’s 25% on the first order and 15% on the subsequent orders. Try and look at it in the way you are gaining a sale, reaching a huge audience and have money in your pocket so you have to take the hit on the commission if you can.
What margins do Faire.com expect?
Double! In order to make the margin work you have to order enough product in the first place and most importantly don’t short change yourself. Market research will work in your favour here, look at competitors pricing and if you can’t make it work then look at your volumes and see if you can make a better margin that way.
Our Q&A session with Jana was so interesting and it was fantastic to find out first hand how a third party marketplace really works behind the scenes. She has had huge success on the marketplace and it really comes down to shipping quickly, having fair prices (no pun intended), make your product descriptions and photos clear and appealing and having a good product that will appeal to buyers!
Jana recommended a Facebook group for Faire sellers which you can find here - https://www.facebook.com/groups/fairebrands and if you want to catch up on the whole conversation then you can join my private Facebook group - Let’s talk wholesale where you will also find like-minded business owners who are interested or established in wholesale. There are plenty of other third party marketplaces that are worth looking into and you can find a breakdown and download a free comparison guide in my blog post here.