Online selling is one of the most lucrative businesses especially during these times when most people are shopping online. I am an online seller myself and I sell preloved goods for a living. If you are thinking of starting your own online selling business, here is a list of must-have equipment for new online sellers.
Photo by Maya Maceka on Unsplash
Desktop or Laptop Computer
You will be needing, of course, a desktop or laptop computer especially if you are thinking of posting to multiple online selling websites like eBay, Carousell, or Instagram.
It’s way easier to make an online listing online especially for multiple items using a desktop or a laptop.
Personally, I use an old model of Macbook Air (now discontinued). I got it on sale because it was already discontinued when I bought it. You can get newer models though of Macbook Air online or from authorized resellers in your country.
Of course, you can also use other laptops or desktops with another operating system such as Microsoft. Just be sure though that when choosing a desktop or laptop model, choose the ones that are capable and fast enough to multitask (such as I5 or I7 Intel Chips).
I’ve tried using I3 before and although it has a decent performance, I find it a bit slow for my needs.
I also use a Seagate Portable 2TB External Harddrive, because pictures take a lot of space and I don’t want to save all these pictures on my laptop as it will just slow it down eventually.
Most online selling websites now have apps on either Android or IOS. If you already have a smartphone then you don’t have to buy one for your online selling business. You can just use your personal phone.
If your phone also has an amazing camera setup then you might not need to buy a camera anymore.
A lot of newer smartphones nowadays have amazing photography setup that rivals standalone cameras.
Aside from taking pictures, you’re also going to use your phone as your main tool for communicating with customers.
If you don’t have a phone that can take great pictures, then I suggest that you buy one because it’s really important for this business. To save money on this gadget, you can either buy old phone models (with the specs that you need), buy a second-hand phone, or get a mobile phone plan that comes with a free phone (or discounted phone).
I do think that this will all boil down to preference since I have mentioned that a lot of phones nowadays can rival the performance of a lot of camera models.
Some sellers that I know still prefer using cameras to take pictures of their merchandise. Personally, I’m ok with using my smartphone since it does the job and I find it more convenient to do so.
I do use a mannequin on almost all of my merchandise since I am selling preloved clothes. The reason why I use a mannequin is that a lot of people would like to see how your items (clothes) look like when worn.
For some items that don’t fit my mannequin, I just post them properly hanged on a nice-looking clothes hanger.
Now, this is also optional since a lot of other online sellers are doing quite well without using a mannequin.
Ring light is one of the most important photography tools that you will need. It’s so much easier to take a great picture if the item is well-lit.
Another thing that you will need in order to take great and clear pictures is a tripod. Make sure that it has a phone connector when you buy a tripod (if you’re going to use your phone in taking pictures).
There are so many affordable tripods in the market nowadays and it’s not that hard to find one. You can also buy second-hand if you want to save money.
By the way, before you buy a tripod, check if your ring light also has this functionality. Some ring lights have a detachable phone connector already in the package.
If you will be selling clothes, then it’s important that you have a dedicated storage cabinet for them so you can easily organize them in your storage room.
When I started, I used large plastic storage bins. However, once I accumulated a lot of inventories, I find the plastic bins a bit impractical because every time someone buys an item, then I have to lift the bins to get to the one that is at the bottom of the stacked plastic storage bins.
It takes some time and it also hurts my back in doing so.
So, I slowly transitioned to using plastic storage drawer cabinets. It’s a bit more expensive of course but it’s more convenient and it saves me a lot of time too.
Heavy Duty Hanging Racks
I do have some clothing items that I don’t like to store in drawers because they will be damaged if folded for a long time. For these kinds of merchandise, I hang them on the heavy-duty hanging racks.
I used to buy the cheapest ones that I could find online. But after a couple of them broke due to the weight of the items, I bought the most affordable heavy-duty hanging racks that I found in the market.
If you will be selling bags and shoes then it’s also important to have a shelf where you could put them to. If you use shelves, then you could minimize damaging the bags and shoes.
I suggest that you buy stackable shelves so you could also save some space in your storage room. Just be sure to not put the heaviest item on the top to avoid breaking the shelf.
It might also be best to check the weight capacity of the shelves before you buy one.
If you will be selling leather goods and if you live in a very humid place then it’s advisable to use a dehumidifier in order to control moisture.
Moisture is the number one enemy of leather goods such as bags because it’s the main reason for molds and for the occurrence of an unpleasant smell in the interior of the bag.
I used to use the regular disposable dehumidifier and then I found myself buying a new one every now and then which I personally don’t find to be cost-efficient.
So, I bought two electric dehumidifiers and let them run alternately 24/7.
Oh man, this really changed my life because I don’t get molds anymore in my storage room which means, it helps me save a lot of time.
I do still clean my leather goods every once in a while using leather cleaners and leather conditioners. I also put reusable silica gels in the interior and in pockets of the bags to make sure that they always stay dry.
Regarding the electricity bill, I don’t think it consumes a lot because there’s not much increase in my electric bill. Bear in mind though that I only use the electric dehumidifier that can cover a small room (less than 15 sqm) and I keep the door and window closed to keep the moisture out.
Steam Iron/ Clothes Steamer
I used to use a regular flat iron in removing folds and creases from my merchandise before I take pictures of them. But in some fabrics, it leaves a mark that seems to be permanent and it devalues the item.
So I shifted to using a steam iron/clothes steamer. I use the one with a stand and I find it to be easier to use than the portable one and I find it sturdy too.
Using a clothes steamer saves me a lot of time because it removes the creases in almost an instant in most fabric and it does not damage the fabric.
Just be sure to read the care label of the garment before using any steamer just to be on the safe side.
Other than the equipment I mentioned above, I also bought the following supplies for my online shopping business:
- Electric lint remover
- Sticky lint remover
- Generic Dust Bags (Breathable Fabric)
- Generic Garment Bags (Also Breathable Fabric)
- Packaging Plastic for Clothes
- Sticky tapes
Final Thoughts and a Few Tips Before You Buy Anything
I know that starting a business cost money and as starting entrepreneurs, we want to save as much as we could on our equipment and supplies so we can use the money to buy our inventory. So before you buy any equipment or any supply, here are some tips that can help you save some money.
Don’t Buy Everything All At Once
If you don’t have enough money yet, then you don’t have to buy everything all at once. Start with the basics first such as your posting equipment (laptop, phone, tripod, ring light) and one storage cabinet.
Personally, I buy things in batches so I don’t have to shell out huge money right away. I get the money from my sales. So, it’s like reinvesting a portion of my income into the business.
Borrow If You Can
If you don’t have the money for something then you might as well borrow the equipment first until the time that you can buy them.
When I started, I just borrowed a few equipment first so I don’t have to buy them.
Invest in Proper Storage
It is very important to invest in proper storage in order to ensure that your items don’t get damaged while they’re in your possession, especially for branded and expensive items.
I have regretted having thrown out a lot of items just because they were damaged. Some items got so moldy that I can’t even just give them away because they also have developed a bad smell.
I didn’t know yet how to store my items properly during my first few months and it resulted in a loss of revenue and loss of capital as well.
Buy with Caution
Before you buy any equipment, read reviews and buy with caution. When I started, I always buy the cheapest one and in some cases, those items ended up breaking after just a few weeks of use.
This time, I study carefully the things that I will buy and compare them to my needs before I make any purchase.
For example, if you know that you will be putting 15 – 20 KGs on your shelf, then don’t buy wobbly shelves and buy the ones that are specific for those weight limits.
Buying the right item for your need will save you time, money and free you from possible stress.
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