What if I told you that you can make money through a simple mobile app called WeChat without investing anything? Too good to be true? I am not making this up. Selling on WeChat can be just as easy as chatting with your friends.
A couple of months ago I took a trip to New York from Ireland (where I live) because I love shopping there. There are so many brands that are either not available in China and Europe, or are much cheaper in the US. When my friends on WeChat asked me to get them the same dresses that I bought and wore in the US – I suddenly realized that I can make money out of shopping. Could it get any better than this?!
Find a unique selling approach
When I first started selling on WeChat, I had no idea what selling approach to take since I didn’t have my own branded products. There are a lot of people in China selling luxury products and other things like baby formula on WeChat already. Those products to me are boring, plus the markets are too saturated. As far as I know, those who are selling luxury products have a low number of sales and popular products like baby formula have very low margins. I believe there is no point to sell something you don’t enjoy yourself. Well, I came from a design background and I wanted to sell something that stands for me. I like fashion and my friends on WeChat trust my taste, so why not sell unique clothing?
N0 investment and no inventory needed
The best part about selling on WeChat is I don’t need to purchase inventory in advance. Customers will pre-order and then I purchase. Sometimes when a store is having a sale, I will purchase and store some unique items. Because they are on sale, my margins will be much higher and I can always return the unsold products to the store.
I still remember my first sale on WeChat was Minions clothing. I went into a shop and saw unique Minions clothing. The latest Minions movie was about to be in theaters soon in China so I knew it was a good opportunity. I took some pictures of the clothing, found photos of celebrities wearing Minions and posted on my WeChat moments (similar to a Facebook post). Then the inquiries started coming in and the next morning I had about 80 orders! That day I had to carry 20kg (about 45 lbs) of clothing home!
Setting up your own group
Since my customer base was getting bigger, I decided to set up my own group instead of posting everything to WeChat moments. It’s easier to communicate with my customers in the group who are interested in my product choices. Also, Chinese people tend to go with the flow, meaning if one customer in the group purchases my products, other customers in the group are very likely to follow. Another benefit is that they can directly request the products they want you to source. I encourage my customers to introduce their friends or their friends’ friends into my group and reward them by using WeChat’s best features. Within one month, my sales reached over ?12k with over 50% profit margin. Not bad for someone like me doing this as a hobby!
Setting up WeChat official account admin platform
Since my audiences continued to grow, I set up my WeChat official account admin platform recently to promote my brand. The purpose is not just trying to sell stuff. I also want to share uniquely designed products to my subscribers and raise brand awareness.
WeChat vs. TaoBao
I am a loyal shopper at TaoBao and you may wonder why I haven’t opened a shop on Taobao. The answer is simple. My advantage is the fact that I am living in Europe – so Chinese consumers approach me for products that are not available in China. Chinese consumers have the perception that foreign products have better quality and better design (even though many of the products are actually made in China!). Friends in my WeChat circle know I am physically in Europe so the products I am selling are genuinely from Europe. A lot of sellers on Taobao claim they are selling western products, but usually aren’t. So there is no trust in Taobao when it comes to purchasing products from abroad.
WeChat has its own payment system. Normally I receive the payment before I deliver the products. That’s why people on WeChat prefer to do business with friends or friends’ friends whom they can trust. Alternatively, I offer the Alipay payment option to someone who doesn’t use WeChat payment. You can link a few credit or debit cards when selling on WeChat.
How much you can sell on WeChat totally depend on the products you choose, and the effort and time you put in. I am only selling on WeChat part-time and I’m making a business out of my shopping addiction. So if you are a shopaholic like me, I suggest you think about making a business out of it! The fun and fulfillment you will gain from this experience is AMAZING!
Looking to start your own business? Check out these 50 hot products you can sell right now.
Matt Clark is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Amazing.com, a serial entrepreneur, and investor. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNBC, and Entrepreneur.com.