I'm delighted to share with you an inspirational success story of a woman who has managed to build a very successful online business, working on her own terms. Yvonne Decoteau has been running her business for four years now and is going from strength to strength. Her mosquito nets are the No 1 seller on Amazon in its category out of almost 8,000 entries!
Yvonne has great knowledge of using Amazon in her business - which is where the majority of her sales are made - and shares some tips with us here.
My journey of making money online goes back to 2007. By day I was a legal accountant; in the evenings I often found myself often selling items I no longer needed on eBay.
I increasingly became good at it and so it wasn’t long before I began to ‘flip’ items on the online platform (ie. I’d buy an item, tweak the title and description and resell it on the same platform to make a profit). I also got really good at targeting items that were good sellers on eBay.
Then one day, I thought, ‘What if there was product I could sell on eBay that could earn an income to replace my wages’? I had no idea what that product might be at the time but I visualised working from home, being the boss and running my own business. The fact that I was expecting my first child at the time and was not too far away from being on maternity leave definitely helped to ignite this thought.
So, I decided to search for items that I could sell. I found a wholesaler in Chelmsford, Essex (England) that had a wide variety of items for sale. I decided to check every item they sold… I was looking for a pattern. Then one day, I found it! I noticed that the mosquito net they listed as a ‘buy it now’ item (not auction), would sell immediately, then the listing would appear again. I monitored this for a couple of weeks.
I approached the company and purchased all of their 396 nets. As I wanted the monopoly, I kindly requested they remove their listing immediately and cheekily asked them for the listing image… and I got it!
Within a matter of weeks I had sold out of the nets on eBay. From then, I knew I had found a niche product that I could grow into a business.
Today, I happily run my business from home around my two young daughters. I also sell a range of adult and children’s bed canopies.
I sell on Amazon’s UK platform as well as on Amazon Germany, France, Spain, Italy, US and Canada, and several other platforms also.
Sales have quadrupled since starting the business which I believe is largely due to the Zika virus and the forthcoming Olympics with people ensuring they protect themselves against mosquito bites.
I have customers from all over the world with many buying the mosquito nets for their holidays and even in their gardens to protect their babies whilst in their buggies. The bed canopies tend to be bought by mums and grandmothers, especially the children’s ones, to decorate their little girl’s or granddaughter’s room and give it a special princess-look.
Top tips on leveraging Amazon in an online business
1) Have an edge over your listing with great images. Customers are more likely to view your product over a competitor’s if you have clear and relevant images.
2) Outline the benefits of your products rather than the features in the description. You can include the features once the customer reads to find out more about the item they are purchasing.
3) Know your products well and be ready to answer any questions from potential customers.
4) Use the Amazon support representatives whenever you need help – whether it is a query or a question from a customer related to delivery.
5) Have a good range of products. Never think you are going to be successful with just one. You may get a competitor who undercuts you and their product is better value for money than yours.
6) Keep an eye on your reviews. You will find out useful information from your customers including how you can improve your products as well as information to help you with your forthcoming range.
7) Duplicate your listings on other European Amazon platforms not just the country that you live in so that you can sell worldwide. It helps you expand your online business further.