Do you have what it takes to become an online millionaire? If you’ve ever wanted to pursue your own business, perhaps selling your own homemade crafts or trading in antiques, with the rise of the internet, it’s never been easier, or has it?
As we’ve seen a decline on the high street, online marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and Google Shopping are booming, but what are the challenges that small businesses face?
Over the past 5 years, millionaire businesses registered as sellers on eBay in the UK has jumped over 50%! Research undertaken by GS1 UK has shown that for many businesses, in particular, Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), are choosing to sell their products through online marketplaces over a traditional brick and mortar site. Whilst some SMEs test the waters with online marketplaces to trial new products, some are using them as their sole selling channel as they provide access to millions of customers.
At Masons Self Storage, they have definitely seen the shift towards online sellers over the past few years. Back in 2016, just 13% of their storage facility was being utilised by business customers, by the start of 2018, that had jumped to almost 40%!
Whilst they had always had professionals such as solicitors, accountants and medical practitioners who needed a secure space to store files and archives, over the past 7/8 years, they have seen the online seller grow rapidly. These quickly emerging business customers require a different type of service. Responding to these changes The Masons Group invested over £1,200,000 to create a secure, high-tech, 24/7 access storage facility with a brand new Business Zone, wider corridors and a large ESCORTA lift, along with pallet and forklift trucks, collection and delivery services, as well as, a Business Lounge offering customers the ability to manage their business whilst onsite with complimentary WiFi, workstations and refreshments. Located in the Vale, just 10 minutes from Cardiff Bay and Penarth, their business sellers get to cut out the commute!
We spoke to three of Masons Self Storage business customers based here in the Vale to find out how they got started in the online space. Haya Ltd is owned by Andrew, who is dedicated to providing excellent quality remote control toys and has been with Masons for 10 years. Andrew was drawn to Masons because of the great location as well as the 24/7 access, which is particularly helpful at Christmas!
Andrew sells his products wholesale to toy shops as well as directly to his customers through the Haya website and eBay. Whilst online marketplaces are excellent for connecting businesses with consumers across the world, Andrew has found that this can lead to its own set of challenges, such as international distribution and postage.
Similarly, to Andrew, Alicja was drawn to the easy access at Masons Self Storage as well as the use of the forklift truck for her deliveries. Alicja started her business, b4beds Ltd back in 2011 when she was working as a supply teacher and her sister was pregnant. Her sister was struggling to find the perfect cot at the right price, so Alicja began looking online and found a supplier that was perfect and affordable. Alicja continued to work with this supplier and began to sell through eBay. At the beginning she was selling 15 20 cots a week, now she sells that a day!
Similar to Andrew, Alicja discovered challenges with distribution and shipping so restricted her sales to the UK. Taking advantage of the perks of online marketplaces, Alicja has cut down the costs of running her own website by utilising eBay and Amazon, but she says the market is saturated, which creates a price war.
“The brand new Business Zone creates a unique space for its Business Customers.”
Wife and husband team, Michelle and Chris, started their business journey, with Twenty12 Flooring, solely online back in 2009, and after two years of having stock delivered to their home, and, seeing their business really taking off, they moved their stock to Masons Self Storage.
As the business continued to expand online, the couple found that there were still certain customers who asked to visit a showroom.
Responding to this ‘multi-channel’ need, they now also have a purpose built showroom onsite at the Masons Self Storage facility to display their range of flooring options as well as continuing to offer an extensive online service for those customers who prefer it!
Today Michelle and Chris take full advantage of the Masons forklift truck for deliveries, the much wider corridors and the onsite free parking, which is really convenient and useful for their customers who are visiting the Twenty12 Flooring showroom.
If you’ve had an idea for an online business for a while and are ready to jump into the world of selling through online marketplaces, why not see how the team over at Masons Self Storage can help you join the ranks of online millionaire sellers?
Masons Self Storage Ltd
The Storage Centre, Priority Enterprise Park, Cardiff Road, Barry, CF63 2BG