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“There’s no need to think outside the box, simply realise there is no box”

The quote above is one of the best I’ve ever seen — and it is worth paying heed to if you believe a successful online business must follow the path others think is right.

I’ve lost count of the number of emails over the years I’ve received from people who desperately want to start selling online but are all stuck with the blinkered idea of having to sell branded or designer items.

The reason? Usually they think it will be a great money maker but struggle to come up with a creative way to make it work!

Where this myth actually came from, I have absolutely no idea. And it really is a myth. In fact, it’s a far better plan to sell unbranded products online.

Ultimately you should go one step further and sell your ‘own branded’ products online. By this I mean unbranded products you have sourced and then branded as your own. Now that really is the ultimate step and a great long-term goal for serious sellers.

With this in mind — and because it’s such a big topic — I’m going to tell you a little bit about unbranded products in this eletter, and then I’ll follow up next week with some information for you on own-branding. Think of this as a two part series!

You might be wondering whether, as long as you make money, it really matters what you sell online. Well, actually, yes it does matter because there is making money and there is turning money.

Let’s go back to those designer or big brand goods that so many people want to sell because they think it will bring them success. In truth, there is very little profit to be made on such items.

This is because genuine designer or branded goods cannot often be found at true wholesale prices.

You’ll notice I mention ‘genuine’ here because of course we all know how easy it is to source ‘designer’ goods from China – but those are very unlikely to be the real thing.

Fact is, if you really want to make a comfortable income online then you must find in demand products you can source inexpensively without cutting corners on quality.

And this is where selling unbranded products comes into its own.

Please open your mind to this world!

I realise you may need a good reason to throw away your dream of selling iPhones, Nike Sportswear or Gucci handbags, but I can go one better… I’ve got 10 of them!

Here’s why you should consider sourcing and selling unbranded products, along with some hints and tips along the way to help you put this into practice.

1. ‘Unbranded’ products are generic

This is the most important aspect of the idea you should sell unbranded goods online. It means these are items come with no brand name and (at the most) just a number to identify them. This will be on the packaging, not the product itself. The product will be clear of any markings, brands or numbers.

Of course, all products start their lives like this until branding is added. But what this means is it is quite possible to source the very same product in its unbranded state that is selling as a branded product on the high street. It just doesn’t have the brand name on it, but it will still do the same job! The advantage is that you will pay less at wholesale for it.

Once you have the product, you can resell it at a cheaper price than the branded version. The trick is to let your potential buyers know what you are selling is the same model, does all the things the branded version does and the only difference is it simply doesn’t have the brand name on it.

2. Buyers are often lazy!

Buyers, in the most part, cannot be bothered to compare like for like products and this is a huge advantage for you when selling unbranded products.

It means you remain competitive at all times, no matter what product you are selling.

Contrary to popular belief, many buyers just want to find the item that does the job at a reasonable price as quickly as possible — and that’s where unbranded products do well.

3. There is no recommended retail price for unbranded products

It’s so easy to totally trounce the competition in your chosen niche if you are selling an unbranded product because there is no set or recommended price that it must be sold at.

It’s up to you, and as long as you remain competitive and make a decent profit then the pricing decision is yours, allowing you to control your profit.

4. There are fewer listing restrictions for unbranded products

You can list as many unbranded items as you like in as many different niches as you like (within your selling limits) rather than dealing with the restrictions you’ll face when trying to list new designer or branded products. Another immediate advantage for you.

5. You will find more competitive supplier pricing and a larger number of suppliers prepared to negotiate on unbranded products

Unbranded products are not ‘well-known’ makes. There is no ‘reputation’ as such that goes before them and so you won’t be paying through the nose for a brand name.

Remember, suppliers want to make a sale – it’s their business – so by showing an interest in their unbranded products you will be able to negotiate a better price.

You should be considering China and the USA in particular for your supplier research for unbranded products.

6. You will always know you have the genuine article

By choosing unbranded goods you will slightly narrow the amount of suppliers who stock the item, but conversely you have a much wider product choice and you don’t have the added worry that your goods may be counterfeit.

There’s no such thing as a ‘fake’ unbranded product!

7. You can create ‘kits’ or a ‘sets’

You know you can buy unbranded products cheaper than branded already — and here’s a really easy way of increasing your return on investment (ROI)… simply create a kit or a set.

All you need to do is put several unbranded products together that are relevant to one another and then give it a name such as a ‘starter kit’ or ‘starter pack’, ‘beginner’s set’ and so on.

Items can be purchased unbranded really cheaply but put together and packaged nicely to make a kit worth much more. By doing this you can create a brand new product using unbranded goods that no one else is offering.

8. Unbranded products can be branded to suit YOU

If you start with an unbranded product, it’s just like having a clean slate to work with.

As I mentioned earlier, you can source unbranded products and then brand them with your OWN invented name which is much easier than you might think. I’ll go into this in more detail next week!

9. Turn unbranded goods into ‘branded’ goods and then become a wholesale supplier yourself

Every day there are millions of people looking online who actually want to start their own business and you could be in a position to help them.

Many people make eBay their first stop when they are looking to buy wholesale products because it does have its own category for wholesale and job lots.

You simply source unbranded products as you would if you were going to resell them yourself, brand them (more on this next time) and then advertise them as your own-brand wholesale lots of say 10 or 20 or 100 at a higher price.

This strategy also works if you want to sell to those who are not looking to resell but want to make a saving on a particular product by buying in bulk – for example the kind of products people use on a regular basis, run out of, and buy again like health or beauty products, crafts, packaging, hobby supplies and so on.

10. Find a niche and unbranded products will fly off your shelves

The trick with unbranded products is to decide on a niche and stick with it, particularly if you are going to own brand your products later on.

I know of one online seller who has sold thousands of bird boxes – not just standard square, wooden bird boxes that you can buy at your local garden centre, but unbranded bird boxes that come in all shapes and sizes, colours, designs, castles, palaces, union jack prints… anything different. This is an idea you could replicate very easily.

So there are 10 good reasons why you should shift your mindset and take the unbranded products route to a truly successful online business.

And remember – the box doesn’t exist!