Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  31 Aug 2015

E-COMMERCE: Micro Home Industry Businesses Access a National Customer Base with Online Classifieds


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Handcrafted goods have always had a place in local industry and their appeal continues. For some customers handmade goods remind them of favourite items from their childhood and for others their attractiveness lies in their uniqueness.

Micro-businesses specialising in handmade goods have increased over the last five years. “We’ve seen more ads featuring homemade goods on our site recently and this is an indication that people are turning their creativity into profits,” says Francois Labuschagne, Product and Marketing Manager for Junk Mail.

This growth can be attributed to the demand for these goods, entrepreneurs identifying niche opportunities and people having to find a supplementary or alternative income post the recession.

Home industry businesses can pursue various online avenues besides establishing their own website in order to promote their goods. Affordable platforms include social media and classified sites. Another option is for them to enter into a sales agreement with an online retailer to feature their goods or to set up an online store through Shopify.

“Online classifieds are a cost-effective route for business owners not wanting to go through the expense of setting up a website or not having the know-how to do it themselves. They not only offer an online shopping window for their goods, but connect buyers and sellers at no cost to the seller - advertising on the site is free,” he says.

The upcycling trend of a few years ago saw a revival in the popularity of homemade goods as people turned trash into treasure. Entrepreneurs were quick to take advantage of this trend and many micro-businesses sprang to life, servicing an appetite for repurposed goods.

In more recent years natural materials, the distressed look that influenced everything from denim to wood and the popularity of knitting clubs inspired the demand for creative goods. This summer’s crochet trend will spur people on to take it up as a hobby while others will capitalise on this fashion by turning their skill into a profitable business venture.

“Because placing an online classifieds ad is quick and easy, home industry business owners can get on with what they’re good at and that is producing bespoke goods,” says Labuschagne.

Online advertising holds many benefits for micro-businesses. It enables business owners to expand their customer base by giving them a national footprint and in some instances even interest from international clients and potential partners.

“Advertising via online classifieds may be easy, but using the right keywords and crafting a description that will attract interest from potential customers takes some thought,” he says.

Gone are the days when the only marketplace available to home industry businesses was the local neighbourhood market. The new storefront is online and micro-businesses specialising in handcrafted goods are reaping the benefits.

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