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Home based selling: A survival guide

As online shopping grows increasingly popular, home based businesses are booming. I should know – I run one. The appeal for customers is clear: unique, curated products which are often hard to find in the mainstream markets available at a click of a button.

However, a seller’s job is not as easy as it seems. We are constantly dealing with angry, invisible customers who fear we are out to cheat them.  After running a clothing line over the course of three years, I have had to learn the art of customer satisfaction, crisis management and smart selling. Here are some of the secrets I learned:  

Managing a home based business along with the other chores is a task in itself. Everyone at my house is involved. They help in preparing orders, packaging them, dispatching them if I’m unable to do it myself since I work alongside this business. A good portion of my house has become dedicated to business logistics. The dynamics are very different than routine small businesses.

A common question I come across is “Are you a fraud?”. In order to establish trust I provide clients with my business number where I speak to them directly. This is more comforting than a text-based chat. I also ask my clients to write reviews on my page and on buy/sell platforms to increase the credibility of my business. Since there are multiple cases of thefts and frauds on buy/sell groups, people are careful about choosing who to buy from – especially when buying high-priced products.

I believe in giving as much detail about my products as possible. This is the key to develop the interest of the buyer.

As a small (or one woman) operation, the margin for loss is greater. There have been multiple times that riders are sent back with no payment because clients didn’t ‘like’ the product. They don’t even bother to cover delivery charges which means that I have to pay overhead delivery charges for no reason.

Some clients don’t realize that sellers are as human as they are and have a life besides selling products online.

Then there are the frustrating times when I get an untimely Whats App messages and calls from customers who expect me to answer promptly. They don’t realize that sellers are as human as they are and have a life besides selling products online.

“Your product is expensive. We get the same stuff at Rabi Centre for lower rates – kuch kam kar dein”.

How do you deal with such scenarios? I clearly tell these clients “Aap market se khareed lein!” These negotiations are tedious and time consuming. Some clients simply don’t understand that the facility of being able to order online and availing home delivery comes with an additional cost. It is better to not argue, and let it pass.This is the most crucial stage of satisfying customers by answering their concerns. If an incorrect delivery is made or is delayed in few cases the key to make clients happy is to talk to them. They will throw tantrums and misbehave but I have to keep cool. If a damaged product is delivered, it has to be replaced during a certain number of days. If an order is delayed then I explain the genuine reason for the issue.


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