Supply chain Fred Heritage · 23 March 2017
Selling to Notonthehighstreet: Insight from those with stocked products
As an online ecommerce marketplace with millions of monthly users, a listing on Notonthehighstreet.com could be the perfect launch pad for fledgling UK brands. Now officially Britain’s leading curated online marketplace, Notonthehighstreet.com sells everything from home furniture to experience days. The platform attracts around 39m unique visitors from around the world every year, representing a rapidly growing international pool of potential online customers. It has developed a reputation for catering to the slightly alternative tastes of its more open-minded consumer base, standing out from competitor marketplaces like ASOS, Amazon or eBay by doing so. It can be considered one of the top launch pads for small brands that offer unique or quirky products, and it isnt surprising that Notonthehighstreet is the most desirable online marketplace for the ambitious owners of many new UK brands. According to its Why join page, the platform continues to sell products created with innovative and original ideas? that offer ‘something a little different? to consumers. Its tagline is choose a life less ordinary, and the retailer claims to be always open to new product ideas and constantly looking to diversify its product mix, working with independent designer-makers, designer-manufacturers and small boutique retailers. Business Advice spoke to Gemma Wilson, the founder of new design-led children’s brand Blueberry Boo Kids, for whom Notonthehighstreet was, from day one, the go-to platform for launching her range of personalised children’s clothes. Having bought from the marketplace herself, Wilson knew it was a good place to discover new brands. Together with her husband Gary, she prints bespoke t-shirts near their home in Torbay, Devon. I applied directly to Notonthehighstreet in January 2016 because I thought our product would fit well on the site, she said. If Im honest, I probably should have taken the process more seriously and prepared more. Currently approaching the end of its first year of trading, Blueberry Boo Kids has a turnover of around 43, 000. Much of the success so far, Wilson said, has been down to the firm’s partnership with Notonthehighstreet.com. they told me to take more time to work on the brand and reapply in future, so that’s what we did, she added. We hired a brand representative to get some better-quality product images and developed a gift range for babies something I thought would be a more attractive proposition. Wilson began reapplying to Notonthehighstreet in August last year, and that very same weekend was contacted by a different member of the retailer’s buying team, whod found Blueberry Boo Kids on Instagram, with an on-the-spot offer to become a partner. from that point on it was straightforward, Wilson explained. I had a chat on the phone with the buyer to discuss production and how wed manage orders, and that was that. Blueberry Boo Kids was offered the same partnership agreement Notonthehighstreet offers all new suppliers in exchange for hosting and marketing their products. For a 199 one-off joining fee, small business owners receive help form an expert when setting up their account, a unique web address that acts almost like an online shopfront window, and access to a 24-hour a day order management system to help process orders. Notonthehighstreet pledges to support new suppliers further by offering a search engine optimisation (SEO) service on their page as well as advice on new marketing strategies to boost sales. The retailer charges 25 per cent commission on each product sold. Wilson said that for small brands with unique products, there is no better place to start than Notonthehighstreet, but suggested company owners prepare before approaching the site’s buyers. research the website and their social media channels thoroughly for similar products to yours, then try and ensure yours offer them something different make sure you standout, Wilson told Business Advice. above all, make sure your [product] images are up to scratch, as this is the main thing they’re concerned with. Take good, clear images you can guarantee will work well online. One brand owner who did just that was Vahan Hovhannisyan, founder at luxury sock brand Look Mate London. Working with his brother, the entrepreneur left a high-paying corporate job last year to pursue with his company full-time after attending a London networking event for new designers at which Notonthehighstreet buyers held a talk. At the event, he met one of the platform’s buyers who suggested he apply for Notonthehighstreet’s Pitch Up event a regularly-held event where creative small business owners can meet the marketplace’s buyers and pitch to them face-to-face. I thought it would be really serious, like Dragons? Den, but it’s not like that at all, said Hovhannisyan when describing Pitch Up. You give a brief presentation of your product, then you just chat with them. If you get on well with the buyers and they like your product, hopefully theyll offer you membership then and there. Because hed done his homework and knew what Notonthehighstreet looked for from new partners, Hovhannisyan went to Pitch Up with brand new professional photos of his socks, and several ideas for new designs.
ABOUT THE EXPERTFred Heritage
Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.