Last month, we told you about how to sell products through an online marketplace. We explained the advantages and the potential disadvantages that this can bring. To find out what it’s really like to sell products through an online marketplace, we contacted Gary Hartmann. He and his partner Marcel own GrooveyDesign and sell their products through Catawiki. The full interview is available here!
Introduce us to GrooveyDesign. Which products do you sell and how did it all start for you?
I’m Gary, and my partner and I own GrooveyDesign. GrooveyDesign buys second hand vintage items and sells them through Catawiki, which is an auction site for unique objects. We are passionate about applied arts and vintage design. Eventually, our hobby formed the basis of our company, GrooveyDesign. We often found ourselves thinking, ‘What if we make this our business?’. Once we had drawn up a clear action plan and strategy, we noticed a clear growth in our sales in mid-2016. I then started to focus on GrooveyDesign full time.
99.9% of items and objects that GrooveyDesign sells through Catawiki come from second hand shops and household contents. Usually, we look for the nicest, most unique items in The Hague and the surrounding area. Of course, we also look in other places. For example, we’ve been to Belgium and the north of the Netherlands. Any nice, new items that we found go into our auction a week later. Our auction begins every Friday at Catawiki. We offer on average between 10 and 15 lots online and they have an average duration of 1-2 weeks.
It’s a form of sustainable enterprise. The great thing about it is that you give articles a second life. Lots of articles are still in very good condition, so it’s a shame to throw them away. I use largely recyclable boxes to ship the items. When we bring our parcels to the PostNL location, we often receive some used packaging in return, which we then use for our next sales. This is another way in which we contribute to corporate sustainability.
Did it take a lot of time and effort to start selling through Catawiki?
No, it didn’t actually. It was not difficult to start selling through Catawiki. Since it started out as a hobby, it was easy to get started. Gradually, we have learned more and more about the best way to offer and sell our products. We really came up with a plan and strategy when we started focusing on GrooveyDesign full time. For example, we had to decide when to buy products, which days to photograph products, when to do research, how and when to use Instagram, and so on. In the beginning this, did go wrong and we paid less attention to it. Nowadays, our product photography is clearer and our product descriptions are more detailed and relevant for potential and existing customers. The positive effects are reflected in auction results and the positive reviews we receive. We also ship our items fast and on time. We send the items to the buyers straight after payment. This results in satisfied customers and regular repeat purchases.
Why did you decide to sell your items through Catawiki? Is Catawiki the only online marketplace where you sell your products?
We only sell our products through Catawiki and there are several reasons for that:
- Catawiki offers us a degree of reliability and certainty. Certainly for us as sellers on the platform and also certainty for visitors and buyers. For example, we know for sure that we will receive our payments within two weeks. If something goes wrong in the meantime, for example when a buyer is not satisfied with a purchase, you can solve it during those few weeks. Buyers can also bid and pay on the platform, and the platform itself has brand awareness. The speed and reliability of the platform are also reflected in GrooveyDesign. This results in satisfied customers who make repeat purchases. That’s why we enjoy working with MyParcel.
- Catawiki does a lot of promotion in the Netherlands and Europe. marktplaats.nl, 2dehands.be and lot-art.com, for example, all include references to lots on Catawiki. Of course, it’s a good thing that our lots are also visible on other platforms – without us having to do anything at all.
- Finally, we feel that regularly selling products through marktplaats.nl or another platform does not yield enough results. These platforms also serve a completely different target group. Often, you can never be completely sure about a sale, because of the buyers. These platforms don’t offer you any security in that respect.
Can selling your items on Catawiki be easily combined with using MyParcel as a shipping service?
Yes, definitely. I am more than satisfied with MyParcel’s service. They respond to my questions quickly, they’re always friendly when I contact them and the customer service is great. That’s also something we want to convey with GrooveyDesign. Catawiki’s reliability and stability and the ease and speed with which I can prepare and ship my items with MyParcel – even to international destinations – enables us to offer our customers a certain service and buying experience, which we fully support with GrooveyDesign.
Are there also disadvantages to selling your items through Catawiki?
One disadvantage is that because you sell the items through auctions, you have no control over the selling price. During the holidays, for example, you can see that prices are often lower, and that’s disappointing – especially when you know that an items could have sold for more.
What do other sellers really need to consider if they sell their products on Catawiki in the future?
- Make sure you prepare well by coming up with a clear, comprehensive action plan. Think about how you’re going to present the lots and come up with a weekly schedule for all your work activities. You also need to look for unique, vintage items to sell instead of items that everyone sells on marktplaats, for example.
- Provide attractive, detailed product photos and descriptions. This makes articles much more appealing and means that a potential customer knows what to expect. This prevents any unwanted surprises later.
- Always be clear, fast and honest when communicating with customers. Make sure the purchase is handled correctly and respond directly to questions sent on social media or by email – even if the feedback is negative! By doing that, it’s not only your items that are high quality – you also provide a high level of service when it comes to selling your items. After all, your goal is to retain your customers and make sure they keep coming back.