We are entering into a brand-new economy where everyone is a seller. New generations of consumers are also sellers themselves, using social media to interact with influencers, create their own brands, and sell products. Trends such as live streaming e-commerce are further fueling the new “seller economy.”
The Rise of Peer-to-Peer Seller Economy
A new generation of consumers is emerging now – one that relies on peers to make purchase decisions of all kinds. The boundaries between consumers and sellers have blurred in all areas: digital goods, mentorship and advice, physical goods purchasing, etc.
Social media sites are the conduits through which these new trends emerge. Consumers interact with and then sell to their peers via platforms such as Instagram, SnapChat, YouTube etc.
Social networking platforms are allowing people to explore new business opportunities by giving them push-button audiences. They’re aggressively capitalizing on the peer-to-peer trends with the creation of brand new features and integrated applications that make selling as easy as possible for everyone.
Facebook Shops came onto the scene in 2020 and have made it easy for businesses to set up online stores that enable Facebook and Instagram users to make purchases directly through the platform. It has all of the simple features that you’d expect from Facebook, including the ability to customize the design of the shop, choose products, set prices, etc. Snapchat has played around with its own version of this feature, enabling certain accounts to use a “shop” button that directs users to an influencer’s profile page where products can be sold.
Even YouTube is getting in on the seller economy. Google has plans to make the massive video platform a major shopping destination within the next couple years.Shopify partnered with Google in May 2021, to help merchants sell via Google assets.
In addition to existing social media platforms, there are brand new marketplaces emerging to create additional opportunities for everyday people to become successful entrepreneurs in the seller economy. Many of them – like Curtsy and Whatnot – are seeing support from Tier One VCs such as Index Ventures and a16z.
While these trends are exciting and opportunistic, there’s one looming problem that continues to persist behind the scenes: how can all these sellers get the inventory they need for their stores?
The Company Solving the Inventory Problem
There are still plenty of wrinkles in this new economy, but the biggest issue (which nobody is talking about) is access to inventory. When it comes to physical products, sellers are having major issues getting wholesale inventory sourced from various places around the globe. There are a few key issues that typically arise.
- Reliability. For the average entrepreneur looking to sell products online, trying to source inventory internationally is a major headache. There are good wholesale suppliers out there, but there are also plenty of scammers. This makes for a dicey experience. Global supply chains are notoriously unreliable with products frequently getting lost or stuck somewhere.
- Cost. Sellers need to make a profit on the backend, but expensive shipping fees and high minimum order quantities (MOQs) make it unrealistic for small-scale sellers to make substantial profits.
- International Restrictions. While China is still the clear leader in manufacturing, other countries like India, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh have emerged onto the scene. The only problem is that many of these countries have no way of easily selling their products around the globe. Alibaba, which is the biggest name in the space, is even banned in certain parts of the world. This creates an access problem (both for suppliers and buyers).
Sourcing inventory is an arduous process that carries a lot of risk for sellers in today’s growing economy. But thankfully there’s one company stepping up to solve this problem.
Listing Bird is a relatively new player on the scene, but they’re shaking up an industry that hasn’t seen innovation and creative thinking in more than a decade. Their purpose is to make it easier than ever to source the right products from the best suppliers around the globe at the most realistic price point. They are building a cutting-edge chatbot that can engage in negotiation with thousands of manufacturers, for millions of products, simultaneously.
The best way to describe Listing Bird (from a buyer’s perspective) is Click, Buy, Receive. Large-scale AI-based negotiations with manufacturers, streamlined shipping coordination, no monthly contracts, low MOQs – it’s a totally different experience at every level of the supply chain.
Opportunities About in the Seller Economy
The new seller economy is exciting. It has a ton of latent potential – and will see massive growth in the coming years as companies like Curtsy, Whatnot, Listing Bird continue to innovate the industry from the inside out. Opportunities abound – will you be a part of it?