Recession-proof your business

4 Recession-Resistant Products to Sell Online

2nd June 2020, 1:06pm in Business by Eva Malpass

It wasn't long ago that we first experienced an economic downturn and its effects are still being felt by some industries. This time around the economic consequences of lockdown are most obviously felt by physical shops and businesses on the high street, as The Bank of England warns we will experience a recession as a result.

But, this news can certainly be uplifted by the fact that many economic opportunities come from recessions - 51% of Fortune 500 companies in the past have launched during a recession! With the temporary closure of the high street many businesses have turned to selling online. Some now see this is a business opportunity for the future, enjoying a reduction of costs but an increase of sales. As a result of the pandemic, small businesses are now thriving online, there's little doubt that a recession-proof business of the future will centre around having an online presence.

Some eCommerce business owners have adapted their businesses by researching and stocking recession-proof products that never stop selling, no matter what the economy does. In spotting evergreen products and niche trends, brands can recession-proof their business and ensure that their company survives even the worst economic downturn.

We've looked into recession-resistant products businesses can sell online that will remain economically evergreen:

1. Clothing

Clothing sells best

Even during an economic downturn people still need clothes, kids don't stop growing! Many companies that sell clothes online are likely to not feel the worst impact of a recession. It's an evergreen niche through and through.

Before selling clothes during a recession, points you should consider are:

  • What does your brand stand for and who is your target market?
  • Can you keep your production or sourcing costs low?
  • Use a trusted courier for discounted shipping services
  • Could you partner with another brand to support each other?

Luckily clothes are easy to ship so that's one less thing to worry about!

Customers love finding a bargain at the best of times but in a recession price is even more important. It's really important to keep a tight grip on your finances and expenditure so that you can entice customers in with the very best price. Despite clothes being a recession-resistant product to sell online, if you price them too high you will struggle to make the sale.

Online retail is very different to running a physical shop so take some time to understand how to best promote your online business and team up with one of the popular eCommerce shopping platforms, we recommend:

  • eBay - great for second-hand, vintage clothing
  • Etsy - the marketplace for handmade clothing
  • Shopify - fantastic for creating a professional clothing website

Garrett Leight, a founder of a popular eyewear company of the same name, said of consumers in 2008: "People didn't want to stop buying things, they were just being more selective." This will continue in 2020 - as purse-strings tighten, customers will want to spend on quality clothing from brands that support sustainability and are worth the expense.

So if your business is looking for a recession-resistant product to sell while riding this wave of economic uncertainty then we think clothing would be a good fit!

2. Sweet stuff

Sweets sales

Everyone loves a chocolatey pick-me-up on a stressful day! In economic crises' this is even more poignant - the sweet industry has definitely earned its place as an evergreen niche, providing a range of recession-proof products for businesses to launch. Rightfully hailed as one of the most profitable products to sell full stop, the sweet industry only becomes more profitable as the years go by. Cadbury's are a good example, their profits increased 30% in 2008, a fantastic example of the kind of recession-resistant products that can weather economic slumps!

If you are thinking of launching a recession-proof sweets company we suggest focusing on developing these areas first:

  • Branding - logos, colour scheme, wrappers
  • Flavour - what flavour sweets do the UK population favour? Apparently cherry!
  • Format - chocolate bars, lollipops, boiled sweet, the list goes on
  • Packaging - re-sealable, sustainable packaging, minimum mess
  • Shipping - how to get your product to your audience at the best price

For you sweet sellers out there all it takes is sound branding and a great product, to begin with, then you can start selling online to get the ball really rolling, the best shopping platforms for you will be:

  • Amazon Marketplace - perfect for confectionary or as part of a hamper/care package deal
  • WooCommerce - great for subscription boxes, works well for sweets
  • Etsy - quirky branding and unusual flavours sell well here

As far as recession-resistant business ideas go, we think getting into the confectionary business is a pretty sweet idea!

3. Baby products

Baby clothes are best

These products are an essential part of life, so unless parents are to wrap their babies in newspapers until they're walking, this industry will always stay afloat. In 2012, the market for baby products was worth £750m, now it's worth £7.8bn, a huge increase!

With the birth rate increasing rapidly since the early 2000s, baby products are without question recession-proof products that can ensure you survive an economic downturn.

With big companies like John Lewis, Tesco, and Morrisons breaking into the online nursery product market in recent years, creating a strong online presence is key if you aim to reach parents who aren't able to pop to the shops.

When creating a product and thinking about branding consider:

  • Convenience - convenient product and convenient shipping options
  • Innovative design - biodegradable nappies like Bamboo
  • Cost-effective - most new parents are on a budget!

Reaching out to other sellers on social media can be a great marketing hack, or even by asking customers for reviews so you can start a conversation with potential business partners to improve your brand. These eCommerce sites would definitely help after researching the best baby products to sell online:

  • BigCommerce - fantastic website builder that enables a ChatBot feature for instant messaging
  • Squarespace - simple, minimalist themes for parent convenience
  • Prestashop - professional set-up, available in 65 languages for international buyers

Psssst - at Interparcel we also integrate with all the big names in eCommerce so you can connect your eBay, BigCommerce, or Etsy stores (to name a few) to the Interparcel Shipping Manager you can import your orders with ease for rapid despatch at cost-effective prices. Integrating with our Shipping Manager is completely free - you'll benefit from our hassle-free order processing and discounted shipping services. Our services are evergreen too - we always provide our customers with the best prices and premium courier services we'll have you know!

If you're looking to give your business a growth spurt then selling economically secure baby products could be a good way to go.

4. Pet care

Pet pampering

People love their pets, it goes without saying really. The demand for pet care products soared throughout the 2008 recession and has continued to do so since then. Since coined the 'pooch pound' consumers have a lot of extra cash for their furry friends so this industry has a wealth of recession-resistant products to sell. Learning how to sell pet care products is a great evergreen niche to invest in, allowing you to survive any economic downturns!

With a vast range of pet tech, food, health, toys and more, finding a niche for your recession-proof business is easily done. Many pet owners will search for the best products to suit them and consider petcare to be a necessity rather than a luxury item. When looking for products to sell within this recession-resistant market, have a think about a few things:

  • Sainsbury's found 74% of British people prefer dogs to cats - keep this in mind!
  • Think seasonally - pet clothing for winter or a cooling mat for summer
  • Prices - to sell competitive pet food regularly, prices will have to be affordable!
  • Logistics - pet products vary in size and weight so it's important to have a wide range of services available for delivery

Caroline Bouvet, VP at American Express noted: "Our research shows that British dog owners are spending more and more on treats for their pets, and many of them are choosing small businesses to do so". Learning what pet-care products are recession-resistant and knowing the benefits of selling online in the first place can give you an advantage over the competition!

If you're a small pet product business looking to expand into the e-market have a look at:

  • Squarespace - great for setting up unique branding to stand out
  • Wix - mobile-optimised so busy pet owners can buy on the go
  • Etsy - excellent marketplace for bespoke pet products like personalised dog collars!

There's no stopping pet pampering these days so take advantage!

Keep a positive mindset

Recessions can be a cause of worry, especially for small businesses trying to break into an established market. But don't be discouraged, countless businesses have found recession-resistant products and succeeded in launching during times of economic uncertainty! Taking the time to learn eCommerce tips for selling online and researching your evergreen niche can be the small steps needed to break into the e-market!

The retail-apocalypse can't touch those who know how to spot the most profitable recession-proof products to sell online - so hop on the bandwagon!

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