How to Start a Kitchen Supplies business online

Starting your own business can be daunting. With so much competition online in any industry, sometimes it seems like the risks involved make success impossible - but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Drop-shipping kitchen supplies is an easy, low-cost, low-risk business idea. In this guide, we’ll go over everything from finding a wholesale site to drop-ship your inventory to marketing your products on social media - everything you need to start a business from the comfort of your home.

Why start selling kitchen supplies online?

The kitchen and cookware industry has seen an uptick in the last five years with a 2.6% increase in annual growth and more that $15 billion in revenue. Competition is high in this industry - but luckily that gives an adantage to smaller businesses that can sucessfully target niche audiences.

Sure, the kitchen supplies industry has some big players like William-Sonoma, Pier 1, and Bed Bath & Beyond - but don’t be intimidated. Larger kitchen supply stores tend to be after the same demographic; older customers with more disposable income. Drop-shipping costs are generally very low with kitchen supplies. You can purchase bowls, utensils, tableware, cutting boards and more at reduced costs from drop-shipping companies like AliExpress. Since you can keep drop-shipping costs low with something like kitchen supplies, this puts you at an advantage over larger stores if you go after a more niche audience that’s less willing to spend in high-end retail stores.

Using social media to build a kitchen supply brand

When selling kitchen supplies - it’s best to use a social media platform with a lot of users and a slightly old-leaning audience. Generally people purchasing kitchen supplies are doing so after they’ve moved out of their parents house - so unless there’s a specific younger niche you’re going after (for example - college students) it’s best to stick with a social media platform like Facebook.

When it comes to building a kitchen brand online - your social media success will be dependent on your ability to connect with audiences of a particular niche and deliver them something that they can’t get from major kitchen supplies stores. This means creating interesting social media content and delivering it to your selected niche through Facebook ads and posts.

In the initial stages of your business - you want to worry less about making sales and more about building a social media presence online. It’s going to be important to get your audience talking about your products and sharing your content to their social media feeds. In the initial stages - focus on content that relates to your products but that doesn’t aggressively sell too early. A great example of this is the Will It Blend? campaign from Blendtec. Blentec’s viral marketing strategy involved creating a video series testing if certain household objects could be blended by the Blendtec blender. The campaign was a huge success: the content was interesting, the videos didn’t try to sell anything too aggressively and users were introduced to the Blendtec brand in a fun and interesting way that didn’t feel too much like they were being sold to.

How to market your kitchen supply store

Once you have an idea of your niche, you’ll want to focus on finding an audience on social media. The largest market for kitchen supplies is generally older people with more disposable income, but this can change depending on the particular niche you’re after. Although you may way to work on building your following on more than one social media channel - Facebook will be best for something like kitchen supplies. Facebook offers a wide variety of ad and post types for you to choose from - as well as the option to target specific demographic groups. You can target users based on their age, gender, location, interests and more. Facebook’s behavioural targeting even let’s you target users that are more likely to purchase from you based on their past behaviours.

For organic exposure - your best bet is to explore pages, profiles and hashtags that are relevant to your audience. Take the time to understand what kind of content your audience enjoys the most. When building an audience - you want to focus on providing them with a reason to follow you. If you’re selling kitchen supplies - videos and images of your products in use are great, but they have to be interesting enough for people to want to watch. Try experimenting with different content types and see what resonates most with your audience. Cooking tutorials and recipes might be a great place to start. Chances are that someone looking for kitchen supplies might be more interesting in cooking-related videos and images.

How to use drop-shipping to sell kitchen supplies

Drop-shipping is a supply-chain management style where the shipment and storage of products are outsourced to third-party manufacturers like AliExpress. Drop-shipping products is both low cost and low risk - meaning it’s a great place to start if this is your first business.

If you choose to drop-ship products - you won’t need to design, manufacture or ship your stock. Companies like AliExpress can do all of this work for you. When a purchase is made - shipping details are sent directly to the manufacturer who ships the product to your customer. With a third-party handling the manufacturing and shipping of your products - you can focus your time and attention on building your brand online and creating great content.

AliExpress contains a wide selection of kitchen supplies, so you’ll want to have a good understanding of your branding and select products that best represent your brand. A brand that sells a dinosaur ladles, for example, generally won’t be the same brand that sells a luxurious gold utensil set. Since there’s such a wide variety of products to choose from when drop-shipping, it’s easy to find products that fit a particular niche.

Business model

Drop-shipping kitchen supplies is a low-cost and low-risk business venture. Since you’re only purchasing stock for sales that you’ve already made, the cost of goods sold will always be lower that your profits. Prices for kitchen supplies can vary a lot, but since you’re likely going after people who don’t want to purchase from larger stores - it’s good to keep the costs low. The idea is to offer Williams-Sonoma quality and design at Wal-Mart prices. You strength in drop-shipping is the ability to offer customers unique products at low prices.

Kitchen supplies are varied and so their prices tend to be as well. However, on AliExpress you can find a ton kitchen supply products for less than $5. Equivalent products on Williams-Sonoma’s website can retail for up to $100 - so this gives a lot of room with cooking supplies to play around with the price. This is a huge advantage for smaller companies, because you can offer customers unique products at a fraction of the price of big box stores and still have room for discounts.

Dropshipping tips

If you decide to dropship through AliExpress, here are a few tips to set yourself up for success.

Free shipping can be exceptionally slow on AliExpress, and the express options are often prohibitively expensive. Try to find sellers that offer epacket shipping; it's an affordable alternative that allows trackable and quick shipping from China to most developed countries including USA, Canada, and some of the United Kingdom.
AliExpress can sometimes seem overwhelming because there are so many products. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to product selection, sort your search results by “Most Ordered”. This will put the best sellers at the top of the list and give you a general idea of what’s selling and what’s popular.
To get a better idea of what the cases look like in real life, check out the Reviews tab for product listings and view “Reviews with Photos.” Be sure to read the reviews as well, to see what others are saying about the product. Also, you’ll want to check out the “Transactions” tab within the product listing on AliExpress. If you see several purchases from one person, it’s likely they’re dropshipping the item. This tells you it’s likely a good item to sell.
Even though you might be paying next to nothing on AliExpress, don't under-price your products. You’ll want to leave enough margin for marketing, so try to sell products for three or four times your cost.
Try bundling your items into themed sets, or offering complementary products. Check out what the competition is selling to get a better idea of what product categories might be particularly relevant to your audience.
Platforms like Facebook allow you to target very specific attributes or behaviours. For example, if you use Facebook ads to drive traffic to a cell phone store, you can target iPhone 6 users for iPhone 6 phone cases and target LG V10 phone users for LG V10 phone cases. These device-specific options can be found in the ‘Behaviour Targeting’ section of your Facebook ad manager. Hyper-targeting can be applied to a wide range of behaviors and demographics.

Start your kitchen supplies store today!

With low-cost options for drop-shipping and our free downloadable image set - it’s never been easier to start a kitchen supplies business. Start selling online today!