How to Sell Vegan Products Online

Hey there Sea Changers and welcome back to my series of posts outlining ways and means to create yourself an online business to fund that sea change. Today’s topic is an interesting one, and one that admittedly, not being vegan, is something that I had not taken much notice of. But, as is usual for me, a conversation I had the other day inspired me to do some research into this post on how to sell vegan products online.

You see in my other life, I run a Pilates studio with my wife in a smallish city and one of our members was telling us how she had turned vegan at Christmas time. She didn’t say why she changed her diet in this way only to say how great she felt. She also mentioned how hard it was to find decent vegan products in our town and that she had to get a lot her pantry, supplement and snack staples online. So, I wondered if there was a decent online market for veganism online and another post was born. I checked it out and found that there just may be so without further delay and carry on, let’s have a look…

How do we get started?

I mentioned earlier that this was not an area that I knew much about so I did some research. There are approximately 75,300,000 vegans on the planet (1.62 million in the U.S.) who abstain from the use of animal products, particularly in diet. There is a bit more to it obviously but base on those numbers we only need a fraction of that to build ourselves a lucrative online business. That said, I would hate to convince anybody to start their own online vegan business and have it fall away due to the fact that none of these 73 million odd vegans choose to buy anything to do with it online. So as usual, let’s see what people are searching for:

What are people looking for?

To start let’s just confirm our market numbers:

1. Number of monthly searches

As we are looking to see if there is an interest in vegan related products and services online, let’s start by checking for niche related searches. You will need to find yourself a good keyword tool (I use Jaaxy) and enter in the keywords that best describe your market. In this case, we will start with the basics:

Vegan Products Online - vegan keywords

Ok, that’s pretty good – over 40,000 searches per month – and we can also use this information to start to get a few niche ideas there with large number of searches for various vegan recipes. This is great to know in regards to gauging interest so let’s break it down a little further:

Vegan Products Online - vegan recipes

So we can see here that searches for Vegan recipes have great numbers which opens up some good market idea such as cookbooks, ingredients and so on. Let’s now look at this from a different angle in regards to the non use of animal products:

Vegan Products Online - vegan clothing

Vegan clothing! I remember this from our member above saying that she was not going all out to Vegan clothing. Some good numbers here too though if you happen to be in the fashion niche or looking for a good vegan sub niche.

2. Search Trends

Another important aspect of online sales and niche selection is to check that interest is maintained over time. To gain an insight into this let’s check out how the searches for a few of our vegan related products are trending online.

Vegan Products Online - vegan trends

Wow, interest in this niche appears to be rising quite well – this makes it a great market to tap into. Let’s just check if this is the case in other areas…

Vegan Products Online - vegan recipe trends

Yep, another good one with a rise in interest. Base on these figures, and the search results above, I really see a good opportunity here.

Do you have your own niche in mind?  Enter your keywords below to checkout your ideas…

What is our niche?

Ok, now the fun part begins – In the statistics and screen dumps above, we can already see some of the interest in different niches within the online vegan market. The decision you have now is to determine whether you wish to create your online business covering veganism in general or concentrate on a specific area or sub niche. There are a good number of different areas you could explore here – and off the top of my head, some examples include:

  • Veganism – General
  • Vegan food products (snacks, chocolate)
  • Vegan recipes
  • Vegan supplements
  • Vegan clothing
  • Vegan literature (how to’s, cookbooks, what is vegan etc.)
  • Vegan lifestyle

And that is just a few off the top of my head – all of which can be marketed from the point of view of the writer, or simply as a means of supplying information to those looking to purchase – although I do tend to think that this is one niche in which you may benefit more if you are actually Vegan – maybe. From the search numbers above, it does look to me that a few of the above areas could be incorporated into the one site however as you start to think about this, the question to ask yourself is whether the content you are covering is too large to cover effectively.

The risk here is that if you start with a niche that is too broad, you may not be able to cover everything to the level required or to become authority on the subject – which you will need to be if you are going to convince people to purchase from you and not their local store. Don’t forget, you can always add a new section to your site as you grow as well.

As you work through narrowing your targeted niche, consider the following:

  • Are you able to solve a problem – Most people undertake searches on the internet to solve a problem – see next section.
  • Is it a subject that you have an interest, or knowledge in– I am guessing that you are in this post as you know about, or have an interest in veganism, being vegan or the ethical beliefs that may be involved. If you don’t have these, maybe consider another market as, to be honest, you might struggle to produce solid content if you don’t know much about it- or worse, have no interest in it at all. Trust me, people will know immediately if your information is not up to scratch or even worse, can put their health or ethical beliefs at risk.

Let’s investigate this a little further by discussing the problem solving elements of niche selection.

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What problem are we solving?

If this is a niche that you are interested in, you may already know what it is that you are trying to sell. If not, then maybe start to look at it from the perspective of solving problems. This, added to your area of interest is a great way to work out exactly what you think you might like to base your online business upon.

Think about your own search behaviours when you are online – I would hazard a guess that most searches you do are in order to solve a problem. Now think of this in a manner in which someone might have problems within the greater vegan related niche such as:

  1. You know that you want to become a vegan but just don’t know how it all really works.
  2. You have a problem and need a solution – I.e. “I own a cafe and want know which products I can use to make vegan cakes and treats”.

Your goal here is to determine just what problem/s you are trying to solve for your readers. This maybe one problem that spans your site or differ for each post that you write. For example, if you have chosen vegan recipes for your niche, then problems might be:

  • Matching products to use– They want to know what diary substitutes would be best in a vegan cheesecake .
  • Which to buy – There are a number of vegan recipe books on the market – but which is best?

In these cases, people would be searching for those topics based on having a problem and needing a solution. Your site would outline and review the best options for them.

Alternatively, if your site is about assisting someone to adopt a vegan lifestyle then you could look into the following:

  • What foods can and cannot be consumed
  • What clothing types to wear/avoid
  • Ordering in restaurants etc.
  • Living in a house with non-vegans
  • Vegan medicines/supplements etc.

Note: You do not need to identify every possible problem that your readers may have straight away. In many cases, the more you write, the more ‘problems’ will present themselves so initially you really just want to make sure that there are some that may need solving as we have found here.

Vegan Products Online - Vegan 4

How are you going to convince them to buy?

Now that we know our niche (or are at least working on it) and have an idea of the types of problems that we want to solve, there is one last thing to consider which is the online purchase behaviour of your targeted audience.

The first group that comes to mind are those new to veganism. Then there are the families who just want to make it work with a single vegan in the house? Oh, and don’t forget the militant vegans (I’m sorry, but they are out there) who will want to be absolutely certain that everything to do with your site is up to their Vegan standards. Your sales/post pitches not only need to match the needs and problems that your site visitors are looking to solve, but also target them specifically as well. Some examples include:

  1. Those that are new to the world of veganism will want to know exactly what they are getting in to and what they need to do.
  2. The hard core vegans will want specs and details – they will dissect your reviews with a fine toothed comb.
  3. Families might want the same information, but may be also be looking at the health aspects of the lifestyle as well.
  4. Professional chefs/cooks etc. will need assurance that everything they are using is 100% vegan – oh, and that it tastes ok too…

So at the end of the day, even though we do have purchaser behaviour on our side, to be successful in selling vegan related products online, consider the following:

  • Solve problems without purchase – That’s right – write your posts in a way that actually makes it easier for people to do their research and buy elsewhere – by doing this, you are solving problems and helping readers out. If they trust you, they will be more likely to return next time and buy from you then – especially if you follow up with posts on similar or compatible products or accessories that might interest them!
  • Provide the intangibles – One major disadvantage when it comes to selling anything online is that we can’t really know what the products look, feel, smell and taste like. And this is especially important when it comes to vegan food products – after all, we can’t always taste it first and words such as ‘sweet’ can mean different things to different people. Your posts will need to cover this information in a manner that puts minds at ease and explains some of the intangibles.
  • Know your audience – A big mistake many make here is to target the product and not necessarily the buyer. This is especially important when dealing with products such as this. It is very easy for example to get carried away explaining how great a vegan product is because it is labeled ‘vegan’ all the while forgetting that those intending to use it will not accept anything manufactured in a plant that produces non-vegan products as well. The same goes for high end options… Expensive doesn’t always mean that it strictly adheres to veganism guidelines. Make sure you do your research on the buying behaviours of those you are targeting before writing your posts.

Tip: Still not sure? Have a look and see what others are doing. It might just help you with some ideas.

How do we sell vegan products online?

And then we come to probably the most important aspect of this whole online selling caper in that we need to consider how we are going to sell the products that we have decided to promote. Depending on the product, there are a number of methods you can use to do this. Let’s explore them below:

Affiliate programs

Affiliate programs are setup directly by companies or marketplace platforms (Amazon, Ebay etc.) that allow you to join and then refer traffic to them via customised affiliate links. In short, this means that you will write about veganism and then refer your readers to a link where they will purchase directly from the vendors. The vendors then pay you a commission for the sale.

Affiliate programs are especially good for those selling vegan related products (such as recipe books etc.) online as you can promote/review the latest items and then refer your readers to the vendor to manage the sale without you having to hold inventory or organise shipping.

Finding affiliate programs is generally not a difficult task either. To locate them, you would normally just type “Affiliate: vegan” into your preferred search engine:

Vegan Products Online - vegan affiliate

So, as you can see, there are plenty of options in regards to affiliate programs for vegan related niches. As you search through them all, you can check it all out and find programs that:

  • Relate to your niche/problems that you are solving.
  • Have quality products – your brand can be severely damaged if you promote poor quality or unsafe products.
  • Have solid payment and customer service arrangements.
  • Pay decent commissions.
  • Have good testimonials covering commission payouts and quality of product.
  • Whether they have high ticket items you can promote on the side.

In most cases, you will need to apply for the program before you are allowed to promote their products – don’t take this step lightly or you will be rejected. Affiliate programs will generally want to know:

  • Your website name.
  • Traffic levels.
  • Why you want to join – (“so I can make money by selling your leather free belts” is unfortunately not generally a good enough answer).
  • How you plan to promote their products.

One thing to be aware of here I guess is to keep in mind the issues we discussed earlier in regards to vegan related products online. You need to make sure that the programs you choose can be trusted and that the consumer is comfortable that they have recourse if something goes wrong. For this reason you will need to make sure that your chosen programs are going to resonate with your readers and your niche. That said, some marketplace programs such as Amazon and EBay can give you access to these types of products and as they are more trusted, then they maybe worth a look for sure. Some Amazon examples are as below:

Dropshipping

Dropshipping is something that may be of advantage to you in this niche if you are looking to play with pricing on your products. This process is similar to affiliate marketing in that you are generally promoting the products of others without the need to actually hold any inventory. With affiliate marketing, you are paid a commission on whatever price the vendor sets but do not manage any customer service, sales processes or post sales requirements. The main difference with dropshipping is that you perform the following (there are a number of variations to this but this is the guist of it):

  • Strike a relationship with a wholesaler.
  • Promote the product for whatever price you see fit – often via a marketplace site such as Shopify, Amazon or Ebay.
  • Manage the sales processes and customer service.
  • Send the final order and payment to the wholesaler for packaging and shipping.

The money that you make is effectively the difference between whatever you managed to sell the product for and the wholesale price that you owe the vendor. The other advantages of dropshipping over affiliate marketing is that:

  • You own the customer list – which is another means of building an effective email list.
  • You control the cost of the product and hence the profit margins.
  • You can control when you put things on ‘sale’, group them in packages or increase the price for high demand items.

The disadvantages however are the extra workload in handling payment and any ongoing customer service requirements.

To find dropshipping suppliers online, you can enter searches such as “dropshipping: vegan” into your favourite search engine:

Vegan Products Online - vegan dropshipping

Note: These results will usually be based on your geographical location.

From here you can search through and find programs that:

  • Offer dropshipping services – Not all product suppliers offer dropshipping as a service – this may just mean that you need to organise the shipping yourself after it is delivered to you.
  • Have experience and are helpful – If they are not helpful and/or appear inexperienced then you can expect the same when you are trying to process sales.
  • Have acceptable fees – most dropshipping wholesalers will charge a small fee for the dropshipping service – just make sure it is not so high that it eats into your profit margins.
  • Provide fast shipping – One disadvantage with dropshipping when dealing with vendors is that the customer is yours, not theirs hence sometimes shipping priorities are not where they should be – make sure shipping times are acceptable.
  • Have quality products – as with affiliate marketing, don’t sell rubbish.
  • Have a good name – do your research and see what others are saying about them.

Sell your own

If affiliate marketing or dropshipping are not your vegan cup of tea, maybe you could try sourcing and selling your own products. This process is especially popular with those selling smaller equipment (recipe books and such) or could be a potentially great market if you wanted to become a purveyor of vegan snacks etc. Here you actually purchase your product from a vendor or wholesaler, add your own label and then on-sell them via your website or platforms such as Amazon etc.

This process requires a much higher setup costs as you will need to purchase your products, create and affix your labels and manage orders and shipment. Some wholesalers/vendors however will affix the labels that you send them and then manage the packaging and shipment for you (see dropshipping above). This will cost you less to set up but obviously you will make less on the sale once they take their processing fee.

Again, to find out where to acquire your product, do a search for “supplier: vegan”:

Vegan Products Online - vegan supplier

Note: These results will usually be based on your geographical location so you may at times need to sort through a few pages.

From here you will need to follow the same processes as with affiliate and dropshipping programs in determining whether they are a good fit for your business plans including:

  • Relate to your niche/problems that you are solving.
  • Have solid delivery and customer service arrangements.
  • Have good testimonials covering service and quality of product.

Alternatively, keep your eye out in your local area for markets or food carnivals. These are a great way to find and purchase your products at good prices – you never know, you might even find a solid supplier for future sales as well.

Tip: This method can be very effective in driving online traffic and sales via the implementation of more traditional sales methods such as kiosks and market stalls etc. As people get to know you, they can purchase from you there and then be directed to your website for future sales.

Other methods

If none of the above really gets you excited then maybe it is time to think outside the square a little. Here are some other ideas that I have seen around the traps:

  1. Demonstrations on YouTube – become an expert in all things to do with vegan recipes, cooking or even vegetable growing etc. and link your sales to YouTube advertising etc.
  2. Teach/educate people.
  3. Hold tastings at markets – this will drive sales to your preferred products or recipe books.

The sky really is the limit – think about how you might be able to corner a much-needed niche in the vegan arena and you could definitely set up a great business.

What do we need to do?

Once we have all of the above sorted, or at the very least a plan in place, we need to choose and setup the media that we intend to use to sell our product. This can include:

Build a Website

If you are looking to build your online business as an affiliate marketer, drop shipper or supplier, then chances are you will most probably need a website. Websites allow you to solve problems via blog posts and videos that people can view in order to identify the solutions that they need. Usually, this process is fairly straight forward in that you build your website, write posts (on the differences between certain types of vegan supplements for example), then provide links so that your readers can view/purchase the relevant materials from your links.

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Promote on Social Media

When it comes to veganism, there is a good chance that many some are reading Social Media whilst they consume their favourite vegan drink. It has the power to reach thousands and allows you to target specific segments if you choose the correct platform. In terms of vegan related products online, a good platform to start with is FaceBook where you can discuss all things vegan lifestyle with your audience, display items in use and show videos.

However, if you are looking to set yourself up as an expert within the niche, then Instagram and YouTube will be your absolute best friend – some even use these platforms without a website. These are great for visuals such as pictures and/or videos showing you discussing, sourcing, preparing, making, cooking or drinking the results of vegan recipes etc. And, if you are able to build a following you may even get noticed and be paid gazillions to review vegan brands within your videos – this takes time, but it does happen…

Join like-minded groups

Anther great tool when it comes to selling products online are social groups. By getting involved with these groups you can really get a great understanding as to what its members are struggling with, what information they seek and what products they are looking to buy. Below is an example of vegan related FaceBook groups:

Vegan Products Online - FB groups

Note: Many of these groups will not allow you to spruike or promote your sites directly, however if you can interact and demonstrate your knowledge then people will ask you directly for the information. At the very least, as above, it is a great way to get ideas and insight into what people in this area really want to know about and what they are buying online.

Conclusion

And there it is – How to make money selling vegan products online. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, need some advice or have any experiences to share.

Do you want further assistance with any of the above or need help to build your own vegan related website?

Are you looking for a comprehensive training platform that can give you step by step training, 24/7 support, tools to develop and host your very own website, ongoing assistance with SEO and social media and access to some of the best affiliate marketing minds on the planet, then click on the following link to read more about Wealthy Affiliate.

Until next time

Have fun

Paul

Note: If you make a purchase from this page, there is a very good chance that I make a commission from it – these commissions do not increase your sale price.

Hey there, my name is Paul and I am the owner and founder of Make That Sea Change.  I spent 30 years in a cubicle working the 9 to 5 grind and just wanted to live at the beach.  I was lucky enough to achieve that with the help of my wife and our new Pilates studio.

Then I decided to help fund my new sea change with some affiliate marketing.  I joined Wealthy Affiliate, and as they say, the rest is history.

Let me know how I can help you fund your sea change today!

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