Why did we create Okazon?
The year is 2020. The Month, March. Queue horror-movie music complete with screams and howls.
Online shopping has been around for a long time, but holy s#** it exploded overnight. The covid-pandemic sent people home from their jobs, schools, social activities and regular shopping trips -and- the world became significantly more digital in an instant.
The Okanagan is known for our passion of shopping and supporting local! We truly want to! But trying to do this online is a bit of a gong-show (amiright?). Different businesses use different shopping platforms from Etsy to facetime, with different payment options and different delivery systems. Shopping local and online is a full-time job that requires a PHD in navigation.
Do The Okanagan (if you’re not familiar with us) is an online resource for all things fun to do in the Okanagan Valley including boutique shopping. We work with small, locally-owned businesses to highlight what they have to offer -and- when March hit, we saw how hard it affected our clients. Many shoppers took to the big corporate eCommerce sites like Amazon and Walmart to do their shopping because… well… it’s easy. And we thought, we need a local version of this!
Okazon was born out of the desire to keep people shopping local in a simple and centralized way! Shopping here means that you can peruse a variety of products all being sold by local makers and boutique owners. You build ONE cart and go through ONE checkout and receive your order via local courier service. Easy!
What's the consignment rate?
You receive 60% of the retail sale amount before taxes.
How do I get paid?
We send out a monthly report including your sales from the previous month, and update of what we’ve been up at Okazon headquarters, and an option for a payout on your account.
Do I have to sign a contract?
Yes. To become a Vendor, you will need to sign our online agreement. In this agreement:
We will commit a minimum of 6-months to each other,
We will agree that retail pricing is the same on Okazon as any other independent sales platform you run, and
You will commit to a minimum of $200 in inventory per month (upon request).
What products qualify?
Anything made in the Okanagan Valley.
Anything being sold by an Okanagan-owned boutique.
Gift certificates are great!
Must be of high quality and workmanship.
Must have passed all health and safety requirements.
Cannot include alcohol or cannabis.
Must have a shelf-life of 3 months or longer.
NOTE: we reserve the right to reject any vendor or product that we do not feel is the right fit for our shop.
What products sell the best on Okazon?
Items between $10 - $40 seem to sell the quickest. This is most likely because they are relatively inexpensive and shoppers don’t hesitate.
Items under $5 are used a lot in our gift boxes!
For clothing; every-day staples, gender neutral items, Okanagan lifestyle inspired, and relaxed fit (pretty safe to purchase without trying on) do the best.
For accessories; neons, boho prints, off whites and black tones do the best.
Food! Our juice, salad dressings, coffee, honey, snacks, spices, etc are popular.
What if my product has a shelf life of 3 months or less?
What if my product requires special delivery! It's frozen or comes with balloons or is super delicate...
In any of the above situations, Okazon will not handle the shipping. Instead, we will list, market and sell the product as if we had it in the warehouse -but with a note to the shopper that this item will arrive via direct delivery from the Vendor. This is referred to as drop-shipping. We will then forward the order to you and you will be responsible for the delivery/shipping. Your delivery/shipping fee charges can be added to each of your products on Okazon and paid to you with your account payout.
If I do my own delivery/shipping, does the consignment structure change?
We appreciate that it may seem like were doing a little less for you if we're not handling the shipping. On the back end, it is actually more work for us to manage different shipping arrangements for different items than it is to simply put everything in one box. For this reason, the consignment rate does not change based on how the item is shipped.
How do I get my products to the warehouse?
Our warehouse is in West Kelowna. It will be your responsibility to either ship or deliver your inventory to us. We have a great relationship with Parrot Couriers and Ace Couriers who deliver most of our Okazon boxes up and down the Valley! For $12 - $30 (depending on the distance) you can have them pick product up from you and deliver to us quickly.
How much inventory do I send?
The number of different products you list on Okazon is completely up to you. The minimum is 1 and the maximum is infinity (well, within reason). How many of each?.. we ask for a minimum of 5 of each item to start and, as the item sells, we will request more to replenish our inventory.
NOTE: the time of year will dramatically affect inventory levels. Mid October - Mid December is the highest volume time leading to Christmas. January - mid March is the lowest volume time of the year.
Can I input unique, original, and one-of-a-kind pieces?
Possibly. On the admin side, it takes our team about 20 minutes to onboard each new inventory item. Sooooo… if you send us 10 one-of-a-kind items, that translates to over 3 hours of work just to get them up and available for sale. We prefer to work with items that can be restocked and always available. If you are creating something that turns out a little different each time (pottery, art, etc) it is ok if each item is slightly different. For example, we have a potter who makes a “small white bowl” for $20. Each of her small white bowls are a bit different in size and shape, but we consider them to all be the same item for sale -we do not post each one individually. If you have something really special, feel free to reach out. We do make exceptions depending on what it is.
What happens when inventory runs low?
We will notify you and request more. You’re welcome to use the search bar on Okazon.ca to look up your products at anytime. If there are 3 or less in stock they will be flagged for you to see.
How long does it take to get my products listed?
Once you have set up a new vendor account with us and we have your inventory, photos, descriptions and pricing, your products will hit Okazon within 2 weeks or less.
NOTE: adding new products to the shop takes up to 2-weeks. Restocking existing products takes up to 2-days.
How do returns work?
We currently do not accept returns from shoppers in the event that they change their mind or something does not fit.
We check every item for damage or defects before it is sent out, but in the event that the shopper receives something flawed, we have a 'Damaged or Defective Report' for them to fill out before a refund or replacement is issued. The refund/replacement amount will be reported and adjusted on your account at your expense. We will cover the cost of shipping a replacement.
How does packaging work?
We have Okazon-branded boxes and all the packing materials to fill shoppers' orders. We make sure your products are placed nicely in the box with their labels exposed and padding around them if needed. We do take a lot of pride in the presentation. Make sure that your individual products are labeled or tagged in whatever fashion you would like the shopper to receive them and we will take care of the rest.
Can I include my own info sheets, business cards, recipes or marketing materials?
Yes absolutely! Please keep in mind that we have several products from several vendors going on over here. If you can attach it directly to your product, that would be helpful -or- provide us with one attachment that can go with any of your products.
Why do I need to commit to a minimum of 6 months and $200/month of inventory?
Quite frankly, we invest a ton of time, money, and resources to onboard you as a vendor and each of your products. Instead of charging an initiation fee, we ask for enough time to make some sales. We are a small local business just like you and we need to be sure that if we invest in your business (this is out of pocket costs for us), you give us time and inventory to make the sales happen. We’re pretty sure you will fall in love with us over the 6 months and not want to leave anyway ;)
What costs so much money to run an online store? Just to give you some basic ideas:
Staff. Those lovely humans that are available to work with you, onboard your products, do the marketing and social media, package up the orders, etc.
Accounting and Inventory systems.
Marketing. We are always marketing our Okazon products in a variety of locations.
Packaging. We supply the boxes, the bubble wrap, the lovely little info cards that go on top, etc.
Mistakes. Wait what?.. ok, every business makes small errors all the time. Simple things like under-charging for shipping or over-paying for packaging. We buffer these things by absorbing the cost and spending the time to work out the kinks so that your business doesn’t have to.
For more info about where that 40% goes, please read this -article-.
For complete transparence, Okazon’s profit is roughly 5% after the dust settles.
What if I need to leave before the 6 month agreement is fulfilled?
We understand that circumstances may change. Especially in a pandemic, we’re all just rolling with the punches (literally and metaphorically). Should you choose to break our 6-month agreement, know that we will be sad to see you go but no feelings are hurt. We ask you to pay a $200 administration fee simply to cover our expenses.
What do I do next?
Set up a Vendor Account.
Read our Vendor Guide.
Bring in your products!