Online Retailers

Should You Sell On Not On The High Street?

By Patrick Prasad, Head of Strategic Partnerships

If you’re looking to start selling online, or you’d like to expand your retail footprint, you may be considering selling on Not On The High Street (NOTHS), or another similar website supporting independent sellers. Whatever your creative outlet, and whatever stage you are on your business journey, there are lots of benefits to partnering with an established selling platform like NOTHS, but there are also some drawbacks that warrant consideration.


In this article, we’re going to look at selling on Not On The High Street, helping you to understand whether it’s right for your business, how much it costs, and how to apply to become a Not On The High Street seller.


We’ll cover the following topics:

  • How did Not On The High Street start?
  • Should you sell on Not On The High Street?
  • How to sell on Not On The High Street
  • 5 tips for selling on Not on The High Street
  • How much does it cost to sell on Not On The High Street?
  • How to integrate your business operations with NOTHS


How did Not On The High Street start?


Not On The High Street is the result of overcoming difficult circumstances and identifying a gap in the market that would help others to achieve their dreams and enjoy greater success.
After being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, having to quit her job and going through a messy divorce – all at the age of 23 – NOTHS founder Holly Tucker began making and selling decorative wreaths to keep herself occupied.


When she struggled to find venues to sell her creations, Holly decided to organise a small business fair in Chiswick to give herself and others the opportunity to sell their products. With more than 100 businesses signed up, Holly found herself organising more and more fairs, and became frustrated upon realising that the traders’ success was dependent on good weather.


This led to the creation of Not On The High Street in 2006, supported by her friend Sophie Cornish, where they could recreate the fair experience online with 24/7 opening hours and no cancellation due to rain. At the time, the only other online marketplaces were Amazon and eBay. While the NOTHS team worked unpaid for over a year, the business is now a multi-million-pound enterprise employing more than 200 people.


How many sellers are on Not On The High Street?


NOTHS partners with over 5,000 small businesses in the UK. The broad spectrum of Not On The High Street sellers includes everything from potters and jewellery makers to artisan bakers and boutique mixologists, giving thousands of creative British entrepreneurs the opportunity to expand their businesses and achieve greater success.


Should you sell on Not On The High Street?


Whether or not selling on Not On The High Street is right for your business comes down to your brand. However, if you’re a UK-based independent maker offering unique, high-quality products, there’s a good chance that partnering with NOTHS could be a worthwhile investment.


You must have a trading or operating address in the UK or ROI if you’d like to apply to become a Not On The High Street seller. You don’t need to be an established business already; in fact, the main purpose of NOTHS is to give small creators the chance to sell their work. Once your application is accepted, you should be able to start selling within 3 months.


If your business is particularly successful, you might see a huge increase in the volume of your sales. It’s worth making sure you have reliable order management software in place to handle this and ensure seamless management of orders, inventory, customer details and business finances.


Pros of selling on Not On The High Street


Here are some of the ways that your business can benefit from selling on Not On The High Street:

  • Audience reach of over 38 million unique visitors each year
  • No fees for listing products
  • Marketing exposure from a multi-million-pound brand
  • Inclusion in a carefully curated list of unique businesses
  • Support and guidance from NOTHS to maximise your sales


Cons of selling on Not On The High Street

If you’re thinking of applying to become a Not On The High Street seller, there are a few considerations to bear in mind:

  • Higher joining and commission fees than competitor sites
  • Potential for the large market to be overwhelming for small-scale businesses
  • More limited range of product categories than competitor sites
  • Obligation to live up to the existing expectations of NOTHS customers


How to sell on Not On The High Street

To ensure that only high-quality products are represented on their website, all applicants must go through a strict vetting process before they can sell through Not On The High Street. Not all applicants are successful, so it’s important to be thorough so you’ve got the best chance of being accepted.


If you’re looking to become a Not On The High Street seller, here are the steps you’ll need to follow:


Get your brand ready

Unlike other selling platforms, not all businesses that apply to NOTHS are successful. To be in with the best chance of being selected, make sure you have product samples, a business name, branding and high-quality photos of your products.


It’s also worth familiarising yourself with Not On The High Street’s current sellers, particularly those within your niche.


Fill out your application

When you fill out your application, make sure to do so as thoroughly as possible. Not spending enough time on this can set you up for failure. You’ll need to provide some basic information about your business, including an address, as well as showcasing some of your best products. You don’t need to have a website already, but this may be beneficial to help share your products.


Await the outcome

If you’re successful, you can pay your joining fee and move on to getting started selling your products. If your application is rejected, you’re allowed to reapply if you like. Take a look at the feedback you receive and see what you can do to make your application more appealing.


You might need to refine or develop your product range, create a stronger brand, or take higher-quality photos to show off your creations.


Set up your storefront

Make sure to add your business name, logo and story to help your brand to stand out from competitors. Spending a lot of time on this before adding any products will make your store appear more enticing and trustworthy.


Remember that Not On The High Street sellers are all about unique, hand-made or bespoke products, so shout about what makes you different, and why you’re passionate about what you make.


Add your products

Take time adding your product to make sure each listing is perfect. Don’t try to rush through them just to get something online; poorly crafted listings won’t attract sales.


Include lots of photography, information about product weights and dimensions, a story behind the design, and anything else that might be relevant to your audience. Make sure your T&Cs, return policy and delivery info are covered, and encourage shoppers to get in touch if they have a question.

5 tips for selling on Not on The High Street

Here are some top tips to help you get the most out of your experience selling on Not On The High Street.


#1: Do your research

As well as researching your target market, remember to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. Take a look at similar sellers both on and off NOTHS and make sure your pricing is competitive, your brand is appealing, and your products are relevant yet unique. If you’re operating in a saturated market, you need to find something unique that will make your store stand out.


#2: Develop your brand

Branding is a huge aspect of marketing any business. A memorable name and logo coupled with an identifiable style in all your products can help you to attract customers and boost your brand recognition. As well as including your branding on your NOTHS storefront, make sure it ties into your packaging. Speak to your 3PL, warehouse or fulfilment provider (if you’re at this stage of business) about kitting and packing options to ensure that your branding is included across all touchpoints in the online buying process.


#3: Focus on product photography

When customers make a purchase online, they rely on product photography to show them exactly what they will be receiving. Make sure to take multiple photos of each product from a variety of angles, and include lifestyle shots where the product is in use. You don’t necessarily need to pay for professional product photography, although this would be beneficial. Just make sure the shots are clear, well lit and in focus.


#4: Write detailed descriptions

Really talking up a product is a great way to get people interested, so make sure to invest time in writing enticing product descriptions. You might want to mention the creative process, your inspiration, what the product can be used for, or who it might appeal to. Remember as well to include important information about the product size, weight, materials or ingredients. Again, you might want to employ the services of a professional copywriter to make sure your listings are polished and SEO friendly.


#5: Monitor and refine

You might not get things right on your first attempt, and that’s okay. Keep track of how each product is performing and see if you can improve the ones that are lagging behind. Remember to take advantage of the business support offered by NOTHS to their partners; this is one of the things that your commission pays for, so don’t be shy about capitalising on this.

How much does it cost to sell on Not On The High Street?

There are two fees associated with selling on Not On The High Street: The initial joining fee and a percentage-based commission on each sale.


Initial joining fee

The initial joining fee is £199 + VAT (£238.80). While this is more expensive than the signup fees of other competitor sites, the benefits of being included as one of the carefully curated NOTHS partners make this worthwhile.


Sales commission

Unlike other online marketplaces, you don’t have to pay to list an item. However, NOTHS will take a 25% cut of every sale you make through their platform. Again, this may seem high, but this commission goes towards marketing, business guidance and support that you may receive from NOTHS. Not paying to list each individual product also makes it cheaper to expand your range and grow your business.


Can you make money selling on Not On The High Street?

Boutique retailers can make an average of £29,000 per year selling on Not On The High Street. Around 200 of the small businesses signed up make an annual turnover of £1 million, so there’s definitely money to be made if your approach is right.

Selling on Not On The High Street can help you to get your products seen by a much wider audience than you may be able to reach through your own website, social media, brick-and-mortar stores and craft fair appearances.

How to integrate your business operations with NOTHS

When upscaling your business by selling on Not On The High Street, or any other third-party platform, it’s important to make sure your operations run smoothly to minimise stress and maximise customer satisfaction.
Investing in order management software can help you to keep track of your growing sales.


As experts within order fulfilment and inventory management, Mintsoft can help you to find the right solutions to make sure your expanding ecommerce empire runs smoothly from purchase to picking and postage.


Book a demo to find out more about how Mintsoft can support independent sellers.