How To Start An Ecommerce Business
- 0.1 Understanding The Sales Cycle
- 0.2 Understanding Business Operations
- 0.3 Most Common Question When Starting Off With Ecommerce
- 0.4 Understanding Where & What to sell
- 0.5 Understanding Finances
- 0.6 Understanding the market, competition and optimisations
- 0.7 Understanding Brand Expansion
- 1 Don’t miss these tips!
- 2 Don’t miss these tips!
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I have been consulting this guy who on the surface has it all planned out, he wanted to get my help in expanding his offline store into an online store and then building more sub niche stores to create a self refferring eco system. Great plan when its working.
My call started with so lets check in on where we are at , what is the status of your store and how much more do we have to do before you can launch. He gave me a very soft reply that he had not even started and was actually thinking of calling it off because it seemed like a lot of hard work.
Bruh! You are basically sitting on a goldmine of opportunity and wnat to turn it down to go play xbox out the back of your store and expect people to just find you naturally with no work put in? yes he said.
My motivator for this post was that damn guy. His lack of motivation was really flattening for my spirits and general enthusiasm for him. He had the plan, the investment money, the know how but not the drive.
His loss is your gain.
I am hoping at least one of you reading this can follow the walkthrough and find success. It is not at all as hard as it sounds, but it does take work to build an actual ecommerce store.
This is not some rinky dink dropship store this is the foundations of a eccommerce brand. You need to build the store first to grow a brand. When the brand comes along you will see the big returns.
Ecommerce is in my veins I love it and while its a challenge at times its one of the easiest ways to make money. Ive made a lot and given a lot with ecom. Today Ill show you how to build a ecommerce store that you can grow into a brand.
The 6 key things
- Understanding Finances
- Understanding the market, competition and optimisations
- Understanding Business Operations
- Understanding Where & What to sell
- Understanding the Sales Cycle
- Understanding Expansion
My stores have been my biggest failures and some of my biggest successes. The flipping of a couple of these stores that were well into the brand phase has set me up for life.
If you do not know where to start your ecommerce store I will help you. I want to make it super clear and actionable for those playing at home.
The sales cycle in a nutshell
- You have the products and solutions to peoples problems.
- The customers has a problem and needs a product to solve that problem. Desire is also a big problem to have and so is FOMO fear of missing out. Thanks to Instagram and all the filters FOMO makes me a lot of sales.
- The search intent that connects buyers with sellers.
- The connection of buyer with your product and that understanding of if your product can solve their problem. Very powerful when you get this right.
- Repeatable business and optimising sales and conversions.
I can not make it any easier to follow. If you get a couple of these steps right your sales will grow, if you get them all right you start to build a brand.
The feeling when you get new sales notifications on your phone is almost undescribable. But when the novelty wears off and it starts to drain your battery, so much so you start getting a second phone just for sales and store servicing it can loose some of the magic.
Do not get stale, stay hungry for success and push forward.
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Winning at Ecommerce
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Understanding The Sales Cycle
The most important part of ecommerce is the sales cycle. This is how you make your money and how you build the business. A lot of big brands use outdated tactics, or dont give enough attention to their entire inventory. This is your opportunity as a lean start up you can target the opportunity and build towards taking on bigger product markets.
People want to buy from trusted brands, people want to buy where other people are buying and they want to know they are buying quality products. Customers are smarter today they check reviews, they research the brand or the store, they look deeply into the product before they purchase.
To beat competitors you must know your audience.
Those silly notifications that pop up on stores the moment you visit it showing you recent sales do not work. They used to work and show people buying ABC product just now! and 1 mile from where you are. This tactic is cheesy, overused and complete bogus.
Read these points below, write them down and heck even use them in your business. They work, they have made a lot of moiney and grown some crazy big brands.
This is the sales cycle simplified.
Problem and Solution Matching
You have the products and solutions to peoples problems. Every customer has a problem that they want to solve. Every customer was looking for the cure, the bandaid fix, the cheaper version of x, the best thing and they found you.
Every product you stock or promote should answer a problem. If you struggle to find a problem that the product solves dont promote it dont stock it. Replace that product with another more useful product.
Connect the gap between the problem and the solution. This is where millions of dollers are made every second of every day.
Solving Your Audiences Problems
The customers has a problem and needs a product to solve that problem. Desire is also a big problem to have and so is FOMO fear of missing out. Thanks to Instagram and all the filters FOMO makes me a lot of sales.
We are all on our phones looking at Insta and other people, and analysing everything about them. We look at what they are doing, what they are wearing, what brands, where they are and what they eat and drink. We are really weird like that if you think about it.
I have 29 pairs of shoes. 17 of them are sneakers. 4 of them are in excellent condition and what I consider to be my “fancy” shoes. Now taking all this onboard, I will go to Instagram and check out the basketball players I follow in the NBA. if one of those guys has a sick looking shoe on Ill be on Google searching for it in seconds.
Ill research the size options.
Ill check out the price and colour options.
Ill be looking at the shipping cost and estimated delivery.
ThenI go on a rabbit hole of research to get more info and decide if I want this shoe. Ultimately I do but I want to be sure. These size 16 sneakers take up more space than you might think.
Thats a problem and solution example of me wanting something because it looks a certain way on a player I admire. I have to have it. You need this happening in your stores marketing.
Connect The Search Intent
The search intent that connects the buyer with the seller. The search can happen anywhere, Google, Bing, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram or even YouTube.
My question to you is are you there on those channels when they need you? You should be. It might cost you some time to do it organically and it will cost you ad spend if you start running paid advertising but you need to be on these channels where the buyer is.
Blogging, Q&A sites and of course social media and search engines. Its the backbone of the sales cycle without buyers you wont be making sales. Be where they are and be saying all the right things.
Starting a store? start here learn how to build a store from A to Z.
Messaging Clearly Wins Sales
The connection of buyer with your product and that understanding of if your product can solve their problem. Very powerful when you get this right.
When you communicate effective problem solving messaging you will have the reader in your hands. Ready to buy they just need to know the price. This powerful connection to the story or the problem solving benefits list is what will drive sales.
Cluttered messaging fails, clear short sharp messaging works wonders. The exception is story telling and on what platform you are using it to promote products.
Keep the sales messaging simple, clear and speaking to the audience its meant for.
Repeating Sales Success
Repeatable business and optimising sales and conversions. When you start seeing traction from all these points combined you should be thinming how to do it for every product in your store.
You may also start to think about a second or third store. This is where the repeatable business model comes in handy. You want to cut down the learning curve and testing phases by using what you know already works.
Document your processes. Create guides, templates and systems for your team.
Speaking of team build the team you want to work with and who you hired because they inspired you. Dont settle for average demand something more and inspire your people to react to your brands values. This is one really powerful growth element is the people behind the brand.
Now you have the winning formula you just need to find and build an audience. When you do build the audience put some focus on email marketing, list building and controlling your traffic sources.
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“Making your first sale of your very first product is a magical feeling. You get the butterflies in your stomach and a tingle in the back of your throat confirming that you are doing it. You know what to do and you are a success. Until you see the sale amount and its like $9.20. For me that was a huge motivator to go hammer & tong on my sales process, the product copy and my pricing strategies to get consistent sales and of a much higher revenue target than $9. Anyone can do this, if you follow a plan.”
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Add Value Make More Sales
One method I used when I was stuck for some products was adding sweeteners and deals. When I started doing this I didnt know it was called bundles, upselling and all that jazz. I wanted to make it more attractive for my customers to pay for products on my store.
I would do buy 2 get 1 free promotions, buy 2 get 25% off next purchase and promotions where if you spent over $100 you got a extra mystery gift. These all worked really well. It was hard to keep track of all the deals and promotions until I simplified it.
The value add should be used on the bigger priced items only. I use it mainly on any product over $100 and it still works. The numbers are different and the offer is a little different but the concept works,
Knock yourself out with coupons and spinner wheels and what ever the cool kids are using today for this tactic.
Power up your value add promotion with a tailored email campaign for abandon carts and then have one for new customers and the email newsletter (or what ever you use). This will be another revenue source.
I like a 2-3 email sequence for abandon carts. This reminds them we have the product, they can have a perk of some sort. The aim is to bring those slippery visitors back to your store. If you have to give away discounts and coupons then you can but know your margins.
My top picks for email marketing software to make this really easy for you.
Newsletters should be always on. What I mean by that is that you should be scheduling in a monthly newsletter. This is one very easy way to get people engaged with new products, ne wpromotions and coming back to your website.
Always on means this activity is always running. The abandon cart email sequence should be short 2 or 3 emails with an end date. This is the difference between a campaign and an always on activity.
New customer email welcome series. I like these because you can set the tone and expectations with the customer. You may be suprised but some customers expect a welcome series to learn more about the brand. If you win them over in this series you have just earned a loyal supporter.
If you visit mens underwear brand Step 1 they do this so well I now own 30 pairs of Step 1 jocks. This is a great product doing something different. They use humor and the solid product quality to win over customers.
One word of advice is to not spam the crap out of your list. If you want to see this in action visit Anthony Morrison he is a Shopify guru and he will email you into submission. I emailed his team to ask if there was a reason behind the super active and aggressive email and they said yes. We email until we get the result we want.
WOW! This is the wrong way to email your business promotions. This guy is a huge earning ecom guy I expected better from him but hey man do what works for you.
I wouldnt want to communicate more than once a week with my list. This allows me to stay relevant while keeping some breathing room between emails. I also want to have great content in my emails and that takes time to build out as you learn your audience.
You should consider the content you want to use in your emails. Will you go product and collection focused meaning a very transactional focus. Or will you go down the informational and value add road where you engage, delight and entertain your audience with tips, guides, tactics and deals.
The mix is up to you. if you know your audience you will get results. This is a test and invest step where you learn how aggressive to be or how much value to add before the reader converts into a sale.
Track your emails, track all links you have in your email with UTM’s on the links so you can see the results of engagement.
Email marketing software guide that shows you the best tools, tactics and how to get more from emails.
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Understanding Business Operations
Lets not sugar coat this. Running any kind of business is hard work. You will have product issues, website problems, compliance with Google or manufacturers and then we havent even touched on selling or customers and building a team. It takes a lot of time, money, paitence and resources
At every step of the journey you will face new challenges. When you win at something and just settle in feeling really happy with how everything is going BAM! another business challenge hits you in the face. Especially as you get started, if this is your first business you will encounter a number of hurdles your business will need to jump over to suceed.
Running A Business is Hard Work
Stay focused and commit to the plan.
Many people shy away from starting an online store because of the initial start-up costs. But imagine if someone offered to pay your up-front inventory costs on thousands of items and manage all your shipping and fulfillment operations for you. It’d be much easier to get started, and you could run your business from anywhere in the world. Sound too good to be true? in most cases yes it is a fairy tale, but it does happen if you know where to find the investors.
This brings me to should you have a business partner? Maybe. This will be an answer that you should consider if it is your first business or you know that finances is your weakness. I have several JV partners where we have complimentary skillsets. This works for me and them and we are successful because we have experience, resources and processes in lace.
Systems and Process management
I dont build a business unless Ive mapped out the plan. I want to know what the first 12 months will look like and how much will be required to get traction.
Using a project manager tool helps me map out the roadmap at a high level and then the granular month by month to do list of tasks. If the calculations have been done, the forecasting is complete and I can weigh up time vs reward and see clearly the way forward then I am all in.
As I do something in the business I document it, record the steps and build a database or wiki of processes and SOP’s. I need my team to be able to do these steps at scale as we grow. My CEO hat tells me I will not be processing sales orders in 10 months time, so I build the task guide and process manual for this task.
If you have this mindset you wont encounter as many issues as you grow the business. It will take a little more time to do the tasks but you will be in great shape when you hire and when you start growing. The aim here is to keep you as the business owner out of the weeds and sitting at the chess table moving the peices on the board.
Somehow I Manage (By Michael Scott)
One thing I do that helps me split my focuses on the business and know where to be at what time is a bucket list. Before I built a framework to manage my time I would get stuck on low value low impact tasks becuase it had to done. When you know the big picture as show here you understand where to spend time. Lets look at the list.
Here is how I break down an Ecommerce Business:
- Soft Launch Quality Review
- Go Live Launch
- Sales & Marketing
- Assessment and Optimise
- Research Phase 2
From our list above where would I as business owner spend my time assuming I had myself and a assistant working on the store. I would focus on the buckets highlighted in red. The rest can be done by the assistant or a specialist freelancer or contractor.
If Im working with a 2 person team I only want the high value and high impact buckets in red. We should as a business be able to brief out the low impact work to someone who is much better at doing that thing.
Each bucket here can have up to 10-20 sub buckets to create the bigger bucket. Like a book using headings and sub headings the buckets are jam packed with to do lists, tools and technology as well as people within teh business needing tasks to move the business forward.
This can take you from forever planning and researching to we are live and just made our first sale.
Most Common Question When Starting Off With Ecommerce
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Resources and equipment needed for an eCommerce startup
As a bare minimum, you will need a domain $10, Hosting $10 or a Shopify plan at $29 monthly and then the website store that you will use to sell from. If you can build it then you might get away with costs as low as $800 but if you are not a coder then you may be up for anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 for starter store builds.
Then you need to factor in inventory, advertising, apps if using Shopify and any other knick knacks to run your store.
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For those who like challenge and putting in effort each week yes it can be very rewarding. For those who shy away from hard work you may want to partner up with someone or choose another business option. Ecommerce takes work.
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The first thing you should do is start here.
Then you can head over to this page for more guidance on building an ecommerce store.
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Ecommerce is Easy Money
I love ecommerce because you can make money very quickly. You can build a brand in 12-24 months that has stable consistent sales. The work is tough its not easy because ecommerce requires some involvement so for our affiliate and dropship readers this is nothing like what you are doing.
I say its easy because I pay attention, I push the pedal to the metal and try new things. You can see some store results from just one store in month 18 pulling in some amazing results.
My aim early on is to get approval from as many big brands as spossible to have them listed and advertised on my store. I can piggy back on their brand name and bring in traffic, much easier than not having the big name brand.
You must set up the collection pages so that your highest revenue generating products are first and your most popular products are on the 2nd line of products shown. These should all be on the same page.
This is simple sales techniques. You want to make it easy to make money and easy for customers to find the products they want.
Use Paid Advertising
The next thing to do is to start a paid ad camapign with either search engine or platform. Where can you run product advertising campaigns?
- Google shopping ads
- Microsoft Bing shopping ads
- Pinterest catalohue ads
- Facebook cataloue ads
- Instagram Shopping ads
The campaign will cost you money there is no avoiding it, but think big here with me and understand if something costs you $2 for a click and you got 10 clicks thats only $20 cost to you. Now 20 people landed on your website and roughly 2-4 will convert as an average. If your advertised product is $60 then we can use the model that 2 people purchased your $60 product making a combined sale of $120. Its only cost you $20 so far. Now you will prob be having a 30 or 40% margin on your products so lets go the lowest at 30% profit
Lets run a scenario:
- You advertise a $60 product with ads
- You are being charged $2 per click
- You get 20 clicks = $20 expense
- You now have 20 people on your website
- You can expect 2 to 4 people to convert on average. lets say 3 people converted = $180 in sales
- You now have $180 sales from a $20 ad spend thats a win
- You just earned some positive ROAS return on ad spend
Thats your front end costs and revenue. Now lets look a the backend finances and what the end of day total is.
- You made $180 from your sales
- You should have 30-40% profit margin per product. We will use 30% for this
- Your expense to buy the products is $126
- Your profit is $54
- You now have positive ROAS on the back end as well
If you know that you know that you can put more ads out and make more on the backend. The front end sale matters but not as much as the backend where you make that clean profit.
What you do next after you have the numbers is to use the compounding effect. The more ad campaigns you have the better as long as your finances permit. Then you run ads for your higher profit margin products. This is the starting point. Then you add more products as you have the finances in place. The ad cost may fluctuate and you will need to pay attention or hire a marketer to help you keep this running like a well oiled machine.
Paying for customers is fine and it works. In some niches this is a must to pay to play.
You Must Do Free Organic SEO
I say this because nothing beats free traffic and free conversions. Instead of paying Google and Facebook for customers with SEO you just do it yourself or hire an SEO Specialist to help set this up.
SEO is an ongoing activity. This helps push your product and collection pages higher in the search engines. Really really powerful for growing an online store. The competition is less competitive and you can get results in 3-9 months. When I say results I mean really highly visible pages in Google search where people can search and see your website.
Im keeping this one super simple but I do urge everyone to invest time or resources in SEO its such a powerful marketing activity.
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Understanding Where & What to sell
When Im wearing my operations hat I want to know what products will make my store money and what products are taking up primary screen space. I only want products that have sales history, when starting out that is harder to expect but I want products that have peoiple actively searching for them. There should be only products that people are interested in being promoted in my stores.
It is not uncommon for me to cycle products in and out of the store depending on the performance. I do not expect you to do this as its more manual. But at least know your product performance. This helps to know where to showcase products and what will convert vs what wastes space.
Shopify Is The Better Ecommerce Platform
The number 1 ecommewrce platform is Shopify hands down and its only going to get better. I am a WordPress man but Im moving all ecom to Shopify everything. Ithelps me simplify the selling process and it has very robust security. I want a slick platform that can grow as I grow and this describes Shopify.
Additionally, if you’re using Shopify you can access a variety of apps in the app store that will connect you directly with reputable affiliates or manufacturers saving you time.
They have free and paid plans available.
How To Find Products To Sell
How to use Google to find wholesalers. Google can also be an effective tool for finding brands to promote, but you need to keep a few things in mind.
Here are some tips you can use to find a wholesaler through google. The first thing you’ll want to do is Search Extensively. Wholesalers and manufacturers are notoriously bad at SEO and marketing, and usually aren’t going to pop up on the first page of Google for a term like “handbag wholesaler.” Instead, you’ll need to dig deep into the search results, often going through 10 or 20 pages of listings.
Additionally, you should use lots of modifiers: As you hunt for suppliers, don’t stop with a search for “wholesale” – make sure to use other terms, including
It’s also important to note that suppliers also tend to have outdated, late ‘90s-era websites. So don’t be scared away by abysmal design and layout. While a sleek, modern site could signal a great supplier, a low-quality one doesn’t necessarily indicate a bad one.
Now, despite my glowing recommendation, this method isn’t ecommerce nirvana. Like all models, it has its challenges and downsides, which I will quickly go over now.
One – There will be loads of competition and weaker margins. It’s true. Products that can be drop shipped will spawn a lot of competition. Usually this will lead to cutthroat pricing and diminishing profit margins, making it hard to build a viable business.
Two – syncing inventory is difficult and leads to out-of-stock items. The best way to mitigate this problem is to work with multiple suppliers with overlapping product lines. It’s inherently dangerous to rely on a single supplier. Having two suppliers doubles the likelihood that an item will be in stock and available for shipment.
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Make Money Money
To be successful, you typically can’t compete on price. Instead, you’ll need to offer value in a different way, usually through top-notch product education, service or selection.
You want to find those hidden gems most big stores have overlooked but you can easily sell them. The product matches your focus audience and its affordable, great quality and best of all going to make you a metric tonne of money.
You can Use AliExpress for product Research and finding Manufacturers.
Many sophisticated suppliers offer a real-time product feed, and you can use a service like eCommHub to easily sync your Shopify website with the warehouse. Eventually, you’ll sell a customer an out-of-stock item. Instead of canceling the order, offer the customer an upgraded product or discount. You might not make much – if any – money on the order, but you’ll likely build a loyal brand advocate.
Three – It’s hard to sell products that you never see, however In today’s world, it’s possible to become an expert in just about everything through information online. Selling products from manufacturers with detailed websites will allow you to become intimately familiar with a product line without ever having touched a physical item. And when you do need to answer specific question about a product, a quick call to your supplier or manufacturer will give you the answer you need. You can also buy your most popular items to get acquainted with them, and then resell them as “used” or “refurbished,” often recouping most of your investment.
Four Third party errors. Involving a third party will result in more fulfillment errors, mistakes, and logistical problems. Even the best dropshippers make occasional mistakes, and mediocre ones make a lot of them. Suppliers are fairly good about paying to remedy problems, but when they’re not, you need to be willing to spend what’s necessary to resolve the issue for your customer.
If you try to blame your supplier for a fulfillment problem, you’re going to come off as amateurish and unprofessional. Similarly, if you’re unwilling to ship out a cheap replacement part to a customer because your supplier won’t cover the cost, your reputation is going to suffer. One of the costs of drop shipping convenience is the expense of remedying logistical problems.
If you accept it as cost of doing business – and always make sure to put your customer first – it shouldn’t be a long-term issue. Is drop shipping the path to overnight ecommerce success? Of course not. As with any successful online store, you’ll need to invest over time in a quality website, marketing, and customer service. But drop shipping does provide an easy way to get started and the ability to leverage other people’s capital without having to invest thousands of your own.
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Understanding the market, competition and optimisations
You’re looking at data, you’re looking at your pages. You have to know exactly what is going on with trends, best sellers and any promotions that you have running. You also need to have some idea on what the competition is doing and what they are running so you can compete or avoid any crossover with their promotions.
It is not just about the product. It’s about your customers, visitors behavior and spend trends, right. And when you have got some products that are selling well, you need to have the insight to feature them in a more prominent position on your website to further increase their conversion.
That’s Key Insight #1.
Key Insight #2, you need to have a content strategy ongoing all year round. This along with a solid paid advertising strategy will grow your store like it was pumping iron and taking steroids.
When my content is developing Ill be spending money on pay per click ads to get traffic to the website. This comes in from Google search ads, display banner ads, Google shopping ads, Bing ads and Pinterest advertising.
Once Im seeing some signs of life in the content so it is ranking and attracting traffic I can cut startegically lower my paid ad spend on different platforms. I dont ever completely cut it off thats not smart but I keep a toe in the paid advertising waters just in case something happens with Google.
I spent a lot of brand awareness advertising just to pump up the hype for the store. So many marketers discredit brand awareness campaigns, but they work and they work really well with a hot content campaign where you have new content daily.
Key Insight #3 The Optimisation Phase
My entire focus once the content and paid advertising campaigns are running and driving traffic to my stores is to focus on user expereince and sales conversions.
Just to keep it simple its two parts
- Optimise the customer experience
- Optimise every conversion element on the page
My go to is to make the search to advert click through as customer centric as possible. I lower my page load speed as much as possible so the poages load super fast. Ill remove any other advertising from my pages so its just the page with the core message and the visitor.
This is the customer experience phase 1. The next step here is the add to cart, abandon cart and shopping cart experience that all ties into the customer experience.
If I can win this I can have a repeat customer and possibly a customer that keeps coming back again and again.
Page by page CRO
CRO conversion rate optimisation is critical to all stores doing over $500 a day in sales. To grow them to be making even more you will need to invest in conversion adjustments. This might sound a bit wanky but when you see the statistics before and after a proper CRO audit and optimisation you may have a changed opinion on the importance of this tactic.
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How To Run A Relevant Store
- Know your market
- Know your audience
- Know your competiton
- Know your optimisations
So, in the beginning what’s interesting is 90-somewhat percent of the sales were coming from paid. Pay-Per-Click, we were spending a ton of money, right, To get some traction. But later on, my entire focus shifts to organic growth.
All the revenue increases coming from SEO efforts get the focus for at least 4 weeks for maximum growth potential. The surge in new sales will come in from your organic search traffic, free traffic. Well, I wouldn’t say they’re entirely free because I invest time and money creating media, creating content and reaching out for promotion of my content for them. But, only 48% comes from paid.
The paid advertising requires a constant review to make sure i am not overspending or wasting budget on extremely high CPC keywords and to make sure competitors have not screwed up the bidding on my target keywords.
I dont over bid, over spend or get eaten alive in ad position. I set up my campaigns myself and then hand over to my paid ads team member. You may not have this option to start out so try learn the basics of PPC and how to setup ad campaigns. When you master this you make sales a lot of sales.
Inventory kills. What would kill you the most is you have way too much inventory of products that you don’t sell. Depends on what kinda products you sell, do they expire? Assuming your products don’t expire you’re gonna sit on a lot of products that don’t sell. And, you’re sitting in a lot of cash, right? So, you’ve gotta be very, very careful when it comes to inventory management.
So, to do E-commerce I believe if you have your own store, meaning you’re not selling through Amazon ’cause Amazon already has all the traffic. But let’s say you’re not selling through Amazon, you have your own E-commerce store. I believe you need to have a very good organic strategy as well as a paid strategy. And, last lesson I wanna share with you when it comes to E-commerce is, inventory kills.
Number one, when it comes to E-commerce conversion matters a lot. Conversion matters a lot. So, you should be constantly measuring your conversion rate on different pages.
Your bounce rate, meaning people hit your homepage.
Where are you seeing people exiting from your site?
Where are you losing people?
Now, one of the things that we notice when I was running an E-commerce business that we were losing a big chunk of the customers at the checkout, right? At the checkout page, we’re losing a big, so they like the product, they click the product, they add to cart by the time they get to buy, we lose a whole lot of people.
There is a lot involved just to stay competitive.
So, I was saying to myself, okay, this is not good. What could we do better? So, then the team sat and reviewed our entire process added a lot of different things.
- We added actual testimonials during the checkout process.
- We streamlined it and simplified the checkout process.
- We changed the look of the collection pages
- We made big visual changes to the products and content on those pages.
So, in the beginning, back then I didn’t know the inner workings of CRO when I started. Now I feel like a gun at it, Ive also shared this knowledge with my lead developer so we can brainstorm best converting page template designs and using the best converting elements in the right place.
My checkout was clunky it used multi step and not everyone made it through. This hurt sales so we fixed it to a two step form hats condensed and fun to use. The output is a direct increase in cart process completion goals. BooYa!
So, conversion matters. You have to measure everything.
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Understanding Brand Expansion
Now, before I really understood how the nuts and bolts of the sales cycle worked I was a HUGE risk for my brand. I would be sitting on hundreds of thousands of dollers of product and product that was not being sold just being held.
Holding inventory I didnt need to be holding cost me more than I am willing to admit. Yes I could sell it all. At the time I didnt have the orders coming in to back the amount of inventory I had in stock.
Actually Running an Ecommerce Business
Test before you invest. My rule of thumb is to know the audience, how often they purchase, niche events that may soike sales, hot products, stale products and invest when you know the results of the test.
My advice is know your sales numbers, know your hot selling products and frequency of sales. This helps you know how to run the inventory ordering much better.
If you suck at inventory try dropshipping its much easier and less work involved. The money is not the same and its even more competitive because the barrier to entry is so low.
Consider buying smaller businesses to merge their audiences, assets and market share into one bigger brand. This works time and time again. If you plan it to perfection you will see a snowball of momentum in your revenue from online.
Review your finances weekly. Schedule at least one session where you just review the incoming revenue and outgoing expenses. Give yourself a clear picture of business financial health.
Key takeaway: Have the document or software you use to review the finances easily to access in 2 clicks or so. The harder it is to access the more forgotten it becomes speaking from personal experience.
The next item is teams. Build your team around 2 or 3 A players and then hire B players until you are at a level you need all A players on your business. This will make or break your momentum.
From teams comes processes and systems. Building a solid set of SOP’s standard operting procedures or a wiki for team members to perform processes in the business empowers many people to do the work. Then freeing up the high value on the business thinking.
It takes many hats to be the person behind the ecommerce business and it doesnt just happen overnight. Ive failed fast and learned from each mistake. At every intersection of failure record the reason why and the solution to move forward. Now you dont need to fail at that again because you have the process.
I love talking about business and ecom this has been real fun. If you like this type of content let me know and Ill focus more on some operational techniques and tactics. Hope you found this useful. Put in the work, Peace.
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