The Fundamentals of eCommerce That Most People Forget
Welcome to the eCommerce Paradise podcast.
Today's episode is all about the fundamentals of eCommerce that most people forget about. I'm recording this from my studio apartment in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
I really want to talk to you guys about this today because it's super important to understand your business fundamentals. The seven steps are a pretty simple process. I'll be covering this more in-depth in my membership site when I do get it launched by providing links to all that cool stuff when it is all ready to go.
First off, a niche isn't just a line of products.
It's a segment of people who can understand it by with drop shipping.
You must specifically focus on a line of products like kitchen sinks or dining room tables or bathtubs.
That's one line of products. But the key here is that people that want those one-liner products also have other needs and desires.
You got to understand that targets are the target segment you're going to be reaching out to with that product. For instance, I guess with a bathtub, you have to think of the other things in the bathroom. That's really important to understand because someone who buys a bath might also need a toilet and a shower. Many other things are in a bathroom that you can sell using high-ticket drop shipping. It's really important to understand that the people interested in the bathtub are going to go to your store. And it's really important to know that having a bathtub only store will convert those people better because you're the bathtub experts.
Bathtubs might be really specific. They might have dimensions and specific buying categories. If I understand, they might have more specific delivery and set up things like that. It's really cool to create a store just around selling one product line and understand that those people have other needs to create other stores around other product lines. You could create a whole bath store, but it's going to be a lot more complicated - with multiple product category verticals and content verticals, and email marketing verticals within one store. It can be harder to set up your upselling and stuff. It's just going to really be more advanced. As a beginner, you have to focus on one product line and one store and don't go beyond that.
You can build multiple stores out for multiple product lines. Let's say, one store for bathtub's sinks and toilets and showers. You can have four stores, and you build all of them up. They'll have the perfect amount of five to maybe up to fifteen suppliers with 100, 200, 300 products. Then you can also have content with ultimate guides, and then a social media account. You can create all these into cool packages and have them feed into each other.
Focus on creating multiple stores, one for each type of product line. Even if you want to do affiliate marketing, you can create blog posts that promote products on the Amazon store through those links. But understand that you won't be super specific with your niche site when you're reaching out to a target market in a niche; it's truly important to narrow down. You could take the battered idea one step further, and instead of just doing all bathtubs, you could do antique bathtubs. You know, that might be one category that a certain target market of people is really interested in when they find a website just about that unique bathtubs. And, you know, they're going to know you're the expert. You know how to deal with it. You know how the suppliers are. Also, you offer way better support.
With any niche selection, you want to make sure that you're also super passionate about it because you're the guy that's going to be behind it. If you're just starting out, you don't have a ton of money to outsource. You've got to be willing to write all this cool content, make videos, and stuff like that. Now, if you're not and you're just a marketer, have a great team behind you; have a content creator. You're going to need someone to edit and format the content, make sure to add good ad links to it, and then have them publish it for you. You're going to need somebody who's going to upload products and do web designer stuff like that. There are many different things that we, as entrepreneurs and Internet marketers, do daily. We, as a professional marketer, need to have to hire a whole team to do that. Those are the basic beyond niche selection and making sure that you're really specific on your dropship stores. It's really important, guys.
Number two is getting suppliers is as easy as making a phone call.
Suppliers are entrepreneurs like you and me. They're business owners; they're like-minded people. A lot of times, you're dealing with people around the same age. If you're in like the 30, 40-year-old age range, these suppliers, brand owners and stuff like that, they're the same age range. We have similar interests in life; we have similar desires, and we have similar things going on. Be upfront with them, and be totally cool. It's going to be a fun conversation.
Calling suppliers is no different from calling a friend. Focus on that, and you can get the best suppliers onboard. Now, the key here is that you want to have a sales plan for your suppliers. They want to make sure that you come to them confident that you have really great marketing skills. You're building a great site around there, around that niche that they're in. And then that you're going to be able to provide them, tons of sales, so come up with a number that's equal to maybe like 100 units per year, whatever the cost per unit is. That's what you tell them as far as the sales figure goes. And that's the smart thing.
Number three, building a website and a sales funnel, includes lots of moving parts.
You have to understand they are not just a website. You have a lot of different apps that are all working together. And you have to really optimize your website for conversions; otherwise, customers will not go to you. Even if you're a niche store, they're not going to trust you unless you have all these great optimization things. You want to make sure you're not getting hung up on the little tiny things, but you do want to make sure you get them done because every little piece of the puzzle matters.
- The first one is social proof. That includes having reviews and stuff like that on your website. Reviews or super important. If you don't have it used, go and find them from your brand supplier and see if they have any.
- The second is scarcity and urgency. Scarcity can be made just by saying you have low stock on hand if you're doing job shopping. You know, the supplier may or may not have stock on hand of that product. And it's hard to sync that up, especially with a manual dropship. Just keep in mind, you can always put a number on there, an arbitrary number, and keep it around three to five, because that's usually a pretty low number. People want to buy now and then have wording in there that says, the stock is low running out soon by now before it's out and then you want to have urgency. Urgency is like a countdown timer or something that you may run out soon and or you can have some kind of coupon code on the site that expires within 24 hours. Those are all great things to do.
- Number three is trust. You got to have trust in your site. You have that built up with trust seals, and you got to have it with guarantees. It would be best if you had a trust guard. It is a really good way to build trust with your customers. Norton Shopping Guarantee is a really good one. Anything that builds trust with your customers is going to have a really great "about page". You want to have your address and your phone number at the top and the bottom. Put your address at the bottom with your phone number. Also, put lots of links. Every page on your website needs to be filled out pictures and videos of yourself as the website's owner.
- Number four, risk reversal. That's important. You want to have a satisfaction guarantee of some sort. You want to have a low price guarantee, like a price match guarantee. You need to have a shipping returns page with a fair return policy; you don't want to be price gouging your customer on restocking fees.
- Number five is branding and your unique selling proposition. This is key. Your brand may be more women-oriented or men oriented depending on your niche, maybe more prestige-oriented or budget-oriented. You need to make sure that you understand what your niches, who the people are, where they are in their life and what color goes along with that. If it's black, it's luxurious. If it's blue because you want to build trust. If it's red, you want to build urgency and excitement. Read up on branding. Read up on colors. You've got to choose fonts, shapes that make sense, and images that make sense for your brand. Every single marketing message you have is a cornerstone, your brand. Keep that in mind.
Number four, getting traffic is easy.
You just have to throw up some paid advertising. I didn't really understand this before. I thought it's going to be tough. I got to build up all this content stuff. Content is key. If you throw traffic at a website with no content, you're not going to get any conversions. Build the content first. That's your foundation.
Go out and run some paid ads for an eCommerce site. You can have a feed with the Google shopping up and then run Google product listing ads that show up in the Google shopping top bar, and the Google search and people type in that product name.
Getting free traffic does take a lot more time and upfront work. Do the internal linking correctly and then get backlinks from blogs and others, and other forms that can reap huge rewards in the long run; I definitely recommend doing that.
Watch out for paid ads.
If you don't optimize, you can waste a lot of money on paid advertising. Fifty hundred dollars plus per day is not anything unheard of a niche site with 30 or fewer suppliers. Keep that in mind. You want to use paid ads to your advantage to get traffic and to get leads. But you need to set up a good sales funnel and email marketing and retarget ads to bring those people back to making that purchase. You want to have everything in there, like the five cornerstones of conversion rate optimization.
I talked about social proof, scarcity, urgency, trust, risk reversal, and unique selling proposition to convert those people to customers and then turn customers into lifetime fans, lifetime buyers.
Number five, customer service is your key to long term success.
Customer service is one of the main things you tell your suppliers. That is the cornerstone of your business. It's one of the main things.
You pitch to your customers every time you have anything on your website. You say we provide almost world-class customer service. When you get phone calls and get emails, you want to reply as quickly as possible and as nice as possible and as helpful as possible. Focus on customer service when you're selling. You're going to do solution selling. Focus on their problems, what really their problems are, and how you can best provide a solution for those.
Number six, outsourcing should be done very carefully.
It would be best if you become a great people manager. Outsourcing is important because it's going to free you up of your time so you can work on building your business more. Make sure that the people you hire have the same mindset as you as far as customer service. You have to drive home that your company culture is all about customer service to them.
I suggest you create some training videos for your VAs when you hire them to understand how important customer service is and how you like to reply to emails, how you like your tone to be, and how you like the helpfulness to be; every step of the way.
With drop shipping, for instance, you get inquiries from a customer about a product. We forward that to a supplier and let the customer know that you ask about it to your supplier. When this fires back, you say thank you to the supplier. Tell the customer that answer, and you do this back and forth process until everything's answered. As time goes on, you'll get better at understanding the products. You can answer the questions without having to ask the buyers. But, you know, the VA needs to understand that process, that it's always a back and forth process, that you're just in between and you're becoming you're pretty much a matchmaker.
Number seven, build your business to sell.
I can't stress this enough. If you don't build your business with an exit in mind, you won't build it very well. You have to focus on the exit point.
I usually have it a year out, year to 18 months, year to year and a half. What that gives me the ability to do is to set this business up organized. Set it up clean. Make sure that I don't have any personal expenses mixed or my business expenses. And make sure that all the accounts are separated because when you do sell your business, you want to make it as easy as possible; literally, just giving them the account log-in and the password is all you want to have to do. You don't have to separate anything from your personal life to that new person.
Having a straight exit strategy will keep you on your toes, keep you organized, and keep you planning correctly. You want to keep all your information in one spreadsheet, in a master spreadsheet that really helps keep things organized and then have everything, all your accounting done within that spreadsheet or within a quick book account or fresh books account; however you decide to do it. Even hiring a CPA is great, but make sure it's organized. Make sure you're doing it right because when it goes time to sell, they're going to ask for everything.
They're also going to ask for your bookkeeping spreadsheets, for all your information. They're going to ask to see your accounting statements, income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. And when the sale does go through, the lawyers are probably going to ask for your tax return.
You don't have to provide the tax return legally, but you should, and you should be open to it because the more open to you are, the more smooth the transaction will go. They just want to make sure that you're telling the truth pretty much about the money you're making and that this website isn't set up as a sham.
People are investing in Internet businesses every day. It's one of the best investments people can make out there because it's such a high return on investment. Make sure that you're setting yours up to sell, so it makes it easier for you in the long run.
I hope you enjoyed this podcast about the seven fundamentals of eCommerce that most people forget.
Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel and subscribe to the iTunes eCommerce Paradise podcast and hopefully get this membership site up soon, so you got can start learning how to set up your dropship business today.
Step-By-Step Training for High-Ticket Drop Shipping
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eCommerce Paradise was created by Trevor Fenner of Seattle, Washington in 2015 to help you, the entrepreneur, to start and scale your own eCommerce business selling high-ticket products online with the drop shipping fulfillment method so you can make more profit per sale, have a sustainable and evergreen online business, get started with very little upfront investment, and live a location independent lifestyle. Trevor owns multiple 7-figure High-Ticket Drop Shipping eCommerce stores and is a digital nomad, traveling the world while working remotely with the help of his team of over 10 virtual assistants from around the world. Trevor is currently located in Bali, Indonesia. Trevor is also a passionate skateboarder, surfer, scuba diver, photographer, environmentalist, outdoorsman, fitness and tattoo enthusiast.
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