Where in the world are your customers?
When you think about selling online, something you need to consider is where your customers are located in the world. The difference in demographics of each country leads to a difference in buying preference as well. This image below comes from the UPS pulse of the online shopper for the USA:
Some takeaways from the USA infographic above:
- 47% of USA shoppers prefer to make a purchase online.
- 81% View free shipping as the most important option when checking out online.
Nothing is Free
Shipping will never be free for the seller. You should build the shipping price into the product you are selling, so you can advertise free shipping on your website. This will help decrease shopping cart abandonment because it reduces the guessing game buyers have to play when they are making their buying decision. If they are on your site looking at an item that costs $15. If you advertise free shipping, then the buyer will not have to guess at what they think the shipping cost is going to be before they make their buying decision.
Selling online in Mexico
Mexico is similar to the USA in that 40% like to make purchases online. 80% use smartphones. Returns are important to buyers in Mexico more than any other region. Do you have a clear return policy listed on your site?
Start your store free at:
81% of people in Mexico are satisfied with the online shopping experience, but they prefer to buy in store. These stats are changing every year. I would expect more buyers in the online space moving forward.
Selling online to Europeans
76% percent of Europeans view free shipping as their most important option. If you are a store based in the USA, this might be difficult for you to offer due to duties and taxes that go along with the expensive shipping costs.
I recommend using UPS to ship internationally due to their door to door tracking that the USPS cannot offer to some countries.
Things to consider when shipping internationally
When you think about shipping internationally I know the USPS is less expensive than UPS. UPS offers door to door tracking. USPS cannot offer this to all countries they service. If your package cannot be tracked to the destination, then your buyer can easily claim that they didn’t get the shipment.
If you are selling on an online market place like Etsy or Amazon. You must provide a tracking number that indicates delivery. If you cannot provide this because you shipped USPS then you must give your buyer the money back without knowing whether or not they really did get it. If you have to ship them another item, you just doubled your cost on shipping and the product. In these cases, it would have been better for you to ship it with a reliable carrier in the first place.
UPS also has guaranteed times when shipping internationally where USPS cannot always guarantee the delivery date. Access points internationally are another thing that UPS offers. When you ship to another country, UPS has points set up where packages can be delivered if you don’t want it delivered to the buyers house, you can have them pick it up at a local access point. This is usually a local UPS store or grocery store in the area near by the residence you are shipping to. Since you are not in that country, this is a great option to use to make sure that your buyer will get the package. As always, Contact us with any questions.
Who is your target buyer?
Do you know the buyer you are targeting? Target what type of person are you trying to attract to your website? Let’s say that you sell a service that is useful for young urban professionals. If you want to attract these people to your website, then you need to know how to do that. You should be involved in forums that are relative to your buying group. who is your target buyer?
Do you have a customer profile? What does your target market look like? Take some time to develop a profile for at least three buyers and give them names. For example:
Target 1 is Dan, he likes to wear suits, he makes $60,000 a year and drives a Hyundai Sonata. He is an outside sales representative for a mortgage company. He frequents local bars that sell craft beer on the weekend. He is fiscally and socially conservative. He is 26 year old with no intention of getting married within the next few years. He also likes to grill, hang out at the beach, and watch sports.
Build three profiles like this and research the best way to market toward a person like this if Dan was your target market. If you sold designer clothes would you market toward Dan? Probably not because at this point in his life, he probably cannot afford designer clothes, but he would be someone to keep in mind for the future. Dan is someone who would buy nicer clothes if he has more money. A guy like Dan wants to keep up with his friends. He wants to be liked.
These have value
These people have value, and you need to calculate the lifetime value of your customers so you know how much it costs you to gain one customer, and if you lose a customer how much will that loss cost you life time? Don’t think of every sale as a transaction. E-commerce sites typically see their sales as a one time transaction, and they miss the opportunity to keep these people buying from their site. When someone finds your website, you need to do everything you can to increase that one sale into many by marketing to that person’s friends via their social network in any way you can.
We are connected
We are now connected, each and every one of us are connected via the internet.
Get the people who buy from you to become advocates. We are all telling Amazon what we are buying now. I took a trip to a package center recently for a major carrier. Amazon was 1 in 4 of the centers packages. the manager also informed me that 51 out of 70 packages were from Amazon on one rural route he went on. I wouldn’t advise cutting Amazon out of your business completely, but I would recommend that every time you get a sale on Amazon include a free gift with a QR code or something to the website. Don’t make your customers go back to Amazon when they like your products already. If they like what they bought then they would like to go to your website.
Keep working keep selling, know your target
Keep working and keep selling. The more things you try the more sales you will get. This will create more engagements for you and more opportunities to leverage the social networks of your customers. Over time your sales will increase exponentially so long as you are showing your customers that you care about them as people. Create your own blog, your own social network presence. Your own forum for your customers.
You will be great. Keep working, keep selling.
Remember ” if it doesn’t cost you a dime, then it will cost you some time.
Sell on Amazon and Shopify
In the Previous Post I explored how you could retain more profit by selling on your own site versus Amazon. The problem is that if you want to sell on Amazon and your own site, you cannot price differently from what is on Amazon. If you do this Amazon will kick you off their marketplace.
The way to get around this is offer discount codes on your website to attract visitors. For example, I have a subscription pop up on this site when you visit. If you placed a discount on all products code, and you have that code pop up whenever someone visits your site.
This way you can still list the product equal to what is shown on Amazon, but you can enter the price with discount in the description.
Show discount price in Google Snippet
The price with discount can be entered here in the descriptions. This way if people find your product on Amazon, and they Google that product to see if it is cheaper anywhere else, your product will come up. If you have the discounted price in the description, hopefully your potential customers will see this and BUY FROM YOUR STORE.
Pulse of the online Shopper
Remember this graphic we looked at last time, 1 in 4 are researching products they find on places like Amazon. Having a lower price on your website will still give you more profit then what you will retain if you sell on Amazon.
This example above shows how much more you could be making if you were selling on your own site at a place like Shopify:
Do you have your own site?
If you don’t have your own site, you should create one immediately. Using Shopify as a quick and easy way to create a website is a great way to get started selling your own products on your own website.
The more places you can get your products on the web the better your sales will be. It does take a long time to add products and content to all of the different market places available. Your goal is to sell more products, then why would you not want to extend your reach. Having your site that you create helps you retain more profits for yourself. More profits helps you put more money into growing your business. You are only on Amazon, you are paying them 20-30% of your profits just to be on their site. you could be keeping this money for yourself. What could you do with that money?
Thanks for reading
I would like to thank you for reading this blog. My goal is to help businesses sell more online. My target reader are small to mid size business owners who are working on their business every day. I know it can be very hard to keep working on everything over and over again. You can work on your site for day and weeks trying to attract visitors without results. You give up then the views are definitely not going to come.
Just stay positive about your future, and your time will come.
Does Amazon tell you everything?
Many people who sell online are going to fulfillment by Amazon as a way to sell to their customers and take advantage of being a prime shipper. The question I ask is do you know how much you are being charged?
Let’s look at this example of Uber Appliance refrigerator for sale on Amazon and on their business website.
If you look at this, ignoring the product cost assuming they are equal on both fulfillment sides, the seller can charge $67.00 versus $79.99 on Amazon to make up for the shipping charges. At the end it is $79.00 versus $79.99 which using UPS ground you can easily get rates of $12 or less for this size package if you are doing any volume at all. Amazon will not allow this practice so this is not a possibility selling on Amazon. Lets look at the costs to sell on Shopify vs Amazon:
Amazon charges the fulfillment fees of $12.93 plus the $12.00 selling fees. We can assume that the website of the seller would charge around 3% to process payment, and Shopify charges 3% for the sale. This would still leave considerable profit for the seller here if they sold on their own website. This method allows the seller to list the product lower on their own website and charge shipping on the back end. In my previous post I addressed the percentage of people shopping on Amazon then looking for cheaper prices on the internet. Here is the graphic showing this from UPS:
But wait there is more…. Charges
You also have to factor in the cost of shipping your product to Amazon. Depending on your product, this could add another $2+ to your cost per unit especially if you are not sending large quantity.
Now Amazon brings down another charge hammer on top of you by having you ship a large quantity to a single location, then Amazon will decide which of their warehouses your product should go to. Guess who pays for that shipping? If you guessed Amazon, you are WRONG. You pay again.
Variety of products?
Let’s say you have a variety of products that you want to offer on Amazon. If they don’t sell well, you will be charged a storage fee by Amazon. If you want to ship it back to yourself to avoid these charges, you have to pay for that shipping. You may also have a monthly fee from amazon of roughly $40 to have a pro seller account.
It may be beneficial for you to sell with them if you have a product that sells well, and that product is under 2 lbs. If your product is over 2 lbs, you should look into setting up your own website and shipping everything yourself. I recommend:
It isn’t easy
Shopify because you can set up a store within 30 minutes. You need to know that success on your own website will not happen over night. It will take work. This blog is attempting to help you come up with unique ways to drive traffic to your own site.
Even if you fulfill your own products, but you sell on Amazon through the self fulfill program, they make you print the label off of their system. This way you cannot use UPS Worldship to print off your own Branded label.
Who is running your show?
After all of this I have to ask, are you in control of your business or is Amazon? Who is really running the show with so many charges to sell on one marketplace?
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket because if they control the basket, they can raise the price of the basket at any time. What can you do if they raise the fees? Nothing, this is why it is time to take back control of your business today.
Buying should be simple
Now that you have your store set up online, it is time to look at the process of buying from your store. If you don’t have your online store set up yet, Shopify is a simple way to get one started:
I will be going through behavioral data that highlights what today’s shoppers are looking for when they are buying online. Something you need to do that most store owners do not do is test out your own order process. You need to walk through a dummy checkout, buy your own product and ship it to your friend down the street. This will give you an idea of what customers will go through on your store. Have people who can give you an honest opinion also test it out, friends are not the best people to test out your site because they want to remain your friend LOL.
Millennials make the money
more importantly millennials spend the money online and on smart phones. Millennials are more likely to spend money on smart phones than any other generation that is older than the millennial generation. On a per capita basis the other generations may have more wealth, but the Millennials are the ones buying through smart phones. This is why it is important for your website to be mobile friendly.
Millennials are trying to do old things in new ways. Millennials are more likely to get things delivered if the option is available. They want it fast, and they want it now. This has to do with time savings, their time is important because they only have so much time to conquer this world. If you can save a Millennial time then they are more likely to buy from you.
Marketplaces are popular with Millennials
Millennials are using marketplaces more often to do research and make purchases. This is why it is important to know how to drive traffic to your site. Even though I believe Amazon charges too much to sell on their marketplaces to smaller businesses who can’t afford to give up that margin. I do believe the site is necessary for a number of different reasons. I encourage you to sell there, but always drive traffic to your site with every purchase. Include a note with your personal website with every order you get on your various marketplaces. Every sale is a good sale theoretically. The UPS worldship program has a branded label you can use to advertise your site directly on the label, making your package look more professional.
Social Media Matters
look at the data above, 34% of people let social media influence their purchases. You need a facebook page to drive engagement, a Snapchat to capture younger generations who are going to be making money soon, and pay attention to what is hot in the social media world.
You want your product to be wherever the eyes of buyers are looking. Without big budget advertising dollars, staying engaged with your customers is one way to drive long term growth. It is tedious and time consuming but if you love what you do, your customers will love you.
How is your Website doing?
Today I will look at a website I chose from Cleveland, OH to see how they are doing with various things like engagement, differentiation, and other categories.
The site is www.joyfay.com I have no personal business relationship with this customer, my first time hearing about this company was through a google search I did today.
Using builtwith.com I see they are using Magento to build the shopping cart, name was purchased from Godaddy, and the host is Amazon. It makes me wonder if any of this is for sale on Amazon as well given the host.
Joyfay is popular with the crowd looking for Green Arrow costumes which is 18,000 people a month. They are ranking in the top 10 pages on google for these search terms. Also naturally with searches of Joyfay they also come up in first on google.
Joyfay does have the Green Arrow costume on their front page, but it gets covered by a huge bear advertisement when I went anyway. this website would do well to put The Green Arrow costume somewhere where it is displayed more prominently on the home page. Under their cosplay section, a heading for the green arrow costume specifically would drive more traffic to Joyfay from people looking for this specific costume. They are coming up 6th and 7th on the google search. 33% of people purchase from the first link on google past the advertisements.
This data is from similarweb.com average page duration of 46 seconds and under 2 pages per visit. The bounce rate is at 50%. This tells us people are visiting the site and leaving quickly. 50% visit just the home page and leave.
Engagement is key
There is no customer engagement from Joyfay.com The huge advertisements for holiday teddy bears put me off being that we are past the holidays now. A couple of ideas for Joyfay.com to increase engagement would be to create a cos-play community forum within the site to provide updates on new costumes, cos-play events in various cities throughout the country. Joyfay can request feedback from the forum on what costume they want to see. With comic movies and TV-shows becoming more popular thanks to the lack of creativity in Hollywood these days, it could provide a tailwind to the costume sales on Joyfay.com
Give your customers a reason to come to your site is important, but if they tell their friends with similar interest about your site it will drive more sales without spending money on advertisement.
Here are some statistics given by Adobe at Shoptalk:
It seems more people are still purchasing on desktop computers as opposed to mobile, though don’t expect that to last for many years longer. Make sure your site is mobile friendly because buyers are looking to buy from the phone at an increasing rate.
What does your site say?
What are the stats on your site? Are you starting to see how important the content of your site is in relation to google rank and attracting customers? Use the tools I outlined here with sites like Semrush:
They can help you improve these metrics to improve your rank. After that, it is up to you to make your site more engaging to the consumer.
I have given you a blue print, now get to work!
You can do it if you work at it, if it were easy everyone would be doing it right? Of course that would mean less money for the hard workers.