Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend

As a veteran of the US Army, I always try to take it easy on the weekend of Memorial Day.  It is a time to reflect on what I have done this year, and what I can accomplish the remainder of the year.  If you have a demanding job, this might be your first holiday where you can relax for a few days.

Fathers Day Gift Idea

Perfect time to start

There is never a perfect time to start.  By that I mean there is never a perfect time to start anything.  When you are considering starting a business, or a website, or a blog the best thing to do is get started.  Memorial Day is a great time to start.

When I started my first website I jumped into it without researching a whole lot.  My first week I signed up for a Wix account, a Shopify account, a Shipstation account and a Magento account.  If you have an e-commerce site running, then you know that I didn’t need to do that.

If you don’t have an e-commerce site up yet, I would recommend:

target market

Shopify offers you a free trial, and it is very easy to set up.  It can also handle the growth of your business by offering multiple plans.

It doesn’t matter who you choose as long as you are comfortable with it.  If someone is suggesting something to you make sure they show you their work, and have them explain why they are making this recommendation.

One Size Doesn’t Fit all

Some sites like Wix are easy to set up, but when you grow your business it can not handle your growth without charging you more money than you would pay elsewhere.  Wix also places “junk code” within your site to keep you from moving it to another platform.  This causes the site to load slowly, which I have talked about in the SEO category of posts.  Wix is good though if you are in high school looking to set up a website for a class project.

The most important thing about building your business whatever that means to you, is to get started.

Momentum Carries

Once you get started the momentum you generate through your progress will carry you further.  You will see yourself growing which creates positive energy you can build on.  The old days of e-commerce are gone.  No longer do you need to know how to code to build a website.  To become an e-commerce Millionaire you don’t need to even have a website.

Many people are making millions online just selling off Amazon and ebay.  They found their niche market, and they are servicing it.

You can only read so many books about positive thinking and business.  At some point you need to put the book down and get started.  People like Tony Robbins and Jim Rohn have great advice.  I do recommend reading their work, but do not read so much that it becomes a safety mechanism.

Do not continue reading and reading because your mind is telling you that you aren’t ready to start.  You are ready to start, and you are ready to start RIGHT NOW.

For Father’s Day

Stay focused, Stay Positive

Focus on your dream and be positive about it.  No one is going to do it for you.  Keep friends around that are supportive of what you are trying to do.  If your first e-commerce site doesn’t work, it will be much easier for you to start a second one because you know what you are doing.  You can blog about your first e-commerce experience to help others with pitfalls that you came across.

This is the reason that it is so important to get started because once you have a finished product, even if this finished product doesn’t work in the end, then you can now create another product with ease.  This is accomplished simply by you knowing what you are doing now!  You acquired a new skill and can become a master a building e-commerce businesses.

Have fun

Have fun with it.  Go out there and create.  Let me know how you do by leaving a comment.

Share this with your network of friends if you find this information useful.

 

 

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March Madness

Amazon Fulfillment- What they don’t tell you

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.

Samsung galaxy s8

Samsung Galaxy 8

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:

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 thisTim howard goalie 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:

mothers day

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.

Motivation

UPS

Shipping Surepost with UPS

What is Surepost?

Surepost is a service from UPS where your package is shipped out UPS but delivered by the USPS.  This helps cut down on the cost of shipping to residential areas (only available to residential addresses).  UPS handles the package 90% of the way, and then it gets dropped off at the local post office nearest the destination address.  The post office will deliver it to your customer in the end.

The cost savings is in the surcharges for residential shipping being removed.  You could potentially save up to $7 a package with UPS surepost.

This is an example of a Surepost rate chart:

UPS surepost

Surepost is cost effective in the range of 1-9 lbs going to residential addresses.

What is next?

If you are using a shopping cart like Shopify:

Shopify

You cannot show your customers the Surepost rate.  If you want to use Surepost on Shopify, you can customize the rate to take out the Residential surcharge of $3.40 on all your UPS ground shipments.

Surepost is basically ground rates to residential addresses.  Shopify adds residential surcharges on all shipments even if the shipment is not a residential address.

This is important because of the data given that shows how important Shipping Charges are to buyers.

UPS surepost

51% of shoppers look at free or discounted shipping

39% look for speed of delivery.

If you don’t have Shopify, but you do use another shopping cart you can usually custom build a rate chart into whatever cart you are using.

Depending on where you are located in the country I would use a zone 5 or 6 as the rate you show to your customers when you are shipping surepost.  This way you will lose money on some shipments, but you will make a little money on most of the shipments.

More importantly the rates you will be showing are reasonable, so the buyers will not be scared to buy from you.  If you use a flat rate be sure to advertise this on your site.

Buyers are more likely to buy from you if they know the shipping price before they get to the shopping cart, this way they aren’t surprised when they get to the final checkout.

Flat Rate ShippingThis is one other way to help buyers get to your site and complete a purchase.

There are many nuances to a website that can scare buyers away or attract them.  It is best to get your feedback from people who have been to your website directly, but that isn’t always possible.

You can do it!

Keep working day by day, and you will see the customers start flowing in.  Once you get your website right, the customers will come and continue to come day after day!

Hopefully they will tell their friends how great you are, and you will grow to make a lot of money!

Use the contact me page if you have any questions about anything I have presented here today.

Have a great day and good selling!

 

 

Who Cares?

Who cares about your business?

Most people start their business based on an idea.  You had an idea for a product that everyone you told got excited about.  Then, you got the idea started and now your here.

I find a lot of websites that are created and posted online without ever checking for errors.  When you create your site with a company like Shopify:

Shopify

It is important to go back and look at your site.  Check your site for errors.  I always like to run a checkout to see if the shipping rates are coming back correctly.  You also need to experience the whole customer experience and be as unbiased as possible.  There are sites like Reddit and r/entrepreneur that will help critique your website if you ask.    Little errors can cost you business.

As you review your website ask yourself why do people care about my website.  Why would anyone want to visit your site?  There needs to be a compelling reason for people to visit your site and tell their friends about it.  Does your site fit this?

 

If you have ever been to similar web to check your stats on your site, then you know what you have to work on.

If you haven’t, here is a sample:

https://www.similarweb.com/website/sears.com#overview

Here are some screen shots I want to go over with you:

 

london Here the bounce rate, 41% of the people are leaving after seeing one page.

Do you know what your bounce rate is?

what does your home page look like?  Is it easy to use.  Do people know what to do when they get to your site?  How long is your site taking to load?

If you have a lot of clutter on your landing page, it would be wise to reduce it to decrease the time it takes to load your site.  People do not want to sit around waiting for your site to load especially if they have never been there before.

Make sure that the customers who come to your site have a great experience.  Look at your competitors via SemRush to see what they are doing.

Analyze Competitors

When starting out it is helpful to look at other sites to give you a point of reference.  Shopify has great templates that set up  structure of the site for you.

Reach out to your former customers after they bought, see what they did and didn’t like.  If you can e-mail abandon carts, e-mail them directly to see what the problem was.  If it is something you can control then they have given you valuable information.

 

londonYour site will not be perfect in the beginning, and it probably never will be perfect ever for that matter.  Keep going as problems arise, and you will actually be able to eat them for breakfast!

Ecomerce

ecomerce could be the wave of the future.  I noticed a number of people searching for ecomerce.  Even though this isn’t a word necessarily, I wanted to add a quick blurb about this into my blog.

 

Why did you start your business?

Start with Why

Simon Sinek wrote a great book titled “start with why”  that discusses the why in businesses.  The why is the reason the business came to be in the first place.  The Why is not to make money.  When businesses are founded they are founded on a principle or a purpose.  The owner or creator of the business has a clear understanding of what they want to the business to be.

Somewhere between figuring out the Why and implementing the Why the translation is lost.  The work required to start a business often causes people to lose sight of their why.

Simon Sinek says “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” As a small business, your message needs to be clear.  Do your buyers share the same vision as you?

If your customers e-mail you to complain about your price, then they probably do not share the same vision you do about your product.  This could be caused by a mixed message from your website, or this could be that the product you have created is not for the person making the purchase.  Maybe they are buying the product, but you did not create the product for them.

What you do needs to be clear from your mission statement, your vision, and in everything you do.  The message you are conveying on your website will influence how your buyers feel about you.

 

Is your site engaging?Shopify

Do people want to share your site with their friends?  Why do they share it?

Is it easy to tell from your home page what your company does?

Do you remember?

Do you remember when you first started your business?    what were you hoping to achieve in five years from your start date?

Most business owners don’t think about starting a business when they come up with a great idea.  It is more about having a great and interesting idea, but when it becomes a business this idea turns into something different.

It is always helpful to stop and think about why you are doing what you are doing, and what is going to be the desired outcome when you are finished?

Amazon is easy

Amazon is an easy way to start selling your items, but when you get the sale on Amazon did the buyer realize your vision for your product?  Did they buy into the why of what you are doing?  How likely is this person to recommend your product to a friend if they bought it on Amazon?

When you buy on Amazon your product becomes “I got it on Amazon”  thus your brand and everything you are hoping to build gets diminished in value immediately.  Think about this when you are building something long term.  Will your brand last if it is only seen as something as sold on Amazon?

Work hard

If you work hard to build your brand, establish your vision, then you will succeed in the end.

 

march madness

Stay Motivated! Work hard!

Good things come to those who work

When you are starting a website or business the important thing to remember is that success is not going to happen over night.  There is going to be a long period of time where you are learning what works and what doesn’t work that you will need to get through before you are successful.

Motivation

 

Your competitors also have to work

Whatever your going through, you needn’t worry because your competition will experience the same problems that you do.  The person who handles the pressure, sticks it out long enough to succeed will win in the end.

Know your outcome

You need to have goals, and set tasks on how to meet those goals for your business.  Would you construct a building without having a blueprint on how it should be built?  A person should treat a business the same way.  If you know what you want your business to look like .  The work you are doing will be focused with that end goal in mind.  You will be more likely to achieve that goal.

Shopify

It should be hard

Be glad that what you are doing is challenging, it if wasn’t challenging everyone would be in the same industry as you, doing the same thing you are doing, and there wouldn’t be any money to be made.

Focus on the Niche

You should be focused on your target market at all times, this is going to be your customer base, always create content with your Niche market in mind.  Do not betray the Niche.  The Niche market you had been targeting will leave to another brand if you do this.

You will win in the end

IF you stay focused on the goal, put the work in, you will win in the end.  So keep at it!

 

motivated today