October 17, 2019
7 Mistakes to Avoid When Building an Ecommerce Business

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Building an Ecommerce Business


This is our opportunity to do a
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Appreciate it. Katie are you in the Venture
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appreciate it. Getting close. Getting close here folks. About
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A little bit of pre-webinar
networking. It’s an opportunity for you to get a few
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Take advantage of it. I have noon right on the spot so let’s get started. First I want to
welcome everyone to today’s webinar
on the 7 Mistakes to Avoid When
Building an Ecommerce Business.
My name is Rob Williams. I’m with the
University of Northern Iowa MyEntrenet and IA SourceLink. I have just
a few housekeeping items to
cover before we kick off today’s presentation.
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in the order that they are passed. Finally, we do ask that you
complete a feedback survey for us over today’s webinar. That
feedback survey I’ll share a
link to that at the end of today’s presentation. It
should also automatically open
up at the end of today’s webinar. Let’s
talk about today’s webinar. We’re going to be covering the
seven mistakes that people make
when building their ecommerce business. Antony won’t be covering how
to be building an ecommerce website, he’s going to be talking about
how to build an ecommerce
business and that takes time and real
resources. Antony was born into a family of retailers. In the
1920s his great grandfather, at the age of 26, set up a very successful
provision shop in Kent. Antony has been a retail and
ecommerce expert for over 20 years with experience from international
multichannel retailers: Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Dixon Retail, and
Homebidz. The last few years he has been working with
smaller entrepreneurs and working in online stores and fashion brands.
Antony is an online retail and social media expert,
author of The Retail Handbook, expert speaker and TV news
commentator and writer for the National Digital High Street
Skills Training Program. We are very fortunate to have him on
today’s webinar and we are really
looking forward to hearing more about how to build a
successful ecommerce business.
I know we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Go ahead and take us
away Antony. Thank you so much. -Okay thank you. Hello
from England, everyone, where it’s evening here. I think you’re all around lunchtime
so you’re probably hungry while
I’m thinking about my tea for later on. I’ve had a quick
look through some of the websites, which is great to see.
What I really want to do today this afternoon for you guys, is
talk about in my experience the main mistakes
that people have made. There’s a real big preconception
about ecommerce and setting up websites. For me,
what I talk about and what we teach people is setting up an
ecommerce business. That’s the real important part
of this presentation. It’s a business it’s not about a website. It sounds strange because obviously the
website is what everybody sees, it’s
what they use to transact and it’s the important
part of it, but actually .the business behind it is the
same as what you should do. As Rob mentioned before I’m
from a family of retailers and my great grandfather had a physical shop.
When you set up a physical shop you put together
a business plan. You think about what you need,
what resources you need, and
how to work it. That’s what we’ve done and what
we develop for an ecommerce
business. I think one of the key things to put this in perspective is there’s
over one billion websites so as we sit here today there’s
around about a billion websites that is your
competition. If you think about it you’re
setting up one website you’ve got 999 million other
websites that you’re competing with and
that really puts it in perspective
that you’re not just competing as a shop, as a
physical shop, with the retailers on your high street, but
you’re competing with the world with a massive number of websites. What I’ll
talk to you now is about the main seven mistakes
and really talk about how you can not make those
because if I’d’ve known this when I first
started doing this, I’d’ve done much better at the start. It’s one of those
things, it’s the learnings that we’ve had. Some people won’t make the
mistakes, some people will, but it’s good to think about them. When I’m going
through the presentation and
the information just make notes and think about
I’ve not thought of that and how can I do that, and does my
website, or does my business idea fit with that? Let me try the first one. That’s a list of them,
which we’ll come back to in a minute. Let’s go
through each one in detail. The first one is that it’s easy. I can’t tell you how many people
talk to me and say ecommerce websites, it’s
so easy we can all do this. We can’t. What I always say to people is
absolutely we’re setting up an ecommerce
website, not a trading business, but if you set up a website… I’m just noticing that Katie’s
having a problem hearing. Is that the case? [Rob] You’re good. Keep going. We’ll have Katie work
with Patrick here. -Okay cool. As long as people
can hear that’s good. What I was saying is that we can all set up a website. In America I know that you’ve got you’ve got Shopify, you’ve
got Big Commerce, you’ve got some other companies, I’m not sure what
your big ones are there. But where
you can literally for $10 a month set up a website
and you can put pictures on it and you can put some
products on it and that’s it. Seriously that could take you a
couple of hours. It’s actually quite easy. Set up with a Paypal
account and you’re done. That’s not going to attract anyone.
Nobody will come to your website. Remember there’s
a billion out there so they’re
not going to come to your website. For me,
don’t approach this as this is an easy thing to do.
This is an easy business. I actually personally think that
setting up a physical shop
is easier than setting up an online shop.
In my industry lots of people would argue with that
but my personal experience is being setting up online businesses
is really difficult whereas a physical business, a
physical shop on the high street, people are walking
past. You’ve already got customers. They’re already there.
They’re walking past to go for a
coffee, to go for fries, to do whatever they’re
going to do, whereas online you can set up a website while
I’m speaking and I guarantee you’ll get no hits. Nobody will look at your
website. Don’t approach this thinking
it’s easy. Really think of it as
it’s a business. If you want to make money, if
you want to do well, think of
it and consider it as a real business. This takes me nicely onto the
next slide that people just think that you’ll be found. You buy
a nice URL so the title of the website, the
heading that you see on the website. For example let’s
talk about headphones. I can see some
headphones. So headphones.com.
Well for start you can’t buy headphones.com.
It will already be taken, I can
guarantee you that. You will probably call yourself The Headphones Gift Shop
in America or something like that. Or you’ll
think of a strange name. Maybe call it yourself, not that you’ve
got a strange name but use your
own name. That means nobody will find you.
Nobody will actually search you. All the good names that are easy
to search, headphones, books, cars, food, bananas, etc.
they’ve all gone. They went years ago when we
first started doing URLs. What you’ll have to do, you’ll
have to set up a name and
customers will not just find you. It’s just the
way of the world. There’s a billion out there to find. You need
to think about, when you’re setting this up in your
planning, the technical or marketing areas
that you need to put in place to be found. The first one that really is the main thing
to think about is the title of the website and
then they’re called the metatags or the headings that appear in
the website. If you are selling headphones
you could call yourself antonywelfare.com that’s fine,
but you’d say antonywelfare.com headphone
sales, or selling headphones. Your first page of your website
will be about headphones. There’ll be pictures of them and they will
talk about the different types of
headphones, different styles, because that then tells
the search engines, especially Google, the main search engine,
that you exist and that you are selling headphones.
The second bit really is the marketing side of it which we
won’t talk a lot about because
there’s courses I’m sure you guys can go and
have seen about in terms of paper click and other sides of it. What I will
say is what Rob talks about a lot is the social
media. Social media is freight. You don’t pay for it. There’s
a time investment and there’s quality investment. So
you need to nice images, you need to think about your phrasing and key
words. You can actually do lots of free advertising and marketing via Facebook. One of
the ladies that I worked with probably about a year ago, her
business is on Facebook totally. She makes
cakes for the local area and she has a Facebook page. Nothing
else. She does very well. She gets far too many orders.
She can’t fulfill the orders, which is a nice problem to have. Don’t just think
that people will find you. Don’t think that because
you’re there and you’ve set
yourself up that you’ll be found, because you
won’t. you need to do a lot of work and if you want to do work for
free, which is always good to start with, look at doing social media. The next big mistake that people think it’s not true. We all like to think
that we’re different and we’re unique, and we are. There’s
billions of humans, more humans than websites, and we are all unique.
We are separate, unique people. Unfortunately with a website
and an ecommerce business we’re not. Most of the time what you are
selling is a branded product, or a product that’s very
similar. If we go back to headphones, I’ve actually got
some here. This is a Wesc branded product. I don’t know
whether they sell it in America
or not. That’s one of our brands of
headphones and I can look now on Google
and I can see I would have thought probably
20 people or more are selling those exact headphones. Your product range
is very like somebody elses. If you’re unique, that’s brilliant.
Actually I just saw a lady who, I think it was a lady, yeah there’s a lady that’s doing
metalworks. I’m just looking at it now. That’s
something unique. Actually she’s got a great
benefit because that is unique but I would have thought most of
you guys online now are actually
going to be selling branded products or
similar products. What you need to think about
when you’re setting up the business is the product range you’re going
to sell and then why it’s different. Why should I buy headphones
from your website versus somebody else’s?
What’s the difference? Is it about the quality? Is it about
the returns? The customer service? Is it about
the full range? Actually we do headphones and we also do video
cameras and recording devices for example. You can look at that and go look at the business as a whole. This is
why I always talk about the
business as a whole not just a website. It’s by looking at the business as
a whole and saying actually what we need to do is look at
all our products and we know somebody
else is selling the same products so let’s
package it in a good way. Fast
delivery. Good customer service. Great
images. Great description. Good social media presence. The
products arrive quickly, the customer goes on site and they
can buy it quickly. That is
what will make the difference. You look at now a lot
of websites are slow. A lot of websites have too many
images or there’s different problems
with them. Your uniqueness and your ability to make more money is
by doing things better. Don’t think that you are unique
and different with your products, think about the fact that you
are unique and what makes your business unique is the whole
package and the whole business
that you put together. The opposite side of that is making yourself secret. It’s very strange. I don’t know why,
I personally don’t understand the concept
of why you would set up a
website and try and keep it quiet but I have experienced this and
there are quite a lot of people and business that I’ve met that
want to be quiet and they want to be secret
because they don’t want somebody
else to see what they’re selling or to copy them or
to steal their ideas. I’m sorry, you’re on the
internet. The internet’s 24/7 across the
world so I can see just as much in America as you can
see in England. You don’t have the ability to be
secretive, to be a small business. You have
to think big. You have to think about being
proud and being open about why you set up the business.
What is it about the business
that means I should buy something from your
website? It’s about thinking what are the different parts of the business that
make up the business that you want the customer to know
about. It could be, for example,
that you’ve got history. To go back to headphones,
you’ve got a family history in
headphones, they’re musicians. There’s a gentleman I think on here that looks like he sells guitars I think. It could be the gentleman that’s
doing the guitars could be selling headphones quite easily because
it’s very logical that he would sell guitars,
headphones, other accessories. Thinking about
the whole picture and why you’re doing it and shout
about it. Be proud about it. It may not be as much an issue
in America but definitely in England people don’t shout about
it. We’re far too English about things here. With the internet, you have to shout. A very design led point here. This one’s about believing it’s about the front end of the website. What
I mean by that is what you first look at. That is very important. The first impression
is important. When you go
into a website for the first time you
make an impression within
seconds. You think that’s good, that’s bad, I don’t
like the colors, I don’t like the text. You form opinions and you form
different ideas from that. On the other side, and especially
with fashion brands, especially
with creative industries, the front of is made to look amazing and you actually can’t shop. I know a couple of fashion brands
in the UK which I’ve been helping out to change the website
so that customers can shop. It’s very
strange to me that they’ve set up a website that you can’t
buy anything on. You can physically but when I first got contacted by
the company I went online, looked at their website and thought wow
amazing, lovely pictures, great products. The more I looked around the
more I thought how do I buy this product? Where
do I press? What do I do? I found that their baskets were
normally top right and the basket was
bottom right and it was the same color
as everything else. You know with most websites
there’s an add to basket, add to cart, a shopping bag icon. It’s normally red or yellow or green, you can really see it normally
because that’s what we want you
to do. We want you to buy something. This fashion brand spent so much
time, it didn’t want to damage the brand, they were unable
to sell things. Really making sure that the
front looks good but is practical. What I would say, it’s more
important the back end and how the process works. What I mean by
that is you go on a website, you want a customer to go onto
your website, find the category, find the area, the
section, whatever you’re selling, click on it, see the products, read
about them, maybe look at a video and some images,
and add to basket. Then the basket goes straight through, maybe to
a Paypal account, maybe to a credit card, but straight through so
that they can buy it with ease and be really happy they bought it.
They don’t want to go on there, see the product, then go where
does that link to and I can’t find that. They’ll have moved on.
Remember what I said before that you’re not the only person selling
these products. They’ll go somewhere
else. They won’t actually stay. Focusing
on the functionality, focusing on the technical side of
the website is really important. Any basic website
provider now actually has good checkouts.
As I mentioned Big Commerce, Shopify, Magento, much of the big ones
in the UK, they’re all really good at this.
All you need to do is put your images in and make sure you set the
categories up correctly. Really think about that when you’re
putting it together. I’m not
interested in what the front looks like. I’m interested
in how easy it is for the customer
to buy your products. Can we find them and
buy it? When you go into a physical
shop you look for the product, you pick
it up, you try it, you buy it. It’s
the same process, it’s the same sort of
thinking and the same ways to go about taking off. Also as well it’s a great looking website will attract
people but it won’t help them to revisit and converse. On
a technical side is about conversion. Once somebody appears on your
website, once they visit and have arrived on your website,
you want to convert them as quickly and easily as possible
to somebody that buys. You
want them to buy a product. That is about the way
you set up the website and the way that you make sure that the
technical side of it works. You’ve got a good
basket, good checkout process. Also the other side of it is the
marketing. You can have the most amazing
website and you can spend millions on it if you want,
but if you don’t do any marketing, if you don’t tell people about it,
it’s absolutely totally wasted. A lot of people spend too much time when they’re setting up their
ecommerce business worrying about
what it looks like, what it feels like, rather
than thinking okay let’s set it up, get the products on,
and get some customers. Getting customers is really
difficult. I’ve spend 5-6 years building up email
databases for my main websites and it is hard work. It’s a long process. When you get to
search engine optimization, SEO, which is a
good long term thing to do, that takes three months
would be good to start getting some views
and some visits. You’re very likely to be a year to two years. I quite often share in the training
an SEO timeline which shows that basically it’s two years before
you really have good traction with a good website. That’s also
it has to have good keywords, it has to be easy to use, it has
to have good images. There is a lot of work to do around
attracting the traffic and the people. It’s not just about setting up a nice
little website with an easy checkout. It needs to be able to be found by the customers. You need to do a lot of work to do that. I have a countdown process before you’re setting up an ecommerce
business. Half of that is technical, half of that’s about the website,
the images, the products. The other half is marketing. When
we start building the website and planning the business,
we start planning the marketing because when you start
planning you can set up a Facebook page, you can to that today. You
can set one up very easily. You can set up your Instagram
profile if you’re going to do images, or
Pinterest. Sorry about that. Sorry my phone should have
been turned off. With Pinterest and Instagram
they’re very visual based. You can start posting pictures of
your images or some ideas
about your website or people wearing the
garments or talking about them. Again it’s all about creating
an interest. You can do that as you’re planning because
there’s nothing worse than spending 6, 7, 8, 9 months building a website then you launch it and you get
no visits. It really is heartbreaking. It’s awful.
I’ve done that with a couple of them that start
when we’re starting the journey and now I know what to do and I
make sure that when we launch it
we have lots of sales and we get excited because
we can sell things. That’s the point. Making sure that
you’ve got Facebook pages in place. Try build and email list
if you can at the start. Just start talking
about it with your people. Also we find people like to know
the story about what you’re doing. We’re interested in each other’s
lives. We’re interested how we’re doing things. You could just set
up a Facebook page or your own blog and say I’m looking at setting up
this new website. We’re going to sell headphones and
we’re going to do x, y, and z. Talk about the process because
people are really interested. You’ll
have good days and bad days. Don’t post too much about the
bad days. Negative posting is never good. Be realistic and talk about
the good days; we just got new ranges, we’ve just set up the
new photoshoot, or those sorts of things. Start
planning the business with planning the marketing when
you’re planning the business. It’s very important to do both of
the processes at the same time. One of the big mistakes that’s a global ecommerce business
and thinking gives you is you believe you can
trade anywhere with anyone. It’s absolutely an ambition for most businesses but it’s really difficult. Very very difficult. There’s
two parts to this. There’s just the very big problem of setting up a website and then
trying to sell to another country when there’s different laws
and taxes. It can seriously cause you problems. Within American I know you’ve
got different taxes but I know that
you can send things there so you’re okay but if you
decided to transact with a different
country you will see that there’s different
issues, different taxes that customers might get
charged more because of delivery. I always say master
your own world, your own local area first,
and then start thinking about the bigger place. Also one thing that
is very important, when you set up a website fraud happens. Out of the five I’ve set up recently
we’ve had fraud on all but one of them. It’s big. It’s a lot of
fraud. The first thing I’d say is make sure
you use good credit cards, checking and process of
screening. Secondly just don’t accept orders from different countries.
It may be more of an English issue because we
trade with Europe a lot easier and all the fraud that I’ve
experiences is from not European countries because it’s not real
but it’s European addresses and names. That does cost you a lot. It’s probably 20% of the first week
sales are fraudulent. As soon as you
improve your fraud screening that disappears. Just be careful
because it could actually impact on a business quite significantly. The other side of it is the Ebay
and Amazon world. I love Amazon. I think it’s
brilliant. We have quite a lot of products in Amazon
in their warehouses in the UK. They are expensive but they actually have
a very good process and they do put things together well.
Amazon is very difficult to set up properly
to start up with. More importantly to run it on
an ongoing basis you have to make sure… Alan just put a very good point:
I only accept Paypal for international orders
after getting burned by stolen credit cards. Absolutely.
That’s exactly what we experience. Back to Amazon.
Amazon’s absolutely brilliant because things
are set up, the customer’s already there. But what happens Amazon is
all for the customer. If you do
anything wrong, if you get any orders wrong, if
your processes aren’t working,
your score goes down quickly and they
can close you. Especially over Christmas with toys and selling
toys they’ve massive but they are very strict on it and you have to actually follow
different processes and become
accredited to sell on Amazon. What they do offer you then though is you can
sell things across the world via Amazon. I know people actually source products from China and have a delivery to American
Amazon, Amazon.com, and deliver it to the UK. What
that does is it allows you to sell in different
countries your own product. It’s not about your ecommerce
website, you wouldn’t do that,
it’s just your Amazon shop. That’s a very clever way, if
you’ve got some really good prices
on some really good products, where you can
actually maximize and sell in
different countries around the world. Ebay you can still do that but it’s
difficult. I personally don’t recommend it for people but people
do do it and do do it well. We don’t teach that. We don’t
trade it ourselves. Amazon will allow you to do it
but make sure you follow Amazon rules and make
sure you’ve already established
yourself in your home country. Understand how it works.
Understand the processes, customer service, returns. All that side of
it is very complicated so make sure that
you do your research and really think about that before you go ahead. Customer service. Most people who set up an
ecommerce business do care but don’t think about
customer service. Customer service is the most
important point. You’re in business to service your
customers, to provide them with
a product. You’re not there for any other
reason, that’s what you’re there for. You need to, when you’re setting
up the ecommerce business, is think about returns. Think
about delivery. Think about answering the emails, the queries, or phone
calls. You need to put those all in place because as soon as
you start trading somebody will
want to talk to you. They have a product query
or delivery query. People want to talk to you. You
can do live online chat. You can do email only. You need to think about
it and make sure it’s clear and up front and say to the
customers in your website terms
and conditions contact us, live chat here, email here, social media if you
want to. Don’t leave it for an afterthought
because the customers are number one
and if you annoy them they
won’t come back. Also it’s very key to think about the
operational part of that as well:
returns. Nobody ever thinks about returns.
Set up your business. We have distance selling laws
in the UK which means that a customer has
10 days to change their mind for no reason. They don’t need
to tell you anything. They send the product back in exactly the
same condition it was sent out and you have to give them
a refund. It’s the law to be far. When that happens, you’ve got to think about
that. How are you going to manage
that process? What we actually do is we
make that an important part and we say if you’re not happy
in 31 days and you return it exactly as it is, we’ll
refund you because we call it a confidence guarantee.
That gives the customers that extra bit. It’s
not 10 days it’s 31 days so
they can try it as long as they don’t damage it
or use it so that we can’t resell it. I’m going to tell
you not many people do return it and we get very low
returns because I think we’re giving them
the confidence that they can do it
so they buy it and they go actually it’s fine. I’m quite happy
with it. Where are your returns going to get delivered to? If you’re working
from home are you going to be in to receive
the returns? How are you going to actually dispatch
the products as well? I forgot
to mention that side. Delivering products. Where are
your products going to be stored? Do you have a warehouse? Do
you have a cellar that you’re going
to use in your house or a basement? Are you going
to use a third party? If so that’s very expensive.
You need to think about your operations in
terms of stock. An order comes in, what are you going to
do with it? Who’s going to send it?
How are you going to pay for the packaging,
the bubble wrap, the boxes? How are you going
to label it? Are you going to print off labels? Are you going to hand
write them? Then how are you going to
pay for the postage? Are you going to get UPS or FEDEX or any other
carrier to come or are you going to use
a different postal service and how much does that cost?
As soon as you start to think
about all this you realize back to the start
that it’s not easy. None of this is easy. This process
is a very simple process it’s setting up a business. It’s
exactly what you’d do anyway.
You think about what you’re going to sell.
How are you going to buy it in the first place? How are you
going to deliver it to the customer? Look at different ways. If you’re
only buying a few products, a few tens or hundred products,
you could probably store them at your house or nearby. That’s
fine. Just make sure once a day you print off the orders,
pop them in a nice envelope or box, and ring
the carrier or take them to the post office. That’s always a
good way to do it. Think about that and make sure
that the customers are there as the number one thought
because without them you won’t be able to function
and continue. I think on this it’s not part of this presentation
but I think it’s quite useful for me to talk about the social media
side of it now. I’ll just leave it on that one for now. Social media by far is what you need to be looking at to make sure that your business
has the best start. We launched a company called
Smart Weave Shirts around about five years ago. It’s a shirt that doesn’t show
sweat patches. 100% cotton. Very good quality. We decided to set it up purely online and
purely using social media, which five years ago was a risk. It did
brilliantly. We sold in 23 countries in the first three
months, and all of that was down to good social media,
good videos, good graphics, and lots of sharing and lots of building the brand on social
media. You could never have done that
before. Now it’s even easier. There is a caveat to that. It is easier
because there’s so many more social media sites. Obviously you’ve got Facebook and Twitter, Instagram,
Pinterest, but you’ve also got YouTube
now which you can use a lot more. We’ve got faster internet so we
can use video as well. Bringing together the whole social
media with your keywords and making sure that it’s all online
gives really good stories so a good blog and a good story something
that you should be thinking of. It just takes me back to this lady with the studio, the metal
works. I’m just looking on that website now. For me what that needs to talk
about is more about what the products are
and why this lady put it together because
that’s the interest. That’s what people want.
If I look at the Etsy site there’s some great stories. Really good information on that.
That’s really the importance of social media. I’m just going to choose another
website that’s been popped up on here. This one’s Hawkeye Rods. It’s fishing rods. What I can see straight away
is this photography and some commentary who
choose Hawkeye Custom Rods. Great. Doesn’t look as though there’s a
shop OC and that’s why you’re on the webinar, because you want
to learn how to do a shop. It’s things like that. For me,
social media should start with a blog. What
I always teach people is start with a blog. Blog about products. It’s normally
about products or you could blog about
the range or something else that’s happening
to do related to your business,
a how to guide is always good. Obviously with
fishing, how to fish in the sea or something like that. That sort of thing. One,
you can write a good blog which gets you good credibility.
Then you can share that on Facebook. You
can also then share that on Twitter. Then if you’ve got some good
photography put those onto Instagram and Pinterest. Then what I’d also
do with that, if it’s a how to video, very popular. How to
videos are what gets searched the most
on YouTube. How to fish, how to do this.
Not selling. Don’t be too salesy in it. Don’t try and sell all
your products. Put it on for information so
that people can see and then they’ll see
you as the go to company for fishing rods because they
trust you, you know what you’re
talking about, and that’s the sort of thing
that should be getting through to all them on social media. On the program that we run,
and this is not about selling the program because
the program’s based in the UK so
it’s not going to help you guys at this stage.
The way we we look at the business is we look at four parts. This
is just good practice for you to think about. The first part
is the green icon there is plan your business. That’s what I’ve
talked a lot about. Planning your
business. Make sure you know your
customer, you know your marketing,
you know your products. Make sure you’ve got a plan
to build the website, et cetera. The second part is to build it, so the red icon on this image. Build your online store and if
you’ve got a physical store be
multichannel. That process is all about building a basic website and putting
in the operational processes that we talked about. As we
talked about good returns policy, a customer
service number, and those sides of it. Put those
into place and think about those as you’re planning the
business. Then the next module, the yellow one, is launch
it. Launch, marketing, and social media.
That’s what we were just talking
about really. It’s about making sure that once
you go live with the business
and you start trading, make sure that you’re
doing the marketing. It’s very
likely to be social media to start with
because marketing is expensive to pay for click and things,
but you can do so much with videos, images, blogs. Get
those written, shared, and get them out there
into the social media world. Always link them back to your
website, be that your main website or a blog, because
that’s key to making sure that you get the customers and the
traffic. Finally the blue part of it, the M part is measuring. Most people
don’t do this and it’s crazy. We put everything
in place. We put all this effort in, all this investment
and time and money and then we don’t measure it.
We don’t know what’s happening. I always use the saying what
gets measured gets managed. What you measure you will manage.
If you’re measuring the visitors to your website, if you’re
measuring the conversion, which
is the number of visitors that then go on to buy
a product, if you measure those on
a daily basis you’ll manage them and if you
manage them you’ll improve them. Really this is about measuring
and testing. Test new ideas, test different
blogs, test different emails. We are forever sending out different
emails for the same product. It could be these headphones again. We can send out ten different
emails about those and some of
them will convert very well and some of
them we’ll get no sales from. Testing and playing because
it’s actually good fun and it’s
the internet, you can do it. You can spend
the next ten minutes writing an email, send it out tomorrow, see what
happens. It’s not like a physical shop where you have
to wait for this to happen. Always improve. Whatever you’re
doing, improve it. Make sure
that things are getting better and things are looking good. Whatever you’re doing just improve
it. Talk to the customer. Try and
get customer feedback. You’ve got Twitter, you’ve got
Facebook, you can connect with them. Email them, find out what their
thoughts are. They’re the people that can tell you how to improve
your business and how to make more money or even to start. That’s just a not that I always
mention, which is what we’ve talked about is not
about building a website, it’s about building
an ecommerce business. Yes it is a website, yes it is a front end and images, but it’s
about the business. The business is about the resources, it’s about
the processes, it’s about the operations. It’s putting together a business plan
and making sure that things work properly for your business. There we are. I think I’ve got 15 minutes for questions.
What I wanted to do is try and help out if I can seeing as this
will probably be the only opportunity
you’ll get to see me.
[Rob]Well we did have one question from Kimberly. She
had asked if you had any experience with ShopApply or PrintBowl. -No. Sorry. We’ve not used that unfortunately. -What’s your favorite platform to use? And why?
-The one that we use the most for the smaller, the newer businesses
like these are probably talking about, is Big Commerce. It used to be I think Interspire
or something. Big Commerce
is very much it’s only $9 a month or something
for the basic package. It integrates with your
credit cards. I think in America it’s Swipe or something like that.
It integrates with Paypal. You can set it up in a few hours.
If you’ve got the images and content it’s not that
much work. For me, when we’re bringing on new
companies and smaller businesses very much say go onto that
because for us it works. The other
one is Magento. Magento, you need to be a little bit more
techy but you can do amazing things. If you understand Magento you
can make your website look
fantastic and really start to custom make it.
Big Commerce is more for a generic template.
They have about 500, they have a lot of templates,
but you’re stuck where you put your images and
where you put your images and things.
Magento you can take it to a different level. I’d
always say start with one of
the basic ones. I believe Shopify is like
Big Commerce but I’ve never used it. Try something like Big
Commerce, Shopify. Set them up, and just play with it.
Once you get to a stage where your business is
big enough, you’ll then have the money to employ a technical person or
a technical company to actually take you
to that next level. -That’s part of the preferred
method in your mind as opposed to just
jumping into one of those big ones is to build that
base first and then transfer over
to something as you grow?
-Yes, absolutely. I didn’t share the stats at the
start I should have done. 97% of online businesses will
fail, and that’s worldwide stat. People can question
it as much but believe me most of the businesses that set up
online will fail. It’s very difficult. It’s a harsh market. Don’t invest your time in amazing technical website that’ll cost
thousands of dollars. Spend $10 a month, try it, see which
of your products are selling, see which
of your emails are working, etc. Then when you know that it’s
working then it’s worth investing. Far too many people
invest thousands of dollars at the start and then
they can’t afford to do marketing. I always say to people
if you’ve got $100 spend $10 on the website
provider, on Big Commerce. The other $90
spend on marketing. You’re more likely to get money.
Marketing is where the money comes in. Put that in
pay per click or do some cool videos or something. Don’t
give it to an IT person. No offense if there are any there. -David has an interest question
here about inventory management. It says we sell a lot of unique
items. How would you sell limited quantity items online?
Wanting to prevent no stock sales and kind of manage
that inventory. -Is the question about managing
inventory or selling unique products?
-David can you give us some clarification in the
public comments box there? While we wait for some clarification
from David, Janet was asking what is the best way to determine
the appropriate key words, particularly if the business name is
not reflective of the product that you’re selling?
-I always get asked key words. The way that I look at key words is think about the words that
your customers use. Your customers use certain names around your products.
We’ve used the headphones example. These are yellow headphones. That’s the key word
for this product. Now for the shop. If I’m selling headphones
it could be that I’m selling cool headphones or funky
headphones. I don’t know whether that’s a good search.
What you do is go onto Google and go into Google Key Word
Planner. On Google Key Word Planner you type
in things like yellow headphones or cool headphones
and it tell you how many people search that and how
often that’s searched. What it also does is tell you
alternatives. If I put in cool headphones it might say
1,000 searches a month, but it might say bespoke headphones 5,000 a month. So
I know that that’s a better key word. It’s really about first of all think customer, what do they say?
Secondly go on to Google Key Word Planner and
just see how many people search it. You’ll be amazed, you think
that people search things and
they don’t. They don’t use those words.
Google’s brilliant. Google will
tell you the answers and help you out with that. -I have some good clarification
here from David. He’s looking
for a good online store that is relatively
inexpensive that maybe would take less management.
He’s got really unique items, maybe he only has
two products and one of them
sells in the store he doesn’t want to have to go
to the website to tell his website
that one of them was sold and end up overselling or
one of those situations. Are they integrated or is there
a way to integrate them closer? -It’s expensive to integrate. What
I would say, what he could do is imagine and set up the website as the main inventory management system.
Put all the products onto the website and then when
you sell one in the shop ask the employee or himself
just go on and just adjust the stock. I know
on Big Commerce I could do that
in seconds on the products. Literally type
in the product name it comes
up and adjust stock. I would suggest that
that’s the best way now, unless if he’s selling
thousands of products a day then yeah invest in a proper
inventory management system, a multichannel ones that connects
to the system. If it’s just a few items here and there then use the Ecommerce inventory management
system as the system that will track things properly for you.
-David let me know if that does not answer your question.
Chavenelle Studio had asked is Mail Chimp better
than a regular email? That’s a
little bit out of the scope of the presentation. Antony
if you comfortable answering it
go ahead otherwise email is kind of a
separate topic in some cases
than ecommerce. -I use Mail Chimp. Most of
our businesses use Mail Chimp
and we like it but there’s loads of others out
there and plenty different ones. It’s just the way that we’ve
progressed. We use Mail Chimp and we like it. There’s no issues.
-We do have a webinar as well specific to
email newsletters and if you’d like if you send
an email to [email protected] we can send you a link to that.
Brandon you had a tax question that’s also a little
bit outside the scope. We have
an excellent tax webinar series. Besides
the fact that Antony is not in the United
States so the tax laws are probably
very very different. In Iowa and the US you do remittance depending
upon how much your sales volume and the type of
company that you’re appropriated as. Again if you want to send an email to [email protected] we can
connect you with our tax guy over at the Iowa
Department of Revenue to help you
with that kind of question. -Just one thing I forgot to mention. If people do want more advice the book, The Retail
Handbook, that’s available on Amazon. I know it’s on Amazon.com and if
people want more information and a lot more detail obviously
than the webinar, they can pop on to Amazon.com to have a look.
-Antony I have a couple of quick follow up items. If you
want to find a link to that and then put that in the public
comments you’re more than
welcome to do so. While you’re digging that up I
want to first thank everyone for participating in
today’s webinar. We very very much
appreciate it. As many of you know, we do
these twice a month. We have our next webinar on
November 12th, we’re going
to cover Iowa withholding and unemployment
basics for employers. The next one that we have, November
20th, and we’re going to be talking
about advanced Google analytics. That will
be a really fun, kind of a follow along in some ways to this webinar.
Antony was talking about that sales
funnel and conversions. Megan Warner is
really going to deep dive into how you can actually use Google Analytics
to see those conversions and what’s converting better for you. Is it
Facebook? Is it your favorite clip?
All that great stuff. On December 11th I’m
actually going to be doing the webinar. How exciting
is that? On the Dream Big Grow Here online business grant
contest. You can find all of those links to those, Valyn has posted
those in the comments box. Go
save your spot for those webinars. We’d love
to see you in the future. I have one very big final thank you and
that is to Antony for sharing his time and expertise.
He’s an international expert on this topic. We were very lucky to
have him on today’s presentation. Please join me in giving him a
big big thank you.
-Thank you very much. It’s been great. -Everyone, have a great rest of
the afternoon. Antony have a great
evening. -Thank you. Will do. -Take care.
-Thank you. Goodbye.

1 thought on “7 Mistakes to Avoid When Building an Ecommerce Business

  1. If you would like to know more contact me: http://www.retailpotential.com/the-retail-handbook/

    You can also find out much more from my website and youtube channel

    Thanks
    Antony Welfare

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