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New Store Update: Month One – 17k Revenue

Hey Y’all,

Wanted to give you guys an update on the store that I launched at the end of December.

Looks like we will be closing January off at ~17k in revenue. Profit margin roughly 25%.

Proof: January Sales

Marketing:

  1. This store is currently running on 100% interest-based Facebook/IG ads. Started testing with 5 interests at $5 each and kept creating new ones while killing non-performers.
  2. Currently testing interests with high budget ABO and CBOs ($100 moving to $250 budgets next)
  3. I have launched absolutely 0 lookalike audiences, but likely will start creating these next week to really begin scaling. (More on this once I set this up)
  4. Started retargeting a few days ago with (initiate checkout + add to cart – purchase) & (video view 75% + video view 95% + engage with pages – purchase) I will be building up the retargeting funnel further next week.

Website:

  1. 1 product store with upsell to the same item and upsell to a complimentary item.
  2. 2.5-3% conversion rate. (If you watched my video I posted a few weeks ago with the blackhead vacuum you can see exactly how I structure my stores to get these conversion rates and out-compete the other dropshippers that are selling the same item (hint: make your website look like a brand).
  3. The store launch and basic ad account run-through of this store can be found here: Video

I hope this helps and motivates some of you guys to crush it in 2021. I'll stick around to answer any questions for the next little while.

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Seeking help: Quit my job 5 years ago, incorporated, did retail arbitrage by way of Amazon FBA, lost my main supplier last year, very low income today, stuck and unsure how to continue my entrepreneurial career.

About 5 years ago, I quit my corporate job to try out retail arbitrage. It was going very well, lucrative to the point I was making a great full-time salary until last year. I mainly sold clothing bought from 1 particular outlet store and resold it by way of Amazon FBA. I developed great relationships within that brand but last year they told me we needed to cut ties for reasons unbeknownst to me. So, for the last year, I have just been selling off the remaining inventory. I do not know how to continue.

I am tempted to try out importing and creating my own brand(s). I have 10,000+ physical addresses of customers I've shipped clothing to over the years through Amazon if I can use that to my advantage somehow (Amazon doesn't release email addresses so I do not have those). I came across a website where I can find where the manufacturing was done by the brand I used to sell. However, I have some worries with importing and starting my own brand such as potentially infringing on patents and negotiating/communicating with foreign suppliers overseas.

I feel that I have been entrepreneurial my entire life and always have a knack for spotting deals I could turn a profit on. I would love to continue to work for myself, but I am finding myself in the rough patch of entrepreneurship. I am well versed in selling products online through Amazon, but now I'm now missing products to sell. I have contemplated just giving up online selling and using the money I've made to open a franchise of some sort of business. Or simply applying for corporate jobs if I have to (last resort). I am now at the point where I really need a way of making income. Right now 95% of all my money is just sitting in the stock market, but I feel like I have the drive and motivation to really put that money to better use where I can get substantially better returns.

If anyone has any advice or tips, maybe you have been through this before. Maybe you know someone and can help me get my hands on product(s) to purchase/manufacture to resell. I would also be interested in partnering with someone if anyone is in a similar situation (send me a PM if so!). Really looking for anything at this point. Any input is much appreciated.

P.S. I am 30 years old and live in NY.

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Rate my first store and tell me what you think!

Hi guys I just got done making my first store and making some changes based on a lot of people I’ve had on it and I’d like to know what everyone’s opinion is on it!

CheepCheapBaby.com

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driving traffic to a Women’s clothing shop

Traffic to our store has been declining steadily for about 2 years, along with sales. I'm looking for tips about increasing traffic. Our SEO team has had some temporary success, but it doesn't seem to change the downward trend. Competition from Amazon is a problem — and other similar shops like lulus.com.

Any tips, suggestions, thoughts would be appreciated.

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Facebook Shops – can you change checkout method?

We created a Facebook shop for our Page with the "message" option for checkout. Is it possible to change the checkout method so customers can buy the item directly through Facebook? Or will we need to delete the shop and start over to change the checkout method?

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Question: Simplest / most bare-bones way to take payments when selling 1 item in a couple configurations?

I am just dipping my toes in the ecommerce waters and would like to know the simplest way to take online orders. Here's the plan so far.

I have a T-shirt design that I made. I will run some online ad campaigns to sell the shirts. After a week of advertising, I'll shut down the campaigns and order the correct number of shirts and have them printed at my local shop.

Then I will ship out the shirts.

I have a website but no e-commerce plugins. I don't have a DBA or separate TIN. I am in the USA.

On the online ordering form, there will be one design, but a few options for the shirts:

  • Color
  • Size
  • Long or short sleeves (these two would be difference prices).

I noticed that Square has a very simple "buy button" that I could use, but it doesn't seem to offer the ability to include any options for ordering. Otherwise, that would be ideal. https://squareup.com/us/en/online-checkout

Any other options or ideas? thanks for any help.

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Stuck with marketing

So I have an ecommerce store selling some household goods. I have been open since October last year and for the first few months was trialing different tools (FB, Instagram, Reddit, Google Search, Google Shopping, etc.) and campaigns to drive sales.

The only activity I was able to get some good traction on was Google Shopping. However since Christmas my ROAS has gone down significantly to the point its no longer profitable.

I have paused Google Shopping but I really need to find ways to push sales. Any advice on how to get traction on the other channels?

I know its a general question but would be grateful for any tips.

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Interested on doing a survey to get feedback for my products but not sure where to start or where can I conduct one. (Please read below for more details.)

Currently, I had been still working on my site for my brand. In the meantime, I have been trying to sell mainly in Poshmark and then few of my items on Walmart and Mercari. It has helped to try to see what is selling or what people might be interested in buying so when I have my site, I will know what will do well and which would not. So far I made two sales after getting offers on one of my products from my brand that keep getting attention. Almost everyday, I keep seeing more likes for that one product when all my other items don't get as much likes. I only have other two products that have a max of 5 likes and the other ones just get 1 or none. I would like to get feedback on stuff such as what colors, fabric, how are the quality of my products, etc so that way in the future I can save money and stock up on products people are most likely to buy and I am not stuck with products no one likes. I would like to get some feedback from people who have bought my items and those who liked the items as well as anyone else who might be interested. I would like to do it on Poshmark or Reddit but not sure how to go about doing so. I don't want to bother anyone. On Poshmark not sure how can I do a survey and on Reddit I know many subs don't allow survey questions so not sure where can I do one. I also don't know any other platform that would help me out with getting feedback.

Before buying inventory for my brand, I did my own research online and I saw people are more likely to like and buy products that are blue, pink, yellow, gray, white, and black, blue being the most popular color of them all. So I chose the colors of my items with that information however I see many people are drawn to my beige and coffee brown robe and towel compared to the other robes and the towels I have. Both are linen and cotton blend and the towel has an image of Buddha in the middle. I thought people don't like linen as much and would like cotton or the cotton bamboo blend items more however I guess I was wrong. My supplier told me from their experience selling the same items in Europe, people like the beige towel with the Buddha because of the color. I would appreciate any help or feedback.

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Blocked payment by Stripe

Hi…I had a notification from Stripe saying a 'likely fraudulent' payment had been blocked. The delivery address was to Peru but the billing address was to the USA, same name however and they did give an email address and contact number so it could have been genuine. I was just wondering, is it because the billing and payment address were from different countries that stripe blocked it? Or was it just that one address was from Peru?

Having said that I'm doing dropshipping and having checked on aliexpress it seems that both products ordered don't deliver to Peru anyway. Which is a bit of a problem when my customers can come from anywhere.

Any advice appreciated. thanks

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Adding SMS to an Ecommerce Marketing Mix

Text messaging can help ecommerce marketers engage and retain customers, but it is not a replacement for email communication or mobile apps.

In 2021, roughly 280 million Americans will own a smartphone out of a total population of 328.2 million, according to Statista. Smartphones are ubiquitous, in other words.

Many smartphone owners are seemingly addicted to their devices, looking at them between 80 and 100 times a day, depending on which survey you read.

Text messaging — specifically, short message service (SMS) communication — is among the most popular smartphone applications. An often-quoted Gartner report from 2016, for example, found that SMS had an open rate of about 98 percent. And several other surveys estimate that many smartphone users will read a text message within five minutes of receiving it.

Photo of a lady on a subway looking at her smartphone.

Most American adults use a smartphone and check it regularly. Photo: Jayana Rashintha.

It is clear that folks like text messaging. Arri Bagah, a conversational marketing practitioner and the founder of Conversmart, a marketing firm, claims that something like 80 percent of ecommerce customers wants to receive SMS messages.

If, however, commerce businesses abuse SMS, it is likely that customers will start unsubscribing, blocking, and ignoring those messages.

So how does an ecommerce marketer strike a balance and use SMS communications in a way that is both customer-pleasing and profit-improving? Here are seven tips to help.

7 SMS Tips for Ecommerce

1. Start with transactional messages. Perhaps the most obvious use of SMS for ecommerce is with transactional messages. Many businesses are already using text to notify shoppers when an order is received, shipped, and delivered.

These sorts of messages are easy and informative.

During the checkout process, ask shoppers if they want SMS notifications. Then add them to your texting list accordingly.

2. Get a net promoter score. Use your company’s transactional text messages as a foundation to gain usable marketing information, such as obtaining a net promoter score from new customers.

An NPS is an excellent key performance indicator for monitoring the growth potential of an ecommerce company.

Many businesses regularly employ NPS with email messages. While text messages are not a direct replacement for email, there are some things that SMS can do better. Soliciting NPS responses is one of those things.

Merchants can automate the process, sending a one-question NPS survey via SMS shortly after a customer’s order has been delivered.

The survey result could trigger other actions, such as notifying a customer service agent or sending a follow-up question.

3. Use text for chat. Monitor your web analytics for the percentage of visitors from a mobile device. That percentage could be 50 percent or higher depending on your products and target audience.

With this in mind, some retailers and B2B sellers are using SMS instead of web-based chat.

Both experiences are similar for the user. A chat icon is shown somewhere on the page, often in the lower right-hand corner. When she opens the chat window, the shopper could (for text messaging) provide her name and a text number instead of immediately typing in a question.

Podium and SimpleTexting are examples of text-messaging-chat providers.

Screenshot of a text-messaging interface on a website.

SMS chat is similar to web chat. There is a familiar icon, for example, but the conversation is quickly moved to text messaging rather than chat.

It is worth mentioning that SMS chat can be used in a few ways. Some commerce companies show a web-chat service to visitors on a desktop computer and SMS chat to folks on a mobile device. It is even possible to offer both text- and web-chat and let visitors choose.

4. Ask for a review. SMS can be a good tool for generating reviews.

Here is a scenario. Imagine a shopper has been SMS chatting with a customer service representative at your company. The representative helped this shopper find a couple of products.

It would be perfectly reasonable to send an automated text message at the end of that conversation, requesting a customer-service review.

In the same way, if a shopper responded to an NPS survey with a high score, consider sending an automated text message, asking him to review the products he purchased.

5. Use RFM-based automation. The recency, frequency, and monetary value model can help ecommerce marketers identify and market to sets of customers based on their transactional history.

One of the ways to apply the RFM model is via triggered, automated marketing workflows.

For example, when a long-time customer has not purchased in a while — prompting that customer to move from a 555 to a 455 in a five-point RFM model — an automated workflow might assign a task to a customer service representative. That rep would look up the customer and send a personal re-engagement message via SMS.

6. Avoid excessive discounts. Some retailers and B2B sellers constantly put products on sale unnecessarily.

To be sure, discounting has its place in both retail and wholesale transactions, but it can be overdone. This is particularly true when a marketer is working with a relatively new promotional tool.

For example, I’ve seen a YouTube video where an enthusiastic marketer suggested putting a banner on an ecommerce checkout page that read, “Text [phrase] to [number] to receive jaw-dropping VIP deals right now.”

That idea makes little sense. It encourages an interruption of the checkout process and a “jaw-dropping” discount that is not likely required to close the sale.

7. SMS and the hammer. Finally, there is the old saying that when you are holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

SMS can be a helpful marketing tool, but it is not a direct replacement for email or a native mobile application.

Here is an example. Say an ecommerce company desired to share a few discounted items with customers. Which would be better: a text message or a push notification from a mobile application installed on the shopper’s phone? What if that company wanted to communicate links to five marketing articles. Should it use an email newsletter or SMS?

A text message probably makes the least sense in both cases. Instead of forcing it in every marketing situation, use text messaging only when it’s most effective.