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I need a professional opinion please

I've been running my online store for about 3 years now and I've encountered countless problems of course it's normal however I've faced an issue recently that I'm not quite sure how to solve

A customer placed an order about 45 days ago and received it the next day

Last night one of my employees who's handling customer service gets a call from that customer who's claiming they only now opened the package and it's missing 2 items

The 2 items cost all together $200+

Honestly I don't know how to do, I don't want to go all formal on the customer and tell him our policy is 14 days and so on and at the same time, the customer could be right and possibly the order was missing the 2 items

Can anyone please give me an opinion on this? Has it happened to anyone of you? What did you do?

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What is your bulk discount formula?

I want to share discount formula with you.

I used to eyeballing prices, like if 1 item costs $40, I can give 2 for $70.

Later, I started using an automated formula that gives bulk discounts:

discounted price = unit price * n^f 

Where n is the total number of units purchased and f is a scaling factor between 0 and 1.

So, for example, if my unit price is $24.95 and f is 0.8, the discounted price for 10 units is $24.95 * 100.8 = $157.42, which you can then round to a more aesthetically appealing number.

I'm interested to see if there is a better formula out there.

What formula do you use?

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April 2021 Top 10: Our Most Popular Posts

Our mission since 2005 is to publish independent content to help ecommerce merchants. What follows are the 10 most popular articles that we published in April 2021. Articles from early in the month are more likely to make the list than later ones.

5 Content Marketing Ideas for May 2021

Need content marketing topics for May 2021? How about photography, comic books, the Clubhouse app, springtime, or the very products your business sells? Read more…

Using Wikipedia for Content Marketing, SEO

Wikipedia can be helpful for content marketing, link building, and entity research, helping marketers reach an audience of potential customers. To be clear, since at least 2007, all external links from Wikipedia include the nofollow attribute, directing search engines not to count the links in page-ranking algorithms. Read more…

8 Reasons to Avoid Cryptocurrencies for Ecommerce

Cryptocurrencies are hot news. Merchants may be wondering if cryptocurrencies are ready for mainstream ecommerce. The answer is no. Here’s why. Read more…

12 Tools for YouTube Search Optimization

YouTube is the second most visited website, after Google. Success on YouTube requires compelling videos, but it’s equally important to optimize them. Fortunately, there are tools to help. Here is a list of tools to optimize your video content on YouTube. Read more…

Product Page Headlines Drive Conversions

Every product has a name. It could be short and simple or long and tedious. It can be definitive, witty, or subtle. And unless it’s your company’s product, you have no control over it. But there’s an alternative way to grab shoppers’ attention: headlines. Read more…

What if 80,000 Brick-and-mortar Stores Closed?

A financial services firm has predicted that 80,000 or more physical store locations in the United States are likely to close in the next five years, reducing the total number of American retail outlets by approximately 10 percent. But what does that mean? Read more…

The SEO Benefits of Web Scraping

In “SEO for Google Shopping,” I addressed the need to optimize product feeds. I stated that including keyword product descriptions and titles in the feeds was scalable with “scraping.” But I didn’t describe it further. In this post, I’ll explain scraping. Read more…

Ecommerce Product Releases: April 1, 2021

Here is a list of product releases and updates for late March from companies that offer services to online merchants. There are updates on cryptocurrency payments, contextual bidding, carbon-neutral shipping, live-stream commerce, headless commerce, and more. Read more…

Online Onion Seller Rises from Domain Auction

Most entrepreneurs start with a business idea and then secure the domain name. Peter Askew does the opposite. He purchases domain names and then builds the business. Take VidaliaOnions.com, for example. Read more…

Ecommerce Product Releases: April 15, 2021

Here is a list of product releases and updates for mid-April from companies that offer services to online merchants. There are updates on live-stream shopping, eBay ad campaigns, customer experience platforms, loyalty programs, and more. Read more…

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Can some tell me what the benefit of using Salsify is? Beyond the buzzwordy, marketing hype? Anyone using it?

I have a client who keeps telling me they need to use Salify.

(I am jaded when it comes to any service/product that is so amazing
Sounds like a sales person did a demo, and told them what they wanted to hear)

How is it integrated to provide this 'amazing customer experience' they speak of..

Sounds like multiple versions of product attributes that can selected and displayed for individual platforms..based on some criteria.

Am I missing something?

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Software recommendation to connect multiple 3pl vendors into a single hub?

Let’s say there is an ecommerce (woocommerce) store and there is a need to have multiple separate 3pl vendors in 5 different regions.

I don’t find a single 3pl vendor that would have their own warehouses in each of these 5 locations I need, thus let’s say I have to work with 5 separate 3pl vendors.

What kind of software could help to integrate all of these separate 3pl vendors into a single hub? Is there any standard they have to comply with for this to be capable? We don’t want to write any API integration code manually.

We want to integrate that hub into our ecommerce store one time and then it would auto forward the orders into the correct warehouse.

Also we have a requirement for such a software to be less that < 50usd per month for a starting package. Our volume is low, but I don’t want to spend time 6 months from now reintegrating everything, so want to do it future proof way right from the beginning.

I have never worked with 3pl vendors so maybe I’m missing something very obvious.

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On average, what’s a good gross margin to aim for when it comes to selling products?

I know that there a dozen factors to consider when pricing up items, but what's a good gross margin to aim for?

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Quality and Craft Drive Chisos Boots Founder

The idea for Chisos boots started with back pain. Will Roman, the founder, owner, and lifetime cowboy-boot buyer, injured his back in a motorcycle accident. Wearing boots became painful.

“I started cutting open boots to see how they were made,” he told me. “I found that those supposedly handmade boots were using plastics. I wanted a comfortable, handmade, high-end cowboy boot that you could work in, beat the heck out of, and then brush it off and go to dinner with the lady.”

The result is Chisos.com, a custom, handcrafted bootmaker that Roman launched in 2019. Quality and craft drive Roman and his outlook on life. He and I recently discussed the company, bootmaking, and more.

Our entire audio conversation is embedded below. The transcript that follows is edited for length and clarity.

Bandholz: Where did the name Chisos come from?

Will Roman: From the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park in West Texas, eight hours from Austin, maybe four and a half hours south of El Paso. I have been going out to the Chisos Mountains for over a decade. It’s where I recharge.

Bandholz: Why boots?

Roman: I’ve worn boots my whole life. I’m a Texan. In my 20s, I had a couple of motorcycle accidents. One messed up my back. Wearing boots became painful.

I was out in West Texas one day, looking down at my feet. It was a long day. My back was killing me. I didn’t plan on starting a business. But I really wanted a comfortable pair of boots. I used to put Walmart inserts in boots, buy boots too big, goofy things.

I started cutting open boots to see how they were made. I studied all the bootmakers in Texas. Then I went to Mexico for several months, learning the process of making boots.  Most “handmade cowboy boots” in America come from four factories in Leon, Mexico. They’ve got 350 people on the floor at one time. You can go down there and see a dozen different brands all coming off the same assembly line. They’re all basically made the same.

When I started cutting open these other boots, I found that those supposedly handmade boots were using plastics.

I wanted a comfortable, handmade, high-end cowboy boot that you could work in, beat the heck out of, and then brush it off and go to dinner with the lady.

Bandholz: What do we have here? Listeners cannot see this, but you are holding a boot. I’m looking at it.

Roman: This is the “Chisos No. 2,” one of our men’s boot styles.

Bandholz: I love the smell of leather. Again, listeners cannot see, but my nose is deep into the hole of your boot.

Roman: We do some interesting things with this boot — all based on the Big Bend region. We embroidery into the boot images of native rock carvings. It takes about four weeks to make one pair. We don’t use calfskin.

Everything on our boot is unique, from the toe shape to the arch support. I had to think about how I would wear it and how to make it last forever.

If you look inside the boot, down at the bottom, the thick leather insole is hammered in. It’s three times as thick as our competitors’ models. It’s essential for leather taking the form of your foot. It’s leather, leather, leather, all the way on the bottom. Our boots get more comfortable over time.

Bandholz: Let’s talk about the business. You’re a small company, a bootstrapped bootmaker.

Roman: Absolutely. We manufacture all of our boots — many sizes and versions. We don’t use plastics, canvas, or glue. We don’t outsource. We make something to use for the next decade or two. It’s a terrible business model.

Bandholz: I’m looking at the box for your Chisos No. 2. It’s giant. It must cost a pretty penny to ship.

Roman: It does, yes. We offer free shipping for Texans, whether or not they actually live in Texas. Free shipping within the state. If you’re an ex-Texan, reach out. We will still honor it.

Bandholz: This boot costs $495. An equivalent one from a competitor must cost $1,000.

Roman: Yes. We have many converts who were paying $900, $1,000 for their cowboy boots. We also have converts who were buying cheaper boots and then realized their mistake.

Bandholz: Let’s talk about the future. You’ve got Chisos.com. Will it become a lifestyle brand?

Roman: Yes. It started with boots. Having a better product is table stakes.

I make what I want. I’m a customer. I want things a certain way, and the boots reflect that. I wanted a certain type of wallet. I couldn’t find it on the market, so I made one. Those are coming out. Same with other items.

Chisos represents a certain approach to life. We’re hugely Texas-centric. We give a portion of every sale to Texas land conservation. We want wild places such as the Chisos Mountains to keep existing.

Folks that come to Chisos.com care about craft and character.

Bandholz: You’re the 100 percent owner?

Roman: 100 percent.

Bandholz: Talk about your challenges. How do you bounce ideas off of people or lift yourself when you’re in the dumps?

Roman: You can run on adrenaline for a long time, but eventually it catches up to you. I’m figuring out that support system now, especially with this past year of being more isolated.

It’s a struggle. I have a note on the side of my desk. I read it on difficult days. It says, “Have you slept eight hours for the past week? Have you eaten? Have you exercised? Have you seen somebody you love?”

Bandholz: That is incredible advice.

Roman: Very often, the answer to those questions is no. When feeling like dirt, I’m like, “Well, I haven’t done any of the things that are required to feel good.”

When I was younger, I could throw my body into a brick wall, bounce off of it, and I was fine. I could do that day in and day out. I didn’t have to pay my body any attention whatsoever. I do now.

Bandholz: Where can our listeners learn more about you and your company?

Roman: I’m on Twitter and LinkedIn. Our company website is Chisos.com. We have a lot of videos on our YouTube channel. We made an epic video where we chop open our boots and a couple of our competitors’. We’re also on Instagram and Twitter.

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offering crypto payments? Pros cons?

Thinking of offering crypto payments on my WordPress e-commerce site. So far the best two plug-in options look like coinbase and no middleman crypto plugin. 1. Does anyone use these? Any feedback? Pros cons? 2. Is there any reason why I should be cautious for offering crypto payments on my website ? Thanks!

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How did you know you had something good?

Yeah clickbait. But really; lets throw out all the "well I make a 1000% markup on this product that blew up overnight and now I do $10MM a year in sales" stuff. And lets leave out personal situations from trying to switch from a part time side gig to a full time" story stuff.

so with those kind of situations out of the way, how did you KNOW your store was something that was "working" in any since? Simply making SOME profit? Did you set a revenue target and hit it? Order total? What?

I have a store now that is crossing about 10k/month in revenue and I am trying to define how "successful" it is, and for me, the only way for me to even start to understand the success level was to convert all my accounting over to the double-book method. Before I was just taking WAG at what money I had and where it was.

What are some other methods you use to meter your success? Accounting; Goals? Metrics? I am just trying to get a general list going of methods other people use to help define their success.

This is more for chit chat than anything. Thanks

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My top 5 learnings from spending 200k on Facebook Ads

  1. Always optimize for the intended result

Facebook knows who’s most likely to purchase from an ad, engage with an ad, click an ad, or simply do nothing. If you’re optimizing for link clicks, Facebook is great at finding the people who are most likely to click on your ad. However, if you're optimizing for purchase conversions, Facebook will show your ad to people who are most likely to purchase on your website. The same goes for every other objective option you can optimize for.

  1. Know your numbers

It amazes me how many business owners don’t know how much they can spend to acquire a new customer. You will set yourself up for success if you know your numbers. Metrics every business owner should know: break-even ROAS, break-even CPA, conversion rate, average order value. With these metrics you can optimize your campaign in a data-driven way.

  1. Analyse with enough data

“This ad has spent €5 dollar, has 3 ATC but zero sales, what should I do?” We all know this guy who uses emotion analysing his campaign. To properly analyse campaigns we need the right amount of data. Don’t even look at an ad before it has spent 2x AOV.

  1. Creative is your targeting

Creative > Targeting. The algorithm of Facebook is way smarter than us, with its machine learning it will optimize to show our ads to the best people available. Facebook is removing audience insights for example, because they want us to focus on creating content that converts they will take care of the best targeting, placements etc. Especially UGC is performing really well for us. If you are not using UGC you are missing out BIG TIME.

  1. The Facebook Ad library is your best friend

To know which creatives your competitors are running is an absolute goldmine of information. If a competitor is running an ad for a couple of months you can make an assumption that that specific ad is working for them. Take these key findings (Different angles, hooks, type of content etc) in account when shooting your creatives. Doing research will set you up for success.

Would love to chat with you guys about your learnings!

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