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GOLD! Ask me anything about eCommerce (2012)

MoneyDoc

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Hey guys I'm starting an ecomm site using wordpress. I've heard people talk about BigCommerce, Shopify, Magento but I was thinking about starting with WooCommerce... does anyone have any experience/reviews on woocommerce??

Thanks! Any info is greatly appreciated.
Woocommerce is great. A buddy uses it and he say's nothing but good things about it.
 

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MoneyDoc

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Hi @biophase

Thanks for this great thread and your valuable time.

My niche is premium tea. What kills any of my competitors, besides the taste of the tea, is the unique packaging. No other company anywhere has packaging like what I have. Do you think this is enough to have an edge over a competitor selling green tea in a lame cardboard box.

If you don't mind, I would like to PM you some pictures of my product so you can see the quality I'm talking about.

Cheers.

- MoneyDoc
 

Deon

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Hey @biophase , to continue from our previous discussion about shipping... I have just finished talking to a supplier in China about shipping me a one-unit sample order, and since they will do it by air, they quoted me $50 to ship it via DHL. The item is light and about the size and weight of a cereal box. Is the cost within reasonable range for a sample order by air?
 
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biophase

biophase

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Hey @biophase , to continue from our previous discussion about shipping... I have just finished talking to a supplier about shipping me a one-unit sample order, and since they will do it by air, they quoted me $50 to ship it via DHL. The item is light and about the size and weight of a cereal box. Is the cost within reasonable range for a sample order by air?
If you are talking about shipping from China to the US. $50 is about right. It will show up in about 2-3 days.
 

Deon

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If you are talking about shipping from China to the US. $50 is about right. It will show up in about 2-3 days.
Yep, perfect! It's from China yes... thanks

Is there any point for getting two units instead of one? For now i'm getting one unit for $16 just to look at packaging, material, etc
 

The Grind

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Hey Bio, got a "what would you do if you were me" type of question.

Got a quote to order 100 pieces for 750 of a product.
I sold 10 of these over the span of less than a month with really bad Ebay ads.
They cost 5 to make, I sold them for 14.99, 5.25 to ship.

Making about 4 per sale. I think I can sell them for 19.99. I don't see the difference in the 5 dollars, I could be wrong.
100 unites at 14.99 is 1500, Id be paying about 1300, If I sell them at 19.99. Thats 2k.

The issue is. I barely have the money to buy the 100 pieces. It takes me a while to save up 1k. Been trying to get some momentum is profit to be able to order more different kinds of products. So if I do it, it will take me a while to get that money back.

I could also spend the 800 and pay off some credit card debt.

Knowing what you know, What would YOU do if you were in this scenario. If just starting out.
 
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biophase

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Yep, perfect! It's from China yes... thanks

Is there any point for getting two units instead of one? For now i'm getting one unit for $16 just to look at packaging, material, etc
I'd get 3-10 samples. I always take apart one. Try to sell the other 2-9 to determine if you have a market.
 
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biophase

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Hey Bio, got a "what would you do if you were me" type of question.

Got a quote to order 100 pieces for 750 of a product.
I sold 10 of these over the span of less than a month with really bad Ebay ads.
They cost 5 to make, I sold them for 14.99, 5.25 to ship.

Making about 4 per sale. I think I can sell them for 19.99. I don't see the difference in the 5 dollars, I could be wrong.
100 unites at 14.99 is 1500, Id be paying about 1300, If I sell them at 19.99. Thats 2k.

The issue is. I barely have the money to buy the 100 pieces. It takes me a while to save up 1k. Been trying to get some momentum is profit to be able to order more different kinds of products. So if I do it, it will take me a while to get that money back.

I could also spend the 800 and pay off some credit card debt.

Knowing what you know, What would YOU do if you were in this scenario. If just starting out.
If you think you can sell, them then pay the $750 on your credit card and sell them at $15-$20. Go make the ebay ad better! Not even a question here. You pay off your CC debt, then what? You are still in the same spot.
 

mrsilva

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Hello Biophase!

First thank you for the opportunity and time to help us.

I am working on a automotive e-commerce. I am targeting one automotive brand only. I want to be reference when people need parts for this specific brand. So they can go to our website and find everything. We are creating our own line of products based on the top sellers, offering better quality and price as well.

I created a page using Shopify. Now I am adding the products. But as I knew before this process is taking forever because I want to offer hundreds if not thousands of different parts. Another "issue" is that some parts only fits some cars. So I have to work on the compatibility and Shopify wasn't made for automotive business.

Questions:

1. Is there a easier or faster process to add so many products like I have to?
2. Do you believe that Shopify is the best solution for my business? For a low start-up investment?

I got a quote from companies like http://webshopmanager.com/. They charged me U$8,5k plus $229 monthly for a Mobile Responsive eCommerce Website. That includes the design, inventory (15 different brands/vendors) and support.

I've been selling parts on eBay for a couple months. Have about 300 parts on inventory and I am selling around $4-6k monthly. But I am tired of the eBay fees and feedback policies.

Thank you!
 
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biophase

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Hello Biophase!

First thank you for the opportunity and time to help us.

I am working on a automotive e-commerce. I am targeting one automotive brand only. I want to be reference when people need parts for this specific brand. So they can go to our website and find everything. We are creating our own line of products based on the top sellers, offering better quality and price as well.

I created a page using Shopify. Now I am adding the products. But as I knew before this process is taking forever because I want to offer hundreds if not thousands of different parts. Another "issue" is that some parts only fits some cars. So I have to work on the compatibility and Shopify wasn't made for automotive business.

Questions:

1. Is there a easier or faster process to add so many products like I have to?
2. Do you believe that Shopify is the best solution for my business? For a low start-up investment?

I got a quote from companies like http://webshopmanager.com/. They charged me U$8,5k plus $229 monthly for a Mobile Responsive eCommerce Website. That includes the design, inventory (15 different brands/vendors) and support.

I've been selling parts on eBay for a couple months. Have about 300 parts on inventory and I am selling around $4-6k monthly. But I am tired of the eBay fees and feedback policies.

Thank you!

1) Can't you create an excel spreadsheet and just upload everything?
2) Shopify probably is not made to handle your type of ecommerce. I'm sure you need the customer to just enter his car model and year and have only compatible parts show up.

I would not pay for the customer store just yet. Just continue selling your parts on the your store and ebay. Just add say 15 parts in each day, and before you know it you'll have 1000 parts in there. Or use excel and you can probably add a 100 parts in per day.
 

mrsilva

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1) Can't you create an excel spreadsheet and just upload everything?
2) Shopify probably is not made to handle your type of ecommerce. I'm sure you need the customer to just enter his car model and year and have only compatible parts show up.

I would not pay for the customer store just yet. Just continue selling your parts on the your store and ebay. Just add say 15 parts in each day, and before you know it you'll have 1000 parts in there. Or use excel and you can probably add a 100 parts in per day.
Thank you for the reply Kenric.

The only way to import a list of products is by CSV file. I am going one by one because it requires many details like description, pricing, pictures, tags for SEO.... like they say: "if was easy everyone would do it"

I believe I got myself busy for the next couple months. :)

I want to launch the store with at least 100 products in the next 5 days.
 

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KONIG

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So I went to try and start selling my product on Amazon (currently selling only on Ebay) and unfortunately I am stuck at this point because my "cancellation rate" on my Amazon sellers account is 50% (2 out of 4 items total that I have sold on Amazon), and it cant be over 2.5% to enter the restricted category I need.

This is all because when I started selling on Ebay/Amazon a couple months ago I listed two personal items on both Ebay and Amazon and made the idiotic mistake of forgetting to remove the item from Amazon once it had sold on Ebay. I'll never repeat that mistake again at least.

So now I must wait until February 30th to be eligible to apply for the restricted category I need on Amazon. Such a bummer. I wish I could just open up another account on Amazon with a different bank account since it will technically be a different business, but I need to do more research on what is allowed.
 
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biophase

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Thank you for the reply Kenric.

The only way to import a list of products is by CSV file. I am going one by one because it requires many details like description, pricing, pictures, tags for SEO.... like they say: "if was easy everyone would do it"
Input it all in an excel file and save as CSV. Should be easy. Hopefully you can bulk upload images and just put their destination in the csv file.

It may take a while to get the file formatted correctly, but once done you will save alot of time.
 
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Deon

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Hey @biophase , while i'm getting my samples via DHL air, it's all clear.

But for the main order, can you please tell me how EXW works, as opposed to FOB? What more do I have to pay for?

Also... I live RIGHT in front of the port of miami, so I can go pick up my shipments if possible. Would that reduce my shipping costs since no carrier will have to deliver them to my place?

Thanks
 

The Autobahn

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Hey guys I'm starting an ecomm site using wordpress. I've heard people talk about BigCommerce, Shopify, Magento but I was thinking about starting with WooCommerce... does anyone have any experience/reviews on woocommerce??

Thanks! Any info is greatly appreciated.
I tried Opencart,Magento and PrestaShop but either they have bugs, slow without the right server or too complicated.
I dont know Woocommerce but make sure your finalwebsite is somehow bugfree and enough fast: http://www.webpagetest.org/
 

Durete

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Hello Biophase,
The search shows that you've talked about this before, however those topics all date back from 2008-2011, so probably things have changed by now.

My situation: I am setting up an online webshop, with mainly my own and affiliate digital content.
The chosen platform is Wordpress+woocommerce.

Now the choice I have to make is what payment option to choose.
There are a few requirements/worries on that:
- Low rates
- Dependable
- Possible to sign up without having an actual living address.(I travel 365 days a year for my normal job, making being a resident of any country or having an actual home address just an extra, unneeded cost.)
- Buyers fraud protection: I know that paypal doesn't offer any on digital goods for example.
- People have to be able to pay with a wide array of options, I guess that the best combination would be to have the following: Credit card, Paypal, direct debit, Ideal.

So for this there are Many different services out there, such as, but not limited to:
paypal, authorize, stripe, clickbank
Etc etc etc.

What are your suggestions, which ones do you use yourself, and why?
 

cutthroughstatic

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Biophase,

I am in the early early stages of starting an e-commerce business. The barrier to entry seems low, but I am in a state of temporary paralysis due to a lack of understanding.

I live in lovely, tax-happy California. I have determined that the best thing to do is form an LLC (correct me if I'm wrong on that!). I have signed up for QuickBooks Licenses and have proceeded to apply for most of the licenses needed to do business as an LLC in California.

While I have been knocking out licenses, I have been doing research on having an LLC in say, a state like Nevada. My E-Commerce business will use Shipwire for fulfillment (I know you use warehouses, but I'm not quite there..and I only have one OEM product to sell), so no part of my business is physically in CA except for me!

Do you have ANY insight into this? Researching online has gotten me very conflicting points of view, and has left me in a semi-paralyzed state!

Thanks in advance
 

cutthroughstatic

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Biophase,

I am in the early early stages of starting an e-commerce business. The barrier to entry seems low, but I am in a state of temporary paralysis due to a lack of understanding.

I live in lovely, tax-happy California. I have determined that the best thing to do is form an LLC (correct me if I'm wrong on that!). I have signed up for QuickBooks Licenses and have proceeded to apply for most of the licenses needed to do business as an LLC in California.

While I have been knocking out licenses, I have been doing research on having an LLC in say, a state like Nevada. My E-Commerce business will use Shipwire for fulfillment (I know you use warehouses, but I'm not quite there..and I only have one OEM product to sell), so no part of my business is physically in CA except for me!

Do you have ANY insight into this? Researching online has gotten me very conflicting points of view, and has left me in a semi-paralyzed state!

Thanks in advance
 

SYK

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Biophase,

I am in the early early stages of starting an e-commerce business. The barrier to entry seems low, but I am in a state of temporary paralysis due to a lack of understanding.

I live in lovely, tax-happy California. I have determined that the best thing to do is form an LLC (correct me if I'm wrong on that!). I have signed up for QuickBooks Licenses and have proceeded to apply for most of the licenses needed to do business as an LLC in California.

While I have been knocking out licenses, I have been doing research on having an LLC in say, a state like Nevada. My E-Commerce business will use Shipwire for fulfillment (I know you use warehouses, but I'm not quite there..and I only have one OEM product to sell), so no part of my business is physically in CA except for me!

Do you have ANY insight into this? Researching online has gotten me very conflicting points of view, and has left me in a semi-paralyzed state!

Thanks in advance
Very similar to my situation. In NV you won't be subject to corporate tax but you will still have to pay federal corporate tax. Products sold in NV will incur sales tax. Whatever you pay yourself personally from the company will be subject to personal income tax in the state in which you are a resident I.e. CA.

Disclaimer: I am not an accountant or lawyer. The above information is purely based on experience and should not be construed as professional legal or accounting advice.
 

cutthroughstatic

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Biophase -

In a response to my own questions, I have determined the following. Correct me if either of these are incorrect:

1) I need to start as a sole proprietor, in the state of California. I have $0 revenue at this point, and an LLC costs $1,000 to start in California. I can switch later if this particular venture is successful and the need arises. Starting an LLC in a state I do not reside in is foolhardy. Additionally, I plan to move in the next year out of Tax-ifornia, and can rethink an LLC at that time.

2) As wonderful as a fulfillment service sounds, it's probably farther down the path for me. It cuts way into margins, and at the moment I need to put in the time and the sweat equity to save any money possible (meaning just suck it up and do self-fulfillment). I know you are a proponent of this.

Moving right along!
 

jason91

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Hi Biophase - Thanks for taking the time to answer questions.

Question:
What did you do to initially bring your website to market?
Did you post on forums? SEO? Paid advertising?

Which venues did you have the best ROI and customer retention?

Did you use Google Analytics to track traffic or other platforms?

Please elaborate!

Edit:

I see some answers throughout the posts - just want to clarify strategies are still SEO and Paid advertising to start off.
 

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biophase

biophase

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Hi Biophase - Thanks for taking the time to answer questions.

Question:
What did you do to initially bring your website to market?
Did you post on forums? SEO? Paid advertising?

Which venues did you have the best ROI and customer retention?

Did you use Google Analytics to track traffic or other platforms?

Please elaborate!

Edit:

I see some answers throughout the posts - just want to clarify strategies are still SEO and Paid advertising to start off.
Jason, remember that my website was created in 2007. The things that I did 8 years ago mean nothing to the current landscape today. I will still answer you, but you will see how implementing any of these things today would not work.

1) I did SEO, got my site to #2 on google using link building, articles, link pyramids, link wheels, etc...
2) I posted on forums and used my sig link to build more links
3) I used PPC and was paying $.03 a click

I don't know what venue had the best ROI, I just did them all. I looked at Google analytics maybe once every 2 months.

If you did the same today, you will not get the same, or probably any results. The strategies today are... Amazon first, ecommerce store second.
 

Chazmania

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The strategies today are... Amazon first, ecommerce store second.
If you were starting all over again is that how you'd do it? Make Amazon your primary focus? Or maybe I over-simplified your answer...
 

jason91

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If you were starting all over again is that how you'd do it? Make Amazon your primary focus? Or maybe I over-simplified your answer...
Well I think he means Amazon is 0 cost upfront to start selling on, but has potential for o-k profits. Of course it won't build your own website brand recognition but its the right strategy to get money coming in with minimum expenses at the start.. only down side is amazon.com is full of competing sellers, and takes a huge fee on most items - usually they will make more than you on the item if you're a reseller
 

CJC3392

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Hey Bio are you familiar with using Stripe as a payment processor? Just wondering your thoughts.. thinking of using them for my site over the traditional merchants and paypal payments pro
 
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biophase

biophase

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Well I think he means Amazon is 0 cost upfront to start selling on, but has potential for o-k profits. Of course it won't build your own website brand recognition but its the right strategy to get money coming in with minimum expenses at the start.. only down side is amazon.com is full of competing sellers, and takes a huge fee on most items - usually they will make more than you on the item if you're a reseller

Actually what I mean is sell your own product on Amazon, build a brand, it has potential for massive profits, then create your own online store, get customers to come to it through brand recognition in the future, then continuing building your brand.
 
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biophase

biophase

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Hey Bio are you familiar with using Stripe as a payment processor? Just wondering your thoughts.. thinking of using them for my site over the traditional merchants and paypal payments pro
I use them, higher fees, money is transferred a day later than normal processors.
 

Chazmania

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Actually what I mean is sell your own product on Amazon, build a brand, it has potential for massive profits, then create your own online store, get customers to come to it through brand recognition in the future, then continuing building your brand.
Your kung-fu is strong! Throwing some rep your way, thanks again for always sharing and setting a hell of an example of making it happen, and action takin'. Good things.
 
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Veloman

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(sorry, just realized this is the older thread)
For Amazon and ebay sales, should you include a packing slip? It's one item, to a consumer.

I originally thought it looks more professional to include a packing slip, but after asking around and searching, it seems like it doesn't matter.
 
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biophase

biophase

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(sorry, just realized this is the older thread)
For Amazon and ebay sales, should you include a packing slip? It's one item, to a consumer.

I originally thought it looks more professional to include a packing slip, but after asking around and searching, it seems like it doesn't matter.
I don't think it matters anymore. I've received orders with and without them. We still put them in on our website orders, but that's mainly so that the employees know what to pack in the box.
 

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