The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success

GOLD! Ask me anything about eCommerce (Ongoing)

Accelerate wealth. Build a business that pays freedom. Join more than 70,000 entrepreneurs and register for the Fastlane Entrepreneur forum. Remove ads? Join the INSIDERS.

Jeannen

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Apr 9, 2020
139
263
168
France
I wouldn't give up your obviously not going to figure it out on the first try I feel like Ecommerce is a trial by fire kinda of thing. remember it only takes one to work and change everything so I wouldn't give up. also I feel like maybe it has to do with what market your products are in that you are testing./selling , I feel like some markets are more hot than others
I'm in eCommerce for 4 years now, been doing big pauses but this store runs for more than a year now and made 6 fig

I made some profit last year in June/July, before having all my cashflow was eaten by an email marketing agency

Since then, it's stagnating
 

Jeannen

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Apr 9, 2020
139
263
168
France
also you said your making $1000 a day in sales and making no profit as well saying you give free shipping. If you don't mind me asking is the product you're selling your own design or is it someones else's and if it is someone else's design but your selling it could it be that the product might cost a lot to buy and your not selling at a high enough price to pull a profit ???
Jewelery / accessories
I'm not doing free shipping, I'm doing free + shipping (free product just pay for shipping).

The goal of this product is not to make a profit directly but to get an audience to upsell them, but so far, it's not working that well. I tried to start sending one email per week and sales dropped
(I have 50 000 people on my list).

Also, the product is very cheap, but I add value through my brand and offer
 

Vasili27

New Contributor
Jun 2, 2021
58
14
17
Jewelery / accessories
I'm not doing free shipping, I'm doing free + shipping (free product just pay for shipping).

The goal of this product is not to make a profit directly but to get an audience to upsell them, but so far, it's not working that well. I tried to start sending one email per week and sales dropped
(I have 50 000 people on my list).

Also, the product is very cheap, but I add value through my brand and offer
oh ok, I understand
 

Shield

PARKED
May 28, 2021
3
0
1
shopify vs custom CMS/wordpress for ecom store?
why will you not recommend the shopify for starting a new merchandise/ecom store?
 

biophase

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
7,708
36,305
5,083
Scottsdale, AZ
shopify vs custom CMS/wordpress for ecom store?
why will you not recommend the shopify for starting a new merchandise/ecom store?
I do recommend Shopify for an E-commerce store. Where do I not recommend it?
 

thechosen1

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Aug 25, 2020
1,257
2,183
545
I do recommend Shopify for an E-commerce store. Where do I not recommend it?
I've been using Squarespace with the plugin for Square (I use their card readers offline too).

Have you ever used them, or would you say Shopify or nothin'?
 

biophase

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
7,708
36,305
5,083
Scottsdale, AZ
I've been using Squarespace with the plugin for Square (I use their card readers offline too).

Have you ever used them, or would you say Shopify or nothin'?
I have never used a square space. The only reason I recommend shopify is because it is very easy to use and you can get your website up and running in a few hours. Also $30 a month is very cheap for a fully capable functioning shopping cart platform. I haven’t found anything were you can get as much bang for the buck as shopify.
 

MitchC

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Mar 8, 2014
655
1,097
385
Jewelery / accessories
I'm not doing free shipping, I'm doing free + shipping (free product just pay for shipping).

The goal of this product is not to make a profit directly but to get an audience to upsell them, but so far, it's not working that well. I tried to start sending one email per week and sales dropped
(I have 50 000 people on my list).

Also, the product is very cheap, but I add value through my brand and offer

I don’t think you are ever going to make money doing free plus shipping, most people who do it have massive upsells, and even then it’s a terrible funnel because nobody goes from paying $9 shipping to buying a $1000 course on an upsell it makes no sense.

I am incredibly impressed that you’ve done that much revenue and not lost money doing free plus shipping so massive credit to you there, but I think you need to rethink this entirely.

the entire point of a brand is to charge more for the same or slightly better product so that you have bigger margins. Of course repeat business is another bonus. But my point is, on a free plus shipping offer, you don’t really have a brand, and if you did, it’s a brand of cheap and it attracts cheap customers so no wonder you aren’t getting them to buy anything else.

people obviously want your product and you know how to reach them and sell it to them, jewlery is also naturally a high margin price inelastic business, so I would suggest selling the same product or maybe making it better, and selling it for $39-49 maybe even $79-99.

you will make less sales which means less costs and less headaches, more money and have better customers to upsell to

$3 costs, $5cpa, $1 tax would be break even on a $9 free plus shipping offer. Most people lose money here and make it on the upsell but that makes your funnel way more complicated to scale than it needs to be.

$6 costs (product twice as good), $25cpa (5 times lower conversion rate), $5 tax, would be $13 profit on a $49 offer. You can then upsell them something cheaper than the initial offer or similar priced and make a decent profit instead of trying to upsell a $9 customer a $50 product and then trying to work out the take rate on that so you can calculate your break even cpa.
 
Last edited:

Jeannen

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Apr 9, 2020
139
263
168
France
I don’t think you are ever going to make money doing free plus shipping, most people who do it have massive upsells, and even then it’s a terrible funnel because nobody goes from paying $9 shipping to buying a $1000 course on an upsell it makes no sense.

I am incredibly impressed that you’ve done that much revenue and not lost money doing free plus shipping so massive credit to you there, but I think you need to rethink this entirely.

the entire point of a brand is to charge more for the same or slightly better product so that you have bigger margins. Of course repeat business is another bonus. But my point is, on a free plus shipping offer, you don’t really have a brand, and if you did, it’s a brand of cheap and it attracts cheap customers so no wonder you aren’t getting them to buy anything else.

people obviously want your product and you know how to reach them and sell it to them, jewlery is also naturally a high margin price inelastic business, so I would suggest selling the same product or maybe making it better, and selling it for $39-49 maybe even $79-99.

you will make less sales which means less costs and less headaches, more money and have better customers to upsell to

$3 costs, $5cpa, $1 tax would be break even on a $9 free plus shipping offer. Most people lose money here and make it on the upsell but that makes your funnel way more complicated to scale than it needs to be.

$6 costs (product twice as good), $25cpa (5 times lower conversion rate), $5 tax, would be $13 profit on a $49 offer. You can then upsell them something cheaper than the initial offer or similar priced and make a decent profit instead of trying to upsell a $9 customer a $50 product and then trying to work out the take rate on that so you can calculate your break even cpa.
Yup, definitely agree with that. The initial plan was to use it to build a list (which I did) but with all the flat costs, I realize that it's gonna be hard to do anything


Now, it's not all bad, I made a 3 min newsletter 2 days ago for a new F+S product I had, send it and made $5000 in 2 days (I'd say 30-40% margin)
1625488725100.png

I'm going to try totally new products now, with way better margin, to see how it goes. I don't know yet. I have samples coming (really hard since I'm in Indonesia, and #1 reason I'll move out soon) and I'm contacting 3PL to see if I can get better shipping rates. I was kinda always afraid of buying inventory, but it's not THAT expensive.

Apparently, shorter shipping time can increase conversion rate by 20-40% according to a study.

So, all my focus right now is in setting up a proper testing strategy and find something that works, then try to make a brand out of it asap by creating cool content.

[Edit, wrong post, I thought it was in my own topic, but nevermind, F+S is ok but attract cheapos)
 
Last edited:

Vasili27

New Contributor
Jun 2, 2021
58
14
17
Alot has changed since my Ask me about Ecommerce AMA from 2012, so I thought I'd do an updated AMA as some of the answers in the previous thread are now outdated. The online marketplace has shifted greatly in the past couple years. Some examples of what has changed:
  • Google Shopping is now at the top of your search results, so ranking #1 for a specific term is not as valuable as before. I don't do anymore SEO.
  • Big box stores like Amazon, Walmart and Target now dominate the results whereas before smaller niche stores did.
  • Amazon is now the place to be in Ecommerce.
  • A huge shift has happened from dropshipping to importing and branding.
So go ahead and ask away!
hey @biophase Im curious to ask which websites to you prefer to buy marketing leads from ???
 

door123

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Apr 4, 2020
69
61
116
Sacramento, CA
@biophase How can I test my product on Amazon b4 spending the money to manufacture the product? I would like to know things like CPCs in my niche, will people actually buy the product etc.

Today, I setup my listing on amazon FBM & turned sponsored product ads for that listing. Then I releazied that I'm not even buy box eligible as its a brand new account with a brand new product. How do you test your products?
 

biophase

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
7,708
36,305
5,083
Scottsdale, AZ
@biophase How can I test my product on Amazon b4 spending the money to manufacture the product? I would like to know things like CPCs in my niche, will people actually buy the product etc.

Today, I setup my listing on amazon FBM & turned sponsored product ads for that listing. Then I releazied that I'm not even buy box eligible as its a brand new account with a brand new product. How do you test your products?
You cannot test your products on Amazon. If people actually buy your product and you cancel their order your account will get banned.
 

Antsmasher

PARKED
Jul 3, 2015
1
0
3
32
How do you deal with scammers who would buy your product and do a charge back on their credit card or claim that the product was never delivered to their door step? Or would you take it as a loss and consider it as the cost of doing business?
 

biophase

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
7,708
36,305
5,083
Scottsdale, AZ
How do you deal with scammers who would buy your product and do a charge back on their credit card or claim that the product was never delivered to their door step? Or would you take it as a loss and consider it as the cost of doing business?

Yes, pretty much. It's a cost of doing business.
 

Hamoude321

New Contributor
Dec 25, 2019
6
5
11
Australia
I'm currently going to be getting wholesale items and flipping them on eBay but most products give a low profit like $7 i was wondering should you always try and double your money at bare minimum, I'm doing this temporarily until i find a good product to start a ecommerce business and can design a product/improve it, so what % profit margin should i be aiming for,

also there is so much competition no matter what product you choose should you keep looking for low competition products or should you just focus on creating value/solving a problem and create a better version of the product

Thanks in advance
 
Last edited:

Walter Hay

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Speedway Pass
Sep 13, 2014
2,965
12,040
2,453
World citizen
I'm currently going to be getting wholesale items and flipping them on eBay but most products give a low profit like $7 i was wondering should you always try and double your money at bare minimum, I'm doing this temporarily until i find a good product to start a ecommerce business and can design a product/improve it, so what % profit margin should i be aiming for,

also there is so much competition no matter what product you choose should you keep looking for low competition products or should you just focus on creating value/solving a problem and create a better version of the product

Thanks in advance
When I read that word "wholesale" I wonder if the new business person is buying from people who advertise as wholesalers or are they buying direct from manufacturers?

The profit margins are potentially very different.

Walter
 

BAUCE

New Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Jun 21, 2021
18
17
25
What upselling/cross selling app do you guys use on Shopify. There's a bunch and a lot of them are expensive and seem kind of scammy. Those countdown timers apparently work well but it seems like it cheapens the brand.
 

timbers1

New Contributor
Jul 2, 2021
7
3
11
@biophase - Do you have a favorite vertical or product set to work with?

Also curious, you mentioned in your original post you don't recommend SEO. Is that because it's cost prohibitive?
 

claudek

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Jun 5, 2019
140
167
142
Hi guys,

A company from Alibaba asked me a “model fee” of $300.

That’s probably because I ordered only 100 PCS which is not that much.

What do you think about it?

Thank you
 

claudek

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Jun 5, 2019
140
167
142
I was pretty disappointed when I saw this in the new Amazon TOS. I was planning on and getting excited for trying out a blast service to see what it could do for my rankings.. I have a buddy who used one a few months ago and is now #1 in his category (not a sexy product at all - but there ARE plenty of competitors that he blew out of the water). I'd still love to try a blast but I think I'll wait and see how the dust settles and what the real consequences for using such services are.
If it’s a new product, instead of giving away coupon codes, can’t you (like biophase said somewhere in the thread) directly lower the price for everyone at the beginning?

Then you raise the price as you gain traction.
 

biophase

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
7,708
36,305
5,083
Scottsdale, AZ
@biophase - Do you have a favorite vertical or product set to work with?

Also curious, you mentioned in your original post you don't recommend SEO. Is that because it's cost prohibitive?
I don’t know what you mean by vertical or product set.

Regarding SEO, no it was because it’s not as measurable.
 

biophase

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
7,708
36,305
5,083
Scottsdale, AZ
Hi guys,

A company from Alibaba asked me a “model fee” of $300.

That’s probably because I ordered only 100 PCS which is not that much.

What do you think about it?

Thank you
Do you mean a sample fee? Never heard of a model fee.
 

Walter Hay

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Speedway Pass
Sep 13, 2014
2,965
12,040
2,453
World citizen
Hi guys,

A company from Alibaba asked me a “model fee” of $300.

That’s probably because I ordered only 100 PCS which is not that much.

What do you think about it?

Thank you
In my long experience in product sourcing and importing I have never heard of a model fee, but I think I have the answer.

The person typing your quote probably transposed the l and d in mold, making it read modl, and the spell checker program "corrected" that to read model.

If it is in fact a mold charge, $300 is very small and is possibly for a simple mold made of silicone.

If you care to let me know more details privately via PM I can tell you more.

Walter
 

claudek

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Jun 5, 2019
140
167
142
In my long experience in product sourcing and importing I have never heard of a model fee, but I think I have the answer.

The person typing your quote probably transposed the l and d in mold, making it read modl, and the spell checker program "corrected" that to read model.

If it is in fact a mold charge, $300 is very small and is possibly for a simple mold made of silicone.

If you care to let me know more details privately via PM I can tell you more.

Walter
Thank you Walter.

Writing you via PM.
 

Sponsored Offers

  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE Lex DeVille's - Advanced Freelance Udemy Courses!
Yo! In 24 hours my Udemy courses go bye bye.. (for real this time) Gotta make way for...
  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE NEW: The Best School for Going Fastlane (Now open for summer enrollment)
Hi Guys! Just wanted to chime in and say that I am a part of Fox's Web School program. Though I...
MARKETPLACE Fox Web School "Legend" Group Coaching Program 2021
Any update? Hey bud! When I can squeeze out the time to work, it's been going pretty well...
MARKETPLACE Not sure how to start? This free book will teach you how to build a successful web design business
Hi Fox. Starting the book and got through the introduction. Had a conversation with Andy Black...
  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE You Are One Call Away From Living Your Dream Life - LightHouse’s Accountability Program ⚡
Chris is super sharp and is aware of many facets of entrepreneurship and can help get your...
  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE Entrepreneur's Toolbox: Company Formation, Virtual Mailbox, Registered Agent, Remote Online Notary
Appreciating the transparency and lack of hidden fees. The website is very up-front and user...
Introducing MJ's Personal Unscripted Network, Join Now for FREE!
Any chance to make it available outside of US? It has been available outside of the US on...

Forum Sponsor

Learn Fastlane Business Skills & Get Profitable Within 30 Days...

Get Started Now

Fastlane Insiders

View the forum AD FREE.
Private, unindexed content
Detailed process/execution threads
Ideas needing execution, more!

Join Fastlane Insiders.

Top Bottom