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Behind the Scenes of My Online Store Which Generated €246,811.88 Net Sales in 15 Months

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Dimitron

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Last August I launched protoolsmarket.com, an online tool & hardware store. In this post, I'll share my experience starting, growing, and operating it.

As of December 3, 2021, it has the following results:

  • Net sales: €246,811.88
  • Pre-tax profit (as of September 1, 2021): €24,775.01
  • Visitors: 119,215
  • Conversion rate: 1,64%
  • Main traffic source: Google Shopping Ads
  • Total orders: 2631

How much time do you spend on operating this store?

This business takes up roughly 2 minutes of my time every weekday, while I create and send the shipping labels to our warehouse employees.

I spend a few hours accounting at the end of every quarter. I also have to process my returns/refunds now and then.

It earns enough to pay my bills living a cozy life while renting a 45m2 flat in the center of Budapest.

How and why did I start this store?

Why?

I needed the money, mostly. I was quite engaged with building it, but I wouldn't say it was a passion project. After a while, I got bored with it. Nowadays I'm focused on other endeavors (like sharing my wealth of knowledge of e-commerce!) while this store runs in the background.

How?​

There's a little more involved backstory here.

(In this article I will use "my partner's company", "my ex-company," "our company" interchangeably)

My ex-company which I co-founded with a family member (henceforth: partner) in 2015 is actually a much more successful e-commerce business.

Its net revenue was around 3 million euros in 2020 (this was a phenomenal year for online store businesses in general).

61aa541f54ae750ad89bb734_amazon-sales-2.png

My partner's Amazon sales (2020).
I played a pivotal role in getting it off the ground in the first year or so, but we had irreconcilable differences with my partner, so I voluntarily quit after a year or so. I stayed involved with the business, but I wasn't involved with the day-to-day operation anymore.

Nowadays, this business relies (read: depends) on Amazon and other European marketplaces for its sales. This is not a good position to be in, for reasons I don't have to explain.

I wanted money and my ex-partner wanted diversification of risk (read: sales outside of Amazon), thus I volunteered to launch and grow our online presence via our own website.

I'd be his dropshipper, which means he'd get his wholesale margin and I had my retail margin.

Thus protoolsmarket.com was born.

We had an old, "failed" website with minimal sales (mostly from organic traffic).

I ran Google Shopping Ads for our products to gauge interest. The question was, "Is there life outside of Amazon"?

Luckily there was, and I managed to sell enough to validate the demand.

(This was in the Spring of 2020 when C0VlD-19 hit.)

I opted to start a new store instead of using our old store because 1.) It was easier to separate the results of my efforts 2.) The old store had a lot of integrations and I didn't want to ruin anything.

I spent the summer looking for technical solutions, like where to host the store, how to to integrate the products/stock with my partner's system, etc.

I settled with Prestashop as my e-commerce platform of choice (best for European stores that sell in multiple countries).

I spent the next 3 months working full-time on reaching profitability with my store.

My hard work paid off.

In November my store's net revenue was €24,442.81:

61aa545ae948d68082a3c759_Untitled.png

2020 November Net Sales (protoolsmarket.com)
I had similar results in December.

This resulted in about +3k of pre-tax profit. I was confident that I could make 35-50k euros a year if I continue working hard.

Sadly, it didn't happen.

Why? What happened?​

I started my store at the most volatile time period in recent history.

Irreconcilable differences with my partner still caused problems, albeit less than before. This sapped my motivation, but I managed.

The real problem was the never-seen-before increase in shipping costs and product prices, which started just when I launched my store. This trend continues to our present day.

Container prices skyrocketed.

A 40-foot container that used to cost 2.500$ now costs 15.000-20.000$.

The Chinese factories started raising their prices too. Cost of goods sold (COGS) increased by 10-20% or more!

Recently, there's has been a shortage of power in China, and now the government is forcing factories to operate 15-20 days a month instead of 30. This creates even more delays.

This is on top of the ongoing supply chain crisis.

Even before the Evergreen blocked the Suez Canal, there were huge latencies with shipping times. What used to take 30-35 days to arrive now takes 45-60 days.

This meant I was out of stock way more often, which means lost sales.

I had to raise prices 4-5 times this year. Competitors raise their rates slower or sometimes not at all. This means lost sales.

So where's the store at now?

I still manage 10-20k revenue a month with next to zero time investment. My Google Ads are managed by a friend (at a discounted rate). The warehouse is managed by the employees of my partner. Customer support is also managed by my partner's customer service employees.

I tapped into a well-developed business infrastructure and a portfolio of proven products (which I also contributed to). I had a unique opportunity here and I capitalized on it. Despite all the favorable conditions, it still required hard work. Hard work that I still live off of.

Were there moments when you almost gave up?

Yes, of course!

After I started my store, it failed to attract much traffic or sales:

61aa543698de349be2bceb09_Untitled%20(1).png

Yes, it got some visitors and sales, but look at that conversion rate. That wasn't profitable!

I was doing everything I could to bump that up, but as any store owner can tell you, it's not easy to double your conversion rate.

Luckily, I had a conversation with an experienced growth marketer friend of mine (who is working with a much more cutting-edge online store by the way).

One of the things he told me was the importance of social proof.

I "already knew this", and around September 20-25 I managed to import about 1000-1200 reviews from my partner "failed" store into my own.

This boosted my store's conversion rate from 0.79% to 0.99%. A bump from the utter shit conversion level to a less shit level.

What he did highlight to me was the fact that the reviews were quite outdated. Several years old reviews are less reassuring than fresh reviews.

So I went and "hacked" the date of the reviews and changed them to 2020.

Not the most ethical step, but I'll what choice did I have?

This, coupled with all the other now-forgotten work I did result in a much more pleasing sight:

61aa54b22d8dee0ffb8dc8c1_Untitled%20(2).png

I continued with improving the site and added in some marketing tricks and I finally arrived into acceptable results territory by November:

61aa54b93c295c60781873c9_Untitled%20(3).png

Black Friday certainly helped.

In a hindsight, it seems I was destined to succeed, but this couldn't be further from the truth!

On a day-to-day basis, it seemed like nothing was happening. It's like weight loss - small changes are imperceptible. I was constantly stressing about what can I do to make the store profitable.

The lesson here is simple: don't do it alone and ask for help - especially from specialists!

How did you market your site and get sales?

The vast majority of my sales come from Google Ads (Google Shopping). They simply work at the not stellar, but profitable enough performance of 1.5-1.8% conversion rate.

I captured what I could capture profitable via Google Ads. My partner offers the same products via Amazon/Marketplaces in the same Google Shopping results. It's a miracle I make this much!

I do offer my products a wee bit cheaper, to incentivize sales from my tiny store, to be fair. But my store can't compete with the brand awareness and trust Amazon has. Hence my partner makes 10x times the sales I do.

I also uploaded my products to Facebook Marketplace.

Manually, one by one.

It generated a few thousand euros worth of sales with a higher margin (no ad costs!), but it was a lot more manual work, customers were brain dead, they haggled and always wanted to call me (I don't offer phone support).

I wanted to rank for my keywords in Google and enjoy some sweet organic traffic, but it required more resources than I invested in it.

How did you handle customer support?

Initially, I did everything myself in Zohodesk. I mimicked/copied what I could from my partner's cutting-edge customer support system.

In the end, I concluded that it's better to insert my store's customer service into his system, to free up my time/lessen stress.

It's a marvelous customer support system really (Amazon forced my partner to come with perfect solutions), which is the result of years of iteration.

It takes next to zero amount of my time now (I only do the refunds/monetary parts myself and some special situations). It's operated by 2 contractor agents and warehouse employees.

It's controlled by this massive Blueprint, which is a massive process automation system:

61aa54c5d077d0b5a859ef8b_Untitled%20(4).png

It takes some time to set up, but once it's done, it's done. This is what makes agents able to process tickets efficiently, without our input.

This is how my partner handles the customer service of a 3 million euro e-commerce business.

How do you handle shipping?

I use my partner's infrastructure. He runs the company as a Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) operation. This means he doesn't use third-party services like Amazon FBA (we tried, but it's not a good fit for most of his products).

This is also the reason why 2020 was such a good year for my partner - while every competitor ran out of stock and was forbidden to replenish, his huge warehouse was full of stock and ready to fulfill the orders without interruption.

(I was part of the evolution of our fulfillment operations by the way - our first warehouse was a dusty warehouse in a bad neighborhood and we went to the first meeting on bikes. Imagine the impression we made. Then as we grew, we switched warehouses, invested a lot into equipment, in a forklift and tall shelves to store pallets.)

Right my orders go into a shipping app called ShippyPro. I pay 79 euros a month, which may sound like a lot, but at least it's a reliable solution that works. Try working with logistic companies and their direct integrations and you'll see.

61aa54cedc7ee8fea7a7cec6_Untitled%20(5).png

It was easy to integrate with my store and carriers (Correos Express and GLS - one for domestic, the other for international shipping).

It takes 2 minutes to create the labels and the manifest. I send it to the warehouse employees via Skype, and I'm done for the day.

What's next for you?

I'm committed to sharing everything I know about e-commerce for the next 90 days (not just on this forum). I anticipate that my wealth of knowledge will be useful to enough people to attract opportunities that I can capitalize on.

I hope this post was enough to give you an interesting and brief peek into the world of e-commerce. If you'd like to see more e-commerce content or want to ask a direct question from me, follow me on Twitter.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Thank you for the write up and sharing your process. While roughly 30K in profit is not rolling in the dough, you're learning about $10M in experience. Congrats, hope you get this up to 300K in profit.
 

Dimitron

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Thank you for the write up and sharing your process. While roughly 30K in profit is not rolling in the dough, you're learning about $10M in experience. Congrats, hope you get this up to 300K in profit.
Thank you MJ.

It's not much by American standards, but my living costs are roughly 12-15k EUR/year (Budapest, Hungary) and I also don't have to spend much time on maintaining this business.
 
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Ing

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Thank you MJ.

It's not much by American standards, but my living costs are roughly 12-15k EUR/year (Budapest, Hungary) and I also don't have to spend much time on maintaining this business.
A lovely town you live in!
I like your store very much. Easy, clear buildup imo.
Why don’t you copy your store and be your own competitors? If the support you have works with one store, maybe with more without much more work?

Btw: I imagine the numbers not so bad in a market with about only 10 million ppl.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Thank you MJ.

It's not much by American standards, but my living costs are roughly 12-15k EUR/year (Budapest, Hungary) and I also don't have to spend much time on maintaining this business.

No worries, it's an impressive start to much bigger things! Congrats.
 

Dimitron

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A lovely town you live in!
I like your store very much. Easy, clear buildup imo.
Why don’t you copy your store and be your own competitors? If the support you have works with one store, maybe with more without much more work?

Btw: I imagine the numbers not so bad in a market with about only 10 million ppl.
Thanks very much. Can you explain the reasoning behind your recommendation?

One thing that greatly reduces my sales, is the fact that my partner company is selling on most major marketplaces (Amazon, Aliexpress, Ebay, Manomano), thus they capture the majority of market share. I'm happy this setup works at all, to be honest.

My main markets are Spain then Portugal. A minority of sales come from the rest of Western EU countries (France, Italy, etc.).
 

psgroup

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Wow...it would be the case study.
I think you are the one who provides such kind of services and recently that is unique in e-commerce and consumer are looking for such services because whatever is happened in last year that opens online business opportunities in every business category.
Congratulations...enjoy the success and grow as well.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Upgrading to NOTABLE ... while your profit isn't life changing, I think you've laid the groundwork to yield life-changing results in the near term.

Question, do you recommend PrestaShop now that you have been using it?
 

Dimitron

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Upgrading to NOTABLE ... while your profit isn't life changing, I think you've laid the groundwork to yield life-changing results in the near term.

Question, do you recommend PrestaShop now that you have been using it?
Wow, thank you, MJ!

About Prestashop, TLDR Nope, I wouldn't recommend it.

For unique reasons, it made sense to me. Some of these reasons are:

1.) I had prior experience with Prestashop
2.) It's sort of the market leader in romance countries (especially Spain/France), thus lots of integrations/apps available. It made sense to use there. E-Commerce software market share in Spain 2019 | Statista
3.) Technical reasons (e.g. I could export and sync products to my own store from my partner store, which is also Prestashop and is on the same server as mine, etc.)
4.) Handles all the EU VAT/Tax BS better
5.) Good for multi lang/country stores in the EU
6.) More customizable than Shopify, but can be managed by the layman store owner, unlike Magento (although I was working together with a developer quite a lot)

Biggest issues:
1.) It's not a cutting-edge e-commerce shopping cart. In fact, it's sort of outdated by now. It's not keeping up with the competition, in terms of tech, design, and functionality.
2.) Their "module" (=app) marketplace is a joke. No real/verifiable reviews (they may have finally changed this?), variable quality of developers (thus apps/after-sales support), no free trials.
3.) Prestashop doesn't do offer any support, since it's open-source.
 

rsrs

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Great post! Right now I am facing exact same root problem as you: big rise in COGS due to the shipping crisis (and skipping port calls / late shipments).

As it looks, your product is unbranded or third party brands, so I think it's even harder to compete.

1. Do you sell mostly in Spain? Your partners, as using Amazon system, can reach the whole Europe, is that so? Can you expand if you use some third party logistics in Germany or something?
2. What's your plans for the future? Will you keep working in this arrangement with your partner or you want to detach from his operations or start your own brands?
 
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Dimitron

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Great post! Right now I am facing exact same root problem as you: big rise in COGS due to the shipping crisis (and skipping port calls / late shipments).

As it looks, your product is unbranded or third party brands, so I think it's even harder to compete.

1. Do you sell mostly in Spain? Your partners, as using Amazon system, can reach the whole Europe, is that so? Can you expand if you use some third party logistics in Germany or something?
2. What's your plans for the future? Will you keep working in this arrangement with your partner or you want to detach from his operations or start your own brands?
Thanks Rsrs! FYI, the products/brands were created by us - they're not unbranded/third party. :)

1. I'm selling in Spain, then Portugal, then France, then the rest (Italy, Germany, Belgium, etc.). My partner sells in the same countries I do but through marketplaces (where da big $$$ is). We never quite made a huge dent in Germany though. My partner (who is a family member, remember) is sort of disillusioned/burned out from the whole thing, so he's just operating it and making sure the business continues to run, but isn't proactively growing it. Doing anything in Europe is painful, slow, and bureaucratic, and we can't muster enough energy to execute.

2. This store was just one business bet I made that worked out.

Capitalizing on Germany may be worthwhile (via Amazon FBA or another 3PL), but there are huge bureaucratic hurdles to surmount and risks. Doing business in the EU sucks.

Another option worth considering is having a go at "skimming the US market" i.e. low key entry into the market with some of our highest-probability products via Amazon FBA.

I'm not planning to continue pursuing this path right now - due to the current volatile/unpredictable climate, extortionate container prices/COGS, etc. In pre-covid times it would make a lot more sense.
 

Ing

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Respect for doing that in the EU!
With your abilities and connections you could enter the US! Can market, I m sure!
 
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reneroof

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Hey!
German bureaucracy is crazy.... I am not sure if you want to focus on the german market, just in case there are some minor copy mistakes on the landing page.
The word in the red box means shares/stocks like Apple Stocks. I am not sure what this is intended to mean. And in customer support I would change the first word of the headline that just fits better.
Hope that helped.
Apart from that I think the shop is great!


Its my first post in any forum ever :D lol

1639011777644.png
 

Dimitron

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Hey!
German bureaucracy is crazy.... I am not sure if you want to focus on the german market, just in case there are some minor copy mistakes on the landing page.
The word in the red box means shares/stocks like Apple Stocks. I am not sure what this is intended to mean. And in customer support I would change the first word of the headline that just fits better.
Hope that helped.
Apart from that I think the shop is great!


Its my first post in any forum ever :D lol

View attachment 41074
Thanks, Reneroof for catching those typos! I've never probably proofread the sites by a native, so a lot of words are (probably) mistranslated. I think I used Google translate, which as we all know, isn't perfect, but it's free.

Dealing with all these languages is one thing that I really hated. It's a pain to manage. I can't write or proofread content myself. Every change I make needs to be manually updated on each version of the site.

The translation is a big hurdle too. I need to manually copy-paste the content to a Word file, send it to each individual translator, who will probably mistranslate certain industry-specific words, then copy-paste them back into the shop.

Hence why I switched to an agency that offers translation in a one-stop-shop fashion, but the tedium and quality issues still remain. This goes double-triple for translating user manuals. Customer support is also done via Google Translate.

There's a business idea for you'll!

Btw Reneroof, in the red box I meant to stay "Inventory in Spain".
 

Khalfan

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Sep 2, 2020
7
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Tanzania
Hello sir,
Greetings from Tanzania..
I am 19 yrs currently studying in One of University here..but I do have great interest in starting a business and have I have had a grimsp of starting some small businesses( only one has promise as I have rented it to save the money and get back in full control and effective).

So as I have been studying entrepreneurship ( Thanks to MJ Demarco books) my mind started noticing very big opportunities in Tanzania as it's developing country with tons of problems..

One of the noticed problem that need execution is there is a need of well e commerce site that is well situated for customer to customer business model as many people here in Tanzania like or can mostly afford used product and have used product that constantly when gotten a good offer they are willing to sell..and even so there is in University/ college campus people are not able to sell/ buy used stuff unless there is connection btn them..so for example I could be selling calculator in room 45 but because of my limited access to buyers I can only sell it through my network of friends but so there is someone in room 60 who needs the calculator and cannot find someone who sells one...and the examples of these can also be in goods,services, available rents rooms available and on and on...There is no Craigslist in Tanzania or eBay or any sort of that big corporation that tackle this need..
Still there are few of sites that are local based who have been dormant( slept) who mostly are not marketed properly and not commonly used or executed properly to dominate this need..

So having said that I want to start this e commerce business but I have struggle putting it all together to even start especially in Technical aspects of project as it's difficult to find good one in my current state( financial and resources wise) but I request if there is one who can assist me with platforms online / personal who can help me in getting the prototype of the site that I can test,adjust and verify and start gaining momentum for the process..

Thanks and sorry for broken English ( I am still learning).
Khalfan Mostafa..
 
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Khalfan

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Sep 2, 2020
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Hello sir,
Greetings from Tanzania..
I am 19 yrs currently studying in One of University here..but I do have great interest in starting a business and have I have had a grimsp of starting some small businesses( only one has promise as I have rented it to save the money and get back in full control and effective).

So as I have been studying entrepreneurship ( Thanks to MJ Demarco books) my mind started noticing very big opportunities in Tanzania as it's developing country with tons of problems..

One of the noticed problem that need execution is there is a need of well e commerce site that is well situated for customer to customer business model as many people here in Tanzania like or can mostly afford used product and have used product that constantly when gotten a good offer they are willing to sell..and even so there is in University/ college campus people are not able to sell/ buy used stuff unless there is connection btn them..so for example I could be selling calculator in room 45 but because of my limited access to buyers I can only sell it through my network of friends but so there is someone in room 60 who needs the calculator and cannot find someone who sells one...and the examples of these can also be in goods,services, available rents rooms available and on and on...There is no Craigslist in Tanzania or eBay or any sort of that big corporation that tackle this need..
Still there are few of sites that are local based who have been dormant( slept) who mostly are not marketed properly and not commonly used or executed properly to dominate this need..

So having said that I want to start this e commerce business but I have struggle putting it all together to even start especially in Technical aspects of project as it's difficult to find good one in my current state( financial and resources wise) but I request if there is one who can assist me with platforms online / personal who can help me in getting the prototype of the site that I can test,adjust and verify and start gaining momentum for the process..
Am also welcoming advice,help ,constructive concerns, questions , recommendation especially for those experienced entrepreneurs in e commerce space etc..please email me mxcmile@gmail.com
I will greatly appreciate
Thanks and sorry for broken English ( I am still learning).
Khalfan Mostafa.
 

woken

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Hi @Dimitron

Thank you for sharing with us your journey!

How long does it take to receive your money with Prestashop? I’ve been googling this for a while now and can’t seem to find a concrete answer.

Is it 45 days?!

Thank you
 

Dimitron

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Hi @Dimitron

Thank you for sharing with us your journey!

How long does it take to receive your money with Prestashop? I’ve been googling this for a while now and can’t seem to find a concrete answer.

Is it 45 days?!

Thank you
Prestahsop doesn't charge money, I use stripe, Paypal and cash on delivery as payment methods. With the latter, the money arrives instantly, with the former it takes a few days after delivery for the money to be sent to our bank account.
 
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wanttogofaster

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It's not much by American standards, but my living costs are roughly 12-15k EUR/year (Budapest, Hungary) and I also don't have to spend much time on maintaining this business.
This is great!
How much is the average employee making there?
I spent 5 years working in Eastern Europe and I remember hearing some employees were making $400~$500 a month! And this was working for a multinational company where the same employees here in the US were making $60K+ with lots of benefits. I bet local companies were even worse!
Congrats!
 

reneroof

New Contributor
Dec 6, 2021
3
8
25
Berlin, Germany
Hello sir,
Greetings from Tanzania..
I am 19 yrs currently studying in One of University here..but I do have great interest in starting a business and have I have had a grimsp of starting some small businesses( only one has promise as I have rented it to save the money and get back in full control and effective).

So as I have been studying entrepreneurship ( Thanks to MJ Demarco books) my mind started noticing very big opportunities in Tanzania as it's developing country with tons of problems..

One of the noticed problem that need execution is there is a need of well e commerce site that is well situated for customer to customer business model as many people here in Tanzania like or can mostly afford used product and have used product that constantly when gotten a good offer they are willing to sell..and even so there is in University/ college campus people are not able to sell/ buy used stuff unless there is connection btn them..so for example I could be selling calculator in room 45 but because of my limited access to buyers I can only sell it through my network of friends but so there is someone in room 60 who needs the calculator and cannot find someone who sells one...and the examples of these can also be in goods,services, available rents rooms available and on and on...There is no Craigslist in Tanzania or eBay or any sort of that big corporation that tackle this need..
Still there are few of sites that are local based who have been dormant( slept) who mostly are not marketed properly and not commonly used or executed properly to dominate this need..

So having said that I want to start this e commerce business but I have struggle putting it all together to even start especially in Technical aspects of project as it's difficult to find good one in my current state( financial and resources wise) but I request if there is one who can assist me with platforms online / personal who can help me in getting the prototype of the site that I can test,adjust and verify and start gaining momentum for the process..

Thanks and sorry for broken English ( I am still learning).
Khalfan Mostafa..
I think it's a great opportunity to start a Fastlane business. I would like to further discuss this endeavor with you and might build a prototype with you together. I will be able to take care of the technical side including hosting/SaaS costs. I am currently broke myself (unemployed) and investing my time in building a Construction HR Businesssystem ( My Fastlane Machine ).
But it's a great time to be alive and I don't need Venture Capital and Developers to build the first Prototype because there are awesome no-code tools available that help to get up and running fast and if you do the hard work (getting users) we can start something I guess.
 

Dimitron

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This is great!
How much is the average employee making there?
I spent 5 years working in Eastern Europe and I remember hearing some employees were making $400~$500 a month! And this was working for a multinational company where the same employees here in the US were making $60K+ with lots of benefits. I bet local companies were even worse!
Congrats!
Hey, thanks, I'm counting my blessings.

In Budapest you can earn 700€ for unskilled work (e.g. working at Burger King). Average white collar workers can expect somewhere between 900-1300€. There are of course freak cases of very smart people, where you earn up to 2000 €/mo, but that's quite rare. Politicians/"representatives" working in the Parliament make 3-4000€/mo for reference.
 
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woken

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Politicians/"representatives" working in the Parliament make 3-4000€/mo for reference
Declared wages, but still.

There are of course freak cases of very smart people, where you earn up to 2000 €/mo, but that's quite rare.
This why all eastern Europeans leave their countries. It’s sad, but real.
 

pumpkinman

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Nicely done mate.

One thing that struck me when I opened your site on my laptop was that before I scrolled all I could see was text, no images of what you're selling. Between the '6 reasons' and the cookies notification at the bottom it was a wall of words. If it were me I'd think about squashing the 6 reasons up a bit, or some other way of hitting customers with images straight away.
 

Blackman

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Hi @Dimitron ,

A great write-up, thanks for sharing your story.

I recently launched an e-commerce store myself earlier this year and currently promoting it via Google Shopping Ads to get some sales. Totally understand what you mean about low conversion rates - it's a really difficult to balance to stay in profit, when you're paying for ads.

One of the things I wanted to ask you is the accepted payment methods. You mentioned you accept Stripe, Paypal and cash.

In my case, cash wouldn't be an option, so I currently accept Paypal only, as it was a really simple setup.

What would be the advantage of having Stripe as well? Or in other words, what would be the point of having Paypal, when Stripe covers pretty much all payment methods anyway, including Google Pay and Apple Pay, which Paypal doesn't?

I'm wondering if I'm missing out on sales by accepting Paypal only?

Thanks for your help
 
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Dimitron

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Hi @Dimitron ,

A great write-up, thanks for sharing your story.

I recently launched an e-commerce store myself earlier this year and currently promoting it via Google Shopping Ads to get some sales. Totally understand what you mean about low conversion rates - it's a really difficult to balance to stay in profit, when you're paying for ads.

One of the things I wanted to ask you is the accepted payment methods. You mentioned you accept Stripe, Paypal and cash.

In my case, cash wouldn't be an option, so I currently accept Paypal only, as it was a really simple setup.

What would be the advantage of having Stripe as well? Or in other words, what would be the point of having Paypal, when Stripe covers pretty much all payment methods anyway, including Google Pay and Apple Pay, which Paypal doesn't?

I'm wondering if I'm missing out on sales by accepting Paypal only?

Thanks for your help
Thanks @Blackman , appreciate your kind words.

I use Stripe because it has somewhere between 1-1,5% fee instead of Paypal 3,4%.

Also stripe is more streamlined for cash payments, while Paypal is trying to force people to register for Paypal instead of making it easy for people to pay with their cards. It's kind of a conflict of interest.

My target customers, especially in this industry don't really use Google/Apple pay, so those don't apply to me, but in the US it would be a value add (since people actually use those payment methods).

@pumpkinman Can you send a screenshot? It's displaying well for me and I have no customer complaints. What language is your site opening in? If it's English, maybe that why you're seeing issues - that version of the site isn't properly done, as I don't sell to the UK.
 

Blackman

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I decided to add Stripe as another payment option on my store after reading your thread - it can only make things better. With Paypal, you also have the option to pay with your credit/debit card without registering an account, but I think a lot of people believe that you need to have an account with Paypal to use it.

So having Stripe should cater to those who prefer to input their card details, and Paypal should work for those who like to use their account.

I'm also actively asking for reviews to build up social proof on the store and I'm using a sold counter to display the number of items sold. Would you say that this is enough for "social proof" or there's more I could do?
 

Dimitron

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I decided to add Stripe as another payment option on my store after reading your thread - it can only make things better. With Paypal, you also have the option to pay with your credit/debit card without registering an account, but I think a lot of people believe that you need to have an account with Paypal to use it.

So having Stripe should cater to those who prefer to input their card details, and Paypal should work for those who like to use their account.

I'm also actively asking for reviews to build up social proof on the store and I'm using a sold counter to display the number of items sold. Would you say that this is enough for "social proof" or there's more I could do?
Hey! Great work, glad my advice helped!

Showing "items sold" is a good start, although I don't do it - it feels like a competitor could predict my rough sales count for free. Not sure how much it raises conversion rates - you'd need to set up an A/B test campaign of some sort to find out if you have the time and patience.

What's more important though is actual product reviews - if you have customers already, that you can realistically expect a 3-5% of your customer to give reviews. You can use any product review software.

I use one of these "google approved companies" because the shop/product reviews I gather there are eligible for use in shopping ads/text ads, which lead to better ads performance.

I use reviews.io if you're curious since they're the cheapest (150$/mo - the others can cost up to 10k/year!), no yearly contract, modern dashboard, customizable for my needs, and most importantly - it just works.

You can certainly use cheaper apps, which do the actual review gathering just fine - but you can't showcase them in google ads. So it's sort of an investment.

I also found a 10$/mo app (elfsight apps, if you're curious) that allows me to display amazon reviews on my store. It's quite a laborious, manual process setting it up (you have to set it up one-by-one and copy paste the code the product page manually).

These are just recommendations based on my personal usage, I'm not affiliated with these companies in any way.

You can see an example of both on my site e.g. Grandmaster - Compresor de Aire 50 Litros 3CV, Monofásico, 356L/min, Bicilindrico, 220V, 8 Bares, 92dB

If you scroll down to the tabs, you see "Valoraciones" and "Resenas de Amazon". That's how they look when implemented. My marketer friend also made the cumulative review count show up before the product title, although right now I see it's sort of displaying incorrectly without proper formatting (gotta fix that).

Anyway, enjoy!
 
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phisigma

PARKED
Jan 3, 2022
1
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Hi,
Congratulation for sunch a value bomb that you drop here !
My question :
How do you source your products ? (import, dropshipping, or you/your partners manufacture)
Thanks
 

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