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How Do You Think About Your Ecommerce Strategy?

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biophase

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With all these threads about selling on Amazon, I thought I'd start a thread about how I go about starting a new ecommerce business. It may surprise you that I don't actually think about the product that I'm going to sell that much. I mean I do think about it, but that shouldn't be your main focus. Your main focus should be to determine how you are going to sell your product. Not where.

Here is an example, let's say you notice that the world can use another flipflop sandal company. So you decide that you want to make a more comfortable flipflop, maybe you use a special rubber with neoprene. You make new designs and great colors and spend $10k on your first shipment. You get them at home, launch your Shopify store and send a bunch to Amazon FBA. Everything is in place and...

crickets...

no traffic... no sales...

So now you start your Amazon PPC and bid on sandal keywords. You start Facebook, Instagram and Youtube, you get 100 likes, 100 followers, 100 subscribers... and again

crickets...

no traffic... no sales...

So what was the problem? The problem was that on the day that you decided to start the sandal company, you only thought about how cool looking your sandals would be. You thought about how comfortable they were and what the perfect colors would be.

You didn't think about how you would sell them.

And that's what I do. I do that months before the start of any business. You notice that I have a thread about saving bees that was started in Aug 2019. You may see me launch a business in 2021 involving bees. But the thought was started a long time ago.

So getting back to the sandals. This is what I would do.

I'm starting a sandal company. I sit down and think, how am I going to sell these? Because your answer here will determine your product design. There are so many ways we could go with this:

1) Sandals for charity or a cause, maybe giveback to cancer, ok make our signature sandal pink, really really bright pink. How do we market this? Probably partner with the american cancer society? Get influencers?
2) Sandals for running on the beach, maybe make the sole stiffer, maybe it is a little tighter? How do we market this? Make them in beach colors? Give them themes like turtle colors, sea shells?
3) Sandals for MMA fighters, maybe make them all black, get a fighter or rapper to wear them?
4) Sandals for after the club, make them foldable to put in a purse, probably don't need to be that durable, price them cheaper
5) Sandals for driving, I know mine are too big to drive stick.

So you can see that if you decide on how you are going to market them, you can build that into your product. And better yet, you have direction on what you are going to do while you are waiting for your shipment to arrive.

Let's say you decide #5, sandals for driving. Well then it is easy to create a FB and IG page for them. It is easy to know who you are going to target for influencers. You can starting following, car forums, street racers, drifters, etc...

So let's do an exercise. The sandal below is your first product. Landed for $4, most sandals sell for $20 on Amazon. How are you going to sell this sandal? Let's give it a brand name and then a marketing strategy.
81Y5xTTVHTL._SX700_.jpg
 

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AgainstAllOdds

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This is over complicated in my opinion.

Go where your customers are. Done!
Better yet find an avenue you can reach them for free.
Nothing overcomplicated about it. If you're going to sell a product, then you need to line up the sales before the product itself.

This is the correct way to launch a product:
1. Who am I going to sell to and how?
2. What product can I sell them?


This is the wrong approach that most people take:
1. What am I going to sell?
2. How am I going to sell it?
 

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Based off my 3 minutes of research, I'd go into 'sandals for toddlers' and call it Sanddlers.

I would then go down the licensing route with childrens brands and go from there.
 
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biophase

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Sorry guys, I've been a little busy this week to reply to all the responses. But what is clear here is that there are many different ways to sell a simple pair of sandals. This is the type of thinking that I do months and month of before I even pick a product.

At the beginning maybe I wanted to sell brown sandals, but then I started thinking about the LED sandals. Then after another week, came the flat arch sandals. Your ideas changes as do your plan to market them.

Sometimes you may get caught in the paralysis analysis phase doing this, but you are often better off having thought through all these methods. Also, every time you think of a method, you also come up with reasons why it won't work. So you have thought about hundreds of possible scenarios.

Then eventually, you filter everything out to a couple possible products or marketing methods. Then you think about each one in even more detail.
 

Sander

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This gave me an idea for a shoe/niche.

Went on Amazon, it already existed, but in horrible quality. Read some of the bad reviews and noted at least 12 bullet points, where the product can be better. Just by changing the material, a lot of pains would be erased.

The product is popular on Amazon, but in my country (not the US), nothing like this is on the market. Well, not branded like the way I can do it. So if I can sell it here, it could go on the US market as well later on.

Just ordered my first sample of a shoe in this new material I will use instead of the existing. If it's usable, it doesn't need much adjusting to be what I have in mind.

We'll see in 15-20 days when the sample arrives.
 

inputchip

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Do you guys know who the world's biggest manufacture of flip flops is? I would bet money it's Havianas. The makers of the super rubbery synthetic flip flops that are insanely popular in Brazil.

Let's see if Havianas is an eco-friendly producer...

Sustainability summary
Based on our sustainability criteria, Havaianas has achieved the E-label. This is our lowest possible sustainability score, and Havaianas has earned it by communicating nothing concrete about the policies for environment, carbon emissions or labor conditions in low-wages countries. For us as consumers, it is unclear whether Havaianas is committed to sustainability or not.
Let's make our target market 12-35 years who are environmentally conscious. We will make our flip flops from naturally biodegradable latex rubbers and hemp instead of synthetic rubbers. We'll have a signature green tag sewn onto the piece that fits right between the toes so that everyone know what you're wearing.

Our brand is called Green Toes.

Our marketing strategy is to put out 10-20 pieces of content a day on TikTok and IG and FB. But primarily TikTok right now as it has the highest chance of going viral and getting the most attention.

We will put out short video clips of people saying stupid things that are controversial about the environment and then out of nowhere the person gets slapped with our Green Toes flip flop, made from all natural biodegradable materials. Subtlely plug the flip flop as time goes on and you gain traction.

Find a celebrity who is so over the top publicly eco-friendly that they might give you a shout-out of some sort, or a celebrity who recently had a rough patch of bad publicity and wants to boost their public image. Leonardo DiCaprio comes to mind, but I'm sure there's plenty others. Send him a free pair and explain your story and mission.

Stay with current trends. For a period of time, for every pair purchased go save a koala from the Australian fires, or donate to a cause that does. Every pair purchased saves a koala bear!

Run limited prints of different endangered animals on the soles. Smack people in the face with them some more.
 

sparechange

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The brand name would be Happy Feet. Logo idea is a foot inprint with a smiley face in it

Focus of the business would be a better sandal for beach wear, more comfortable in between the toes (I've had this problem where you get that little cut)

I'd showcase in my pictures and video that these are much more comfortable to wear. (Some type of material for the toes)

Another thing that could be added to improve the product is a padding on the sandal for comfort/padding + grip on the heel and sole, if our customer plans to head into the water, I honestly hate it so much when sandals are slippery, and oh maybe an extra strap around the heel to help them not fall off when they go swimming.

Marketing videos feature happy looking people at the beach laughing, lounging around and swimming being surrounded with friends on a beautiful sunny and blue sky day. Target here is to replicate Coca Colas strategy of a feel good brand.

Since it is a beach apparel business, there's the potential of branching out into sun tanning lotions, towels, glasses etc potentially after acquiring a database of customers (we can up sell in the future and earn value vouchers)

Also more importantly I think its ideal to go out and engage in the sandal market, ask people what they hate about their sandals?

How about offering more than one color?

Reaching out to influencers on youtube & instagram offering a commission for a post to their audience (people that watch beach type vlogs for example)

We could even host some type of event at the beach, like a beach yoga day or something to gain exposure.

So, do you need my bank account # for the transfer of funds? I'm ready to start.
 
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biophase

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I keep coming back and reading this, and I'm starting to feel really insecure that I got nothing for sandals.

I have tunnel vision for how to get what I sell in front of people, but I'd really like to develop the ability to see how any random thing gets positioned best. It seems like one of the top skill that separates true entrepreneurs from guys like me self employing them selves to death.

Any hints on how you work your process, @biophase ? I'd love to start learning.
This is why you need to do this work in your head. When I made this post, I had no idea what I would do. I I'm just as lost as you while typing. But I'm sure by engaging in this post we will come up with something!
 

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Bossgirl

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I'd choose a market/audience first and then decide how to market to them. After some thinking I came up with diabetics, they have to be very careful about taking care of their feet, and most sandals typically expose the toes and heel, areas that are most likely to get bruised/stubbed and cause problems for them.

I looked for an existing sandal that had both the heels and toes covered and found a popular one on amazon (over 3000 positive reviews) that currently sells for about $80. Then I go to the 3 star reviews, that's usually a gold mine for people who like the product but have something about it that they don't like, look for common complaints and design or look for a sandal to resell that fixes these complaints.

Create a very exhaustive piece of content around taking care of your feet as a diabetic (make it simple, fun and non-medical language) and send fb traffic to it and collect emails. Launch sandal to email list as early adopters at very discounted rate in exchange for amazon reviews.
 

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broswoodwork

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I keep coming back and reading this, and I'm starting to feel really insecure that I got nothing for sandals.

I have tunnel vision for how to get what I sell in front of people, but I'd really like to develop the ability to see how any random thing gets positioned best. It seems like one of the top skill that separates true entrepreneurs from guys like me self employing them selves to death.

Any hints on how you work your process, @biophase ? I'd love to start learning.
 
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biophase

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I'm just now making new designs for my product for dog owners as I'm reading this so a vision popped up in my head about a talking dog wearing those sandals and talking about how soft and comfy they are, in a super calm and casual tone. Could this work for dog owners who are constantly walking their dogs?:rofl:
This is a possible route. It's one of those things that you just think about. Maybe one videos shows a dude stepping in dog poop and then it's easily cleaned off. This would be a 2-3 second shot in a promo video probably, but the point here is that someone got some sort of vision or idea about marketing.

This thinking is very different than, I'm going to add keywords to my PPC campaign.
 

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1) Sandals for charity or a cause, maybe giveback to cancer, ok make our signature sandal pink, really really bright pink. How do we market this? Probably partner with the american cancer society? Get influencers?
2) Sandals for running on the beach, maybe make the sole stiffer, maybe it is a little tighter? How do we market this? Make them in beach colors? Give them themes like turtle colors, sea shells?
3) Sandals for MMA fighters, maybe make them all black, get a fighter or rapper to wear them?
4) Sandals for after the club, make them foldable to put in a purse, probably don't need to be that durable, price them cheaper
5) Sandals for driving, I know mine are too big to drive stick.
I'm just now making new designs for my product for dog owners as I'm reading this so a vision popped up in my head about a talking dog wearing those sandals and talking about how soft and comfy they are, in a super calm and casual tone. Could this work for dog owners who are constantly walking their dogs?:rofl:
 
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biophase

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I'd showcase in my pictures and video that these are much more comfortable to wear. (Some type of material for the toes)

Marketing videos feature happy looking people at the beach laughing, lounging around and swimming being surrounded with friends on a beautiful sunny and blue sky day. Target here is to replicate Coca Colas strategy of a feel good brand.

Also more importantly I think its ideal to go out and engage in the sandal market, ask people what they hate about their sandals?

Reaching out to influencers on youtube & instagram offering a commission for a post to their audience (people that watch beach type vlogs for example)
Ok, lets break these down. First, I think that they are too general. Most people think in this way and then when it comes time to make the video or to DM IG influencers they have no idea what to make or write.

So you make a video showing that they are comfortable, happy people at the beach. Ok, the video is done. Now what?

Are you going to upload it to Youtube? Then what? How are you going to get traffic to your youtube video after that?

Ok, you reach out to influencers, offer a commission. How much will you give them? What do they need to do to get that commission?

Get into the details.
 

sparechange

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Ok, lets break these down. First, I think that they are too general. Most people think in this way and then when it comes time to make the video or to DM IG influencers they have no idea what to make or write.

So you make a video showing that they are comfortable, happy people at the beach. Ok, the video is done. Now what?

Are you going to upload it to Youtube? Then what? How are you going to get traffic to your youtube video after that?

Ok, you reach out to influencers, offer a commission. How much will you give them? What do they need to do to get that commission?

Get into the details.
After the video is on Youtube & IG/FB I'd invest into FB ads with links to our Youtube video. Not to much, $100 or less won't break the bank and we can analyze market feedback.

How many people clicked on the ad, how many people are interested in buying it & the overall feedback on the product such as (wow this looks cool!) or this looks crappy I wouldn't want to buy it.

We could also do Seo/Google Adwords so we are the #1 search that comes up on google for ''best sandals 2020'' ''best sandals to buy'' ''most comfortable sandals'' ''beach sandals'' etc etc.

Youtube ads is another way to direct traffic, aside from reaching out to large social media accounts like below.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gM-684WdNYo
with only 94k subs and 1.2M views that's a pretty good audience reach, if we could convert 1% of those 1M viewers that's 10k orders right there. At your landed price of $4 retailing at $20 that's nearly $160k in gross sales.

Here's an interesting point though that can be debated.

If the average price on Amazon or whatever retailer is around $20 (and this stumps me actually) what's our optimal price? Do we shoot for the moon and list at a higher price aiming for a premium product brand (improving the sandal by adding some grip for the bottom of your foot) Or undercut the market at a $16.99 & so on?

I think I'd go for a higher price, maybe $24.99 but that could backfire possibly, as long as we can communicate value through marketing it could be an option, it's reasonable to drop your price although may damage the brand image.

For commission structure, payment would be contingent on a product sale ideally. Lets say a 20-30% payment of a sale? No idea haven't got any experience in this actually. But going on some basic math a 20% sale $20 would be $4, for 10k sales that's $40k oops. Alright 20% might be a bit high, I've heard of some affiliates getting 50% so how about skipping that and just paying the influencer a flat sum? Will they say no to post a video using your product for $100 - $500?

The video could be based around the said influencer (Kylie Jenner i.e) Have Kylie walk around the beach vlogging talking about how awesome these new Happy Feet sandals are, and how the audience can pick them up for a 20% discount using the code KylieKode on HappyFeet.com
 

Fastlane Liam

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View attachment 29685

Interest over time

View attachment 29687

Competition (Amazon)
View attachment 29688
View attachment 29690
View attachment 29689

Based off my 3 minutes of research, I'd go into 'sandals for toddlers' and call it Sanddlers.

I would then go down the licensing route with childrens brands and go from there.
Using keyword data to make your decision. Thats big brain thinking. Also some good ideas in there for the other keywords, awesome.
 
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biophase

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Another thing I'd do is have some type of volley ball event or host a beach day party to get brand exposure, years ago I went to a LuluLemon yoga event on Kitts beach just down the street from the HQ. Thought that was pretty cool.

Let people try them on and close a sale.
Just wanted to reply on this one. This is interesting because I would never do something like this because it doesn't scale. Even selling 100 sandals at this event isn't really going to make your brand known.

However, if you could get 100 people to open up their app and purchase it on Amazon while at the event, and then give them an extra (different color) pair right there, this could kickstart your Amazon listing. In addition, you ask to get their contact into and then call/email each one to leave you a review in 1-2 weeks and email or call you afterwards.
 

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This post makes me think of @snowbank's post about doing the "due diligence" before starting a business (I think it was his 500th). It also kicks me right in the junk, I think I'm guilty of the product-before-market sin currently with boots I'm wanting to make.
 

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View attachment 29689

Based off my 3 minutes of research, I'd go into 'sandals for toddlers' and call it Sanddlers.

I would then go down the licensing route with childrens brands and go from there.
'Sandals for flat feet' reminds me of a pain point...

Some time ago, I bought sandals which 'correct your posture and backbone'.
For folks who sit in the office all day, and get the pains, nothing better than sandals that help correct that.

I got the sandals from retail, but who knows if it helps to sell them online.
 

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Assuming the sample is great. How would you go about selling it in your country?
My first ideas:

1. Create a wedding blog/podcast in my native language. The product is perfect for weddings/dances/parties like this. A blog or platform could be a good way to interact with females in age 18-35 who would be the primarily segment.

2. Look for celbreties who are getting married and send them a free bunch they can offer their guests at the wedding.

3. Make comparison videos, where I compare my product to existing solutions and show why mine are better.

4. Show it's possible to dance in them, which also is a reason for many to buy these, maybe by creating videos with former Dancing With The Stars contestants, judges etc.

5. Make deals with clubs and bars to make some kind of marketing at their venues

6. Wholesale to chains and independant shoe stores

7. Pop-up shops in shopping malls, where women can try them on, see the funcionality and buy it. A nice place to get feedback as well I guess

That's the first couple of ideas I got after 10 minutes of brainstorming
 

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sparechange

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Dancing shoes? Not sure if I like the idea of that to much, unless it is these shoes... perhaps
 

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TKDTyler

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I think if I were to make a sandle brand, I would name the company “A Road Less Travelled”

The brand identity would revolve around discovery, exploration, understanding, and empathy with the target audience being backpackers/world travelers that understand cultural differences and issues evolving in many places in the world.

the idea is to create awareness of inequalities, injustices, and human impact on the world and work towards making an impact in individual communities. This would Means that from a product standpoint, there needs to be an equally capturing story of each sandal.
Perhaps I could use various materials sourced from different countries and educate customers on how the manufacturing process impacts and helps that particular region.

Additionally, From a marketing perspective, I would tap into the hostel network and provide an incentive for hostels to sell my sandals. Something like with each sale, the hostel gets 5% of proceeds and 5% goes to the non-profit of their choosing (for
Thailand, this could be Something like the elephant conservatories)
I would also somehow add the ability for. Supporting different causes through some pin, patch, flags, or addition to the sandal where travelers can add to their existing pair to symbolize their travels, exposure, and understanding. This can be paired with some interested social media engagement model.
 

Kid

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I looked through and saw this,

Amazon.com | Teva Women's Tirra Sandal | Sport Sandals & Slides

They have a massive following on IG & FB, Youtube doesn't look to popular. But reverse engineering WHY this company is successful is an important thing to think about.


''unscripted'' moments :D
Gosh,just had new idea .
Led sandals need to be recharged via cable. PITA if you ask me.
So the idea would be the "self-charging led sandals" that charge batteries
while walking.

Led light seem to consume very little energy so maybe there would be enough of it in walking to power them.

But since its strategy topic - i would do this:
1. Create landing page with photo of color lighted sandals.
2. Tell public that those sandals "self-charge"
3. Add preorder button without having any product.
4. Advertise via Facebook.
5. Create Kickstarter campaign to find engineer and develop it.
6. Profit.

Or i would just do 5 and 6.


[edit]: Read next sentence to know i'm giving you idea on the plate.
OMG, put photovoltaics stripes to charge sandals during day and make them
glow at night - all technology already exists :) no need to invent a thing.

[edit2]:
(It seems that i'm not over yet :p)
Now we got led sandals, self charging.
What do we miss?
You got that right - smartphone app.
1) Choose any preset of lights from plethora of presents via app and play them
and
2) Sync lights with phone mic.
Imagine talking to someone and your sandals are blinking in the rhythm of your voice.
or just use them at music event and Awe everyone with music synced led lights in your sandals.

Ok. It seems i'm over now :D
 
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biophase

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I'm surprised you don't like the idea, what do you think the reasoning is for Lulu to host this event then? Keeping in mind this is post sucess when Chip left the company (not when he was building it)

My thoughts are brand recognition and creating warm leads
The event is just not the best ROI in terms of your time. Just because Lulu did it doesn't mean it's right for you. Maybe Lulu did 50 of these a year with a staff of 30 full time people? Maybe they had other goals.
 
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biophase

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This gave me an idea for a shoe/niche.

Went on Amazon, it already existed, but in horrible quality. Read some of the bad reviews and noted at least 12 bullet points, where the product can be better. Just by changing the material, a lot of pains would be erased.

The product is popular on Amazon, but in my country (not the US), nothing like this is on the market. Well, not branded like the way I can do it. So if I can sell it here, it could go on the US market as well later on.

Just ordered my first sample of a shoe in this new material I will use instead of the existing. If it's usable, it doesn't need much adjusting to be what I have in mind.

We'll see in 15-20 days when the sample arrives.
Assuming the sample is great. How would you go about selling it in your country?
 

sparechange

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Another thing I'd do is have some type of volley ball event or host a beach day party to get brand exposure, years ago I went to a LuluLemon yoga event on Kitts beach just down the street from the HQ. Thought that was pretty cool.

Let people try them on and close a sale.
 

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