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Progress Thread My first foray into the jungle of Ecommerce.

Discussion in 'Process / Progress / Execution Threads' started by DesignerOne., Apr 11, 2017.

  1. DesignerOne.
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    So I've been active on this forum for a bit now and been learning a lot about a lot of things. I have started a business that specializes in helping companies with their brand or products.

    However I feel I need to learn more about branding and marketing at its core, so I've started taking steps towards starting a ecommerce business and learning about it.

    This will allow me to understand my customer's points and their struggles and allow me to help them better improve their methods or product.

    So I've been researching different products and things for some time now and have come up with this pretty cool and fun product idea. I see a very few similar ideas online and a couple of big businesses that have this product on hand but not with the spin I have on it, or the niche market I am targeting it towards. A few people I've discussed it with already love the idea and are ready to test it when it is complete.

    I've already bought most of the items I need, and I'm 3D printing a prototype mold for the product. I have personal networks I will utilize and am planning on giving away my first 30 products for free to a test audience within my personal network. After that I will sell it at 4.99 dollars per unit.

    First I am working on the marketing aspect, and the branding/packaging of the product. I am waiting for all of my materials to arrive and so I can make a physical product to test myself and a few friends. I hope to start selling sometime next week and really work this angle.

    I'm going to set up a facebook page sometime next week to sell it via my personal network and when people begin to invite their friends into the page and more, I'm going to start bumping up the social media presence then set up an ecommerce store online.

    We'll see how it goes and I'll keep this thread updated with the progress.
     
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    Already made marketing material, Logo, Branding, and soon ready to launch the facebook site.

    Made a few 3-D printed prototypes/molds myself and It works perfectly, and looks so cool! The result from the mold/materials smells amazing. That's all i'll say. ;)

    I ordered all the materials to make it. Waiting on packaging and labels which have already been designed.

    I'm going to have 4 friends over this friday and we're going to be making tons of the product. We are planning on giving away the first 30-40 for free to personal network and selling each unit at 5 dollars but if someone buys 4, we give away a 5th for free.

    Here's a great link on how to find a manufacturer and how to go ecommerce. Opened a lot of things to me such as how to get through customs, how to find a manufacturer, and so on.

    https://www.arbing.co.uk/create-sell-physical-product/

    I'm getting excited about this product. I'm ready to kick ass and take names.

    I still need to figure out SKU's, how to patent it or establish the name of the product, anyone have any suggestions?
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
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    All the products I needed arrived, Getting to work on the manufacture now!

    Found this great link regarding SKU's but I'm still unsure of the whole process, just gotta keep working at it.

    How to Get Started Creating SKUs Right Now
     
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    Subscribing to your thread; best of luck!
     
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    Pretty soon, will be launching the Facebook page and I'll look into FB advertising and how it works.

    Found a awesome site that helps with SKU's (Stock keeping units)

    Free Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) Generator - Best Practices and Examples and the same site also provides a free trial to a inventory and order management software. So I'll be looking into that and learning about it.

    I had a conversation with some people and they suggested Etsy, but a lot of others also suggested no way, start a estore online and sell through that.

    So right now I'll focus on personal network and build it via Facebook and Instagram, once it gets bigger, It'll justify building a simple storefront site that I can sell and operate from. A lot of threads here often say that a big way to build up is utilize your personal network so to anyone reading this, I urge you to really analyze what the needs are in your personal network and provide that solution to them!

    Looking forward to where I'll be this time of the week next week. I'll do my best to provide either a few updates in a week or a weekly update of the whole process.
     
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    Solid Stuff going on here! Bookmarked because I'm considering going E-Commerce when I have enough room and capital.

    I need to utilize my 3-d printer too, theres so much potential for inhouse manufacturing with that!

    My two cents here are always going woo commerce when you're starting a new store. Esty and Shopify will rob you of your monthly net income. Woocommerce is a bit pricier to start up but once its up, its up and no big additional fees and tons of marketing tools that are free due to opensource. Whenever you need help setting up the woo commerce store give me a shoutout.

    Keep it up little bro!
     
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    So after having some discussions with some people, I'm still figuring out how to sell my product. Since it is a cosmetic product and will need some color to create some appeal to my specific market.

    The FDA guidelines says my product will not need to be approved by them unless there are any color additives. So since I'm still clearly small fish, still sell it anyways? It would be mixed with some color dyes that were approved by the FDA by its own not mixed into this product? (such as liquid watercolors or food coloring)
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017 at 8:33 AM
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    Pretty soon I'll have a completed product that I think is effective enough for testing so I'm going to give out 30 products for free to friends and family.

    I also spoke to a couple people, one person brought up a good point and he told me, "Hey, Why not just go into a store, pick a random store nearby, Ask to talk to a manager, (pitch your product) and ask how much for a space on the shelf."

    If they reject me, It's still a good way to get a conversation started or build a network. This is a good example of how it can work.

    How to Persuade a Huge Retailer to Give You Shelf Space

    I'm also figuring out the facebook marketplace and focusing on building it up via personal network and keep pushing it until it's justifiable to get a site for it.

    thanks to @MidwestLandlord's awesome thread on Pricing basics, I've got a few ideas on how to price it and market it, so if you want to be in Ecommerce or even be in sales at all, take a look at his thread.

    My struggles right now still are shipping, the FDA, and if i need a LLC or if it's not justifiable yet since I'm still "small fish"
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017 at 8:32 AM
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    Other's might disagree with me here, but I would NOT pitch your product in store. Especially if it is a location in a large chain or franchise.

    Honestly, you'd probably get asked to leave for soliciting at worst, and get no where at best.

    I would go into the store with the intent of gathering information on their corporate structure and contacts, learning whatever you can from the manager you talk to (people love to talk about their jobs), and gaining experience having these types of conversations. Hopefully you'll leave with a corporate contact phone number (that's not just their main number) and maybe an idea of who the decision maker is.

    Have a conversation, instead of "selling"

    If it's a mom & pop place with only one location, then I'd pitch the sale, because you are probably talking to the decision maker at that point.

    If it's a mom & pop place with multiple locations, I would be prepared to leave information for them to pass on to the decision maker. Chances are high that the store manager talks to the decision maker frequently, and they MAY pass on your info. (if they thought you were pushy, I promise your stuff goes in the trash though...people are vindictive like that haha)

    I'm a relatively small retailer, and I have specific processes in place to screen out people like yourself and avoid wasting my time. The one's that make it through to me are the one's that don't harass my help with sales pitches (leave a good impression), have products that fit the overall product type of my stores, and leave marketing info that is attention grabbing (or has low risk benefits "first two cases free!")

    I'm very aware of what my competitor's sell, so it helps if I've seen the product in one of their stores too.

    My employee's are NOT allowed to give out contact info beyond our main corporate office number and email, and are not allowed to give out my name to salesman either. Both the location employee's and my office employee's are well trained on stone-walling sales pitches. It's the marketing materials they leave that gets a response from me.

    Hope that helps.
     
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    Just realized I have a personal connection that was a very close mentor of mine in university and she was someone that was in charge of developing a lot of merchandise for a major retailer and was responsible for a lot of the manufacturing process from development to sales, so I just shot her a text and asked if we could meet up and catch up. Let's see where it goes.
     
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    We're meeting this wednesday, So that'll be a big moment for me to learn a lot about the whole process. Also really reading through Biophase's AMA thread on Ecommerce which is PACKED full of gold.

    GOLD - Ask me anything about eCommerce (2015+)

    Also dropping a little motivation today, Great comic.
     

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