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Our e-commerce brand crossroad: to continue or not?

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daniels97

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Mar 13, 2021
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Hello everyone,

I have known that I want to become an entrepreneur since my high school. Because of knowing that education which is provided by schooling system isn’t enough, I have been reading a lot of books and obtaining experiences in my early attempts with business.

Today I am a student of 4th year on university and I had been pursuing few businesses. All failed in the end. Despite of the fact that we made some money, nothing of our projects was sustainable and scalable so we ended all of them.



My last project I have been working working on is scalable and in my opinion also sustainable. Finally damn opportunity to escape 9-5. But we are in trouble now, because our business seems to not function. We have sold no products. So here I am to discuss it with you guys – more experienced entrepreneurs whose are pursuing the same dream as me.


I would like to ask you for your help in deciding wheter to continue in pursuing my current business or to start looking for another opportunity.

To introduce my project - we are trying to start up our own branded-dropshipping brand in the beauty niche. We founded our brand „Smooth It Up“, built up our Instagram and website and even our affiliate program for influencers and also to convert our clients into affiliates. I know that our business wasn’t based on demand – we wanted to create it via facebook marketing and its the reason that we teamed up with another friend of mine who is experienced in marketing. We created advertising video and launched facebook marketing campaing. I know that we spent few money (about USD 150) and generated some traffic to our website (in sum about 400 sessions with average 86% bounce rate) and we have not sold anything.


We are trying to figure out what is the problem in our situations and wheter we should try to fix it. Here is my list of possible issues:

  • Completely wrong niche
  • Wrong product
  • Not good web presentation, language mistakes (I’m not native speaker as u can see and our target market is US)
  • Price issues (either high or low price)
  • Marketing issues (maybe my mate who is doing marketing is not skilled enough)
  • ....
You can check out our project at Smooth It Up - rejuvenating skin beauty device for more insights.

Now we are going to have a meeting to discuss what we are supposed to do next. I strongly think that our marketing dude will want to leave our business if we decide to continue and pursue it further.


What do you think about this situation and this business, please? I will be grateful for any recommendations. Looking forward to your replies. Thank you!
 

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woken

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Mar 24, 2021
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The website is fine but could be refined.
The product copywriting is nonexistent on the product page. Specifics can be put in a bar like this

Specifics


You’re focused on making money, not delivering value, that’s why you’re wondering if it’s the wrong niche.
Your established competitors sell the same thing but smaller. It’s also cheaper.
They also have entry level products

I have not found a video explaining how easy it is to use the product and seeing it being used.
 

Black_Dragon43

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I strongly think that our marketing dude will want to leave our business if we decide to continue and pursue it further.
So you're telling me that your marketing dude screwed you over, and now he'll just "want to leave your business" when the chips are falling down? Well then, you should sit him down, and tell him that you need him to fix the marketing problem of the business.

You can check out our project at Smooth It Up - rejuvenating skin beauty device for more insights.
Your marketing for this product is basically non-existent, and you're using an outdated model to sell it on top of that.

Just putting a Shopify website up with some stuff thrown on it is NOT marketing.

First, you're selling a physical product. A physical product, especially a fancy one, almost always needs a video to demonstrate how easy using the product is, and the sort of transformation you can achieve with it. Seeing is believing.

Second, your headline is CONFUSING (as the rest of your website). What's skin rejuvenation? How does that help anyone? I have no idea what "skin rejuvenation" is. Is that when your skin is burned, and you rejuvenate it so that it looks how it was prior to the burn? Is that when your skin is old and saggy, and it makes you young and beautiful again? What is it? Communicate in EASY WORDS that even a retard will understand.

Third, the price-point of the bitch is too high for a first-time buyer who has never heard about you. If your marketing strategy is to drive ads and think that's how you'll sell $100 items, you're sadly mistaken. Your goal should instead be to break even on the first sale (a first sale in the $10-30 range), and then market this and other related products as upsells to the customer. If you don't want to go down this route, your only real alternative is to start selling this product through others -> influencers who are already trusted by their audiences, and have them drive traffic to you and avertise your product, while you pay them a commission. Then you can sell the $100 product from the get-go by leveraging the trust these people have already built with their audience.

Fourth, your sales model is outdated. You're using a Shopify store to sell a single product, when you could be using a sales funnel to drive people through a series of offers that make it easy to get started, and maximise the amount they spend with you. Please check out this article (how to scale an eCommerce business BIG with sales funnels), and also this 3-hour masterclass showing you how to use sales funnels to scale your eCom business (costs just $13, 20% of that $13 is donated to the forum every month) I put together along with @Speed112. You will then understand why your sales model is inferior.

Fifth, your copywriting is nonexistent. You need to start working and refining that messaging and positioning. Clearly explain the benefits of the product, and relate them to its features. Make it EASY for the customer to understand all this, without requiring massive effort on his part.

Sixth, you lack an overarching positioning strategy. Ideally you want to start from something the customer would agree with, reposition existing competition and create a new category via a new & differentiating unique mechanism, and introduce your product as the solution. Your product should be FIRST when they think about this new category. To be able to do that, you need a TON of research, including speaking with potential clients, seeing what other solutions they've tried, asking them what first comes to mind when thinking about their problems, and so on. It's very difficult, research-based work, which is the most valuable work in marketing. If you were to hire someone to do this for you, it would easily cost you upwards of $15,000-$30,000.

Seventh, you should consider if your brand name is appropriate. Smooth it up. If it is or not is determined by the previous point. Positioning.

(there are many many other minor issues, but these are the major ones)

Verdict: your business could work out, if you had a strong marketer on your team.
 
Last edited:

Kelvin Fernandez

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I found your same product selling for almost $300 but it has a celebrity name attached to it. Review: Joanna Vargas' New Magic Glow Wand Skincare Tool | Editorialist. Maybe take some inspiration from that website is fully optimized to sell. If you scroll down you'll see that they upsell the customer with cream packets. So instead of just selling the device, you should also sell hot and cold cream packets.

Your website has no copy, you may want to fix that if you plan to give this project a second chance. Also, your return policy is very confusing and a hassle. Almost like you don't want the customers to return it if they're dissatisfied.

Can you tell us how you ended up choosing this product? Also what country do you live in and why target the US market instead of your own which may not be as saturated?
 

Kid

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Good points were brought.

I would add one: who on Earth makes "Shop now" as call to action button?
It might not turn your business around but change it to something like:
"Get Smooth"
(a word play on both your brand name and result desired by your visitors)


Edit: Also this should be in reverse order (regular price then special price)
$109.90 USD Regular price $149.90 USD
 
Last edited:

daniels97

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Mar 13, 2021
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Hello again guys, thank You a lot for all the reactions, it means a lot to me and I really learned from them. I had to take some time away and think about it more - then we decided to to end that business because of three following major issues:
1. not knowing the product well
2. our product tends to be more value-cheating as MJ wrote in The Unscripted
3. not knowing the target market we chose - US (I am from the middle Europe)

After some time of thinking and diving deep into books and thoughts me and my buddy bring up new idea. We still really love the concept of e-commerce and now we also have nice emotional product for our domestic market - clay for handprint (for babies). We make also completely our own packing with a huge value boost for our customers (nice packaging, thank you letter etc.) and in near future we are gonna deliver it and pack it via fulfillment center so it can be largely scalable system. We take really different approach to this business because I found out that before we were just hunting money, now its about making our customers happy which is tremendously satisfying and fulfilling.

First we wanted to do it just like dropshipping and sell about 30 pieces but delivery time was really long and customers unsatisfied because of chinese labeling etc. So we took harder way as I described above. Now we are waiting for delivery of about 500 pieces which is going to arrive at Friday so we are really excited.

Dont wanna flex here or something, just wanted to reply, show that I have not disappeared from forum and business and still trying hard, and mainly - say thank you. I am grateful for your reactions which help us to decide what next. Hope this can motivate someone.
 

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