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Selling online

eBay Seller Spotlight: Dave Harrison of Heavy Metal Merchant

Today we have with us business owner Dave from Heavy Metal Merchant, who tells us about his... read more

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Anatomy of a Great eBay Store

There are 13 things that customers are looking for when purchasing from your eBay Store. We have... read more

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Online Retail Strategies from the Experts: Business Advice You Need to Heed

Are you struggling to get sales through your online store, or worried about setting one up?... read more

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David BobisOwner at Studio Culture
No problems, Jef!
David BobisOwner at Studio Culture
Hi Phil, yes I love the story of Black Milk. I saw them present some time back and their story truly is an insightful one, especially with the kind of marketing they're doing online.
Questions

Is eBay shipping emails via MailChimp a normal practice?

Hi, I have a large eBay store and wish to send shipping emails via Mailchimp to help with info and... read more

Asked by:
Peter Jones Founder at LinkSmart
Tim DaviesOwner at ZELLIS
Hi Peter. There's nothing to stop you communicating with eBay buyers via MailChimp, providing it is directly related to the transaction itself. However the eBay User Agreement and Spam Act 2003 both prohibit you adding other eBay members' contact details to your off-eBay database for marketing purposes unless they opt-in (after you have invited them once and once only). Even if you use MailChimp to communicate with your eBay buyers, make sure you use eBay Messages for any dialogue relating to the transaction which eBay can then use to assist you in the event a transaction turns sour. When it comes to Seller Protection, eBay will not acknowledge or rely on communications which they cannot verify within their system.Hope that helps.Tim
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Questions

How can I take my service online?

I am a business broker. Thank you! read more

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Bobo Thai
Hi Lisa,I appreciate your time, efforts and I value your advice.Thank you so much.
Hi Bobo,As with all things you would like to do that you have never done before, look at others that are very successful at it. Google buinsess brokers and find out who is doing really well, study what makes them great, and apply the same principles to your business.Good Luck!
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Selling online

3 Things to Do Before You Launch Your Online Business

Eureka! You’ve just come up with a brilliant business idea and want to bring it to market tomorrow.... read more

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Jef LippiattCo-founder at Startup Chucktown
You are correct. New ventures need to be careful about the partners and vendors they use. Trust is paramount with customers and putting that at risk is never a wise choice.
Questions

Do you get direct contact from the stores thanking you or giving you more deals?

There is a new term coined "Ozbargained" -- meaning the offer was sold out by the sheer force of... read more

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Steve Hui Founder & Chief Executive at iFLYflat - We make your points FLY
Steve HuiFounder & Chief Executive at iFLYflat - We make your points FLY
Thanks, I've buy stuff I found on Ozbargain all the time - though 80% of stuff because its a great bargain and not from a need, and I think that's the secret sauce - driving non-essential spend.
Scott YangFounder at OzBargain.com.au
Yes we do get contacted by ozbargained merchants all the time. Most are either agitated or angry because (1) our users crashed their servers, (2) our users bought up or claimed the freebies that were reserved for someone else. They sometimes use terms such as "law suit" or "legal threat" but never carry out.For the successful ones, they'll just create an account and try to figure out how OzBargain works themselves. They might post a deal or two later on, but strangely store-rep-posted deals rarely work on OzBargain (with some exceptions).Yes I'll gladly take a few thank you notes if OzBargain is bringing sales to these companies. However at the same time I'll remind them that OzBargain was created primarily for the shoppers, not a platform for the merchants.
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Questions

What are the first steps to starting an online store?

I understand it's a very general question but I'm looking to sell some goods online and I'm not... read more

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Yee Trinh Marketing Manager at SavvySME
The first step to starting an online store is to go to AdWords and do keyword research to find out what people are looking for, then use that to choose a niche (see below for link to resources by Andrew Youderian which cover other factors in selecting a niche). You can then put up a very simple page using one of the many free services for doing so, that shows some products. You could, for example, setup a shopify store with some products in it. You then run an AdWords campaign and see if you make some sales. Don't worry if you don't have the ability to fulfil the orders yet, just see if you get some, then write to the customers and apologise that you don't have the item in stock and refund their money. Once you've established how much it costs to make a sale, and whether or not there is sufficient volume for what you're selling, work out suppliers etc. Watch this Mixergy interview that takes you through this process: http://mixergy.com/interviews/jonathan-beekman-man-crates-interview/. If you don't have a Mixergy premium membership already, you should get one so you can watch that interview, but also so you can watch all the other interviews and courses -- it's incredible. The most valuable business resource on the internet by far. Also read everything here: http://www.ecommercefuel.com/resources/
Greg TomkinsDirector | Web Architect at Top Left Designs
This is not a simple question Yee as there are so many aspects to be addressed and the answers will also depend on what sort of products you are selling, the size of your product range, your target market to name just a few. All that aside however, you need to consider a number of things and I am assuming that you are wanting to set your store up on your own website rather than through a portal such as eBay. The following checklist is not exhaustive but can serve as a good starting point.Establish your Marketing and Branding strategy and plans - if you don't get this right up front then you will be wasting your time Understand very clearly how much effort and money you are prepared to invest in your new online store and what other resources you may need to pull it all together. Establish the business model for selling your product - pricing and discount structure, warranties/refund policies, what will be your distribution model, how you will effect delivery, online payment mechanisms, managing inventory If your online store augments a brick and mortar business, determine what level of integration you will require between your online sales and the other business sales systems Identify what sort of website you want and what information the site is going to share with your market Work out the sort of functionality you want to include in your website Work out the specific functionality you want in your online shop - size and number of product images, product sizing and colour attributes on products, variable pricing based on order quantities, related products for upsell, etc. Will you want to run special promotions of any kind and how would these be structured Do you have access to quality product images and copyright material about your products ready for inclusion in your website Identify other websites that exhibit the style and features you might like to see in your own website Identify the most appropriate platform for delivering your website - this will depend on the nature and scope of your online shop requirements but generally, for anything other than very small businesses, talk to a web developer or two and look to using one of these to build your site, implement it and incorporate your marketing initiatives. I would not really suggest that any serious business look to building their own website. The demands of creating a professional website that will address all aspects of such a job are quite complex now and really beyond novices quickly jumping into some of these free or cheap web site builder products. Whilst some of these can do some very impressive things and easily create what appears to be a great website there are some serious downfalls for those looking to address requirements of a real business. For further information you might wish to consider a series of articles I publish in one of our blogs Building a Better Online Business
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Questions

What is your best advice for someone looking to start an online retail store?

Someone I know wants to start an online store selling quality fashion goods imported from China,... read more

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Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
I just answered this question here:https://www.savvysme.com.au/question/438-what-are-the-first-steps-to-starting-an-online-store"The first step to starting an online store is to go to AdWords and do keyword research to find out what people are looking for, then use that to choose a niche (see below for link to resources by Andrew Youderian which cover other factors in selecting a niche).You can then put up a very simple page using one of the many free services for doing so, that shows some products. You could, for example, setup a shopify store with some products in it. You then run an AdWords campaign and see if you make some sales. Don't worry if you don't have the ability to fulfil the orders yet, just see if you get some, then write to the customers and apologise that you don't have the item in stock and refund their money.Once you've established how much it costs to make a sale, and whether or not there is sufficient volume for what you're selling, work out suppliers etc.Watch this Mixergy interview that takes you through this process: http://mixergy.com/interviews/jonathan-beekman-man-crates-interview/. If you don't have a Mixergy premium membership already, you should get one so you can watch that interview, but also so you can watch all the other interviews and courses -- it's incredible. The most valuable business resource on the internet by far.Also read everything here: http://www.ecommercefuel.com/resources/"
Steve OsborneOwner at Smarthinking
You could tell her – "Don't."Or if her dream is to make a small fortune, tell her to start with a large one.Of course, free advice is worth exactly what she pays for it, so it's likely she will proceed anyway.In that case, I suggest she start with a plan. Several plans, in fact. the first would be a business modelling exercise. A very good template is the one provided in Business Model Canvas, by Alex Osterwalder. It very quickly tests viability.Once she has established whether the business is viable, a marketing plan is required. It can be very simple, but needs to address three key areas: 1. Positioning – establishing credibility, clarifying value. People won't buy unless they feel they know and trust the supplier. And they won't make a commitment unless they understand the value being provided.2. Attention – awareness, promotion, offer. The marketing message must address the prospect in terms she understands and is interested in, whether the tactics are PPC, social, offline, direct etc.3. Making the Sale – persuasion, relationship, conversion. The site should be structured to motivate prospects and avoid the many mistakes made by inexperienced traders. Give prospects what they want and sell them what they need. Ensure return traffic and repeat sales.If she can't or won't engage outside expertise, the road to riches is likely to be slow, expensive and wasteful. And simply copying someone else's apparent success can be incredibly frustrating (see Business Model above).This is all an oversimplification, so firstly see whether she is approaching the idea with an open mind. After doing due diligence, oftentimes the best course of action is to not proceed at all.
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Questions

Is there an Australian version of Alibaba website to buy wholesale products that are manufactured locally?

Hi Savvies, What website do you recommend for buying Australian manufactured products wholesale? I... read more

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Ling Lee Director at Japanese Sword Auctions Australia
Nicole McIverOwner at Nicole McIver
For a good quality , Australian Brands alternative I'd recommend Wholesale Baby or Stock My Store
Brian MallyonOwner at Luckypole Limited
I am not sure of an Australian version of Alibaba, but if you google "Australian made" I believe there are several websites that provide details of at least some Australian made products.
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Selling online

Build An Online Buying Cycle to Drive More Sales

For many people who run a successful business, taking the next step to the online realm seems like... read more

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David MooneyEmployee at SponsoredLinX
Hi Ling, Thanks for the comment. I like to think about the fact that no matter who you are, you're always somebody’s customer. Thinking about a complete strategy like this helps me put into perspective how each element fits together and how each aspect of the strategy plugs into the way your customers behave.
Ling LeeDirector at Japanese Sword Auctions Australia
Great article David! I agree with you when you say the buying cycle is a very important factor in a business. Essentially, every business needs to sell something, no matter if it is B2B or B2C, and think your description of the buying cycle is quite comprehensive!
Selling online

Purchasing of auto parts and accessories has become easy online

You can find a wide range of products online. The product ranges from food products, apparels,... read more

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Selling online

A simple guide to buying auto parts and accessories

  You may come across different kinds of problems if you own a car. Mileage problems and battery... read more

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How retailers can create an amazing online experience

Online sales in Australia represented $14.1 billion in the last year, representing 6.3% of total... read more

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Katherine MacPhersonDirector at The Hunter Box
Hi Greg and Rayn, relevance in the online space is key to retaining your audience, but also in helping your prospective audience find you through SEO techniques - including product reviews and content.  Google truly is a 'master' of business in the online space. Anyone who ignores it does so at their own peril. You might also be interested in this article: http://www.savvysme.com.au/article/740-keeping-google-happy-with-smart-seo Thanks for your comments. K
Katherine MacPhersonDirector at The Hunter Box
Thanks Wendy for your comments. With massive growth recorded from offshore retailers including ASOS (see http://www.insideretail.com.au/2013/09/20/asos-phenomenal-growth/) it's likely that a large proportion of total online purchases are still going offshore. While Australian retailers are showing growth, and improvement in their overall delivery, there's still a number of challenges that they face on the global scale - not least of which is the postage fees.
Questions

How does one transition to an online store from brick and mortar?

A close friend had to close down his toy shop business a few weeks ago. He was devastated. Despite... read more

Asked by:
Phil Khor Founder at SavvySME
HI There I would love to see the website.  A basic web site for 10k in a rip off.   We do great e Commerce for $1497 currently working on a toy shop site. It would have made better sense to spend less on the site and lots on marketing to the site. Our sites come with an SEO plugin as standard. We have clients that have over 2000 products on a site, another that has 150 items for sale and has put over $80 k of sales thru her site because she marketed to her site. I am still blown away by the fact  that he spent $10 k on a basic site. Good Luck with it all. cheers   Lorna www.platformb.com.au    
Jane TepperDirector at EcoSleep Australia Pty Ltd
So many good points above but one clear one I can see from the points is this: When you have a bricks and mortar store you also need to have an online store so that they run in conjunction with each other. This means you already have your SEO and marketing up and running, your online store is low cost for as said anything from $50-$100 a month. If your customers are invited to join at each purchase and sent a newsletter with sales or tips etc they know where you are and what you are up to and then and only then do you start the process of closing down your bricks and mortar store. Your customer is then in the loop you have a growing online business and the transition is so much easier than when it is a "fire sale" situation.
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Selling online

Australian Small Business Online Retail Trends July 2013

There is not much in the way of information about small business online retail for Australia. So we... read more

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Chris DahlBusiness Development Manager at Pin Payments
Thanks for sharing John. It would be interesting to understand the Paypal vs Credit Card vs Other Payments status some further. For example, on those sites is there the option of all payment options, or not? I think a lot of businesses struggle with choosing a payment method when starting out. We recently on-boarded a new customer who previously had PayPal and Bank Transfer as their payment methods. The bank transfers were making up around 20%, but once they implemented direct credit card purchasing it dropped to almost 0% as everyone is comfortable with using their credit card.
Steve GrayDirector at Gray Capital Investments
Types of goods and or services sold would be useful, and if the sales were via a direct website (their own) or though a portal like ebay.
Selling online

Frost and Sullivan Report on Australian Online Retail

Here you go another interesting review of Australian online retail with a prediction that we will... read more

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Google Checkout shelved. A look at Google Wallet and 6 other alternatives.

Google Checkout is being phased out by November. This is according to an announcement made a few...read more

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Selling online

Your Website is Not Creative Unless it Sells - or Is Your Creative Website Killing Sales

David Ogilvy was a great advertising guy. In 1962, Time magazine hailed him ‘the wizard of modern... read more

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John BelchamberOwner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results
Excellent points Jenny, thank you. Guilty as charged methinks. I must schedule some time to think on this more.
Ewan wattDirector at roi.com.au
timely & excellent article Jenny... given this is something 95% of websites unknowingly get wrong.. the fact that most sales people are at least 4 steps away from the web design process is a big contributing factor.. pull marketing concepts are integral to web conversions, whilst most websites adopt a push approach telling audience about the company and their products
Selling online

If you have never sold anything offline, you might struggle to sell much online. OR Websites don't "listen".

I talk with a lot of people about their website and their online selling strategy. The most asked... read more

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Graham Vale Founder at grahamvale.com
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Phil KhorFounder at SavvySME
Awesome article, thanks for sharing Graham.
David PriceOwner at Price Advertising
Nice article, Graham!