Going to Meet Ups – Beware of Bad Advice on Ecommerce

This year I have been going to a lot of meet ups and conferences. At these things there is good advice, great advice but also terrible advice.

People that give you bad advice are not necessarily bad people. Mostly they are ill informed or don’t have enough experience. A lot of people in eCommerce learn what is good advice by making mistakes. This is a natural process and if you do it with YOUR OWN business operation, you are only hurting yourself.

What I fear is good people giving bad advice to OTHER companies. I see a lot of this.

Here is a recent example of bad advice given at a meet up:

You can use the email addresses from eBay/Paypal to re-market to your customers.

Lets check the paypal user agreement first under Restricted Activities:

You must NOT:

u.Disclose or distribute another User’s Information to a third party, or use the Information for marketing purposes unless you receive the User’s express consent to do so;

Using guidance from The ICO:

There is no restriction on sending solicited marketing – that is, marketing material that the person has specifically requested.

A customer submits an online form requesting a double glazing quote. Sending this quote to the customer is solicited marketing, but any further contact would be unsolicited.

If the marketing has not been specifically requested, it will be unsolicited.

When he requested the quote, the customer also ticked a box opting in to receiving information about future home improvement offers. A few months later, the company sends an email with details of a new promotion. This is unsolicited marketing, because the customer did not contact the company to specifically request information about current offers.

Want more advice on building up you email lists & email marketing? Check these links:

The benefits of building genuine opt in email lists

Common Rookie Mistakes

As a final warning on the matter, this is what a good friend did when HE got unsolicited email:

How I won £35 from a junk mail company

What else can happen if you are found in breach of these laws?

1. A fine of up to £5000
2. Civil liability to anyone who suffers damage as a result of the breach
3. Your Internet Service Provider can pull the plug
4. Your website hosting company can refuses service
5. Black listed and blocked by major internet companies inc search engines (yes, this means the mighty Googly will hate on you)

It is not worth it, build up your email list the real way!

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Starting a business from scratch! A REAL example….

sblogo…no get rich quick schemes here….more like get rich slowly with dedication & expertise! Sorry to burst that bubble but it actually takes years to build a successful multi-channel business.

Last year, I had the pleasure of starting a business from scratch for one of my clients. The brief was to set up a multichannel business using Channeladvisor which included eBay, Amazon & Tesco Marketplace.

The eBay & Amazon project with Channeladvisor launch cost £12000 over 11 months to produce a stable eBay, Amazon & Tesco marketplaces business from scratch. The client had no time or resource to dedicate to this start up so I set it up as though it was my own business. I was responsible for all tasks to set up the business.

The client is now adding new lines to further grow the business as the handover was in early January. I will be watching the success of this project closely!

This graph shows the progress of the account over the past 12 months. This client sells on Amazon, eBay & Tesco. Values omitted to protect client integrity.


I also managed the design project with a third party provider:


I am super excited to watch this business grow domestically in the hands of my client and then jump back in for international expansion in 2016. Over 3000 extra skus need to be added to this business so the second year of growth will be driven by product.

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The importance of training & research in ecommerce!

More often than not I am the *second* consultant. Most of my clients come to me broken & burnt looking for a solution to turn their business around or save their position. I do a LOT of rescue missions.

A lot of my clients wish they had known about me before they used XYZ ‘expert’ consultant. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, so is training.

When I want to develop a new skill I train. I find the BEST person in the industry and learn from them. I am currently training in advanced nail art from someone who has competed internationally at over 50 competitions, 12 x UK champion and 15 years experience. Why would I choose from the plethora of other educators when I could learn from the best?

E-commerce & marketplaces are funny though, only experience of running an eCommerce business can give you the skills you need. There are a lot of people out there who claim to be an expert, to the detriment of your business if you let them loose.

I contributed to this article by Web Retailer:

How to Choose an eBay Store and Listing Designer which outlines the process of choosing an eBay designer. You need to be just an thorough with choosing a consultant.

Some tips on choosing your consultant:

1. Did they ever run an ecommerce retail operation?

A good consultant in this industry learnt from the ground up. You need to have run the machine to know the machine.

2. Do they have over 5 years experience helping OTHER businesses online?

Running your own business is one thing, but setting up a different business for success is another. Businesses are NOT the same.

3. Do they have reviews? Like this: http://www.webretailer.com/forum/3698-simply-the-best.asp?

Reviews and case studies are vital. I am going to spend this year building my up my case studies as I have done far too many ‘secret’ projects!!

4. Did you find then just via google or a personal recommendation?

I work with other third party providers, and most give a personal recommendation of my services. I am also present at many networking events & expositions so you can get to know me. I have been here a while and well known to many.

5. Are they telling you they can help you make easy money?

Making money is not easy. Get rich schemes are still very popular and mostly fail. One client I helped raise their game 97% in their first year & 60% in their second year took a lot of effort and time from both sides.

Last year I set up an eBay business from scratch, and it took 1 year with 153 listings (1000 skus) to produce a stable eBay business with an average selling price of £13. Businesses grow, they do not just appear.

Choose your consultant wisely, they can make or break your biz!

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Bespoke Channeladvisor Launch Services

I have been working with & creating successful businesses with the Channeladvisor Multichannel System for over 10 years. I now provide specific launch & support packages for Channeladvisor clients all over the globe.

It can be hard to integrate your business with a new system, but you can now take advantage of my expertise as a independent and experienced consultant.

Launch Packages
Tesco Marketplace Launch
Web Stores Launch (Shopify/BigCommerce)
Shopify/BigCommerce Design
Channeladvisor Digital Marketing
Channeladvisor International Expansion (English Speaking Marketplaces)

I also offer adhoc consultancy on the Channeladvisor system for £300 per day plus expenses. Let me help you succeed!

Drop me a line to discuss your business needs.

Phone: 07435 972407/01384 414770

Email: work@kidsontalks.com

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Fun with Shopify – the easiest e-commerce system in the WORLD

Well, I think it is! I had my first taste through the Hyundai Motorsport Shop but recently a client asked me for a quick set up using a template from the app store to re-launch his wholesale business. He wasn’t looking for a big spend to start but REALLY didn’t have the time to set everything up himself.

Wholesale (due to VAT) is a little trickier through Shopify but we got it down and launched this site http://uksportswarehouse.net/ and also sync’d with facebook (free app I might add) to add in some social shopping aspects.

Let me know if you want a quote for Shopify!

Shopify Shopping Cart Software – Start your FREE trial today!

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Disneyland Paris – And what your business can learn from their mistakes!

Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, or so it should be. I went for a 4 day trip to Disneyland Paris just before Christmas with a friend of mine who frequents the Florida Disney park every 2 years (ish).

Disneyland Paris has EVERYTHING it needs to become a great park. The rides are great, the park layout is good and well maintained as well as the detail is very much there. The park was DESIGNED to be fabulous, however the execution is lacking. Oh so lacking.

These are the main problems the park as a whole has that relate to the customer experience which I might add is EVERYTHING to a Disney park. You are supposed to be totally lost in the fantasy, it’s what you pay for. It’s what the kids want.

1. It’s not happy.

In fact, hardly any of the staff are happy and playing their role as ‘cast members’ at Disney. Most of the staff were reluctantly helpful or just plain rude. A few also complained and moaned in front of customers. We found TWO employees bar the staff dressed as ‘Characters’ who had any Disney spirit. Both loved the Florida parks and had bought back some of that sunshine in the way they worked.

2. It’s a French park for French people.

It used to be called ‘Euro Disney’ but maybe the name was changed as there is nothing European about it. It is a French park with a splattering of English and sometimes a weird mix of French and English as though at some point they tried then gave up. The car show was the best translated of all, but lets look at the example of the haunted house.

The haunted house story is supposed to be scary. However it is in French and only french – this means I had NO IDEA what was going on, neither did any other language speakers. This means despite the marvelous decor, the ride was lost on me. I can’t speak French.

It is a slow ride, so translation could be provided to make is scary for English, German, Italian & Spanish visitors as LEAST.

Quite a few workers spoke broken English – which is fine for me, but a family from Bahrain were VERY confused as they couldn’t find anyone to speak English and tell them what was going on. In fact my friend and I had to do a bit of that work for them on the Aerosmith ride (which is fabulous).

3. We couldn’t eat.

The food was horrendous in the parks. We tried to escape the pizza and burgers but it seems we should have just kept to the Disney Village where food was concerned. They kept trying to push you to expensive buffets, so we tried one to our dismay. All notion of hospitality was thrown out of the window and the food was horrid and a little stale at the end of the day.

The BBQ we had in Frontier-land was OK.  The hotel breakfast was bad pastries and bread. Bit of ham too if you were lucky.

4. Visible construction.

Parks need maintenance, but in Disney Florida it is done AFTER hours in the parks and any ‘scaffolding or workings’ are hidden by a themed facade as not to break the experience. We could totally see what was broken or being restored in Paris.

Disneyland Paris is rumoured not to be doing that well. I can see why!

So how can this relate to your online business?

Well, buying is a shopping EXPERIENCE. Just like Disney it is all about the experience. Think of giving your customer what they want by offering choice, be HAPPY when they contact you & don’t alienate foreign language speakers. The world is a big place, they are ALL your customers.

Happy New Year!


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