Help my sales are down and its CHRISTMAS DAMMIT!

This is a post in response to Dan’s post on Tamebay “Help! My sales are down” – 5 things to consider. I won’t cover his ground but I will cover some other observations:

Product Titles

On eBay, Amazon and in your own webstore the TITLE of your product is responsible for SO many things; from telling your customer what they are looking at to making sure they FIND you in the first place. When I search for something I normally use two words and this thought process:

“attribute + item name = search results”

If the search results are over 100 items I look at the titles of the first few items and redefine. This is where I get my ideas from when I am searching.

“attribute 1 + attribute 2 + item name = better search results”

But what are attributes?

A common but not exclusive list of attributes:

– Size
– Colour
– Brand
– Purpose
– Gender

Purpose for example is ‘rugby or football’ or an exact model/make of a car etc.

Things I look out for but don’t normally search for in titles include item condition statements. I also look for other sizing or expanded attribute information. I normally search for a size ’12’ for female clothing but if I am looking for jeans will also want the waist and length.

If someone else’s title tells me what the item is better than yours, I will click elsewhere.

Your titles DO also have to make some kind of sense for example:

‘NEW STYLISH GRIP SERIES LEATHER CASE COVER FOR IPHONE 4 4S FREE SCREEN PROTECTOR’ – I hate capitals and it is against eBay’s good title suggestions but looking at the wording this title has all the keywords I need and it tells me what I am clicking on.

‘Fits,iPhone 5 5G Case,Silicone Cover,Skin, For Apple,Royal Pig HOT PINK’ – All the keywords, no sense. A better title would be ‘New Hot Pink Royal Pig Silicone Cover Skin fits Apple iPhone 5 4G’ (As 5G doesn’t exist, no one in the UK would search for it).

However, both of these were top of the searches in eBay for ‘iPhone case’ proving that keywords and not sense gets you high up however this auction ended with no bids. None. Probably only at the top because it was a ‘minutes left’ auction. On refresh something with an equally bad title replaced it, again…no bids.

Images

Don’t be lazy here. Your images tell me WHO you are and what kind of business I am dealing with especially in a raft of search results. I am either looking for a second hand something from a home/private seller or a new item from a professional seller. Photos on someones floor says ‘home seller’ to me and model photos/professional photos say ‘professional seller’.

Description

OK, you have hooked me in now so don’t make me READ. Give me 3-5 reasons why I should buy and have done with it. Tell me what I get, what it is good for, something to make me trust you and trust that this item is fit for purpose. Something super technical? Tell me after the main reasons, because if I need to explore technical specifications I will now read on as I want to buy from you.

Brand

Don’t show me a random 90’s eBay image for a logo if you are a large seller with professional photos and make the effort to hook me in with good titles and descriptions! I won’t remember you. I might go back to that seller I used a while back in this category. I was happy with my purchase, let me search for the same item I purchased back then to see if they have the item I want. I didn’t add you to my watch list, I wasn’t engaged with the full experience and you can go back in the search lottery when I try again. I do this OFTEN if I can’t find a seller that I like from an eBay search.

Price

I don’t always go for the cheapest, however I consider VALUE a lot when I purchase online. This item is more expensive BUT…

If you are NOT the cheapest, tell me why and show me why in your pictures.

Cross Sell

Hmmm…this isn’t exactly what I needed, what else do you have similar or in the same category? If I can’t do THIS within the item description, I go back to the main search either on Google or eBay. The search lottery starts again!

Reputation

Easy on marketplaces to judge reputation, but on a website I will NOT buy from a badly designed, old looking, out of date website. I think you don’t check your orders. I feel you might not comply with current regulations for payments. I worry. I hit the back button.

All of these things persuade me to BUY or NOT. I love to shop, sell to me and help me find you.

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Social media and crazy named shopping days…

I have been looking at my shopping habits over the past three months and it seems that facebook is controlling me like a puppet.

This weeks psycho ‘shopping’ analysis:

  • Shared an eBay item with my facebook friends inciting a frenzy and sell out within minutes
  • A friend shared a recent eBay win and now I WANT one and I am stalking the search term to get a good deal
  • Bought some tree decorations from John Lewis (I don’t have a tree…) because a friend shared them on my wall
  • Asked if I should buy a tablet for work, and now pretty convinced about a Google Nexus 10 when they come back in stock

I feel I am not alone, so lets look at some stats about shopping over the Black Cyber 4 day weekend provided by Clever Girls Collective:

  • 88% of Black Friday/Cyber Monday shoppers said they were influenced by vouchers,deals and ideas offered by brands on social media
  • 93.3% bought something because a blogger recommended it
  • 79% of those surveyed shop on Cyber Monday
  • 67% will shop online, but they do both

These are statistics from social media savvy women but there are tons of cool info graphics about these two intense days of holiday shopping.

Recently I have also created a Kimono Freecycle hub on facebook so that those in the kimono community can freecycle items that are not good enough to sell on or they are just sick of tripping over. I have also sold a few more things through a facebook group.

Facebook, stahp controlling my life!

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Kidsonworks…more information

I have been working in the e-commerce sector since May 2000 starting with my own e-commerce business while I was a mere 20. My first major market was the USA. As a retailer I have sold personally from my own enterprise on eBay, Amazon and Website (I built the website myself) successfully but then in 2005 I switched my main career as a chemist to helping others sell online. It has been my passion and addiction ever since.

So what can I help you with?

eBay Design
Amazon Webstore Design and Integration
Shopping cart system design and integration (Magento/Vendio/Big Commerce etc)
Multichannel/Multi Marketplace Listing Strategy and Implementation
Marketing Advice, consultancy and implimentation
Support/Troubleshooting
E-Business management

and anything else relating to e-business you can think of, but these are my key areas. However, I am open to your ideas and projects you may have.

You will see the content grow as well as showcases in the coming weeks and I will update this post with links.

Of course, ‘how much?’ is the key questions. Well my rates are simple and I base the work on the time the projects will take. All quotes are final, I will not add on ‘extras’ if something takes more time than I anticipated. That’s my fault, however new requests outside the original agreement will be quoted for and charged on an individual basis.

Rates for my time:

£25ph plus expenses if needed (If I need to travel to you or stay in a hotel etc) for consultancy, marketing, management and all other tasks that don’t include coding, development and high end integration.

£40ph for coding, development and high end integration which I normally conduct not on site. If I need to consult and plan a coding project with you the consultancy and development time will be charged at the lower rate.

I do discount for very large projects though which stretch over 6 weeks or more, or regular maintenance agreements.

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Did Loki need an army? Or just the power of social media?

Following Tom Hiddleston on twitter he has smashed the 100K follower record with the help of the hashtag #LokisArmy which begs the question, did he need to bother with bringing Aliens to earth at all?

Sometimes the e-commerce underdog (not quite so full of death and hate I hope) is royally smashed into the floor by those big ‘retailers’ whom your buyers seem to instantly revere as the ‘good guys’

Even though you have been around for a while, carefully understanding your customer base and what they need (not quite subjugation I hope)……along come the ‘Avengers’, or as some know them ‘the outletters’ who completely wade in and become the law in your category.

But don’t forget even the underdog has fans and social media is one way you can get this loyal following. Even if your not the one in the shiny red iron suit.

Twitter is a great way to get quick messages across and start trends. If you are unsure about twitter and how to play it take a look at one of my favourites:

http://twitter.com/#!/mclaren_eshop

Being in F1 they know about fans, what they want and how to get purchases made.

Facebook is great for brand development. Sometimes you have to play the same game as these big branded retailers and carve yourself in the the conciousness of the people. Don’t be afraid to become a brand.

One of my favourite clients is becoming just that: http://www.facebook.com/Passion4italianfashion

Great giveaways, showing who they are as a company because they are a group of dynamic women who source and provide great fashion and discounts unmatched by outlet retailers.

So use the power of social media to create your army and take over your category! You were MADE to RULE!

On the flip side if you are one of the Avengers or eBay outlets if you don’t ‘bring it’ you will be trounced by the younger brothers in your category who could ‘outfox’ you as your swinging around the hammer of power.

It doesn’t always work, being the biggest and strongest…especially if you are late to this party.

Some of the big retailers had the foresight to integrate themselves into online marketplaces from the beginning (thinking of Littlewoods and Schuh) and like Iron Man and the Hulk have had plenty of story lines and incarnations to work with. Already loved by the public before the outlet programme was assembled.

Take a good look at how THEY use social media to engage. Schuh retweet their followers comments on purchases. I’ve had two re-tweets myself so with over 8000 followers (remember e-commerce business don’t have scream-y fan bases like actors so don’t expect 100K from a retailer too often) they still manage to read and retweet.

Social media DOES take time and time is money but with patience and management can be a great way to communicate who you are to customers, as this is what they like.

Try not to become a megalomaniac though and take over the world. Because even though we love twiddleston as an actor of evil guys…in reality balls of hate trying to take over the world by force are not generally a good thing!

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Which E-commerce Avenger are you?

This is a bit of fun 🙂

Which E-commerce Avenger are you?

1. Captain America.

A good sort of chap, more weathered in experience and still loves to reminisce of the days before the scourge of facebook. I mean, you have only just warmed up to e-commerce and the hyper web….now you are being told you have to sell through social media? You just don’t get it. In fact, you don’t want to get it.

2. Hulk.

SMASH! Lets put ALL of our 20000000000 product catalogue on eBay and totally smash our way into being the best. We don’t need strategy because we are STRONGER and MADDER than YOU! RWOAAARRRRR!

3. Iron Man.

If your website is not optimised for the 2017 apple smartwatch that is currently in development you are not interested. The future is NOW, even the distant future.

4. Black Widow.

You know your strengths and weaknesses and play them to the full when it comes to your competition. Always flexible and always ahead of the game. You know how to get the best discounts, from the best suppliers and know the best avenue for online sales. You look fabulous while you are doing it as well.

5. Hawkeye.

A bit impressionable but good at what you do. Sometimes you get talked into changing your e-business mostly to your detriment. Fortunately the e-world works fast and you can quickly recover and learn from your mistakes. Shame about that adwords bill though…no absolution there!

6. Fury.

You know what you are doing and you are damn well going to speak about it at the next Internet Retailer and tell these FOOLs whats what. But first you need to gather your team as this is going to be BIG!

7. Thor.

You are in total control of every aspect of your business and online marketplaces. In fact you are a GOD in your category and you fight every day gladly to maintain your place. Fight on comrades!

but of course no good set of super hero’s is ANYTHING without a super villan…

8. Loki.

You can manipulate your trading environment to suit YOUR needs. You drive for influence at the highest level, speak to all the key players at eBay and know how to play third party providers off one another to get the best deal on your eBay design. You play a high risk game but you love it. You might make a loss on that 99p auction but you will slaughter a weakling competitor in your category by doing so. Glorious.

When you fail though, you fail big time. And we laugh at you.

 

Please note I have not based these on anyone I know 🙂 I have based them on…ya know…The Avengers (Film)…

Feel free to own up to your Avengers personality, suggest different traits or another Avenger from the comics 🙂

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Facebook community commerce…

A lot of my friends and even myself are not sold on the prospect of facebook e-commerce. Opens up too many privacy issues and I don’t need to ‘buy’ on facebook as we have eBay, Amazon and retail sites.

However recently I and a few others have sold items to our close knit kimono community THROUGH facebook. There is a lot of recycling going on!

We even have a group now which brings the wider kimono community together to trade by branching out from the self imposed limits of a friends list. We have in essence, created our own free eBay style trading platform.

Paypal and now Ping It are being used for payment.

It feels as though through facebook we are going back to clearing out the loft and trading personally with fellow enthusiasts like in the days of old and well…gumtree.

This method is not for the large retailer of course, and this community is about individual unique pieces which have historical/antique value.

However, a friend is organising to sell a very special item through facebook to the tune of $3000 at a near 90% profit. Nice huh?

When my band of shopoholic friends start using facebook e-commerce stores I will report that, but for now..nothing.

On how you can use facebook for other business activities give this a read:
Four practical ways to use Social Media to sell

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