Customer Support – Competing with Big Online Retailers

February 4th, 2014

TelephoneBeing available for your customers questions is very important. Many small business owners don’t have a phone number on their website and prefer email support. This is a mistake, as many customers want the assurance they can call if they have any questions or problems ordering or questions about their order.

In order to compete with big online retailers, you must be able to provide the same level of support (if not more) to your customers. This will help them trust you.

RingCentral is a great provider for toll free numbers for your site. They are low cost, and you can setup different extensions, as well as route the toll free number to ring to any phone where you are located.

Make sure that your email address is available on the site in different locations or if you have one main email address that you want customers to use, you can post that near your phone number.

Always provide an About Us page. Simply provide your business story or why you are selling the products that you chose if they have meaning to you, or if you are solving a problem for customers. This will help your customers understand that there is someone real there on the other end of the order.

There is also social communication. If you create a Facebook Page for your business, or a Twitter account, place those where people can find them and like them or follow you. Then make sure to check those areas for customer questions.

Another way for communication is a chat on your site. However, for a small business, this is probably not feasible because it will be offline most of the time if you still hold a full time job. So you can avoid offering this, if you cannot give it at least 8 hours a day where you can check to see if anyone asks something.

Having all of this open and available communication with your customers is very important for competing with big online retailers. Big online retailers are available for their customers, so you should be as well.

photo by: plenty.r.

Better Website – Competing with Big Online Retailers

January 28th, 2014

smiley-faceYour website is the face of your company, because that is what people will see. A beautifully designed website with easy navigation and shopping procedures will go a long way to help you compete with big online retailers.

Take a cue from these bigger retailers as well by taking a look at how they arrange their websites and how the ordering process works. One of the big disadvantages that a big retailer has is they try to offer as many products as possible. With a smaller more focused site, you can make your navigation even simpler and keep your customers focused on what they should be buying.

I recently posted a series of blog articles called the 7 Deadly Sins of Online Store Design. These tips will help you understand the need for simpler sites along with ideas for how to design your store. You can see them by going to our blog home page and typing 7 deadly sins into the search the blog bar on the right.

After taking a look at the 7 Deadly Sins, take a look at your website again and see if there are improvements to be made. If you aren’t making the sales that you hope to, but you are getting traffic, poor site design should be one of the first things to look at and improve upon.

photo by: Dancing Tuna

Loyalty Programs – Competing with Big Online Retailers

January 21st, 2014

Shopping CartIt has been reported that around 80% of a online store’s revenue is from 20% of their repeat customers. So try to think of ways that will keep bringing them back to shop!

To keep consumers coming back to your store, something that many shopping carts offer are rewards. Whether it is a discount for purchasing over a certain amount or points for purchases or auto-shipments. Take advantage of what your store builder or shopping cart provider has to offer in the way of marketing and promotions, because they can be a big help in the long run.

A consumer that knows they have store credit, or that they are earning store credits, will be more willing to shop at your store as well as come back to use those points.  They are like coupons that never expire.

I’m a member of some sites like this. One of them charges me a monthly amount and that turns into a store credit. I can then use that store credit to purchase something each month. Another that I’m a member of, gives me reward points for every dollar spent. I enjoy shopping on these sites because 1. they offer products that I like and 2. the rewards keep me coming back for discounts.

Here are some examples of what some popular shopping carts have to offer:

Zen Cart, which has been asked about in our Member’s Only forum, allows a module for store credits. So for every dollar that the customer spends at your store, they will get a certain amount of points to use for future purchases that will discount their purchase. They also have a approved partner for this program that will email your customers their point balances and other features.

3D Cart, another shopping cart that has been mentioned in our Member’s Only forum, also has great marketing features. Coupons and promotions, affiliate programs, newsletter management, gift certificates and more.

Magento, that has also been talked about in our forum, offers rewards programs where shoppers can get points towards future purchases.

Yahoo Store, which has always been a favorite here at, offers promotions and marketing help as well.

Each of these providers will either offer their marketing and promotion for a fee or it is built into the service. If you don’t have a shopping cart or a site builder with a built in shopping cart yet, then make marketing and promotions part of your research to determine which platform is right for you.

photo by: Navicore

Talk it Up! – Competing with Big Online Retailers

January 14th, 2014

BlackBerry email on the BB 8330Communicating with your customers and  potential customers is important. You do this to keep your business in front of them so they don’t forget about you.

As a small business owner, you can’t afford commercials on TV or big billboards across the country, but you do have email & social media.

Have a new product? Tweet, Facebook and email about it! Another great thing you can do about a  new product is take a video of it and post it on YouTube, so you can then post it on your website. That will get the customers coming back to your site to check out your newest products and while there, maybe they will browse and buy. 🙂

If you don’t have new products regularly, then you can always communicate about other things. With a niche site, you can do all of this more easily, because you can talk about the benefits of the products, explain what people can do with the products and offer tips and advice.

Have a site where you sell pet products? Then talk about cute puppies and kittens or comment on the latest TV show that features pets. Not only do you want to promote your business through social media, but it is important to also be SOCIAL and build a good rapport with customers.

There are so many things you can talk about and there are also services that you can setup a lot of Tweets and Facebook Posts and schedule them out so you aren’t updating your status and tweeting all day long. For a suggestion, we use

Newsletters are another great way to talk to your customers and providing them a simple signup on your site will help boost your communication as well as your traffic. So get talking!

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Great Content – Competing with Big Online Retailers

January 7th, 2014

crownContent is king and for various reasons!

Not only does good content (keyword optimized) help you with the search engines but it makes you stand out from the crowd which is beneficial to compete with big online retailers.

Big online retailers have good descriptions of products and all the product information that you need to understand what you are buying, but what they lack is a good sense of humor or creativity about it.

There is a retailer online that I buy from every year for Christmas presents. They have funny descriptions, hilarious product videos and great images on the products that they sell. I love to browse through all the things that they have, even just to read about them!

I’m sure that you have come across clever sites like this and look forward to seeing what they come up with next. This is something that large retailers can’t do because they carry too many products and it would take too much time, energy and money to create individual videos or creative descriptions for each product.

But as a small retailer, you can do exactly that! Shoppers love creative content and with any luck, they will buy from you, talk about you and bookmark you to come back at a later date to see what YOU come up with next!

photo by: trainjason

Go Niche!- Competing with Big Online Retailers

December 17th, 2013

pile of sprinklesWe have talked about this time and time before. Why? Because it works!

Something that small retailers have that big retailers don’t, is the ability to specialize in different areas. That specialization of areas is called a Niche. Selling Niche Market products is staying away from the Mass Market products that many of the large retailers carry. These big retailers carry hundreds and thousands of products in many different areas so they aren’t able to specialize in one thing or another, nor do they have the time to explain in better detail what the product is and how it can benefit you or how you can use it to improve your life.

There are so many niche markets available that people can tap into!

Niches can be an area of your expertise (if it isn’t saturated already) or something that you are very interested in and/or you see a hole in the market for it.

A niche website will be centered around one or two products and you can always throw some extras in there as accessories or good add-on’s to the products.

The essential building blocks to finding good niches is making good lists. So for example;

You want to research the potential of selling Kitchen Products. Now, just kitchen products on it’s own wouldn’t be a niche, because that area is 1. too broad and 2. already saturated, so get creative!

So what would be a good Kitchen area? Well, I personally love to bake, anything from bread rolls to pastries. But I have the most fun when I’m baking for my nephews birthdays… cupcakes and cakes! We have trouble finding themed supplies for these and typically have to go to several stores in order to get what we want.. so voila! The beginnings of a potential niche!

But  baking again, isn’t the niche… or cupcake supplies or cake supplies for that matter! We have to continue our list…

Thinking about the items that we need in order to make our cute cakes and cupcakes; color & style themes are very important. One time they want blue, or red or superhero or character themed. So we go to one store and get cupcake liners in the right color, we go to another to get toppers or cupcake decorations in the proper theme, we go to another to get the right plates and napkins… it can be quite frustrating!

So what would ease this frustration? A website that was dedicated to nothing but cupcake kits! But what would make this more of a specialized niche? Cupcake Kits for Boys! There, we go! Our niche! Here’s how the list would play out…

Kitchen Products
Baking Supplies
Cupcake Supplies
Cupcake Decorating Kits
Cupcake Decorating Kits for Boys Birthdays <——- Niche!

This isn’t all you need to do to find your niche, but this is where it all starts! So get your thinking cap on, find a frustration in your life and try to find out what would ease that frustration for thousands of other people. Or create lists of interests and find a hole that needs filled when you are doing your research. 🙂

photo by: S. Diddy

Know Your Customers- Competing with Big Online Retailers

December 10th, 2013

handshakeThere are a lot of big online retailers and it may feel impossible to compete against them, but you can! You don’t do it with trying to have a bidding war with PPC’s or spend a lot of money outsourcing services, because you can never compete with your money against their money, you need to be more creative and customer service oriented in order to succeed.

Know Your Customers
Make sure that you know your customers and know what they are buying and why. It is easy to perform a survey after someone purchases from you. Ask them why they purchased from you, what else would they buy from you, were your prices competitive?

Get as much invaluable information that you can from your customers. This will really help you with deciding to offer different products, change prices, make adjustments to your site and more.

Large companies have extensive data that they collect on what people are buying, but they may not know why or why they chose to purchase with them. When is the last time Amazon sent you a survey? Or Wal-Mart? As a small business, you can place more attention on your customers because you don’t have employees and extensive overhead to manage.

Some people are more willing to offer their opinion than others, so if you don’t get the amount of responses that you want, then you can offer them a discount or a coupon for your site after they answer. Many people need incentive in order to go above and beyond, and a store discount will only make them come back and buy something else from you. 🙂

photo by: buddawiggi

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27th, 2013

Wishing you happiness, health & success on Thanksgiving and Always!
From your friends at


Fake Wholesalers Hurt YOUR Business & YOUR Customers!

November 19th, 2013

128/365 All masked upNot only will fake wholesale suppliers hurt your business, but they can also hurt your customers and ruin your reputation!

Working with genuine wholesale suppliers is essential to any online business. Getting tangled in the web of fraud, fake and scam wholesalers is a difficult thing for your business to recover from. We have heard so many horror stories from online retailers that have suffered from this, and that is one of the reasons why got started!

Fake wholesalers are “companies” online that look like legitimate companies, but do one or more of the following;

1. Charge you annual or monthly membership fees: Real Wholesale Suppliers do not charge monthly or annual membership fees in order to resell their products. Genuine wholesale suppliers are free to work with and do not charge you these extra fees just for the honor of selling what they offer. The ONLY time that this is OK or understandable is if they offer an additional service that you selected from them. But all real wholesalers will not charge you to just resell.

2.  Take your money and run: So after you pay your membership fee, and then start listing products for sale… everything seems to be going great until you make your first order. You place the order to have the product delivered to your customer and nothing ever gets shipped! You have already paid your membership fee, paid for the product and now you aren’t getting any responses from the “wholesaler” or you are getting “bogus” answers and your customer is angry!

3. Scamming Your Customers: When you place an order with a drop ship supplier, you are providing the company with your customers information. This can also includes phone and email address. Uh oh! You just provided the scammy wholesale supplier another person  to contact, harass and try to make money from. Your customer will know that they ordered from you and will connect the dots.

Stay away from fake wholesalers that will damage your business and damage your reputation by only working with genuine wholesale suppliers. The best and original source for genuine wholesale companies is here at Worldwide Brands! All of our members have the security knowing that every supplier in our Directory has been checked out and deemed legitimate by our team of experts. Our listed suppliers do not charge membership fees, will deliver products as expected and will not market to or scam YOUR customers! Get more information about what we provide here.

Find more information about online scams by visiting our Scam Watch page. You can also send us an email from that page to let us know YOUR horror story! Hopefully you don’t have one!

photo by: -mrsraggle-

Common Holiday Sales Issues for Online Retailers

November 5th, 2013

self-portrait, christmas-styleHoliday sales are extremely important for online businesses. This is the time of year when you get a big boost in sales and you don’t want to miss out on your piece of the multi-billion dollar pie! There are some common problems that many online retailers face for Holiday sales.

1. Starting too late: This is the biggest one. Every year in July, we recommend that if you are going to start an online business, you should get started in the summer in order to catch the most Holiday sales. It’s true! In order to get your store completed, have your marketing plan together and started and get your SEO completed, you are already nearing the Holiday selling season. It takes time to get your online store perfected, and ready for the masses. So if you start too late, you will have to wait until next year!

2. Forgetting about Mobile Shoppers:  This was one of my 7 Deadly Sins of Store Design mishaps and it takes place here too. Mobile shopping is on the rise and many people are turning to mobile devices to search for products to buy and to purchase directly from their smartphones or tablets. If your online store isn’t mobile shopping friendly, you will miss out on these customers because they will be frustrated by searching your site. Most everyone has some sort of mobile device these days, so test your store out and see how your customers would interact with it and make corrections specifically for them.

3. No Marketing Plan: Having no marketing plan is like trying to build a house with no blueprint. Every online store owner needs to have a marketing plan put together and scheduled out. Emails, campaigns, ads, blogs, newsletters….these are just some of the marketing pieces that every online store owner needs. If you don’t have your marketing plan put together for Holiday Sales and you haven’t even begun working on it, you need to hurry. The closer that the Holiday Sales season nears, the less time you have to implement it. You should have your marketing plan for Holiday sales done extremely early in the year or the year before, and scheduled out to work on it a little bit at a time. Don’t procrastinate and don’t forget about all of the OTHER holidays!

4. Don’t Forget to Decorate your Store!: Just like decorating your Christmas Tree and your house every year for Christmas and other holidays, you should decorate your store too. Beautiful graphics representing the season inspire customers to purchase more. Everyone likes the warm, fuzzy feeling that Christmas brings, so try to emulate that in your store. Also, don’t forget that you shouldn’t just dress up your home page. Put something on EVERY page or just on your top landing pages to get the most eyes on it.

5. Don’t Neglect Last Minute Shoppers:  Many people wait until the last minute to buy gifts. So if you feel confident about delivery before Christmas, make sure that your customers know that. I’m sure that you have seen on popular shopping sites…. Order by this date to get it before Christmas! Don’t forget to do that as well so if your customers are shopping around, they will already know that their gift will arrive in time if they shop from your store, but another store may not state that, and they will be back!

photo by: jimw