Merchant Processing 101

January 11th, 2013

Shopping CartShopping Carts, Gateways and Payment Processors
Years ago, an exchange of cash was all it took for a customer to buy from a merchant. How things have changed! Today, most businesses offer their products or services on the Internet and clearly, they can’t be restricted to cash-on-delivery practices anymore.

E-commerce has emerged as a lucrative channel for merchants to boost sales and grow their bottom lines. Many consumers have Internet access both at work and at home, and browsing an online catalog can be faster than browsing the aisles of a physical store and customers get the added convenience of shopping 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Merchants should understand the value of operating in multiple channels. For those who haven’t yet incorporated e-commerce into their business but want to, there is much to learn. They must educate themselves on how payment processing works in order to best accommodate their online shoppers and serve the needs of their business. Though paying for an online purchase takes just a few seconds, it involves a complex chain reaction of behind-the-scenes processes.

Merchants can increase revenues and reach more customers by offering an efficient, successful e-commerce solution. This post examines what must be in place in order to complete a transaction that is both secure and offers superior customer service.

What Makes an E-Commerce Solution Possible? In addition to the range of software and hardware that companies use to support the sale of products and services online, there are three vital components that make online shopping possible: the shopping cart, payment gateway and payment processor. Each is critical to ensuring successful implementation of e-commerce functionality.

Shopping cart. The shopping cart acts quite literally as a virtual shopping basket. It holds the items customers select from a Web site until they are ready to proceed to the checkout stage, where their credit card information will be processed.
The shopping cart:
-Keeps track of items until they are purchased
-Automatically totals the amount of a customer’s order, including shipping and tax
-Allows shoppers to securely enter address and credit card information

Payment gateway. In order to accept credit cards through the Internet, a payment gateway is critical to transport the credit card information from the shopping cart to the payment processor once the consumer clicks the “Buy” button. In most cases, this transaction happens almost instantaneously. The payment gateway receives encrypted transactions from the merchant’s shopping cart. An encrypted transaction simply means that credit card numbers can’t be read by people who are not supposed to read those numbers. Authentication is then provided and the decrypted payment information is transmitted for authorization.
The payment gateway:
-Fulfills the same function as a point-of-sale (card swipe) terminal at a physical retail location
-Takes information provided through a shopping cart and transmits it electronically and securely to a payment processor to be routed for authorization of payment

Payment processor. The payment processor transmits a customer’s credit card information via the Internet to the merchant bank for authorization. It also sends data back to the merchant’s bank to approve payment or the transfer of funds.
Specifically, a payment processor:
-Acts as a link from the merchant to the acquiring bank or merchant bank
-Receives information from the merchant through the payment gateway and packages the information for delivery to the acquirer, ensuring that all necessary transactional data is present and valid
-Later transmits information back from the acquirer for delivery to the merchant to settle the transaction

With the shopping cart, payment gateway and payment processor in place, merchants have all they need to offer convenient e-commerce solutions that deliver superior security and service. With a little research and education, merchants can find the best providers to accommodate their business needs and those of their consumers. It just makes sense with online shopping projected to account for $963 billion dollars (according to Goldman Sachs) in  retail sales this year. E-commerce provides merchants an opportunity to make more money and succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

photo by: Navicore

Is One of Your New Year Resolutions for 2013 “To be your own boss?”

December 11th, 2012

Happy New Year!It’s almost that time of year again! Creating a list of your New Year Resolutions for 2013! Are you one that creates your list but then forgets all about it? I do that too, but this year I am also resolving to get some of my resolutions off my list! 🙂

Some of the top New Year’s Resolutions every year are;

1. Spend more time with family and friends.
2. Learn something new.
3. Enjoy life more.
4. Make more money.

Did you know that you can accomplish all 4 of these with just one thing? An online business! Most people think that starting and running an online business is complicated. It can be, but with the proper education and starting it out right will save time and money in the long run.

Let’s start with the first resolution: Spend more time with family and friends. When you run your own business, you make your own hours. That means more time can be set aside to spend with your family and friends. Working from home will give you more freedom to do things with your kids that you normally woudn’t be able to do. When you are you own boss, you can do what you want as long as your business doesn’t suffer as a consequence.

The second resolution; Learning Something New. Learn how to start your online business the right way by downloading and reading our Free eBook. You can get that HERE. No strings attached!

The third resolution; Enjoy life more. When you are financially independent with your own business, you have the ability for more freedom in your life to enjoy things more. Always wanted to travel? You can still run your online business from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection.

The final resolution; Make more money.  Many of our members at sell online to supplement their income so they can make more money. They still work their regular jobs or go to school and run their online business in their spare time.  We have other members that have taken their online businesses to new heights and are now reaping millions in revenue a year. As long as you educate yourself, devote some time and money to your online business, you can succeed to.

So what are you waiting for? For your online business to be ready for NEXT year’s Christmas Selling Season, you need to get started now!

photo by: Sukanto Debnath

How to Write a Great Sales Message

November 27th, 2012

There are two techniques for writing great sales copy.

The first, is when someone needs a shortcut to communicating a sales message to customers. It’s very straightforward. You simply follow the rules of basic journalism. Who, what, when, where and why:

• Who you are
• What you are offering
• How it will positively affect their life
• What they need to do now to buy or learn more

It’s really just that simple. This is powerful enough, on its own, to really make an impact on your sales message and how customers view the product and your online store. For most online retailers, though, it’s simply a realistic way to wrap your brain around the barest of functional sales messages. It can be your “go to” plan when you need to write something fast.

However, when you’re finally ready to move up into the ranks of a great salesman or saleswoman, you have to take it just a little bit deeper.

That’s where the second technique comes into play. For example: “Who you are” is amazingly more powerful when you include the story behind your credibility as a respected and capable expert. Include good testimonials that back you up and add information about how great and much needed your products are, compared to everything else.

Then, “what you have to offer” and “here’s what it will do for you” become crystal-clear through specific emotionally-charged explanations of the products you offer. (Most buying decisions are made with the emotional part of the brain which you must please if you ever hope to rake in the money. Paint a pretty picture in your customers head!)

Finally, once you understand how to construct the simplest of “sales funnels”, it’s easy to close the deal. Your customer actually slides into the action you want him to take, willingly and enthusiastically, because you’ve helped him understand that you’re guy or gal he wants to deal with, you’ve got the goods he actually wants and he can feel good about buying right now.

The difference between these two techniques can be measured in your success selling those products. It will take your breath away how much influence you can exert on almost ANY group of customers once you nail the slightly deeper (but still simple) details hiding behind a truly great  sales message.

The first technique will serve you well, but the second technique will change your life fast.

The steps I’ve outlined here — credibility, testimonials, USP, bullets, sales funnels — are joined by other fundamental advanced elements like finding hooks that grab attention, finding the fascinating core of “your” story, writing headlines, and a few other things that will put you in the same league as the best marketers on the planet.

photo by: koalazymonkey

5 Tips to Prepare Your Online Store for the Holiday Season 2012

November 20th, 2012

Whether you sell part-time, full-time or somewhere in-between, the holiday selling season is one of the most important selling seasons of the year! Not only do the holidays represent the biggest shopping season of the year, they also give you a great opportunity to attract a wide variety of new customers to your online store; customers who can potentially become loyal, repeat buyers throughout the year.

And while holidays sales figures will vary for every online seller, there’s no doubt that being well-prepared for a robust holiday selling season will have a huge impact on your sales! In this post, you’ll learn five powerful tips to help you prepare your online shop for your best holiday selling season ever!

Now before we dive into our tips, I want to set the stage by giving you a different mindset about when the holidays really take place. And I guarantee that after you’ve read this next paragraph, you’ll never look at holiday selling season the same way again!

When Are the Real Holidays?

Most of the time when you hear people talk about the “holiday season”; they’re referring to the bulk of the shopping that happens in November and December. While it is true that this is a peak sales time, if you only consider November-December as the holiday season, you’re missing out on several other holiday selling opportunities along the way.

Because running from August through the end of January you have the opportunity to capitalize on these different shopping holidays:
• Back to school shopping
• Halloween
• Thanksgiving
• Gift giving season (Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza etc.)
• Post-gift giving trade in/trade up purchases (Late December – January)
• Gift certificate redemption season (Late December – January)
• New Years
• New Years Resolutions (January)

Now that you can clearly see why the holiday selling season is not just a short period from November to December, let’s get busy preparing for those holiday sales!

1. Expand your Current Product Lines for the Holidays. One of the best ways to sell the products that holiday shoppers want is to evaluate your current sales and ramp up on some of your customer favorites.

To do this, ask yourself the following questions:
• Who are my customers?
• What are they currently buying?
• What is selling well now?
• What’s new, up, and coming in my most popular product lines?
• What complimentary products can I bring into my store?

By looking at what’s already selling well in your store and bringing in updated or holiday versions, you have the advantage of selling customer favorites with a new twist.

Here are a few examples:
• Do you sell hand tools year around? Contact your supplier and see if they offer any holiday gift sets. Or better yet, bundle your own exclusive set!
• Do you sell bedding and bath supplies? Find out what prints are new for the holidays! Seasonal merchandise can be a great addition to your product line.
• Specialize in selling maternity bathing suits during the summer? Bring in some fresh new maternity holiday dresses and pajamas for the winter.

2. Place Orders Before Your Suppliers Run Out of the Hot Selling Products! Don’t wait to place your orders for those perfect holiday products! Keep in mind that many retailers both online and off started placing their holiday buys back in January. Once you’ve identified what products you want to bring in for the holidays, call your suppliers immediately. Otherwise you’ll find that the top-selling products are already out of stock.

3. Offer Products at an Assortment of Price Points. One of the biggest mistakes that online retailers make is trying to wedge their customers into a one-sized fits all price range. During the holidays more than any other time of the year, shoppers have price elasticity; meaning they’ll spend more or less on a product than they would normally spend throughout the year.

Don’t restrict your product sourcing to only merchandise within a certain price range. For example, you know that your most popular products fall into the $75 – $125 price range; by bringing in some higher priced items your customers can upgrade a purchase for the gift buying season. Lower priced products will appeal to those holiday shoppers on a budget. During the holidays, you always want to think about selection!

4. Create “Top Lists” for Your Customers. Holiday buyers are busy and they don’t have time to comb through your entire store or website looking for that perfect gift for Aunt Mae or Uncle Mike. Online retailers who “pre-shop” by creating Top Lists or Favorite Lists, report year-after-year that creating these lists are one of the biggest determining factors in increased sales.

A Top List would look something like this:
• Top 10 Gifts for the Dad Who Has Everything
• The 10 Scariest Decorations for Halloween
• 10 Hot Selling Holiday Toys!
• 5 Products to Help You Stay Organized All Year

By pre-shopping for your customers and presenting them with the best of the best, you’re not only offering great products, but providing fantastic service by showcasing products they’ll love!

5. List Your Holiday Products Early. Each year, online shoppers start their holiday shopping earlier and earlier. With as many as 49% of online shoppers reporting that they begin their holiday shopping in September, not listing your holiday merchandise in your online shop means you’ll miss those early-bird sales!

photo by: sociotard

The Incredible Power of Personal Networking

November 13th, 2012

Over the last several months, I’ve watched eBiz owners become increasingly frustrated in starting or running their online businesses. Hey, it’s no big surprise. The economy sucks eggs, and it’s not our fault but there’s nothing we can seem to do about it. People are scared half to death about whether or not they’ll have a job next week, and where the money will come from if they don’t. Those of us who have decided to be our own bosses are getting increasingly worried about how we’ll be able to pay our bills if the money we invest in ecommerce doesn’t pay off.

The fact is that most people who start online businesses do NOT succeed, and there’s a very good reason for that. There is one major difference between people who succeed and people who fail. The vast majority of people who succeed know what PERSONAL NETWORKING is and how to use it.

Personal Networking is as simple as understanding how to communicate with people in business, and communicating with people who understand business and are willing to share. It’s about learning how to deal with people in business.

As ONE example of Personal Networking, most newcomers are afraid to deal with large companies, such as wholesale suppliers. If you’re like most people, you see wholesale suppliers as giant faceless monsters that chew up small business owners and spit them out for breakfast. You’re nervous about contacting them, afraid they won’t see you as someone who is important enough to work with. You have no idea what to say to them, and are afraid of saying the wrong thing and blowing your chance to get a good supply of the product you want to sell.

The most important thing to realize is that wholesale suppliers are people too. When you call a supplier, you’re talking to a Salesperson. That Salesperson has a family. A Mom, a Dad, brothers, sisters, kids, friends, a dog, a mortgage, a car that breaks down when they least expect it, bills to pay, bad hair days, and all the rest of the things that come with simply being human.

There is a person just like you on the other end of that phone line or email address, so act like it! All you have to do is talk to them. When you talk to a supplier (or anyone else in business) simply treat that person like a friendly acquaintance. As you work with them, start to form a personal relationship, just like you would with a casual friend.

Anyone in business who feels like you’re at ease talking to them will be at ease in working with YOU, and you’ll get much farther with them than you would if you act like they have bad breath and you don’t want to stand too close to them.

This example is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Personal Networking. It starts there, and grows into getting into contact with others in business, and working together as groups of business owners. There’s tremendous strength in numbers and in the sharing of information, experience and common goals, and that makes Personal Networking is a critical skill to learn if you want to survive and prosper in business.

One person that understands business and is willing to share, is our Founder and CEO, Chris Malta. Chris hosts workshops for new and for struggling online business owners. He knows online retail and he knows how to sell products. Learn from Chris and also get direct lifetime support from him at anytime. Check out his workshops here;

photo by: buddawiggi

Getting a Merchant Account for your Online Business

November 6th, 2012

Accepting Credit Cards in your online storeCredit Card payments are the most popular method of buying things on the Internet. You want to protect your income and your customers certainly want to protect their credit card accounts from fraud.

Many potential customers will move to another website to buy if you don’t offer credit card payment options. So setting up a Merchant Account for accepting payments by credit and debit cards is a serious matter. Just as serious as setting up your business bank account or each wholesale supplier account.

The challenge comes when you have to fill out that Merchant Account application. You will find that there are many questions that you may not be expecting. We often get the question: “Why so many personal questions just to accept payments by Credit Card on your website?” The answer is that there are many steps that take place in those few seconds after a customer clicks “Process Order Now”. Each critical component needs information from you to make sure the payment is processed correctly and you receive your money.

Let’s take a closer look at the critical components needed to accept a payment from your customer through a credit card:
• A Shopping Cart
• A Payment Gateway
• A Credit Card Processor
• A Credit Card Issuer
• Your Bank Account

1 . A Shopping Cart
You must use Shopping Cart software on your website. There are many providers of  Shopping Carts . Some are actually already integrated into the site like Yahoo Merchant Solutions (aka Yahoo Store) and for example,  GoDaddy’s Shopping Cart and Merchant Solutions provide software to integrate directly onto your site.

Shopping Cart software:
• Keeps track of items as the consumer “adds to cart” on your website
• Progressively adds up the amount of a customer’s order, including shipping and tax
• Allows shoppers to securely enter address and credit card information.

2. A Payment Gateway
This software interfaces with your shopping cart software and transports encrypted information electronically and securely to a payment processor to be routed for authorization of payment. So in other words, this is how you keep your customers credit card and personal information safe. This is very important!

3. A Credit Card Processor
A Credit Card Processor handles the computer transactions that first check if the consumer has sufficient credit to make a purchase. This is known as “authorization”. The Credit Card Processor then securely captures all the payment details and processes the payment. The Credit Card Processor handles the transaction with the Credit Card Issuing Bank via Visa, MasterCard, Amex or Discover, etc. The Credit Card Processor is responsible for collecting and depositing your payments into your merchant account and then transferring the balances electronically to your designated bank account.

4. A Credit Card Issuer
This is the bank that issued the credit card to your consumer and has the authority to make deductions and payments through the credit card company to the Credit Card Processor who then ensures you receive your payment.

5. Your Bank Account
Finally, one of the critical parts of this process is your Bank Account. The Credit Card Processor needs to know where to deposit the payment it just collected from your consumer. So you need to have a Business Bank account in order to recieve funds.

As you can see, there are many pieces to the puzzle just to simply collect a payment through credit card from your customer. This is why you need to complete a Merchant Account Application Form accurately and in detail.

Payment Processing is a vital part of making money online. Lets face it! Acceptance of credit cards can make or break your business.

Here are some tips for accepting credit cards on your site:
1. If you’re just setting up a merchant account for the first time, make sure you fill out the application in detail so that all the pieces of the puzzle have exactly what they need to set you up right the first time.

2. If you already have a merchant account, take a moment to really look at what you’re paying out in processing fees. You might find a great way to increase your profit margins is to change your merchant account provider. It’s easier than you think. You might significantly lower your current costs and get better terms by just simply switching.

3. Make sure to use security seals on your shopping cart to increase conversion. McAfee Secure for example has shown to increase sales conversion by 5%-20%

4. Use available resources to help you understand the payment process better.

photo by: 401(K) 2012

Every Page of Your Online Store is Important!

October 30th, 2012

Happy Halloween!Every page of your website is a sales page, just like every page of your website can be your “home” page.

Let’s break this down and say that you have an online store and you are selling Holiday Party Supplies. For your customers easy navigation through your site, you use different categories like; New Year’s Party Supplies, Valentine’s Day Party Supplies, Easter Party Supplies, Halloween Party Supplies, Thanksgiving Party Supplies, Christmas Party Supplies etc.

If you are doing your SEO (search engine optimization) correctly, each page has been optimized for the search engines. How do you do that? Please see my recent post about driving traffic to your site.

Let’s take the Halloween Party Supplies category landing page for example. You’ve got your meta tags in place; Title, Description and Keywords;
• Example Title: Your One Stop Destination for Halloween Party Supplies
• Example Description: Get all your Halloween Party Supplies Here! From Scary Halloween Decorations and Halloween Party Supplies to Funny Halloween Decorations and Funny Halloween Party Supplies.
• Example Keywords: Halloween Party Supplies, Halloween Decorations, Scary Halloween Decorations, Scary Halloween Party Supplies, Funny Halloween Decorations, Funny Halloween Party Supplies, Kids Halloween Party Supplies, Children’s Halloween Party Supplies, Adult Halloween Party Supplies, Party Supplies, Party Supply

You’ve got a write up on the main category page about Halloween Party Supplies and the keywords you selected for optimizing this page  are scattered throughout your copy. Your copy is what your customer actually sees and reads. So you want to make this as detailed as possible, but in as few words as possible too, you want your customer to start shopping!

So the copy on this page that the customer sees could be:
Vampires and Witches and Zombies oh my! Planning your next Halloween Party? We have all the Halloween Party Supplies that you could need! If you are looking for Scary Halloween Party Supplies, Funny Halloween Party Supplies, Kid’s Halloween Party Supplies,  Adult Halloween Party Supplies or many other Halloween Party Supplies and other Holiday Party Supplies you’ve come to the right place! Click a category to start shopping!

The customer could then have different categories to choose from to narrow down their search even more.

That’s enough for potential customer copy and SEO. So, what does this have to do with every page is a sales page or my “home page”. Well, if you read my other blog post about driving traffic, you will understand that the search engines don’t just point to your “home page”. Depending on what the customer is looking for, this Halloween Category main landing page might end up being the page that many customers come into your site with. So if the customer types Scary Halloween Party Supplies into a search engine, this page could be the one that comes to the top of the results and the customer comes directly to it!

So every page needs to be optimized, clean and easy to read, easy to navigate from any starting point on your site, easy to get from one category to another, easy to locate the shopping cart, easy to locate contact information and etc. Don’t just save the great stuff for your home page, because any page could be your “home page”. Every single page of your webiste needs to sell the customer on purchasing from you. So look at each and every page as treat them as if they were all valuable, because they are!

We hope that everyone has a safe and enjoyable Halloween 2012!!

photo by: wwarby

An Intro to Closeouts: A Product Channel Worth Considering?

October 23rd, 2012

For the online retailer, closeouts present a tremendous opportunity to buy brand name items for less-than-wholesale prices. It’s a billion-dollar-a-year industry that continues to expand, fueled by the growth of large retail chains.

Where Do Closeouts Come From?
Closeouts, refer to brand new merchandise at the end of its life cycle and can result from a variety of situations:
• A large chain store may order 100,000 items and cancel the last 20,000, sticking the manufacturer with that excess inventory.
• A retailer may refuse to accept large quantities of items due to small packaging mistakes.
• A factory may over-anticipate the demand for a product and be unable to meet their sales goal forecast.
In these situations, to move the extra merchandise, the manufacturer is usually willing to sell at deeply discounted prices.

Why Buy Closeouts?
No matter what your store sells, you can find complementary closeout items and benefit from their low prices. There are many obvious advantages to adding closeouts to your product mix:
• They provide high profit margins, which enable you to sell for hard-to-beat prices without losing money.
• They act as terrific promotional vehicles. You can use them as free gifts, fantastic bargains, featured items, or “loss leaders”. These tools are especially effective for bringing traffic into your eBay store.
• They offer constantly-changing, fresh inventory to supplement your core products.
• They give you a reason to stay in contact with your customers. You’re letting them know what new merchandise you have, rather than just saying, “Come back to my store” without giving them any incentive to do so.

Where Do I Find Closeout Dealers?
Tradeshows and gift shows are great places to find closeout suppliers, who often have representatives there. You can also find them online, but beware of middlemen. Investigate any company before transacting business with them. Find out about their minimums and payment terms. Even if they’re legitimate, they may have purchase minimums that are out of your range, and you don’t want to waste your time or theirs.

Some companies will allow you to buy quantities as small as one case pack, which enables you to try different products without putting a lot of money into any particular one. You can offer numerous items to your customers, and see what sells, with a minimal investment risk.

Closeouts are a great addition to your current product sourcing base. The fact that you’re buying closeout merchandise at heavy discounts off of the original pricing allows you to be competitive with major retailers and still make a nice profit.

photo by: sergiodmt

Driving Traffic to Your Website (The Simple Free Way)

October 16th, 2012

So you’ve done your market research and picked your first product to sell online. You’ve contacted your first drop ship supplier and setup your wholesale account. You even have your website or auction started and your merchant account setup. What’s next? Driving traffic to your site!

There are several options you have:

1. PPC’s: Pay per click advertising (Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, Bing PPC)
2. Social Marketing (Sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter)
3. Natural Search results (Getting your website to the first page of Google)

I’m going to discuss the option that is simple and free, but it does take a little bit of your time and patience: Natural search results.

To get yourself to the first page of Google you need to focus on SEO (Search Engine Optimization). There are several companies out there who will help you with SEO. But before you even start considering outsourcing your SEO, there are several basic steps that you can do that cost you nothing but your time to implement.

Let’s focus on what you can do with your website starting today. The first 5 main areas of your website to start with are:

1. Title of the webpage
2. Meta Description
3. Meta Keywords
4. Images
5. Product Descriptions

Each one of these you need to focus around your main keywords for that particular product page. So let’s use “Pet Couch” as our example for each of these 5 areas:

Your title needs to have what the product page is about at the very beginning of the line.
Example title: Pet Couch for Large Breed Dog –

Your meta description should include that main keyword and don’t get too wordy. Remember this is what people see under the first line in the natural search results.
Example meta description: A Pet Couch can stop your large breed dog from taking over your living room couch. This dog couch is available in red, green and blue.

Meta Keywords are all the important keywords that your customer is typing into the search engines. Five to seven keyword phrases is a good number to focus on per product page. Hint: make sure to use the keywords you find when doing your market research.
Example: pet couch, pet couches, dog couch, large breed dog bed, giant breed dog bed, large dog bed, large beds for dogs

Images: Name your images with the keywords that are important. Because how you name your images, is how someone can also find your site doing an image search. So instead of img001.jpg is should be pet-couch.jpg.

The Product Description that is displayed on your site next to the image of the product, is the first main area that you can provide a lot of content around your keywords. Make sure to answer who, what, when, where, why and how and relate the product to your customer. Try not to use too much of what the supplier provides to you, as you, and everyone else selling that product will end up with the same description!

So there you have it, 5 simple and free things you can do to your product pages right now that’s going to help you get to first page of Google.

photo by: zoonabar

Wholesale Trade Shows are Still Important for Retailers!

September 13th, 2012

wholesale trade showWhy they are important:
Searching online to locate wholesale suppliers is easy to do, but how can you be sure that the company is legitimate? You can either buy a service like ours where we verify & certify wholesale suppliers & manufacturers and place them in our Directory of WBI Certified ™ Wholesalers or you can also visit trade shows.

Having that face to face interaction with a wholesale supplier is still important, especially with the amount of scams that run rampant on the Internet. Get to know who is supplying you your products! Because with drop shipping, you are placing a lot of trust in your supplier.

For an online retailer, going to an industry trade show, is where you can touch and feel the products, this is great for online retailers that want to drop ship. You can understand the quality of the products to be able to offer good descriptions for your customers without having to buy the products first.

Another benefit to trade shows, is having hundreds of wholesale suppliers in your industry all under one roof!

Get the most out of a trade show:
First, choose a trade show that will represent the product types that you are interested in selling. There are all sort of trade shows, from jewelry to toys, pet supplies to sporting goods. There are great resources online where you can search trade shows by trade, date and/or location. One of our favorites is

Second, have an objective in mind. You could get caught up in all the bright lights and shiny new products on display. Study the exhibitor directory and map and work up a game plan to get the most out of your visit. It can get expensive going to a show, so with a proper plan, you will be sure to see and talk to the suppliers that you REALLY want to talk to first and then look at all your other options later.

Third, there are quite a few trade shows that also have eduaction segments and guest speakers and sometimes even workshops where you can learn to improve your business in that particular trade. Pick up tips and ideas on how to sell those types of products better.

Be Prepared:
Here is a list of some things to make sure to take with you.
1. Comfortable Shoes – it’s a lot of walking!
2. A roomy bag for brochures, samples and business cards. A bag on wheels is great!
3. Business Cards
4. Stapler – after the day is over, stapling the business card to any brochure from the same company helps keep you organized.
5. Ink pen and paper for notes.
(other things I like to stuff in my bag, are hand sanitizer, a bottle of water and I use my cell phone to take pictures)

I love going to trade shows. Talking with many different people about their products, and getting to see the new things that havn’t hit the market yet. I have been to quite a few trade shows where they have large displays of new products that aren’t available for sale yet, so I can get an idea of what is coming out to be able to be one of the first to offer them.

First and foremost with a trade show, have fun with it!

photo by: ArmyStrongPA