The Importance of Trust for Online Retailers

April 4th, 2013

BBB Accredited Seal

For online store owners, you need your customers to trust you. The customer isn’t walking into your brick and mortar store, buying a product and taking it home with them. They need to trust that the item is as described and that they will receive the item after purchase.

This is why services like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) are important to online retailers. The BBB’s slogan is “Start with Trust” and their vision is, “An ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other.”

The BBB sets standards for marketplace trust and encourages best practice by companies and will denounce bad marketplace behavior. They report on several things;

1. Company Information
This is where you learn about when a company started, what they are all about & contact information.

2. Performance
When a company gets a complaint filed to the BBB, the BBB will report what the issue was and if the company resolved the situation or not.

3. Rating
The BBB will assign ratings to companies, from A+ (highest) to F (lowest). These ratings are based on your history of complaints, how long you have been in business, type of business, background information and more. You can see how each item is graded and assigned points which make up the overall rating.

4. Accreditation
BBB Accreditation is an honor and not every company is eligible. Your business must meet the BBB’s high standards before you can be invited as an accredited business. Once you are accredited, that means that you have agreed to live up to the BBB’s Standards for Trust.

Once you are listed on the BBB’s site and you get your rating, you can then place a BBB seal on your website for customers to click on. This will take your customer to your BBB profile page where they can read more about your company.

With the high rate of scams and fraudulent activity online, customers like to see these types of accolades on your site so they can feel confident about shopping with you.

For more information about how to become a BBB Accredited Business, go HERE.

We here at WorldwideBrands.com just celebrated our 10 year anniversary for being a Better Business Bureau Accredited business. We are very proud of our A+ rating and we take all customer complaints very seriously, which is why the BBB is proud as well, to have us as an Accredited Member and gave us a shout out on Twitter!

You can check out our BBB profile here; http://www.bbb.org/central-florida/business-reviews/business-opportunity-companies/worldwide-brands-in-maitland-fl-24000594

WorldwideBrands.com – A New Search Feature Added in the WBI Certified® Directory!

March 12th, 2013
The WBI Certified Wholesaler Directory is the original source for dropshippers!

The WBI Certified Wholesaler Directory is the original source for dropshippers!

We DO listen to our Members and make changes to our online Directory when we can. Something that has been requested many times is the ability to search Dropship Suppliers and Light Bulk Wholesalers by category only. Seems like a simple request right?

Well, no, it’s not if you understand how coding works. 🙂

It takes time to implement any big changes in our Directory, and you have to find the right place to put something new. Especially if it didn’t originally fit into the original user interface.

But we have now added the ability to search by category only! For members, learn how to use this new feature by downloading and reading the Sourcing Tool Tips PDF located on the left under Quick Links in the Member Center. Not only does this PDF show you how to use the new category search feature, but you will learn a lot of other great tips to searching and using the Directory.

If you are not a member yet, read more about what you can get with a Worldwide Brands Membership HERE.

WorldwideBrands.com – Changes to the Market Research portion of the Directory of WBI Certified® Wholesalers!

February 7th, 2013
The WBI Certified Wholesaler Directory is the original source for dropshippers!

The WBI Certified Wholesaler Directory is the original source for dropshippers!

WorldwideBrands.com’s Directory of WBI Certified® Wholesalers just gets better and better all the time! We constantly make changes to our online Directory. We add new Certified Wholesale Suppliers, products and brands every day. We also continuously make updates to the already listed wholesale suppliers and drop shippers so the information will be up to date as humanly possible for our members.  We also are gathering data on our backend to make more improvements coming soon!

Recently we have made some updates to the Market Research portion of the Directory. We have now added Amazon to the competition section. So now our built-in Market Research program pulls competition numbers from the top three selling locations! Google, Amazon & eBay!

These competition numbers are highly important for deciding what to sell in which marketplace. If you sell on both eBay and Amazon, these numbers could help you decide where to place the product for sale.

Don’t forget the auction pricing and retail pricing tabs for the market research results as well! These two sections will show what the current prices are on eBay and Amazon so you can quickly and easily compare competitor retail prices.

If you are already a member, make sure to read the Sourcing Tool Tips PDF that is located in the Member Center on the left under Quick Links. This helpful PDF will give you some tips and tricks on how to use the Directory to its full potential. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us!

Why Sell on Yahoo?

February 4th, 2013
Yahoo Store

Start a Yahoo Store today with this Yahoo discount!

We get the question,”Why should I sell my products on Yahoo?” So here are the top six reasons many of our members start and stay with Yahoo.

1. It’s Easy – If you can click a button that says, “Section;” you can add a new section to your store. If you can click a button that says, “Item;” you can add a new item to your store. Yes, it truly is that easy.

2. It’s SEO Friendly – Yahoo Stores are set up with CSS friendly design. That means that the back end code is nice and clean for the search engines to get to the most important stuff… your products.

3. It’s Secure – Yahoo has some of the most secure software available. Your customer’s information is also secure when you log into the administrative side of your website. Should a hacker get into your first password, they have to figure out a second password in order to view your customer’s credit card information. This helps you to be PCI complaint with your merchant account company!

4. It’s Informative – The Yahoo Store will show you where your visitors are coming from, what keywords got them to your website, and how many of them converted over into sales. This information is crucial when it comes to making the right decisions to increase your conversion rates.

5. It’s Inexpensive – For less than $40 a month, you can add up to 50,000 products to your store. Their transaction fees are cost effective.

6. It’s Scalable – Whether your business is large or small, the Yahoo Small Business platform is ready to take you to the next level.

As you can see, Yahoo Stores are awesome! If you are thinking about starting a Yahoo Store, don’t take my word for it. Give it a try yourself!

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 WorldwideBrands.com 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; http://www.chrismalta.com/workshops

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 Authorize.net 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