Poor Pictures on eBay, Hurts your Marketing

January 25th, 2012

Digital Camera

Marketing isn’t just about getting your message out there, it’s also about trying to get customers to purchase from you. A customer can’t physically hold the product or turn it around in their hands to look at it, so you have to provide that for them with images.

There are many sales lost everyday on eBay because of this one simple thing. Poor images.

When a potential customer searches through the eBay listings looking for the product they want to buy, they will encounter a list of matches to look at. Poor pictures on an auction will usually steer the customer away, because they can’t see the details on the image. That means for you, a lost sale or you will have to discount the product greatly to get rid of it, which hurts the market by devaluing the product.

So if your sales are hurting, check your images and description write-ups to see if there can be any improvements. You may find that the simple fix of taking great pictures of the products for sale and multiple pictures from different angles, will increase your sales.

Creative Commons License photo credit: ssh

What is a SKU?

January 16th, 2012

Picture Frames
I have seen this question from time to time my friends, so here is the answer.

A SKU refers to a Stock Keeping Unit and is unique to the company that issues it. The SKU is then assigned to each individual product.

So for example, let’s say that I make collage picture frames. I have one black picture frame, that holds 5 – 4×6 photos so my SKU for that product would be Blk546 (or any other number I make up).  I have that same picture frame, but in brown. So my SKU for that product would be different, I might use Brn546. This would carry on until individual product has its own unique SKU.

SKU’s assist warehouses in keeping track of their inventory. So knowing the number of SKU’s that each wholesaler has, tells you how much inventory they have.

If you have any additional questions about SKU’s, please ask them below!

Creative Commons License photo credit: ricardodiaz11

Working Within the Process – Setting Up Accounts with Wholesale Suppliers

November 30th, 2011

paperwork
Currently, in our Worldwide Brands Product Sourcing Tool, we list thousands of genuine, verified Drop Ship and Light Bulk Wholesale Suppliers. We’re very proud of those numbers; it took a long time and a great deal of difficult research to get there. That’s more genuine Wholesalers, by far, than are listed in all the other lists and “directories” out there combined. We continue to add new distributors all the time.

However, once in a while we lose a distributor or two as well.

Why? Do they decide they no longer want to sell to home-based business? Do they go out of business? No. They decide that they don’t want to deal with the number of people we send them who do not follow their instructions when setting up a new account!

This can be a bad thing for both of us.

For us, it’s bad because we spend a great deal of time and money researching genuine Wholesalers. We don’t just pull these companies out of a quick trip to a Search Engine, like all the other lists and “directories” on the Internet. As you know from reading our site, we put a great deal of effort into our research, and spend a lot of money on large numbers of “raw leads” that we develop into just a few real Wholesale Suppliers that “make the cut” into our Product Sourcing Tool. We don’t like to lose those companies, but if they tell us to remove them, we remove them.

For you, it’s bad because every Drop Shipper and Light Bulk Wholesaler that drops out of our Tool is a lost opportunity for you. You won’t find most of these companies listed anywhere else, in any other list or “directory”. As I said, we don’t just search the Search Engines. Our “raw leads” are lists of thousands of manufacturers and wholesalers across the USA and around the world. We buy those lists from high-powered Research companies, and then we contact every manufacturer and wholesaler on those lists in order to find out if any of them Drop Ship, sell in Light Bulk Quantities, or will consider doing either or both.

We spend a lot of time, money and effort researching these wholesale suppliers and we love what we do!

The one reason, more than any other by far, that a Wholesale Supplier requests to be removed from our Tool is because they get tired of dealing with people who do not pay attention to their instructions on setting up new Accounts.

Let’s look at it from the Suppliers’ point of view. They think it’s wonderful to be in our Tool. We do not charge them a cent to be listed with us. If we did, there might be many companies who would not be willing to pay a listing fee. We would be short-changing you, our Members, by excluding legitimate Suppliers from our Tool simply out of greed. That’s not the way we operate. We list all qualified, genuine Wholesalers for free.

Again, the Suppliers think that’s great. We get emails and phone calls from them all day long, telling us how wonderful they think our Product Sourcing Tool is for their businesses. However, you have to understand that they are now getting a lot of new Account sign-ups, from our Members.

To the Supplier, that means Paperwork, and sometimes lots of it, depending on how they have their business set up. They all need to know who you are, so they have to process your New Account information. That takes them time. Most of them have to assign you to a specific Sales Rep. More paperwork; more time. Nearly all of them need to get a copy of your Tax ID. More paperwork; more time. After they have your New
Account fully set up and processed, they have a certain amount of time invested in you.

In the reality of the Business World, only about 10% of a Wholesale Supplier’s New Account sign-ups will ever do business with them. We know that a lot of our Members, when they get our Product Sourcing Tool, go a little wild and start signing up for accounts with nearly every Supplier we list!  That’s NEVER our recommendation, but it happens anyway! Those people who sign up for so many Accounts only tend to end up using a small number of them, once they finally decide what they want to sell.

As a result, about 90% of the New Account sign-ups that a Wholesale Supplier gets from our Members end up being unused; that Member will go off and use Accounts they set up with other Suppliers instead.

That, in itself, is not a bad thing. Wholesalers in general are used to this kind of thing. It’s a normal part of the wholesale-retail relationship, and the Wholesalers can handle that. The point at which some Wholesale Suppliers begin to get upset is when some few of our Members don’t bother to follow the Suppliers’ instructions.

I was talking with one of the owners of a Drop Ship wholesale company in our Product Sourcing Tool just a few days ago about this issue. He said that they have a very clear and simple sign-up process outlined on their Web Site, and that they had spent a good deal of money setting up and automating that process. I went to their web site to look at the process myself. It couldn’t have been simpler.

“I get emails all the time from your Members asking about New Accounts”, he said, “and that’s great. I have a standard email I send back, with instructions on how to go to our web site and sign up. But then, many of those people write back, asking more questions about the Account Signup Process. It’s all explained right there on the web site, where I told them to go in the first place. It seems that they just don’t want to take the time to read it. We don’t mind answering calls and emails from our Retailers. That’s part of our Customer Service. But, when we have to take time away from helping our existing Retailers in order to tell someone something that is already very obvious, it gets frustrating”.

“Then”, he went on to say, “we get people who are incredibly impatient. I get phone calls from people who say, ‘I emailed your company three times already about setting up a New Account, and nobody got back to me!’ We know our Customer Service is better than that, so we check our email Inbox. What we find is that they emailed us three times within the past hour, and we just haven’t had time to get back to them yet!”

We then talked about the thing that frustrates him the most. “People just bypass the whole process sometimes”, he said. “We’ll get emails that say ‘my name is Joe Smith, here’s my address, and this is my Tax ID. Set me up a New Account right away’. We simply will not do that, when we have a process already in place that’s designed to save us time, and save them time as well. They can go through the process on our site in just about five minutes, and our Database automatically sets them up with everything they need. We didn’t spend time and money developing that system so that we could go back and manually enter an Account for anyone who doesn’t feel like following our process.”

As you can see, there are reasons for following the processes laid out by the Wholesalers we list in our Product Sourcing Tool. This gentleman was considering asking us to remove his company from our Tool. Of course, we did not want to lose him, so I told him that I would write this article in order to help all of our Members to understand what suppliers like him go through in order to set up new Accounts.

We know that most of our Members do follow the processes that our Wholesalers ask them to. This article isn’t meant to chastise anyone. It’s just meant to help everyone understand these things from the Wholesalers’ point of view. The better you understand the companies you work with, the more successfully you can work with them! 🙂

So, here’s a quick list of things to remember when signing up for a New Account with a Wholesale Supplier, or with any Service or Supply company you might use in your business:

  • Read the company’s web site before calling or writing with questions. Most of the time the answer is already there for you.
  • Don’t get impatient! In the real business world, things take time. Many companies can set you up with an Account either instantly, or within a day or two. Sometimes it takes a week or two. Again, you’ll usually find Processing Time information right on their web sites.
  • Don’t try to shortcut the process! There are good reasons for the processes that Suppliers use. They generally do not like it when someone tries to “move to the front of the line” by calling or emailing outside of their process.

As I said, these tips work well for any company you work with, not just your Suppliers. You need the goodwill of the people who service and supply your business, so work within their processes, and you’ll find them very easy to work with!

Creative Commons License photo credit: Keith Williamson

Is your online store ready for Black Friday 2011 and Cyber Monday 2011?

November 4th, 2011

shoppingBlack Friday & Cyber Monday are extremely popular shopping days! Why? The deals, coupons & freebies! Oh my! I’m excited just thinking about it!

Black Friday is always the day following Thanksgiving Day here in the US and marks the beginning of Christmas Shopping. This is traditionally meant for brick and mortar retail stores, but you can also get in on the action!

Cyber Monday is the first Monday that follows Black Friday. This is the day that many online retailers focus on. Since people are typically running around in the early hours of the morning on Black Friday and of course you need naptime after all the exhausting shopping!! Being online is far from many of their minds. That is why Cyber Monday is especially important to online retailers.

Many retailers are already advertising deals for Black Friday & Cyber Monday. Are you among them?

Have you been dealing with your wholesale suppliers about offering any additional discounts for this day or maybe at least be able to offer Free Shipping?

If not, you need to HURRY! Planning for these types of days should happen at least a month or more in advance!

You should already have web pages dedicated around these days and have already started advertising for them.

Some sites to promote your deals, you ask?

Here are some great ones to check out;
Black Friday Ads http://bfads.net/

Black Friday @ GottaDeal.com http://blackfriday.gottadeal.com/

Black Friday Info http://www.blackfriday.info/
Creative Commons License photo credit: tinou bao

Starting Your Internet Business Right – New for 2011-2012

November 3rd, 2011

newspaper
Great news!!

Our most popular free eBook, that has helped millions of people start their internet business the right way, has just gotten better! From updated resources for 2011 & 2012 to new content including Marketing strategies!

If you are starting an online business or struggling with your current online business, then this eBook is for you! And best of all, it’s FREE!

Get the new copy here! http://www.worldwidebrands.com/wwb/kh_freeebookHOME.asp

Creative Commons License photo credit: kevin dooley

Creating a Website that Sells – How to Keep and Convert Shoppers

October 18th, 2011

Shopping and cooking
Designing a good sales website can be the difference between losing a customers and making a sale. You’ve got ten seconds to capture a shopper’s attention and convince them to stay—that’s how long it takes people to decide to keep reading, or move on.

Make Your Site User-Friendly
You need to plan your website carefully to make it really sell your product:

1. Have an attention-grabbing headline that tells customers what they’ll gain by staying. It should list some clear, compelling benefits—what they’ll learn and what kind of information you’ll provide.

2. Keep your website clean and simple. It should be easy on the eyes, with no more than a couple of key colors and a couple of easy-to-read fonts. Font should be very dark and contrast strongly with a lighter background. Avoid using patterns and limit your use of graphics.

3. Use more sales copy and fewer images. Images should be used strategically to support the sales copy, not vice versa.

4. Make your navigation easy. It should run across the top of your page or down the left side. The fewer clicks it takes to purchase your product, the better, because every time you ask potential customers to click, you lose some.

5. Make your sales process quick and painless. Don’t use hidden links. If you want people to buy from you, you have to make it obvious how.

Develop Your Customers’ Trust
Your website has to convey credibility and professionalism—people won’t buy from you if they don’t trust you. There are two main ways you can build your customers confidence in you:

1. Share your qualifications: how you got here and why you’re able to help them. Don’t just bullet-point your credentials—talk to them. Relate your experiences and explain how this product has helped you—let them see there’s a real person behind the site. Create an About Us page!

2. Use testimonials from people who’ve actually used your products. Video, audio, and written testimonials accompanied with customer pictures are proven tools for creating credibility with consumers. Make sure your testimonials have actual, measurable results people achieved using your product.

Create Customer Loyalty
Sharing relevant, interesting information can be a tremendous point of sale. Tell your customers what your product is, where it originated, and innovative ways they can use it. If you sell camping gear, post articles about great destinations for camping, or tips for staying safe in the woods. Give people a reason to come back to your site—there’s a good chance that, while they’re there, they’ll buy something. By educating your customers, you create a sense of loyalty that will make them want to buy from you rather than your competitors.

Creative Commons License photo credit: mcmorgan08

Sourcing Liquidations: The Ups and Downs of Reselling Them

October 13th, 2011

boxes
Liquidated products are Customer returns and overstocks at retail stores. These types of products can be an excellent channel for acquiring merchandise at rock-bottom prices. Both provide distinct advantages and drawbacks you should consider when deciding which is right for your eBiz:

Customer Returns
Advantages: These tend to be popular, in-vogue products—they were purchased for a reason. Many were returned only because the size, color, or model was wrong, and are in perfect shape.
Drawbacks: You’ll get a higher rate of items cosmetically damaged or defective. Some didn’t work to begin with. Some the customer broke or defaced.

Overstocks
Advantages: Over 90-95% of overstocks should still be in perfect condition. Many are even in their original packaging.
Drawbacks: There wasn’t enough demand for the original retailer to move these items, even at deeply discounted prices. So it might be more difficult for you to sell them as well.

Many resellers feel these are acceptable risks. When you’re buying product pallets for pennies on the dollar, you’ll likely have plenty room for a solid profit. Plus liquidated products are great for loss leaders in your store.

When selling online, it is best to look at all different channels for getting products, drop shipping, buying in bulk and liquidation. All of these channels together can result in a very profitable business.

So how do you find liquidations? In our Product Sourcing Tool at http://www.worldwidebrands.com we have a liquidaiton section, as well as liqudation auctions that you can view and purchase.

Sometimes you can also locate local warehouses that offer liquidated merchandise by the pallet load from local businesses. A simple search in your Yellow Pages would help you find them.

Creative Commons License photo credit: timsamoff

Keeping Up Appearances: Building Customer Confidence

October 10th, 2011

cash registerBefore purchasing with you, buyers must perceive that your business is legitimate and real. But establishing customer  relations takes time. And if they don’t feel comfortable buying from you, you’ll never get a chance to develop those relationships in the first place!

Image Is Everything
Here are some simple ways to impress would-be buyers and put a professional front on your eBiz:

1. Provide a toll-free number on your website. Making it easy for customers to reach you tells them you value their time and business. Check out RingCentral.com for their very affordable plans.

2. Get a Business Mailing Address, through the UPS Store or MailBoxes, Etc. Using a P.O. or an obvious home number, like 313 Lark Lane, Apt. D, as your business address, detracts from your credibility as an established retailer. Having a business mailbox not only projects a larger corporate image, but also provides benefits like 24-hr access, package notification, and mail holding and forwarding.

3. About Us. Make sure to have an about us page that reflects who you are as a business and don’t be afraid to be a little personal! A buyer that understands what your business is all about and learns a little about you, may be more inclined to purchase from you.

4. Great Layout. Have a great easy layout to your website and make sure that all your images are clean, organized and all the same size. Taking care with your website and images will show that you care about the appearance of your business.

All of the above recommendations are easy to implement and include. Add some personal touches, don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for feedback and ask yourself some questions; Does this online store look credible? Would I buy from this store?

Creative Commons License photo credit: skpy

All Things Being Equal: Taking Your eBiz Seriously

October 3rd, 2011

Business is business, online or elsewhere. If you’re serious about making your living online, you need to follow the same strategies you would for running any brick-and-mortar operation.

1. Get Legal – You have to have a registered business name and a tax ID if your state calls for it. Remember, you want to buy products at wholesale and you want to resell them. That means taxes! So registering your business is extremely important.

2. Have a long-term plan – Look down the road. Think where you’re taking your business, and how you’re going to get there. Writing up a business plan can help you with this. You can find templates for business plans online.

3. Always test your products and marketing tactics. During a testing period, focus on performance, not profits. If you lose a little money, you’ve still gained because you’ve learned something that didn’t work.

4. Be customer-oriented. Look at things from your customers’ perspective. Treat them as you’d want to be treated. Answer questions promptly and most importantly, be courteous.

Selling online in many aspects is a little different than selling in a physical store, but it’s still a business. If you treat it as such, you’ll have more success and a much better return on your investments.

Time is Money: Organizing your Online Business

September 29th, 2011

The almighty mouse
Running your own home business means that you have to do it all. You don’t have employees and the office space as traditional companies do. So as an eBiz owner, you need to manage your time and space effectively so you can concentrate on selling. Finding more time comes only through efficiency and organization.

Some tips for streamlining your business:

1. Get to know your computer. You are working with it everday. If you don’t understand how to properly use your computer, you will struggle. Take some computer classes!

2. Take advantage of the tools your applications, such as Excel and Outlook, provide. For example, you can set up Outlook to redirect emails with certain keywords in the subject line into specified folders, saving you hours of sorting everyday. You can also color emails from certain people allowing you to quickly see emails you need to address right away.

3. Use a bookkeeping solution, like QuickBooks to track your money. It may cost you time upfront to set it all up, but once you organize your finances, you’ll gain it back on the backend.

4. Organize your paperwork. With an online business, you could almost elminate the need to have paperwork. But inevitabley there will be some paperwork involved. Make sure to keep your papers organized in files and organize them in a file organizer to quickly locate if needed.

5. Simplify your shipping processes. If you are shipping your own products, structure your workspace so your packing materials are at your fingertips. The more movements you make for each package, the more time you spend—that can really add up on high-volume sellers.

6.  Shut the door. Make sure to keep your home office away from the main areas of the house. You need a place to shut yourself in, to keep away distractions.

By making good use of your time and space, you gain freedom to focus on growing your business.

Creative Commons License photo credit: lastquest