032: Behind The Scenes of Selling Physical Products Online

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 – 1 hour, 4 minutes

Download: MP3 (63.0 MB) | Lo-Fi MP3 (31.5 MB)

seanwes

I want to demystify the product-selling process. I talk about some of the systems I use, my sources, and how I scaled from starting with one product. We talk about how discounts and coupons can be harmful when not used strategically and why I do not do pre-sales.

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Show Notes
  • 12:07 Selling online.
  • 15:37 What is the best e-commerce platform to use?
  • 16:10 Start simple. If you worry too much about infrastructure upfront, it can be too discouraging. Wait until you grow to the point of needing to distinguish yourself before you worry about custom solutions.
  • 17:18 Never make people leave your site to go to your store.
  • SHIPPING:
  • 19:48 Dealing with calculation of rates, fulfillment, labels, and postage.
  • 21:28 Keep things basic when you’re beginning. Start with domestic shipping and flat rates and scale from there.
  • 25:52 Dealing with international packages.
  • 27:01 Automating the label and postage process with ShipStation.
  • 28:50 Packing material sources.
  • 30:16 “How many products should you have ready to ship before you launch a store?”
  • 30:48 I started my store with one product.
  • 31:25 Don’t let something like the complication of product variations get in the way of you putting up a product. All you need is one product to start a store and to start selling. All you need is one client to be in business.
  • 32:18 However, if you are anticipating getting into this seriously, it might be a good idea to have an initial launch with, say, four products.
  • 32:41 It’s then no longer a question of whether the buyer is going to spend money but instead what the buyer will spend money on.
  • PRE-SALES:
  • 35:51 “What are your thoughts on offering pre-sales?”
  • 36:41 When you pre-sell a product, the long wait people experience to receive the product affects your brand. You just can’t beat next-day shipping. Putting your own money into the production of your product shows confidence in that you are treating this venture as a serious business investment. Your customers notice this and it positively affects their impression of your brand. You can’t beat that experience.
  • 37:19 I prefer to invest. I prefer to wait until I have the ability to invest in a product and then offer it. That’s my own personal approach because that’s how I want people to see my brand. That’s how I want people to come to my store and expect to be treated. Because when you’re pre-selling a product, you are setting a certain precedent. You’re also saying, “I don’t have the up-front capital to invest in my own product and demonstrate that I believe in what I’m offering.” That experience is something your customers associate with your brand.
  • DISCOUNTS:
  • 38:23 “Should you use coupons?”
  • 38:39 If you’re constantly discounting your products, you’re seen as a discounted brand, and that’s fine if you’re going for that—there is validity in the commodity approach—but if you’re wanting to be positioned as a brand of quality, you don’t want to be constantly running discounts. You’re only training your customers to expect that.
  • 40:02 “Is there ever a good reason or right time to offer a discount?”
  • 40:18 Discounts can be used strategically if you implement them in such a way that they are used very specially.
  • 40:37 Don’t plaster discounts everywhere—instead use them to reward loyalty.
  • MANUFACTURERS:
  • 47:35 “What is a good way to go about finding manufacturers?”
  • 49:46 I use Real Thread and Mama’s Sauce.
  • 54:16 Create positive expectations through consistency in use of quality materials.
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