Seasonal business trends
Ezra: Oh God! I love me some seasonal business, man. You know every business has its own seasonal aspect to it and I think one of the best examples of a seasonal business is gift baskets right? Because you get to take advantage of every single season right? You’ve got Valentine’s Day gift baskets and Thanksgiving day gift baskets and Halloween gift baskets and Christmas day gift baskets. I really like seasonal businesses and one of the cool things about seasonal businesses, I know people who are in eCommerce seasonal markets, one of the markets I played in are seasonal and what happens is most of your sales come in a 1 to 2 to 3 month period.
For example I got a client right now that sells wooden toys, these wooden, Waldorf education type natural toys and 50% of her revenue comes over the course of December and the same thing for me, 50% of my revenue in the Halloween business came in October. But even in the seasonal business you always end up doing about half your revenue in the off months but something about this crazy rush, this rabid frenzy that people are in when it’s associated with a season they’re just willing to buy those Halloween products for their kids.
They’re going to buy that gift basket for their friends. It just creates a level of enthusiasm for your products, the seasonality around it and it’s really important to make sure that you know what your product’s high season is and promote it in that season and I really love the soul-y seasonal eCommerce markets.
James: Okay now what’s the favourite tool that you have that shows you the seasonality of different products?
Ezra: Google trends, baby. Google insights. It’s really simple and you just throw your keyword in there, you have a look at when it’s the highest search volume. That’s the one that I use to look for what the seasons are for my markets and it’s pretty right on.
What is SKU?
James: And how many SKU should you have and what is an SKU?
Ezra: An SKU is an individual item. How many items should you sell? Well you should absolutely have more than 70 items, if you possibly can. Now that sounds weird because here I am with a product in the skin care line that only has 5 items but that’s not a drop-ship store. That’s a store that’s built around a brand that where we’re warehousing that stuff is a different business model.
When you’re drop-shipping you want as many fish nets out there that you can possibly get and I know folks with 70 item stores that are doing $1Million, $2Million or so. 70 is kind of the minimum that you want to give you enough diversity to have enough products to advertise on and have enough products to rank in Google and give you just enough of a diverse range of products for the consumer of that market.
James: And how much should things weigh? You mentioned something about going for lighter products.
Ezra: I particularly love the lighter products because it allows you to offer free shipping without much trouble. I think over 10 lbs you’re running into that shipping problem where shipping gets really expensive and you got to deal with it. It’s harder to offer free shipping in those markets and so I like to, if possible, to sell items that are quite light because it allows me to offer free shipping and not have to pay a lot for the shipping when I’m doing that. Free shipping is a big one.
A lot of people won’t buy if you don’t have free shipping so sometimes what I recommend people to do and test on their stores is raise their prices by $5 or $10 and add free shipping and see if that doesn’t equal out to more profit in the end and about 60% of the time or 70% of the time it does.
James: Nice. Okay now tell me about on-site conversion stuff. Things like spokesmen or live chat, are you using any of that stuff?
On-site conversion stuff
Ezra: Oh we could go on, I mean onsite conversion is…
James: I’m just extracting your brain bit by bit. Are you impressed with my note taking?
Ezra: I’m really impressed, it’s good. It’s awesome. It’s my presentation here, and I appreciate it, man. Let’s talk about something for all you pages real quick. Your header is huge for your conversion. You want your search bar really big and prominent in your header. If you look at Amazon if you look at Zappos you’ll see that they got really giant search bars and I actually noticed this before I noticed that they had that. We had a store that had 2% of the people that were visiting that store we’re searching and 10% of our revenue was coming from those 2%.
So I took that search bar and I put it really big right across the top of the site and that bumped us up to 5% of the people who were searching and it turned out to be 23% of our revenue was coming from those people who were searching. It’s the good old fashion Bob Chalbini commitment and consistency principle. If you can get people to search, they’re more likely to buy. And what we’re testing now is having a fixed search bar that will scroll with you as you’re on the page.
We really want to get people to search so put that search bar nice and big on top of your page. It’ll give you a nice little boost. You want to have guarantee, a contact, a security symbol, an offer of some kind, a discount or free shipping, your “More information” buttons, your floating cart, your live chat, and an opt-in all in your header. Go inside Zappos, they do one of the best examples of an eCommerce store header out there and you’ll notice that each individual thing in their header is in its own little box, in its own little spot on the header.
It’s called the foveal view and it’s because your eye can only focus on one step at a time and if you got a really crowded header it’s not good. You want to have space in between things in your header. Also for all pages you want randomly displayed testimonials, if you can possibly have them. You want your best sellers and you absolutely need to have live chat.
There are two companies out there, one that I like and it’s the easiest one to implement is Olark.com. Olark is fantastic, they go right to your iPhone they go right to your G-chat they integrate with everything and you can set up a little away message but you can do these things where it pops up after a certain amount of page views, a certain amount of time on the site it pops up a chat invitation. It gives you a nice little 8% boost on average in your conversion rate by having live chat.
You want incentivised time constraints. There’s a company called ExclusiveConcepts, that’s a fantastic conversion optimization company for eCommerce. They have a little piece of software called the TimeToBuy and what that does is you can set it after 30 seconds or after 3 page views or whatever, it pops-up this little thing that says – Hey! Check-out within 10 minutes and get this percentage off – and it’s crazy how many people are incentivised to buy by that time constraint right then and there so it’s a really good thing to have on your site across all pages. Have you got the option to go to home page and section pages and all that stuff?
James: Well no I was going to ask you about FAQ videos and like if you could only develop a few feature pages on your eCommerce or where’s the quick fruit?
What’s the quick fruit on ecommerce?
Ezra: The quick fruit on your eCommerce store is most definitely your Frequently Asked Questions page, your Contact Us page, and your Why Buy From Us page and your Shipping Information page and here’s why – because everyone who comes to your store looks at those pages.
They look at your About Us, they look at your Contact Us, they look at the Why Buy From Us which is what you should have, and if you can create videos that explain all these different stuff – Hey here’s who we are and how you can contact us – just by making your Contact Us page and your About Us pages and your Shipping Information pages richer, you get such a boost in conversion because you’re developing a relationship with the customers who come to your store. They’re looking you in the eye.
And the other thing is you take those videos and you put them in tabs right on your product page. So right in your product page there’s a little tab that answers the question of, what are your shipping policies? Which everyone wants to know, what are you return policies? Which everyone wants to know. What are the frequently asked questions about this product line? Which everyone wants to know. They watch those videos.
It cuts your customer support in half and boosts your conversion rate because those videos are useful in other places on your site as well. The richer your site is, the better you’re going to do. The more engaging you are with the people who are coming, the more value you are adding to them. The more you’re putting your face in front of them, the better your site is going to convert.
James: Did you mention the favicon?
Ezra: Yeah, we should have one of those. I mean look you’re not going have a huge boost with favicon but it’s just nice for branding.
James: And what about chunking?
Ezra: Alright chunking. You absolutely need to chunk on your product descriptions. I think bullets are the key to good product descriptions. You have three little bullets. Now, you want features and benefits. Most people make the mistake of just putting features – our product has a 32” zoom lens, all this stuff – who cares? What they want to know is what it’s going to do for them.
Yes you need the features but above the features put the benefits – Man this camera’s going to make you look like a stud or whatever, these tires makes it so you don’t crash, whatever the benefit to the end user is, you make those benefits more prominent on the product description, on the product page you will have a boost in conversions over having features being prominent.
And what James means by chunking is don’t have these giant lists of content on your section pages. You don’t want content on your section page or on your product page, have little individual bite-sized consumable pieces of content for people to look at so they can really get an idea in one glance of what’s going on, on that page.
James: Nice. Alright Ezra, you’ve been so generous with us on this eCommerce stuff. I hope we’ve given a whole heap of ideas. Firstly, where can people find out more about Ezra and eCommerce?
Find out more about ecommerce
Ezra: Well you can visit my website SmartMarketer.com and I will be putting out videos. I’m getting so much positive feedback on this eCommerce stuff. On my blog I will be putting out eCommerce videos. I’m actually opening up an eCommerce services division where I’ll be building out platforms and store for people managing advertising campaigns, all that kind of stuff so if you’re interested in analytics integration or anything like that you could e-mail meor have a look on my website SmartMarketer. It should be up in the next week or two.
James: You’re going to come out to FastWebformula 4 live and talk to us about stuff there?
Learn more at FastWebFormula live event
Ezra: Yes, I’m going to come to FastWebFormula4 live in Sydney June 13th and 14th. I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone there and I will have a whole presentation. I’ll go in depth on all this eCommerce stuff, I’ll show you screen shots. I’ll show you behind the scenes of my business. I will create tutorial videos on how to implement the analytics and goal setting, and all the different stuff I talk about that people want to know. All for you guys on the live event and I really appreciate you taking the time to listen to me talk about all this stuff, and I hope it’s been useful and helpful.
James: I think it’s fascinating. I’ve asked you questions based off my own notes from watching you speak last time. I’ve condensed it down into the things that resonated with me. You did quite a few interviews about eCommerce lately. What question should people have been asking you that they didn’t think to ask?
Ezra: One of the things that people aren’t really concerned with is – what’s the best traffic channel for an eCommerce store? What is your absolute best source of traffic? And I think that’s a really important thing with eCommerce businesses and with any business. It’s like the, if the “you build it and they will come” strategy does not work you’ve got to have a plan for how you’re going to get visibility for your products right? Conversion is the easy part.
Creating visibility is much harder than taking people who are interested in your stuff and getting them to buy that stuff from you so creating visibility is the most important part of any business in my opinion. Now of course you’ve got conversion and then repeat sales but I think that by far and away the absolute best source of traffic for an eCommerce store – still to this day – is Google AdWords and specifically Google merchant centre and the product listings.
Product listing ads cost 40% less than any other type of advertising on Google AdWords search network. And the cool thing is if you use my strategy of matching every one of your 70 items in your store to a long tail keyword and optimising that page for a long tail keyword. For example you have a gift basket that you’re selling that has a smoked salmon in it and the manufacturer might not call it a smoke salmon gift basket but you can call it a smoked salmon gift basket because the gift basket has smoked salmon in it. And no one else is going to have a smoked salmon gift basket.
So when people search “smoked salmon gift basket”, you’re going to show up in those product listings, you’re going to show up in your standard result, you’re going to show up in the AdWords results that run ads there but most importantly in the product listings you can take advantage of these product listings and get clicks for like 3 and 5 cents because no one else has a product that’s relevant to that particular query because no one else is matching their products in these long tail keywords.
James: Nice. Alright Ezra that is awesome. Thank you so much and I’m just thinking about all of those things you’ve said. Anyone who is interested in eCommerce has probably got a few little bits and pieces to go away and play with. I hope we get you back on the show. We’ll be able to answer to questions below this post on SuperFastBusiness.com.
Ezra: Absolutely, post on SuperFast underneath this with any eCommerce questions, I’m happy to answer them, e-mail me. I’m really happy to talk about this stuff so anything that you’d like to know about eCommerce or anything I can help you with please feel free to ask me and have a look out for my course that’s coming out in a month or two here all about this kind of stuff.
James: What’s the course going to be called?
Ezra: It’s going to be called BrownBoxFormula and I’ll post about it on my blog and I’ll probably convince you to post about it on SuperFast underneath this or I’ll post here under this post.
James: Alright, thanks Ezra it’s great to catch up again.
Ezra: Thanks man, I really appreciate it. Talk to you soon.
James: Wasn’t Ezra cool? Alright, now if you like the sound of Ezra and you think you want to find out more about him you should go and check out our other podcast.
Ezra and I do a different podcast called ThinkActGet.com where we talk about mind set and all sorts of other weird stuff including how many vegetarian meals you can cram into one sitting, and why you should never fart at dinner. So there you go. (Both men laughing) We’ll catch up with you soon. See you buddy.
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