ECOMMERCE: 10 Cool Tips to Improve Your Business
Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of selling physical products online than ever before. Although this has been a business I’ve done at least every month since April 2016, even though I’ve been inconsistent at some point.
This process of selling physical product online is referred mostly as Ecommerce. And usually, most of us do a form of Mini-Importation in order to lay our hands on these goods to sell.
If this whole thing is new to you or you’ve never done it before, I suggest you Click Here To Watch My Home Based Importation Video.
Moving on, a 3 years of business definitely will come with many experiences – some good and some bad. Just like most businesses out there, there is a learning curve to Ecommerce. You need to equip yourself with some knowledge of it and back it up with a lot of actions because the real learning is done during the practical.
In this post, I have summarized some of the knowledge and experiences I’ve gained through learning, experimenting and doing my own ecommerce business for the past 3 years into the following 10 tips. So sit right, read, enjoy and of course act on them.
Disclaimer: You don’t have to agree with all these tips. They are strictly from what I’ve done and experienced in my own business. You might be having it different in yours.
- Start With One Product
This is the obvious, right? But you will be surprised as to how many people don’t follow this idea. They start buying importing bunch of products while starting out before even getting their first order. The result of this most of the time is usually a wardrobe full of useless products. The truth is, you cannot really tell how a product will do until you start selling it.
I’ve at a point made this mistake too and I guess I will have enough gifts for the guests on my wedding day J.
What I usually do these days is to first test out products by advertising it to the prospective market to see the type of response it will get. Then I will proceed to bring it a certain small quantity; usually between 10 and 30 depending on its price, weight and my sixth sense. I make sure to sell at least 50 pcs of such item before scaling big or it and at least 100 before adding another product to the mix.
- One Product is Not Enough
Yes, I think you should start with one product but sticking to one product only is not a good idea either. You really want to go from selling a single product to as many as you can handle. There are many reasons to do this. For one, it will help you build a more solid business and increase your cash flow. Imagine if you have 2 products and you are getting 5 orders for each of them every day. If your profit margin (for each order) on average is just N6,000, that is around N60,000 daily.
Another reason you want to have more than one product is if for a reason you run out of stock on one product, your cash flow will still be in tact through the sales of the second one while you await the new stock on the other one.
And if you are importing the products, it is quite possible that once in a while your consignments will be held for a longer time by the custom (I’ve had a NAFDAC issue in the past too) and of course by those crazily long Chinese Holidays.
- Focus on Working Products Only
Most of the time, I see people sell all sort of unworthy products to people. To be honest this single act is one of the things that is really killing ecommerce in Nigeria because many people have lost their money in such ways.
Personally, before going for a product, I check the reviews on Aliexpress and Amazon to see if the previous buyers are actually getting the promised results from it. If there are many positive comments and few negative comments, I will go for it. If there are more negatives than positives, I simply move on to another one. There are several hundreds to thousands products to choose from, so why sell the bad one?
One big reason to sell good products is because it will not only boost the confidence to sell it but also attract referrals. There is a particular product we sold in 2016 that people still call us to request for today. I’ve mentioned the name a few times but I will skip it today.
- Try Branding and Build a List
One of my colleagues in this business always emphasized on branding and why it alone can blow the results of your business through the roof. Unlike the common ‘hit and run type’ of business that most of us do, branding gives you some leverages. For example, say you instead of creating a page about Samsung S8, create a Facebook Fan Page for all Samsung Phones (just a very rough example of course). You would have at the end of the campaign for that particular product gain some likes to the fan page. Next time you have another Samsung phone to sell, you can even get yourself some orders without advertising.
One other thing about branding is that it starts making you look more professional. When using that single page to promote all sort of (related) products, and they start to show on people’s timeline all from the same Fan Page name, the name starts to register on people’s head and believe me, this has been working for me lately.
I enjoyed selling products in a micro niche, it helps a great deal in helping to turn a single order to 2-3 orders because some customers will always ask “What other products do you have that can help me”. An example mircro niche/ product can be Slimming Belt (weight loss with slimming belt), or Spy Camera (security with spy camera). By the way, products in those 2 niches will sell till Jesus comes.
You should also try to build a list. Email list or Facebook Messenger list; just build something that you can always rely on so that you don’t always have to advertise to sell your products. Because sometimes, you just won’t be able to for some complicated reasons.
- Have Backup AD Accounts
Based on the last sentence, you really need to have extra backup advertising accounts whether on Facebook or anywhere you are currently running your ads. Just anything can go wrong with the ads account, it has happened to me severally on different platforms (Facebook is the worse) and I can tell you that it is not usually funny. It mostly happen when everything is going right and when you least expect.
I have used all the Facebook accounts of every member of my family. But there is a better way these days. I learned that early this year from a friend. You can see how it’s done below:
- Facebook is Not the Only Traffic Source
Facebook is definitely not the only traffic source out there that can deliver results for Ecommerce. There is Instagram (which is still Facebook anyway), Twitter, Google, Youtube, Online Newspapers, Blogs, Pop Ads, etc. You really need to stop limiting yourself to Facebook these days. This is 2019 for fuck sake. Only few of my orders come from Facebook these days in fact.
- Test Everything if Possible
One important thing in our ecommerce is that testing is important. You have to test products, pictures, videos, test ad copies, ad budgets, prices and even ad objectives. For some very unknown reasons, you can always get better results for just adding a very small tweak to something.
In March, I was selling a product for N15,000 and I was getting a few orders but then I changed the price to N18,000 and the orders doubled. And last month (April), I was out of stock and I didn’t want to kill my ads, so I edited my Ad sets to $2 each and, I kept getting almost the amount of order I was getting for some of my $5 Ad sets. Well, since then I’ve been using a duplicate of $2 Ad sets for that particular offer.
- Don’t Depend on Single Ecommerce Logistics Service
I’ve done this sometimes in the past and I’ve got my fingers burnt badly. There are many Payment-on-Delivery (Ecommerce) logistics companies out there that promises heaven and earth while signing up with them and even work greatly for a while and then start to mess up. First they delay your shipments and next they start to hold your payments and returns until they have frustrated you out of business.
The only solution is to engage churn of them in your business. Recently, my good friend and colleague (Adesanya Sunday Abiodun) started a movement whereby IM guys in specific states/locations were engaged to serve as self-delivery agents in those locations. I think so far, this is the best solution to the logistics problems but you still have to be careful in these dealings as well.
- Go Beyond China
China is not the only place to get products to sell. You can definitely source for the products locally in Nigeria. You will be surprised to know that most of the imported goods are currently available in great quantity in some markets in Lagos. And the best part is that you might even find them almost at the same cost you would have bought from China after considering the shipping and all that. So, why waste your time, effort and money. There is a particular product like this in our inventory at the moment and it’s quite relieving.
In order to get these products, someone suggested entering the markets in Lagos but I think that is way too tasking. What I did was to search jiji and contact the sellers to find who has a lot of quantity and best price. But you can actually take to the former suggestion especially if you are in Lagos.
One more point here, why not look into USA for your products? There are many high quality products right over there, even though most of these products are made in China, but they are mire well-made and are of better quality than the ones we are getting in China. These of course solely depend on your niche. If you are looking to import from USA, check out the US Importation Class.
- Keep Record.
Keeping records and accounts of your activities will help you in a long run to know your actual profits among other things. For me, it’s been quite relieving. I have 2 excel documents for record some basic activities; One for accounts (goods purchases and other expenditures and then inflow through sales batch by batch) and the second one to record orders and their statuses.
You can contact me if you want my format.
“Over The Shoulder” Video Course Reveals The Exact System I Am Using To *Make a Truck Load of Money Every Month* – Through A Business Model That Is Putting People All Around The World on The Forbes’ World Richest Men’s List!”
- Jumia and Konga are For the Non-Selling Products
If you have a product or 2 that is/are not selling after every effort, simply throw them on Konga and Jumia (if you are in Lagos). Since you won’t be paying for adverts, it’s not a bad way to get them out of your wardrobe. You can even throw some ridiculously low price on them just to get them off your back. I did this with Jumia in late last year and I think it didn’t really hurt.
NOTE: Don’t expose your current best-selling product on Jumia because you may just find it listed for half your price next week. Guys over there are not smiling.
Thanks for reading; I hope you find one or two of these tips helpful. Use the comment section to tell us the one you enjoyed most and will be implementing. And don’t forget to share this post with your friends using the social media buttons below this post.