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E-Commerce 101

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How to get started in E commerce

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E-Commerce 101

  1. 1. E-COMMERCE 101 The things you always wanted to know about E-commerce but where afraid to ask. Paul Lepa, CEO, RedStores.com
  2. 2. Agenda • Introduction • Things that you will learn • Fundamentals of selling • Real stores – how they work • E-stores – how they emulate real stores • What makes E-stores works • Ecommerce Team • Suitability of ecommerce for your business • Getting Started • Lessons from the field • Questions and Answers
  3. 3. Founders Background • Electrical Engineer with Computer Minor from Canada – Postgraduate work in Digital Filter Theory • Valmet Automation – Started as a Programmer/Analyst in automation arena – Shortly moved into Sales/Marketing Support Role – Support Sales Department at tradeshows, technical solution coordination • Founded Just For Fun Compatibility at age 24 – sold 2000 copies of the software – Direct Mail campaigns to 20,000 schools in US and Canada • Moved to Koch Oil – Project Manager – Executed large pipeline software automation project - $3MM budget – Executed number of pipeline expansion projects - $3-5$MM
  4. 4. Founders Background • Recruited by Valmet Automation to enter the sales team – Became Senior Account executive in charge of large pursuits – Assembled pursuit teams from cross-company – Solution focused selling to Fortune 500 companies (BP, Chevron) – Over 4 years, sold over $40MM of automation projects – Worked with top level Fortune 500 companies – C level • Recruited by ABB to headed up a Global Pipeline Solution Unit – Responsible for solutions for the pipeline automation worldwide – Multi-country team – Relocated to Mannheim, Germany in 2002 – Relocated to Beijing, China in 2003
  5. 5. Founders Background • 2003 – Recognized opportunity for trade out of China to the western countries • 2004 - Resigned from ABB • 2004 – 2006 – PearlsOnly grows from $40K to $3MM USD in sales • 2007 - Begin process to convert PearlsOnly into scalable system – Focus away from Pearls into scalability – Invest in R&D and high level of automation – Invest in high level of Business Processes – Goal of scalability – Invested over $500K in systems and scalability processes • 2009 – RedStores.com transformation completed – Ready to run
  6. 6. Agenda • Introduction • Things that you will learn • Fundamentals of selling • Real stores – how they work • E-stores – how they emulate real stores • What makes E-stores works • Ecommerce Team • Suitability of ecommerce for your business • Getting Started • Lessons from the field • Questions and Answers
  7. 7. Things that you WILL learn • Learn a ‘big’ picture of eCommerce • Make you aware of all the areas of eCommerce • Give you ideas where to look for more specific information – will show you books that had influenced me • Give you some ideas for your own venture • Open up your imagination • Make eCommerce „accessible‟ through knowledge • Inspire 1 or 2 of you, to go and DO IT!
  8. 8. Agenda • Introduction • Things that you will learn • Fundamentals of selling • Real stores – how they work • E-stores – how they emulate real stores • What makes E-stores works • Ecommerce Team • Suitability of ecommerce for your business • Getting Started • Lessons from the field • Questions and Answers
  9. 9. Fundamental Concepts We are born with inherent ability to sell.
  10. 10. Lemonade Stand We are born with inherent ability to sell.
  11. 11. Customers Location Draw the costumer Product to sell Store Design Staff Cash Register Fundamentals of Selling Anything
  12. 12. Commerce: Success is about 2 things • Traffic – Getting enough customers • Conversion Rate – Getting those customers to buy
  13. 13. What is traffic? • Traffic is people visiting your store • Traffic is the simple relatively easy to get
  14. 14. What is Conversion Rate? Numbers of Sale (CR%) = Numbers of Visitors
  15. 15. Key Focus Numbers of Sale (CR%) = Numbers of Visitors This is our focus – getting this person to buy. Everything we do from now on is focused on him and her.
  16. 16. Interesting Fact ???? • Conversion Rate in Retail world is 20% • Conversion Rate in ecommerce is 2% ????
  17. 17. Agenda • Introduction • Things that you will learn • Fundamentals of selling • Real stores – how they work • E-stores – how they emulate real stores • What makes E-stores works • Ecommerce Team • Suitability of ecommerce for your business • Getting Started • Lessons from the field • Questions and Answers
  18. 18. Welcome to the E world We must think different
  19. 19. e Lemonade Stand.com
  20. 20. Customers Location Draw the costumer Product to sell Store Design Staff Cash Register Fundamentals of Selling Anything
  21. 21. Customers Location Draw the costumer Product to sell Store Design Staff Cash Register Fundamentals of Selling Anything
  22. 22. Suitability of Ecommerce When does eCommerce make sense for your business?
  23. 23. Causality • Success in physical space <> success in ecommerce • Success in ecommerce <> success in physical space
  24. 24. Ecommerce and Retail Retail eCommerce Very different types of business
  25. 25. Ecommerce vs Web presence • eCommerce is: – Transacting – taking orders – working with customers • Web Presence – a web site with company info – Office directions – store hours – product catalog • eCommerce <> Web Presence • Some businesses need only Web Presence as extension of their marketing – not ecommerce
  26. 26. Vocabulary of eCommerce
  27. 27. Brick-and-Mortar eCommerce Customers Traffic (page views) Location Server (hosting), cart Draw the costumer Marketing – PPC and SEO Product to sell Photos, Description Store Design Site Design (Skin) Staff Customer Care Cash Register Payment Gateway
  28. 28. Agenda • Introduction • Things that you will learn • Fundamentals of selling • Real stores – how they work • E-stores – how they emulate real stores • What makes E-stores works • Ecommerce Team • Suitability of ecommerce for your business • Getting Started • Lessons from the field • Questions and Answers
  29. 29. We have unlimited traffic • In Retail traffic – we only get traffic within a certain radius and volume the venue draws • In eCommerce we can bring millions of people – there is no limit on people • BUT can we can convert them economically.
  30. 30. Differences • Corporate site is to provide information • eCommerce website is designed to „convert‟ a customer right there and right now – Every element on a page ha a purpose to help with conversion – If an element is on a site – it MUST have a purpose.
  31. 31. Structure of a Site • Core Commerce Structure (only 5 pages) – Home Page – Landing Page – Catalog Page – Product Detail Page – Checkout • Optional Trust Building Pages
  32. 32. Home Page
  33. 33. Landing Page
  34. 34. Catalog Page
  35. 35. Product Page
  36. 36. Checkout
  37. 37. Trust Building Pages • About Us • Education / Information • Customer Care • Policies • References
  38. 38. Elements of Design Difference between ecommerce site and a corporate site
  39. 39. Purpose of Site Elements What is the purpose of this Element? Why tell them how many hours? People want it FAST – we Being VERY specific build want to let them know trust this right away
  40. 40. Purpose of Site Elements What is the purpose of this Element? Why tell them savings? If others have done it, I must People go to internet be ok to do it too. Sheep for savings. Specific # effect. help trust.
  41. 41. Trial and Error • There is no hard and fast RULES for an ecommerce design • Must UNDERSTAND your customer to design a site for THEM • Psychology of consumer key
  42. 42. Moral of Trials • EVERY element has to be analyzed – Testing with A/B trials – Assumptions are good – but must be tested – Gut hunches are often counter intuitive • Ecommerce site HAS to be designed for Conversion. • EVERY little element makes a difference. • EVERY little element makes a difference.
  43. 43. Factors influence CR% • Testimonials from • Phone Number for Customers Customer Care on site • Reviews • Chat function • Site Colors • High Quality Descriptions • Trust Factor • Speed of Site • Free shipping • Ease of use of cart • Site navigation • Price of product • Education Pages • Photo Quality and Quantity
  44. 44. Understanding Buyers Psychology
  45. 45. Meet our Customer
  46. 46. Sourcing – Customer View • Needs Quality Product • Wants to know if the item is in stock • Wants it YESTERDAY, but will settle for TOMMOROW. • Needs to find what she needs – and it should be in stock – NOW!
  47. 47. Logistics – customer view • He wants to know that what he ordered will reach him. • He want to know where it is • When will I get it. • How fast will it ship • What if it gets lost. • I WANT it NOW!
  48. 48. Traffic – customer view • Take me right to what I want to look at. • Guide me, step by step – don‟t make think too much • Show up on Google, so I feel more safe • Let me see your site in at least 7 difference places – I will trust you then
  49. 49. Traffic – customer view • Show up in the place where I am looking • Show up at the time I‟m looking to get something • Remind me what your site name is again – I can only remember last 10 minutes
  50. 50. Customer Care – customer view • To buy things, she wants an answer NOW! with no hassle. Knowledgebase. • If there is a question that is NOT answered on the site – customer experience already reduced – because now we added complexity. • BUT, if there is a CHAT she may ask a question right there or maybe CALL. • She may EMAIL – and be ok to wait for an answer – but now our chances of sale are down by 60%. • Attention span of 15 seconds.
  51. 51. Web Servers – customer view • My attention span is 5 sec – your site better show up FAST or I will go somewhere else. • If your site is down, I will just buy somewhere else. • I don’t want to see anything that would worry me – like a warning message about security, or a broken link.
  52. 52. Payment – customer view • I want to pay by a way that is easy for me. • Don‟t you steel from me • I want to fill out as little as possible on a form. • Is my card going to be safe?
  53. 53. Marketing – customer view • Does the site look nice • Do you make it easy for me to find things • Do you help me make a decision • Am I comfortable at this site • Do I trust it • Are the descriptions inspiring • Can I get help if I need it?
  54. 54. IT Infrastructure – Customer View • She would like to see tons and tons of photos of HER product. • Tell me ALL the little details about the product – so I don‟t have to ask you. • She needs to READ a LOT to help her buy the item. • All this info on the site better be 100% correct – or Customer Care costs go up.
  55. 55. Bridging the Gap – CR% SALE Do you have Site makes Will I get it Will they what I want me FAST? deliver comfortable Can I find it I like the Why should I easily Do I have all pictures buy now? info I need to Is it in stock buy now This site sure Can I pay loads fast easily Price?
  56. 56. IT Infrastructure Sourcing Payment Gateways Logistics Ecommerce is: Website Infrastructure Traffic Marketing Customer Care
  57. 57. IT Infrastructure Sourcing Sourcing Payment Gateways Logistics Ecommerce is: Website Infrastructure Traffic Marketing Customer Care
  58. 58. Sourcing for eCommerce • Has to be repeatable and consistent - because of photos • Has to be managed – ideally in real time avoid out of stock situation – otherwise high Customer Care Costs • Available for FAST shipment • Need to have minimum quantities – otherwise to expensive to photograph
  59. 59. IT Infrastructure Sourcing Payment Gateways Logistics Logistics Ecommerce is: Website Infrastructure Traffic Marketing Customer Care
  60. 60. Logistics • Label Printing • Tracking numbers – needs to integrate with website • Backorder Management • Invoice generation • Shipping Documents • Personalization – certificates, letters, VIP • Communicate back to the customer
  61. 61. IT Infrastructure Sourcing Payment Gateways Logistics Ecommerce is: Website Infrastructure Traffic Traffic Marketing Customer Care
  62. 62. Traffic Sources • Google • Yahoo • SEO • Blogs • Social Media • Repeat Business
  63. 63. Traffic • Use Google and Yahoo and others – create landing pages to take customers right where they want to buy – its cheaper to advertise • Show up consistently, build trust through predictability • Natural Search Engine results give credibility • BUT PPC and SEO buyers are different segmented • SEO success does not mean PPC can be stopped
  64. 64. Return Traffic • First time to acquire customer can be from $20 to $100. • 2nd time – its $2-$3. • Methods to keep them coming back: – Loyalty programs – Newsletters – Social Marketing – Product rotation
  65. 65. IT Infrastructure Sourcing Payment Gateways Logistics Ecommerce is: Website Infrastructure Traffic Marketing Customer Care Customer Care
  66. 66. Customer Care • Requires strong set of Policies and Procedures • Phone support good for high ticket (VIP) customers – otherwise expensive • Email is very good – requires a strong Customer Care Ticket Management System • Knowledge Base – focus to reduce Customer Care costs by constant improvement on site and FAQ • Return Handling – easy, traceable and care free
  67. 67. Customer Care • Online Chat is good – requires higher Customer Care People • Outsourcing to India – yes – but need to be a big size – and have VERY strong SOP‟s
  68. 68. Example of Support Suite
  69. 69. IT Infrastructure Sourcing Payment Gateways Logistics Ecommerce is: Website Infrastructure Traffic Marketing Marketing Customer Care
  70. 70. Marketing • OnSite Marketing - images • Traffic – getting people to visit • Pricing – compelling prices • Product Selection – sufficient not to loose traffic • Return per customer (loyalty) • Analytics - looking at the numbers to understand behavior
  71. 71. Marketing • Everything to do with user experience • Colors, photos, descriptions, spe cs, ease of use, etc. • Loyalty programs and CR% focus
  72. 72. Reporting Tools • Poor performing product identification • Total Sales • Sales by Category • ROAS (Return on Advertising Spent) • Cost per order • Profit Per Order • Historical performance – with tuning
  73. 73. Analytics • Core purpose: to allow you to ‘see’ your site. • No true equivalent in “real world‟ • Your eyes and ears on a site • Primary tool for „tuning‟ a website • Person ‘tuning’ a site begins the site ‘through’ numbers
  74. 74. IT Infrastructure Sourcing Payment Gateways Logistics Ecommerce is: Website Infrastructure Website Infrastructure Traffic Marketing Customer Care
  75. 75. Web Site (Cart) • Server – owned, hosted or cloud – Backup of server – Redundancy – Security Patches – Performance very important • Shopping Cart Software – 1000’s to choose from – Choosing one depends on features, cost, ease of maintenance
  76. 76. Payment • Need to be able to accept payment – Paypal – Google Checkout – Amazon Checkout – Many others • Require integration with Cart • Each payment method means higher Customer Care costs
  77. 77. Payment • Chargebacks – fraudulent charges • Fraud Detection – you are responsible • Banking to accept payment – especially challenging in China
  78. 78. IT Infrastructure IT Infrastructure Sourcing Payment Gateways Logistics Ecommerce is: Website Infrastructure Traffic Marketing Customer Care
  79. 79. In-house IT Infrastructure • Product Management • Order Fulfillment • Inventory Management • Reporting
  80. 80. Product Management • Product Management – Pricing tools – Image Management – Integration with Web Servers – Description management – Specification Management
  81. 81. Product Management System
  82. 82. Sourcing IT Infrastructure Logisticst Payment Gateways Website Infrastructure Traffic Customer Care Customer Care Marketing
  83. 83. Agenda • Introduction • Things that you will learn • Fundamentals of selling • Real stores – how they work • E-stores – how they emulate real stores • What makes E-stores works • Ecommerce Team • Suitability of ecommerce for your business • Getting Started • Lessons from the field • Questions and Answers
  84. 84. A Look at eCommerce Team
  85. 85. Ecommerce Team
  86. 86. Ecommerce Team • In startup stages its possible to find a person that can handle multiple functions • However in general, most people tend to be SPECIALIST • Some positions only require 10-20% of a person – hence the challenge of large overheads and under utilization of resources.
  87. 87. Agenda • Introduction • Things that you will learn • Fundamentals of selling • Real stores – how they work • E-stores – how they emulate real stores • What makes E-stores works • Ecommerce Team • Suitability of ecommerce for your business • Getting Started • Lessons from the field • Questions and Answers
  88. 88. Suitability of Ecommerce for YOU Do YOU have the rights skills If not, can you hire the right skills:
  89. 89. Online business ideas • Retail Goods –if you are saturating local physical market, or not able to expand physical territory. • Services – booking a driver, cleaning, translation, etc. – can replace office with online office. • Restaurants – enable delivery and market reach since restaurant ‘radius’ is small. Requires AMAZING execution – 100% reliability. • Consulting – moving services traditionally delivered in real space into virtual space.
  90. 90. Skills Sets Physical Space eCommerce Sourcing YES YES Store Design Designer Graphic Designer Store Construction Building Contractor A whole team Product Visual cues – Depend on analytics Merchandising use your eyes and numbers Inventory Out of Stock Not there – cannot sell it Need to have good inventory management system Photography Not required MUST – and must be good Descriptions Not required MUST – and must be good Specifications Not required MUST – and must be good
  91. 91. Skills Sets Physical Space eCommerce Staff Yes – need training Yes – need training – must be computer able Store Security Yes – physical Yes – virtual – hackers Payment Yes – if cash low risk, credit Yes – higher risk card also lower risk Advertising Just being there If you don’t promote gets traffic. no chance for anyone to show up
  92. 92. Agenda • Introduction • Things that you will learn • Fundamentals of selling • Real stores – how they work • E-stores – how they emulate real stores • What makes E-stores works • Ecommerce Team • Suitability of ecommerce for your business • Getting Started • Lessons from the field • Questions and Answers
  93. 93. Getting Started Boot Strapping Scenario
  94. 94. Options to get started • Entry Level – Amazon Market Place, Ebay, PayPal, Amazon Shops, other low cost carts. No identity • Mid-level – better carts – more features. Identity hard to establish • High level – Miva, open source carts, etc. • Expert-level – grown your own (Amazon level)
  95. 95. One Time Costs Entry Level Mid-Level High-level Cart Software $0 $500 $200 Help Desk Software $0 – email $0 - email $400 Order Tracking and Fulfillment $0 – part of offering $0 – spreadsheet, list, etc. $5000 Site Design $0 – minimal branding $1000 $20,000 Product Management Software $0 – web based $0 – web based $5000 Customer Care Policies $0 – wing it on a case by case $0 – wing it on a case by case $5000 Photography $0 – do it with your own camera $5/photo – $2500K $7500 Descriptions $0 – get creative $5/photo – $2500K $7500 Product Specifications $0 – bring out the ruler and scale $0 – do it yourself $5000 Traffic – setup Google, Yahoo Learn the basic in two weeks Outsource to India - $500 $5000 Stock Product dependent - but need Product Product samples Dependent – but need samples Dependent – but need samples Project Management $0 -Its only you $0 – Its still only you $80K Development Engineers $0 – no need $2000 – likely need some help $100K Total $0 $8500 $325K Expected Results Don‟t count on too much – price $100K to $200K/year in sales $1MM-$3MM/year based marketing - $50K/year possible possible What you can handle 5 – 10 orders a day 10-20 orders 400 order/day
  96. 96. Operating Costs Entry Level Mid-Level High-level WebMaster $0 – no need $500 $5000 Customer Care Staff $0 – its you $1000 $3000 Fulfillment Staff $0 – its you $1000 $4000 Site Changes (Designer) $0 – not really $500 $1000 possible Product Changes (DB Manager) $0 – its you $0 – its you $1000 Reporting and Analysis $0 – its you $0 – its you $1000 Photography $0 – do it with your $5/photo – $200 $500 own camera Operations Manager $0 – its you $0 – its you $3000 Marketing Spend Learn the basic in two Outsource – 15% of spend $4500 weeks - $500 COG Product dependent Product dependent Product dependent Shipping Product dependent Product dependent Product dependent Payment Processing 3% = $100 $3% – $500 $1500 Total $100 $4200 $25,000 Expected Results 80-100 hour week $100K to $200K/year in $1MM-$3MM/year sales possible possible What you can handle 5 – 10 orders a day 10-20 orders 400 order/day
  97. 97. Low COST site =JOB • The $100-$500K in sales is a good job. • You have to work at the site every day and do all the work BUT • You can probably manage 50% Gross Margin ie. $50K to $250K. • Low investment – 1 or 2 staff. • Not really a 4-hour week – still have to work JOB. • Need some skills BUT not necessary to be expert
  98. 98. One Page Long Copy • I’m a secret fan of one page long copy sites. • One product • One Person • Outsourced everything • $5K to get started • Could generate $500K to $1MM in sales • Example: www.easywebvideo.com
  99. 99. Easy Web Video Example
  100. 100. Mid-tier Sites Challenges • Cannot do it yourself anymore • HR / people / management/ reporting / etc. – all the business stuff comes into play • Now you are not only a site operator but also need to be a manager. • High failure rate – 9 out of 10 fail. • Choose to grow! – don’t let growth happen on its own • Know the risks – understand your own skills
  101. 101. Agenda • Introduction • Things that you will learn • Fundamentals of selling • Real stores – how they work • E-stores – how they emulate real stores • What makes E-stores works • Ecommerce Team • Suitability of ecommerce for your business • Getting Started • Lessons from the field • Questions and Answers
  102. 102. Lesson from the field • Its about two things – traffic and CR • Ecommerce is 100% different than retail • The work is never done – ie. This is not a one time project.
  103. 103. Version 1.0 Bootstrapping PearlsOnly
  104. 104. Version 2.0 Bootstrapping PearlsOnly
  105. 105. Version 3.0 Bootstrapping PearlsOnly
  106. 106. Version 4.0 Bootstrapping PearlsOnly
  107. 107. Version 5.0 Bootstrapping PearlsOnly
  108. 108. Version 6.0 Bootstrapping PearlsOnly
  109. 109. Version 7.0 Bootstrapping PearlsOnly
  110. 110. Lesson from the field • Ecommerce is efficient at small scale - $500K-$1M in sales – but it’s a job. • The $1-$5M in sales – is awkward time – teenage years – infrastructure costs are high – volume not so high. • $5M+ - infrastructure costs become small compared to volume. • Staying small in ecommerce space is not a bad thing – its profitable
  111. 111. Retail References
  112. 112. Sourcing References
  113. 113. Sourcing References
  114. 114. Marketing References #1
  115. 115. Marketing References #2
  116. 116. Marketing References #3
  117. 117. References Web Usability
  118. 118. References for Analytics
  119. 119. Traffic References
  120. 120. Costumer Care References
  121. 121. Agenda • Introduction • Things that you will learn • Fundamentals of selling • Real stores – how they work • E-stores – how they emulate real stores • What makes E-stores works • Ecommerce Team • Suitability of ecommerce for your business • Getting Started • Lessons from the field • Questions and Answers
  122. 122. Agenda • Introduction • Things that you will learn • Fundamentals of selling • Real stores – how they work • E-stores – how they emulate real stores • What makes E-stores works • Ecommerce Team • Suitability of ecommerce for your business • Getting Started • Lessons from the field • Questions and Answers
  123. 123. Questions And Answers! (hopefully)
  124. 124. Presentation Available at paullepa.com
  125. 125. Thank you!
  126. 126. Backup Testing True Costs
  127. 127. Testing
  128. 128. Example • Baby’s supposed to increase conversion rate on a site • Picture of owner supposed to be 2nd best • 3rd best is a picture of a smiling person • Tried the PICTURE of OWNER strategy
  129. 129. Happy Girl works
  130. 130. Example of trial and Error • We tried the owner ‘angle’ – of featuring me on the site
  131. 131. Trial one
  132. 132. Conversion Rate dipped by a LOT Suspected Reasons: - No smile - Angle head on to aggressive - Too sexy for women – got distracted Trial one Learning
  133. 133. Trial two
  134. 134. Conversion Rate dipped by even LOWER Suspected Reasons: - Angle of face “pushing” people away from the page - The Pearls not flowing down - Pearl Strand too long Trial two Learning
  135. 135. Trial three
  136. 136. Conversion HITS BOTTOM Suspected Reasons: - Smile looks little angry - Angle to direct - Not playful enough Trial three Learning
  137. 137. Most successful variant

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