Practical Ecommerce

6 ways I make more money from my websites

Since launching the first of my two décor websites in April 2015, and the second in January 2017, I’ve learnt a few tactics that have helped my businesses make more money.  In this post, I’ll describe six of them.

Give customers what they want. The first purchase order I received on My Wedding Décor, within three weeks of launching, was from a Sydney event management company.

After launching the rental category four months later, within one month my first two orders for renting items — and four-figure orders at that —  were from high-end Italian fashion label Max Mara and Melbourne’s esteemed Monash University.

Not brides, who were my target market.

Once I’d received about the 50th phone call that began with, “I know you just do weddings, but…” it finally dawned on me to launch My Event Décor to target the corporate event market. Today, corporate event orders and rentals provide about three-quarters of my total revenue.

Offer expedited service. In the corporate event world, planning is down to the wire. By failing to plan ahead, corporate event managers often don’t have time to search Google and compare costs.

I have had an increasing number of corporate event managers who will pay “whatever it takes” to get what their client wants.

They are prepared to pay much more for priority service, overtime, overnight courier delivery, and so on when the deadline is almost upon them. This can range from expedited custom décor to urgently delivered client thank you gifts.

Charge more for products and lower shipping prices. If you want more sales from lucrative buyers, charge more for your items and as little as possible for shipping.

For example, I have discovered that my customers are more likely to spend $800 on a large, bulky décor item with a $100 delivery fee, than if it was priced at $500 with a $400 delivery fee.

A lower product price attracts customers with a lower budget who balk at the $400 delivery. However, the same product priced at $800 pre-qualifies those who can afford this price — and they don’t consider a $100 shipping fee much.

Offer multiple ways to contact your business. Shoppers expect answers fast. You will win business simply by being extremely swift in response.

Shoppers can contact me by phone, the contact us page, live chat, social media, and a new Shopify app I added six weeks ago called “Ask a Question.”

Ask a Question appears on each product page, with a link to a three-field form (name, email and query space). The Ask a Question section is less “invasive” for a shopper than a phone call. Since adding it, I have closed 22 percent of those queries.

I have closed 28 percent of my contact us page queries, and 36 percent of live chat queries.

Live chat works! My Shopify app Lucky Orange lets me use live chat and see in real time the pages customers are looking at.

For example, a shopper recently started a live chat session asking about rental availability for a silk foliage wall background. Because I already knew what product she was going to ask about, I quickly called the supplier, telling the supplier the venue date details as the shopper typed them during live chat. I then responded in real time to the shopper with the answers she needed. She ordered it then and there.

Sell products originally designed for a different purpose. Listing generic products that consumers can find anywhere usually forces you to sell them cheaply.

But if you look for unusual products, you may find suppliers that intend their items to be used for an entirely different purpose. This allows you to position them as a different product offering, which means few or no competitors will have them in their product mix and your visitors won’t easily be able to price-compare.

For example, I rent a wishing well that was sold as a child’s toy — for wedding guests to insert money and gift cards. It has paid for itself many times over.

Buy from suppliers that have poorly ranked websites. I sell and rent products selected partly because shoppers are unlikely to find them online and cannot price-compare.

Many suppliers do not understand search engine optimization. They may use a meaningless product title tag — such as “product1234” — or they might provide little to no description of the product, which makes it unlikely to appear in Google searches.

Look carefully at potential suppliers’ product titles and descriptions. If they are hard to find in Google, consider adding them to your product mix.

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