Ecommerce / Dropshipping Business Now What

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Hey everyone! So I've my dropshipping ecommerce site set up
Posh Mommy, Kera Beads, XOE, Wedding Bands, Necklaces and Bracelets - My Hidden Jewelry Box! Yippee! Now what?!?!?! Hahaha. It's not like I expected sales to start rolling in, but I thought I might get more people by now.

I've got a little ebay store, facebook page, twitter, weebly site, free wordpress site, some wikis, a squidoo, aweber popup and a little PPC campaign getting 2.38% CTR but no conversions. What can I do now? Help!
#business #dropshipping #ecommerce
  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    Once you're to this point you should focus on 2 things:

    1. Getting traffic (from any means possible)
    2. Converting visitors into customers

    Getting traffic - Usually we do this mainly through organic rankings in Google. You can also get a fair amount of traffic through free comparison shopping portals like Google Products, TheFind & FrogIt.com. Getting ranked organically sounds a lot easier than it is.

    Since the Google Panda Update there's a huge emphasis on your website's design, layout & content. It's believed that the "user experience" is more important now than ever. If your customers enjoy your website, Google will reward you for that.

    Converting visitors - Once you get traffic to your website you need to convert them into buyers. The most important factors are:

    a) How 'targeted' your keyword phrases are that are bringing the traffic. A phrase like "insulated dog houses' is going to convert better than 'dog houses' because it's more targeted.

    b) How well the landing page matches that keyword phrase. You're going to convert a lot better if the keyword phrase that brought the visitor matches the content of the page they land on.

    c) How "trustworthy" your website feels to the visitor. This comes down to the layout of your site, trust graphics, a toll-free number, accepting credit cards, etc.

    Hope this helps!!
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    • Profile picture of the author gai001
      Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

      Once you're to this point you should focus on 2 things:

      1. Getting traffic (from any means possible)
      2. Converting visitors into customers

      Getting traffic - Usually we do this mainly through organic rankings in Google. You can also get a fair amount of traffic through free comparison shopping portals like Google Products, TheFind & FrogIt.com. Getting ranked organically sounds a lot easier than it is.

      Since the Google Panda Update there's a huge emphasis on your website's design, layout & content. It's believed that the "user experience" is more important now than ever. If your customers enjoy your website, Google will reward you for that.

      Converting visitors - Once you get traffic to your website you need to convert them into buyers. The most important factors are:

      a) How 'targeted' your keyword phrases are that are bringing the traffic. A phrase like "insulated dog houses' is going to convert better than 'dog houses' because it's more targeted.

      b) How well the landing page matches that keyword phrase. You're going to convert a lot better if the keyword phrase that brought the visitor matches the content of the page they land on.

      c) How "trustworthy" your website feels to the visitor. This comes down to the layout of your site, trust graphics, a toll-free number, accepting credit cards, etc.

      Hope this helps!!

      Focus on getting free traffic. With free traffic, your conversion rate can be absolutely horrible but you still profit because your traffic is free. Once you are getting some decent traffic begin doing some simple A/B split testing to improve conversions.

      I would suggest to find and become a member of a large facebook group. Become on a active member of that group and occasionally place a link to your site. Make sure you choose a group which contains your target audience. You can easily find groups of 100,000+ members and by placing a link on the page you are advertising to all of them for free.
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      • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
        Wow, awesome tip regarding the FB groups!!
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      • Originally Posted by gai001 View Post

        Focus on getting free traffic. With free traffic, your conversion rate can be absolutely horrible but you still profit because your traffic is free. Once you are getting some decent traffic begin doing some simple A/B split testing to improve conversions.
        Mmm but you need a LOT of traffic to do meaningful A/B split testing. The mistake most people make is too small a sample size.

        The OP is in jewelry. Easy to get into, difficult to rank for. Once she figures out which direction she wants to go, it'll get easier, but it never stops being a struggle.

        fLufF
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        • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
          Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post

          Mmm but you need a LOT of traffic to do meaningful A/B split testing. The mistake most people make is too small a sample size.
          Very good point that Fluff makes here. You really have to run version A & version B on a split test past at least 200-300 unique visitors before you can trust the results at all.
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      • Profile picture of the author carmen1409
        Thanks everyone for your comments. Believe me when I say I take everything you say and try and apply it. So this leads me to a new question: What makes a PPC campaign successful? I've got a test campaign going on and have had about 30 visitors and spent about $30 over the last 3 days but no conversions. Should I stop this campaign and try a new one until I find one where people actually buy? I mean that seems like common sense to me!
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      • Profile picture of the author carmen1409
        @fLufF Who do you use for your 800 #?
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        • Originally Posted by carmen1409 View Post

          @fLufF Who do you use for your 800 #?
          I was afraid you'd ask me that. I've long since forgotten; they hit my debit card once a month. Accessline something or another, I think. Anyway, there are lots of cheap 800 numbers available.

          fLufF
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          • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
            I'm a big fan of RingCentral myself. You can try them free for 1 month here.

            But like FLuff says, there are lots of 800 # solutions out there!
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      • Profile picture of the author carmen1409
        @gai001 This has actually been my goal today to find some large groups on FB. I just don't want to be a troll in these groups. I'm thinking of going after the mommy blogger groups
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  • Originally Posted by carmen1409 View Post

    Hey everyone! So I've my dropshipping ecommerce site set up
    Posh Mommy, Kera Beads, XOE, Wedding Bands, Necklaces and Bracelets - My Hidden Jewelry Box! Yippee! Now what?!?!?! Hahaha. It's not like I expected sales to start rolling in, but I thought I might get more people by now.

    I've got a little ebay store, facebook page, twitter, weebly site, free wordpress site, some wikis, a squidoo, aweber popup and a little PPC campaign getting 2.38% CTR but no conversions. What can I do now? Help!
    Strike #1: Your site takes way too long to load. It's been 30 seconds now and it STILL hasn't loaded into my browser.

    Strike #2: The lightbox popover. You don't even have a brand yet. And the offer is lame (10% off your NEXT purchase??).

    Strike #3: You don't even seem to know what your keywords are and yet you're buying PPC. The text on your home page just repeats your title and adds a few meaningless words.

    Strike #4: What's your unique selling proposition? What sets you apart from every other jewelry-merchant-wannabe who's dropshipping? Low prices? Quick delivery? FREE shipping?

    Strike #5: No phone number or physical address on site. That's going to turn off a majority of people. You have major trust issues to overcome.

    There are a lot more problems with the site -- not surprising since you just got started -- but you need to fix these five items FAST before you waste more money on PPC.

    Jewelry merchant for more than a decade (and I ship my stuff: JCEarrings.com, check it out).

    fLufF
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  • Profile picture of the author clarktr2
    You've got work to do (the other two commenters are smart peeps - listen to them!) Make those changes and get yourself a few thousand targeted visitors via PPC and organic. Before long you'll get your first sale. And then your next. E-Commerce/Dropshipping is a marathon, not a sprint.
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  • Profile picture of the author carmen1409
    Awesome everyone! Thanks for your advice!

    @fluff - I'm not sure why the site is taking so long to load. It's hosted through Volusion. I'll check into it.

    The popover. You're right. It's a desperate attempt at something but I'm not sure what. I was going for being able to target my potential customers a little more and in the future be able to provide info more catered to their interests through newsletters. Too early? Everyone I've read about says they wish they had started getting more opt-ins sooner.

    My USP. Yes, I'd like to hone in on that too. Free shipping, I don't want to do that. I do want low prices to be a selling point. My husband said that to me today too. After looking at my site he asked if I was selling diamond engagement rings or mommy jewelry. If my own husband is confused, then I need to rethink this!

    For the address, contact info. That's not a problem. I'll add that now.

    I'm finding a lot of limitations in building the site that I wasn't expecting. I've built a lot of sites in WordPress getting good content up was so much easier and then be able to do a little bit better on SEO. There are so many ways I could get articles and info up on as posts, but with this site, I am a little lost on how to customize it. I don't want my site to be a sterile, jewelry dropshipper. I want it to be personal but elegant at the same time. And therein lies a problem.

    Thanks for giving me a lot to think about and work on!
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    • Yup, USP is way important.

      Since the jewelry is somewhat generic, maybe you can pitch it in terms of what you bring to the table. Are you really good at customer service? Will you spend 10-15 minutes on the phone with a customer to answer all her questions patiently (or are willing to install live chat)?

      Or maybe you have physical access to some nice but really inexpensive pieces suitable for promotions. I run occasional free-with-purchase campaigns. In your case you'd have to ship the freebie separately but jewelry is typically under an ounce.

      Or perhaps you'll commit to sending your customer an automated reminder a few weeks before their major gifting occasions. Great for guys who want to stay out of the doghouse.

      I didn't stop on your site to count the SKUs but you could perhaps carry a subset of your dropshipper's offerings that are pertinent to your USP, thus avoiding the diamond ring/mommy jewelry conundrum.

      Oh, and get an 800 number. They're really cheap these days; I think I pay $7.50 a month for mine.

      fLufF
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  • Profile picture of the author phanio
    All great advice about your site and generally what you have to do to drive traffic. But getting traffic to your site is all about marketing and marketing is all about your customers. Do you know who your customers are? Where they get their information? Are they on social media sites? How often do they buy and how much do they spend?
    You have to define your targeted market and really understand who they are. Then, you can target the right message to them in the right location to get them to your site. Without knowing who and what your customers are - you are just shooting in the dark. And, if you shots are wide - you are just wasting time and money.
    Love the strikes about your site - very helpful advice there.
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    • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
      Great advice Phanio!

      I always tell people that I'm mentoring that each ecommerce store must evolve to become successful. You almost never "guess right" when you initially set it up. You have to test EVERYTHING.. Test offers & promos. Test different homepage layouts. Test different price points. Test different color schemes. Eventually you will find what works for THAT specific audience of shoppers.
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  • Profile picture of the author sleblanc
    I'm very new to internet marketing, however I have a few ideas that might help out with achieving more traffic/sales and the general cosmetics of the site. As mentioned above to advertise your site for traffic you have to be marketing towards targeted (potential) customers. Ideas could include writing more descriptive details about each item that you have listed, using specific keywords to draw attention from Google and to get you ranked higher in Google's search engine for those keywords. Do a search of the forums for keyword research/analysis, search engine optimization and organic search results to find free tips from other IM'ers about how to gain traffic.

    As also mentioned, Google ranks sites based on appeal, usability/user-friendliness, etc. so here are a couple tips that might help with the layout of the site. The header could use work. I would suggest a larger, more visible text. Think of a resume - you want your name big at the top to stand out to anybody who might be passing over your resume and work experience right? So do the same with your website, you have less than a second or two to really capture somebody's attention who might not otherwise be that interested in staying on your site. Make your title and header stand-out.

    Also, I would (and this is just a personal opinion) consider spacing out the text on the right hand column better. Perhaps move your social media buttons onto the same line (and a bit smaller / better colours) and space out the rest of that text / contact info, etc. and also you could think about removing a bit of the white space at the bottom of the site.

    Lastly, your navigation needs to be WAY more visible? Does the main page have the only products listed that you sell? As a potential customer I shouldn't have to click on all the links in your bottom nav to find out where the rest of the products/categories, etc. are. You need to display your nav/links to your products way better because if your customers/visitors can't find these links or items then you will never sell anything.

    Hopefully these points are somewhat helpful, as I said I'm very new to marketing so feel free to take what I say with a grain of salt but these are just a few things that I noticed on a first, quick glance of your site. Oh also, you have two different contact addresses listed. Your Google checkout page has an address in Waco, TX while the rest of your site indicates Houston, TX.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Durham
    I agree with everything that has been suggested.
    Also, most merchants are gearing up for Christmas now. That is the season that will bring in the real cash and the one you want to be ready for. Don't wait until the end of November, you want to start now.

    Perhaps putting together some gift packages, etc...
    Get your banner ads and holiday design changes ready, now. The time will go faster than you realize.

    Trust and Security is a big issue. And the news media educates people on what to look for. Especially at Christmas time.
    You are going to want to get an SSL certificate. No one wants to send out their information unencrypted. People look for that little lock in their browsers to let them know they are secure. You want to let people know that you are to be trusted.

    A merchant account will help also. I see you only accept Paypal. Your conversions will more than double, even for PayPal users, once you do this.

    Some content on the product pages wouldn't hurt.

    The best of luck to you.

    Ken
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Durham
    PS: I would suggest looking into and learning fraud management. You must check every purchase, at least at first, and verify they are who they say they are. You WILL get taken sooner or later. Don't let the dollar signs make you blind. There are a lot of very smart thieves out there that could care less how nice and honest you are. Also, familiarize yourself with charge-backs, etc... If you start selling some of those higher priced rings and such, there is a good chance PayPal will put a hold on your funds while they investigate. Do you have the funds to cover such an event?
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    • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
      Originally Posted by Ken Durham View Post

      PS: I would suggest looking into and learning fraud management. You must check every purchase, at least at first, and verify they are who they say they are. You WILL get taken sooner or later. Don't let the dollar signs make you blind. There are a lot of very smart thieves out there that could care less how nice and honest you are. Also, familiarize yourself with charge-backs, etc... If you start selling some of those higher priced rings and such, there is a good chance PayPal will put a hold on your funds while they investigate. Do you have the funds to cover such an event?
      This is very good advice. When I was new to ecommerce I got burnt on my 4th or 5th transaction and ended up losing my merchant account because of it. Getting "blinded by the dollar signs" is exactly what happened to me!

      Here's an article I wrote about avoiding fraud & chargebacks on your ecommerce store.
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  • Profile picture of the author carmen1409
    Thanks for all the comments everyone. I'm feeling really depressed about my site today. After reading through the comments, I see that there is hope and some of you say a lot of "whens" instead of "ifs" so that confidence is appreciated.

    I am adding content as I have the time. There's just SO much to do!! I'm excited for holiday season and getting the creatives together is my favorite part!

    As for security, yes, I'm already working on it. I'm already seeing some suspicious activity out there and it all seems to have started right after I started posting here. Hmmm. Interesting.
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    • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
      In my experience, the best way to check an order for attempted fraud is to call the phone number the buyer provides. We've NEVER had a fraudulent order where the fraudster provided their true phone number. If it's fraud, either the phone number wont be valid or the person that answers wont have any idea what you're talking about.
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      • Making a phone call, as Dave suggests, is a good idea. I've also had some luck checking addresses with Google Maps. The bonus there is that if you have an otherwise valid order but the customer has mistyped their address (happens more times than you'd think!) you can catch that before it turns into a problem.

        fLufF
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      • Profile picture of the author Aussie_Al
        Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

        In my experience, the best way to check an order for attempted fraud is to call the phone number the buyer provides. We've NEVER had a fraudulent order where the fraudster provided their true phone number. If it's fraud, either the phone number wont be valid or the person that answers wont have any idea what you're talking about.
        Great advice Dave - I called one once and the woman was very very nervous on the phone and you could hear people in the back ground advising her on what to say.

        Needless to say I did not process that order.
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  • Profile picture of the author moosie
    Excuse me ... is there a place where one could get a list of dropshippers? I've done affiliate programs .. wasn't a very good experience ... now I am open to dropshipping.
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    • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
      Originally Posted by moosie View Post

      Excuse me ... is there a place where one could get a list of dropshippers? I've done affiliate programs .. wasn't a very good experience ... now I am open to dropshipping.
      Truthfully, dropship directories are over hyped (IMHO). It's typically best to approach it in this order:
      1. Choose a micro niche to build a store around.
      2. Determine what brand names to target by looking at the top ranking competitors.
      3. Contact the manufacturers of the brand names directly.
      Once you have sourced your products and they have decent margins (like at least 15%) it's time to land a good aged domain name & build your store. This is a proven process that we've done successfully with ~50 ecommerce stores now!!

      Hope this helps give you some good direction on how to get started!!
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      • Profile picture of the author FreshMedia
        First of all, follow the advice given to you by Fluffy. If you're going to be selling jewelry your site needs to look just as good as your competition. Your logo is too dark and needs to look a little more professional.

        In order to generate sales you need traffic, but I wouldn't mess around with PPC unless you know what you're doing. I highly recommend optimizing your site for SEO, and I would like to demonstrate with an example from one of your products.

        Take a look at the page for Genuine Swiss Blue Topaz Bracelet. The page URL doesn't have the product name (this is good for SEO). The product description is just one small line. I did a little keyword research and "Swiss Blue Topaz Bracelet" gets about 22 visitors a month. I know it doesn't seem like much, but every little bit counts when it comes to traffic and SEO.

        This page alone can bring you some traffic and sales if you dedicate some time to make some adjustments. Write a 200 - 300 word description of the product and sprinkle the keyword "Swiss Blue Topaz Bracelet" a few times (with proper keyword density), and add some related keywords to drive even more traffic to the page.

        The keyword "Swiss Blue Topaz Bracelet" also has weak competition in the SERP's. Almost all the sites on the first page of Google have no PR or backlinks to the page. If your page had just a few quality backlinks there is a good chance your site can be on top for the keyword.

        Now, imagine you were number one in Google for this keyword, and you were following the advice from Fluffy, there is a good chance you may make a few sales a month from this product alone. Now do this for all your products, and the chances of you making sales will increase dramatically.

        The best converting traffic is organic, and you can get there with SEO.

        Good luck and I wish you success.
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      • Profile picture of the author moosie
        Thank you dave_hermansen. Would it be okay if I contact you should I have any further questions later on down the road?
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        • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
          Originally Posted by moosie View Post

          Thank you dave_hermansen. Would it be okay if I contact you should I have any further questions later on down the road?
          Of course.. anytime!!
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      • Profile picture of the author nexushigher
        Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

        Truthfully, dropship directories are over hyped (IMHO). It's typically best to approach it in this order:
        1. Choose a micro niche to build a store around.
        2. Determine what brand names to target by looking at the top ranking competitors.
        3. Contact the manufacturers of the brand names directly.
        Once you have sourced your products and they have decent margins (like at least 15%) it's time to land a good aged domain name & build your store. This is a proven process that we've done successfully with ~50 ecommerce stores now!!

        Hope this helps give you some good direction on how to get started!!
        Great points!!!

        Also, a good fast loading shopping cart can help. There are FREE opensource shopping carts, such as OpenCart, with bulk product import add-ons, that are even better than paid shopping carts.

        Further, avoiding monthly "fees" and sales "fees" to ecommerce providers is important. You can stock ie. OpenCart with thousands of products and never have to pay "monthly fees".

        Also, to keep you product inventory on your website synchronized with your suppliers, check into dropship merchant product management software with dropship automation, like PowerDropship.
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  • Profile picture of the author carmen1409
    @FreshMedia Great advice! You obviously know what you're doing (As does pretty much everyone who has commented here) My problem I'm running into now is time! I can either A) write product descriptions B) SEO my pages C) Market the site through FB, Twitter, Forums D) Add more products (I probably have 500 more to go but I don't want to add more until I know my niche) or E) Do design work, like change my logo, which I too think is ugly.

    I do like SEO and I at least SEO'd the pages I was PPCing. Volusion doesn't make it real simple to SEO. It's available but very time consuming and a little frustrating. I'll try and make that more of a priority. Thanks for chiming in!

    I'm really wondering if all this work is worth the effort. I guess it can't be too bad because I do like making the site, the product and the challenge of it all, but I'm wondering if this is more difficult than it's worth. All the investment in time I'm spending eventually has to stop as it's just not sustainable. I have to start making money somehow. I don't see how everyone else does it, I guess that's why so few do.
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    • Carmen, if it makes you feel any better I started my jewelry site in July 2008. There really weren't any sales to speak of until Christmas 2008 and even then I still wonder how they found me. I wasn't expecting to be found -- I was on a 14-day Hawaii circle cruise at the time! We ended up shipping earrings from the Honolulu main post office. :-)

      What really helped was starting to build a list the following year and offering discounts exclusive to list members.

      fLufF
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  • Profile picture of the author carmen1409
    @dave_hermansen Your site is great! You're cute. For some reason I thought you were an old, grey haired dude! lol
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  • Profile picture of the author IronRing
    Banned
    First and foremost, congrats! It's a great start. I think it has good potential
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  • Profile picture of the author carmen1409
    fLufF - Funny how it works out like that! But it seems you've gotten your groove! I hope to get there too someday...soon, very soon
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  • Profile picture of the author carmen1409
    Hi everyone,

    I've taken a little break from my website this week because a) I had a Biology test and 2) fLufF indirectly introduced me to Fiverr. So a week ago today I posted a gig on Fiverr which isn't something I would normally do and I got 20 orders within about 48 hours. So I've been busy trying to do those AND study for my Biology test. Anyway, I took my test today and I caught up on my Fiverr orders, so I'm back to my ecommerce site...which is making absolutely no sales. But I have 40 likes on Facebook and 3 newsletter subscribers.

    Ugh. I have no idea where to go from here.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ryan Butz
    40 Likes on Facebook and 3 Newsletter subscribers doesn't translate to sales. Are you running any adWords campaigns for the products your selling? Also have your keyword research and SEO due diligence?

    That kind of thing translates to sales and returning customers. At least in my experience with my e-Commerce business.

    Hope that helped a little - good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author carmen1409
      @Ryan Butz Well, I was doing AdWords for a little bit and I didn't have any conversions. Like everyone else has said, I really need to narrow down my niche and keywords and that has been my main issue as I have lots of products.

      I am really unsure how to make sales. That is my main issue. It's not true that if you build it they will come.
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  • Profile picture of the author spoiledkid01
    i need to know how to create an online brand store and from where to ship products to my country. Can anyone help me plz. As online stores are taking there first step in my country and i really want to create my own online store. There are many good ons working in india, not a single famous brand store here in PAKISTAN.
    Any kind of help would be appreciated.
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    My Goal Is To Make 90 Grand A Year - At Least

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  • fLufF indirectly introduced me to Fiverr. So a week ago today I posted a gig on Fiverr which isn't something I would normally do and I got 20 orders within about 48 hours.

    That's amazingly impressive!

    I'm sure lots of people would love to know just how you did that. :-)

    fLufF
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    Fiverr is looking for freelance writers for its blog. Details here.
    Love microjobs? Work when you want and get paid in cash the same day!
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    • Profile picture of the author carmen1409
      fLufF

      Oh my gosh. I'm overwhelmed with fiverr orders I'm having a hard time keeping up. But now I have a system so I can get through orders in about 15 minutes. I created a posterous page for all my fiverr clients who wanted a follow up and have made a few hundred dollars after that. It's so crazy. I still would rather be selling jewelry

      Thank you!
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  • Profile picture of the author carmen1409
    No sales yet my friends. I've been working on backlinks, put my products into the product search engines and changed my site design for Christmas. So frustrated. How do I get people to buy from me!? I have fine jewelry cheaper than pretty much anyone else out there. I know this for a fact. What am I doing wrong?
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