Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Get Your Own Products

I'm going to rant a bit, those with sensitive constitutions should leave now, I want to offend you but can't stand listening to your complaints. All right, here it goes. I can't effing stand it when I get emails from other store owners looking for advice.

What do I look like? I'm not going to take time out of my day to explain to you how I got my store up and running. I'm not going to give you step by step instructions on how you can build your own store. And I'm certainly not going to give you a list of my vendors with contact information. Are you joking? Why would you even ask for that? You just figure I've got a store so now all I do is sit on my ass collecting money all day? Well my friend you are wrong... and stupid.

I don't do consulting, there is no suggestion anywhere on my site that I do it, so stop asking for it. You lazy bastard, do your own research, actually learn how to run an online business instead of asking for handouts. This is a real business and I run it, I have no time to be handing out information and techniques that have taken me years to master.

I sell an online video course called Online Store Profits and am part of a large forum for individuals who work online. Buy my course or get a membership to the forum and I'll be happy to give you all the information you desire - except my vendor's names, c'mon. Running an online store is hard work just like any other business, you can't just waltz in and expect someone to hold your hand and walk you through it. Put in some effort people.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Newsletters Are Necessary

Lots of people balk at the need for regular newsletters to be sent to a customer list. Mostly I think it's because so many doubt their writing ability. It is true that some people write better than others and there are some who really can't write to save their life. That's just how it goes, as humans we all can't be good at everything. But even if you fall into that non-writer category that's no excuse.

You don't have to be a wordsmith to send out a professional newsletter, no matter what you are selling. Try creating a theme for each newsletter. Then fill it out with product pictures related to your theme. Then all you really have to do is write a small blurb about your theme topic and tell your customers it's on sale. Not so bad, especially after you do it a few times.

It might be hard and a little scary but newsletters will bring you repeat customers. It's a reminder that you're around, something an online business definitely needs. The Internet is a vast entity with many other beings floating around in it. Try to think of the websites you visited for the past month, you probably can't name more than a 1/3 of them, if that. Help your customers help you.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Of Course I'm Real

That's right I said real, not for real, big difference there. Generally only crazy people feel they have to prove that they are real, but sometimes those of us online do too. And it's weird everytime. I know there are fears about the Internet, it makes sense; but if I offer my phone number, address, multiple email addresses, and the ability to pay with a credit card a chargeback can be done on why should I have to? I have all the same things as Overstock or Amazon, but I bet they don't get calls demanding identification.

To all you surfers out there, stop being such a bunch of paranoid freaks and educate yourself. Learn what to look for and recognize it when you see it. Questions are fine, but deciding you need to speak to the owner just because you want to know there is a real human processing your order is ridiculous. Much obliged.

As a side note, if anyone is interested in learning how to build a yahoo store I have just the website for you... mine.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Retail Is Tough

It's tough everyday. New competitors pop up, web designers steal your sites, customers demand unreasonable things, vendors screw up shipments, I could go on but I don't want you to think I'm complaining. All of the above is common stuff any online retailer needs to worry about but none of it is a business destroyer. But the economy can be and it seems to be trying pretty hard at the moment. Retail sales are down, way down. For everyone, not just us online dealers. Even WalMart is complaining.

I'm daily trying to come up with new ways to get my products out there and get people to buy them. It's times like this when I'm really glad I have multiple stores. If I were relying on a single store and sales dropped like they did last quarter I don't know how well I'd be sleeping at night. That's my advice to anyone selling online. Sell different things, have multiple websites, and never ever rely on any one store over the others. It can get pretty rough in the tubes sometimes.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Flexing Their Email Muscles

We've all gotten upset as customers and we store owners have gotten upset at customers, it happens and sometimes less than civil things are said. But there is a line. I got an email today from a customer threatening to 'come down there and rub my face in my shitty business' and 'live to regret' messing with him. Those were his words, among many more. This is unacceptable on every level. If I had robbed him of his children I could understand, but I hadn't robbed him of anything, he was trying to get more out of me.

This all came about over the standard restocking fee I charge in one of my stores. It's stated in plain English not only on the return policy page, but also on the Terms and Conditions, Cart, Checkout, and Confirmation Pages. And in the confirmation order email. If an order is canceled before it ships there is no charge, but once it ships we charge 25% for returns. Simple as that. Well he didn't want to pay it so he started threatening us. Over about $40.

Think he would have done that in person? I don't. It amazes me what people think they can get away with over email. No one thinks they'll be held accountable. Well this guy is. He got a call from the cops and now has a file containing his threatening emails. If he tries it again he'll be arrested. The customer is always right only works for so long.