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Marketing Monday: Selling to Existing Customers

Email Marketing Repeat Customers


It is much easier to sell to an existing customer than to attract a new customer. When you took good care of a customer in the past, you succeeded in building up something that is very important in ecommerce: a relationship of trust.

What is more, research shows that repeat customers tend to spend more. For these reasons we focus this Marketing Monday’s post on the best methods to sell to existing customers. Read more →

Marketing Monday: What is Google Adwords and how does it work?

When you have launched your online store, the most important phase starts: E-Commerce Marketing.

You will need to start generating sales. You can do that in dozens of ways. We discuss all ways in our marketing part of this blog.

I advise you to have a look at all methods and consider for each of them whether you want to use them for your online store. Don’t start to use all of them at once. Choose the most apt marketing method and start.

You can start today by looking at how Google Adwords works. Google Adwords potentially is a very powerful tool, but applied wrongly, it can cost you a lot without getting a high return on investment. Read more →

Social Shopping

Today’s post will discuss a growing phenomenon: social shopping.

This relatively new form of e-commerce is an interesting development, perhaps especially for the smaller e-commerce entrepreneur. Social Shopping, like social networks, comes in various shapes and tastes, as well as regional varieties. We will discuss some of the biggest global players below.

But first: what is Social Shopping?

The video summarizes social shopping quite well: a platform that you can trust for advice on products or even professional services.

Apart from discussing some of the main social shopping platforms, we will explain how you could use social shopping to your advantage. But we will start with asking the question: why does social shopping matter? Read more →

Fulfillment “Battle”: Amazon vs. Shipwire


FBA_logo_usFBA vs Shipwire

Both Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Shipwire are huge players in the fulfillment industry. If you are thinking about using a fulfillment company for your online business (which could be a great idea!) these two companies may be interesting partners for you.

Make sure though, that they will really be partners for your business. FBA will take your customers’ data and their brand will profit more from the sale than yours. Shipwire allows you to have your own branding while using their fulfillment services, and they will not take your customer data – in short the sell and the client relationship is yours. Shipwire is more expensive than FBA for fulfillment, however they don’t invoice a referral fee, as Amazon does.

Check out the full article on differences between FBA and Shipwire here.

Social Media does not generate sales!

In conversations with entrepreneurs about to start an online store I always aks them how they will get visitors to their online store. What strikes me is that many people think it is quite easy to attract people. Especially Facebook and Twitter are according to these new e-commerce entrepreneurs key in generating traffic.

I have bad news for everybody who sees social media as the Holy Grail… Social media DOESN’T WORK!

No-Social-Media Read more →

Tip 18: Use back-end strategies and see your sales increase rapidly!

Back-end strategies are marketing methods to sell additional products to existing customers (from your customer database or e-mail list). Back-end marketing is an essential part for long-term growth and for the overall success of an e-commerce sales and marketing strategy.

Back-end marketing is very cheap when compared with “front-end” marketing (winning over new customers) because your target audience has already been customer and you already have their data. The biggest investment in that customer has already been made on the front-end.

A big advantage of back-end marketing is that response and conversion figures are much better, because the customers already know, respect and trust you.

However back-end marketing has a lot of advantages – low costs, high conversion, high profit, etc. – it is not quite used enough and sometimes even forgotten.

By implementing news letters, blogs, RSS, Twitter and other social media in your online store you can make your sales rise by up to 35% in just a short time frame!

This tip comes from the series 18 Short Tips for your online store. During 9 weeks, EcommerceIncome will publish a new tip on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Don’t miss a tip and subscribe to the EcommerceIncome newsletter!

Tip 17: Use the 80/20 rule to your advantage

Roughly 80% of the results you achieve are caused by 20% of your actions, products or processes

You will for example see that 80 % of sales exists out of 20% of the total products on offer and that 80 % of the problems that end up being discussed with your customer service is about 20% of your products, etc.

When you have the data you can start with a “most sold” page and your can promote your best sold items a bit more in that way. This process is also very suitable for automatizing, resulting in a best sold page automatically renewing when other products get more attention.

Apply this principle everywhere you can in your online store and it will enhance your efficiency, productivity, sales and profit.

This tip comes from the series 18 Short Tips for your online store. During 9 weeks, EcommerceIncome will publish a new tip on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Don’t miss a tip and subscribe to the EcommerceIncome newsletter!

Reading More Effectively

Entrepreneurs are often curious, passionate workaholics. I know, it is a generalization, but often it is true.

We always want to know more: about our online stores, our world, our customers, our company, our market position, our technology and about many other things.

And we all have our own favourite ways of keeping up-to-date: watching television, listening to the radio, reading books or magazines, surfing the web.

On thing you cannot permit yourself is lagging behind. Information is power, especially in the knowledge economy of today. And exactly for that reason it is so terrifying that the average American citizen reads on average ONE book per year.

I personally read between 2 and 3 books per month, what I still find too few. For that reason I searched the web to find out how I can read more books (both professionaly and for pleasure)

Besides the books I read I am of course active online. I browse forums, blogs, news sources, articles and social networks to keep myself informed. By studying so many materials I stay on top and ahead in my field.

Why is reading important?

There are many advantages to regularly studying new material.

Correcting your course – When you learn something new you can compare your own framework with the newest criteria and if needed make modifications to get on the “right course” again.

Following Trends – Shifts and changes continually shake up the internet. Entrepreneurs who are not paying attention or are not informed quickly lag behind. When you are conscious of trends, you can use them to your advantage and stay competitive.

Deep knowledge – Expertise needs time. Study any subject for 10.000 hours and you will be one of the world’s experts. There are areas in which you really can set yourself apart from the competition with your knowledge.

1. Read longer

A short while ago I posted a poll in which I asked my professional contacts how much time they spend reading per week. The answers of course varied to a great degree, but the most recurring answer was 2 hours a day.

Maybe that surprises you. Maybe you think that there is no way how you can free up yourself to read for two hours per day. But if you are sure you want to stay competitive, I advise you to try and do just that.

Although I have a busy schedule I make room for 2 to 3 hours of reading per day. I often read late in the evening. It will not always be easy and you will have to make small sacrifices, but it pays back many times. Below a few ideas on how to free some time for reading:

  • Stop watching (or watch less) TV
  • Get up half an hour earlier
  • Get up half an hour later
  • Make sure you always bring a book with you and use waiting times (for a meeting, during travelling, etc.)

 2. Read faster

I read books since my youth (like most people). An important factor which can make you read a lot is your reading speed. While I wrote this I tested my reading speed on the internet with an online test. According to this test my reading speed is “400 words per minute”. I can probably improve that. 500 words per minutes should be easily achievable, I think.

The average book has between 50.000 and 300.000 words. Such a book now takes me between 2 and 12.5 hours. By reading faster (500 words per minute) I can read 20% more books per year!

Excercise is central to becoming a fast reader. Concentration is an important factor, just like external distractors. When you seriously want to improve your reading speed you can try the following:

  • Take part in a speed reading course
  • Buy and study a speed reading book (I just purchased one, I am curious about the result!)
  • Using speed reading software.

I don’t think it matters much which method you follow, your reading speed will always significantly improve, for the rest of your life.

3. Read smarter

The type of book (or other reading material) you read also influences what you get from it.

A powerful mental image that I regularly use to clarify similar concepts comes from a book from Stephen Covey, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. It was about a man who quickly climbed a very tall tree, reached the top and looked around him… To only then find out that he was in the wrong jungle!

Speed is not always effective. Doing something Well is more important than doing something quickly. The same goes for reading.

When you make sure you read the right materials, then you profit from that a lot more per invested minute than when a lot of time is wasted by “reading through useless stuff”. For this reason “top 10” and “recommended by experts” lists are always so powerful and valuable.

A few tips that can help you to read smarter:

  • Have a loook at the bestseller and recommendation lists (when many others like it, than it probably IS good)
  • Look for suggestions from people with resembling interests/that work in the same business area and find out what they find important reading material
  • Be critical about what you read and stop with time-wasting nonsense (remember the many times you finished a book only because you already started it – don’t do that, it is a waste of time!)
  • Quickly read through the highlights and only go into more detail when you think the knowledge you will obtain is useful.
  • Make it easy for yourself to have quality reading material around. Buy or borrow books to take with you to read wherever and whenever you have some spare time. Make use of “favourites”/bookmarks for your most important online sources, etc.

4. Read more

When all the rest is is the same, the entrepreneur who reads most (and effectively applies the information) will win from the competitor reading least.

When reading starts to become a habit, keep training it as though it is a muscle. You will be surprised how much more information you will be able to consume and apply in a relatively short timeframe!

In biographies of business icons such as Donald TrumpBill GatesRichard Branson and many others the sheer amount of information they had at their disposal again and again becomes apparent. It is said that Bill Gates personally kept track of 900 different projects at the peak times – weekly! (and you thought it was EASY to be the richest man on the planet?)

It sounds impossible, until you start to master the skill of consuming, processing and applying new information in the company and in your life.

When you found a useful source, you will often find useful references in it to other, related material that will further expand your knowledge about the content. By following these references you will broaden and deepen your knowledge and expertise. Before you know you will be seen as a specialist on the theme – and that is all related to reading more.

5. Read with a target

Just reading more books without plans to apply the new knowledge is just as useful (or just as useless) as not reading!

When you know what you hope to achieve with reading, you can get most out of it. There are a number of possible targets:

Information – You get information from how-to guides, news, technical manuals, polls, questionnaires, research reports and the like

Inspiration – When you study success stories, biographies and the history of famous companies you will feel energetical and excited to apply their models and successes to yourself.

Insight – Redactional comments, opinion pieces, guest columns or special reports sometimes give you a great idea, stimulate innovation or offer insight.

Whatever your reading target, make sure that the investment of your time and effort is rewarded. Use therefore a plan:

  • Record the big and small insights you got by reading
  • Write down the ideas you plan to try out in your company or life
  • Bookmark the pieces you value
  • Share relevant books and magazines with others in your team or with other people for discussion and debate
  • Put deadlines and targets for the steps you read about and want to implement

This all will make sure that you really stand to profit from reading, and will also encourage you to read even more. Apply the knowledge gained and continue to grow.

Become enthusiatic about reading. Start today. Make time for reading. Learn and excercise to become faster at reading. Read as much as you can, but in the smart way. And make sure you have a target.

And let me know when you have a great book that I should read!

Tip 16: Analyse User Data; Keep on testing

The internet, user behaviour and their buying behaviour are constantly changing. The most online store owners don’t use the freely available – very detailled – statistics to analyse the buying behaviours and preferences of their visitors. By starting to analyse these data you will get important information allowing you to increase your sales and profit.

Successful online store, which includes Amazon, executed various daily tests on their online store to collect data and respond to the results. They tests everything, from the location of a picture on their home page, the product lay-out and the look of a shopping cart button to the messages and products you see when you placed an order.

By testing you find out which parts of your online store work well and which parts may be a “leak”, or where you may have to repair or improve something. When you change things, ask your family, friends or colleagues to have a look whether the website and all features work quickly and simply. The less experience the tester has, the better, because you can then learn about even the smallest inconveniences that more experienced users won’t even notice.

This tip comes from the series 18 Short Tips for your online store. During 9 weeks, EcommerceIncome will publish a new tip on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Don’t miss a tip and subscribe to the EcommerceIncome newsletter!

The real work starts when your online store goes live

Many people starting an online store think that when they open the online store they will directly have sales. Think again – this is of course not the case.

It is rather the case that the real work only starts when you have your online store online.

An example: perhaps there is a great online store selling discounted children’s clothes on However you will online find that out when you enter that exact domain name. The chance that you do so accidentally is very small.

But why do many people think that they will generate sales with the online store they just opened?

Well, that is related to the following: when you open a brick-and-mortar store on the high street of a big city – say, Oxford street in London – you will directly get sales. There are thousands of people that walk past your shop every day. There are probably people looking for children’s clothes that see your store.

On the internet you cannot choose whether you open your online store on Oxford street in London or in a small sidestreet in an unknown village.

On the internet there are different rules. It is important you learn to understand those rules.

On the internet every online store is equal at the start. Therefore you will have to come up with a good marketing effort! You will have to think about how you will attract visitors to your online store.

Because people didn’t think much about the marketing, many people close their online store as quickly as they opened it (which includes online stores which aren’t bad at all). These people forgot they didn’t open in Oxford street or another busy shopping area, but opened an online store with an unknown domain name.