How to sell more

Clever little tricks, tips, ideas and methods to help your ecommerce brand sell more and build a loyal fan base.

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8 Simple Ecommerce Inventory Tips

8 Simple Ecommerce Inventory Tips

Ever sold something you don't have in stock? Ouch. Our handful of eCommerce inventory tips will help you preserve cash flow & improve customer service.

Turn it around

Know how long it will take you to fill an empty shelf. If you cannot fill an empty shelf before the stock runs out, be prepared to remove that online listing. A customer buying a product that you simply don’t have is the first step to anegative customer experience.What is the longest turnaround time of all the materials you use? Take that time and then add the time it takes you to make the product that material is used in. Now do this for all your products.This is your lead time. Knowing each product's lead time is the first step to good inventory management

Use a multi-functional platform

To make sure you’re alerted when stock levels are low, you need to be using a reliable eCommerce platform. With Shoplo, stock level alerts are automated. Select the availability of your product and you're automatically notified when you're down to 20, 10 or 5 pieces.

Ecommerce Inventory Tips platform

Automating inventory checks is simple.It speeds up a mundane j0b, leaving you with more time to focus on what you love.

Use an SKU system

Let's say your most popular item is an ‘Indian long sleeve blouse'. That's the name of the product listed in your store.When someone orders a small size in black, you now have to refer to it as ‘Indian long sleeve blouse black small’. It can easily get confusing for yourself and anyone else dealing with your stock.


Use a simple SKU system. Everyone involved can refer to your ‘‘Indian long sleeve blouse black small’ as a ‘BLMx1B’. Now everyone knows what you're talking about.A reliable SKU system is also very important in your product feed and automating other sales channels.

Return your returns

Amongst the confusing and frustration of dealing with returns, stock numbers can and will be forgotten.It is of the utmost importance that your stock levels are accurate. Your stock levels should always reflect a number of products on hand.You will make mistakes and people will change their minds. This means you will have to deal with returns. As soon as a product is returned to you, decide what happens to it. Can it be put back into stock, or does it need to be repaired before it can be sold again?A simple 'quarantine' section can play a big part in marking sure your levels are always accurate and reflect the correct amount of stock you have.


FIFO stands for ‘First in, first out’. Remember your first job of stacking milk in the fridge at the corner store? You would always make sure that the oldest milk would be the next to be sold. The same principle applies to your own stock now.

Ecommerce Inventory Tips FIFO

This method ensures that you are reducing your oldest stock. In turn, you are minimising your chances of having to deal with dead stock.

Avoid dead stock

Dead stock is the stock that hasn’t been sold in a certain time frame - a timeframe defined by you. It’s sat there for ages and under your current marketing, it’s just not moving.Dead stock can be a result of fashions and trends changing. Perhaps you over-committed to making a certain product or you're still figuring out how to efficiently manage your inventory. It’s time to cut your losses and try and move it.Consider someexciting ways to discount it or bundle it with another complementary product. If don't care about the financial side, locate an influencer that can get you some notoriety and send it to them. You’re now dealing with influencer marketing!

Nurture your network

You obviously build, maintain and celebrate the relationships you have with your customers. But do you do it with the people for whom you are a customer?These are your suppliers, the ones that provide you with your raw materials. It's good practice to also grow and maintain positive relationships with these people. Whether you buy in bulk every few weeks or small amounts every few months, be sure they know what you’re doing with the product you buy from them.There will be times where you need to ask a favour of your suppliers and get something urgently. A rapport with your suppliers can sustain such requests. They’re part of what makes your brand, too!

Contingency plans

As just mentioned, there will come times when you sell something that you don’t have. How will you tell your customer? There will come times when a package is destroyed in transit. Will you wait for a return or send a replacement immediately? Having well-established contingency plans will ensure that you don’t compound the damage by making panicked decisions. Such policies should be reflected in your terms and conditions if possible. If you’re willing to replace lost or damaged goods, make sure your inventory reflects this. Have an extra unit in stock. A well-planned and lenient returns policy can help you turn a disaster sale into a return buyer.

In conclusion

Good inventory management helps you preserve cash flow. Having too much stock means you’re sitting on money. Not having enough isn't good for customer service. But having the right amount of stock means you get paid quicker and your customer gets their purchase quicker. It is unnecessary to developrock-solid processes for a small venture. But having some simple methods can really help you stay on top of things.The more often you get things just right, the smoother your business will flow.And the happier your customer will be!

Phil Forbes
Phil Forbes
11 Product Photography Tips To Help Increase Your Conversion Rate.

11 Product Photography Tips To Help Increase Your Conversion Rate.

Trying to improve your product photography? These 11 easy product photography tips will help you take photos that sell [+ free backgrounds to download].

‘I’m not a photographer’‘‘I don’t have the budget’‘I don’t have a good camera’‘It’s all too technical for me’‘I only have my cell phone’Do any of these sound like the excuses you’ve been telling yourself?If you’re worried that your product photography is the weak point of your online store, it probably is. Fashion, jewellery, accessories and home decor, all require a different kind of approach.Good quality product photos are required so that you make steady and consistent sales on a marketplace like Etsy oryour own ecommerce web store.Today we’re going to show you some of our favourite product photography tips. You’ll learn how to take the best possible photos of your products.Using simple words.On a phone or an inexpensive camera.On a budget of little to zero.Good quality product photography is even harder when you’re selling digital art online. Digital prints, artwork and posters. How can we capture everything correctly?By the end of this article, you will know:

  • What background is the best performing for product photography
  • How to Choose a perfect lightening for your product photography
  • Secret hints of outstanding photography for an ecommerce

1. Product Photography Background Tips

A plain white background does a fantastic job at showing your product off for what it is. When shoppers see a thumbnail like this, their eye is drawn to the clarity and contrast.

A perfectly white product photography background from The Catkin Boutique.

Clear photos on a white background (sometimes called ‘packshots’) set a realistic expectation of what your customer can expect. This is transparent and honest product photography.But sometimes it’s hard to get a plain white background for your photos.You can easily build yourself a setup like this with a plastic tub from Ikea, some paper and some desk lamps.

etsy shop photography


Product photography like this is essential. But the photos themselves are also quite boring.A textured background is great for branding and expressing a mood. It also makes your products more memorable. Plus, product photography like this is shared on social media more frequently!Consider textures like wood, rock, sand. For example, this ring looks amazing against the contrasting background of brushed steel.

The ForestMagicWithRivka team found textures that compliment their product perfectly.

Consider creating an environment or background where your product will be used. A desk, kitchen table, bedside table.

Another example, this simple leather tassel. It looks a lot more desirable when photographed on a simple piece of timber, alongside a piece of foliage.

The team at ToriLoDesigns take incredibly well crafted photos.

But what about digital products? How do you create product photography of..well, a photo?For that, we use mock-up backgrounds.

2. Digital art backgrounds

Are you selling digital art? Sure, it’s simple to provide a hi-res image of your piece of work, but what about showing it off hanging on the wall, like RosaLilla does?

Creating an image of your image may be a bit difficult - it is hard to create a photo of a photo. Glass creates reflections so managing light is incredibly difficult.

3. Lighting tips for those that know nothing about lighting

Whether you’re shooting with a Phase One IQ3 ($57,500) or the toy camera that came in your kid’s happy meal, one thing is important.Lighting.9 times out of 10, natural light is going to be your best friend. Search around the house for some good light near a window. Perhaps (gasp) even go outside. Taking photos at midday, when the sun is directly above will usually generate the best results. No good outside? Hunt around the house for some lamps. Place one lamp either side of your product and have a look.

  • Is it lit well?
  • Are there any shadows?
  • Are there any reflections?

Play, experiment and learn. Move the lighting around to move shadows and minimise reflections. Sharp, solid shadows are distracting. This is called ‘hard light’. If you’re working with lamps, chances are that this is what you’ll have. To soften the light, place a white plastic bag over the globe (just watch out for the heat). This will give you a ‘soft’ light in a more even fashion and cut down on the sharp harsh shadows.

Hard lighting (left), soft lighting (centre) and lighting with a reflector (right)

When you think you’ve got yourself a good photo of your product, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is the lighting creating any reflections or shadows that are distracting from the object itself?
  • Does the light show off the colours, shapes and design materials used and or does it mask them?
  • Does it convey the mood you are going for?
  • Is your image overly white, blue or yellow?

4. Styled ecommerce product photography

Close up, lifestyle or scale shots are great at showing important factors. If you’re a fashion brand, a lifestyle photoshoot brings your work to life. No more on clothing a lifeless mannequin.

A lifestyle shot from Primrose & Pixie sleepwear. You can almost smell the coffee.

To pull off a well-styled product photography shoot, you need a little preparation. Firstly, define your style. Are you minimalist, industrial, quirky, organic? If you're minimalist, for example, you won't want to clutter your photos with other elements.

Pro Tip: Whatever your style is, follow it through onto the rest of your branding. Click here to see some great ideas for minimalist product packaging.

Defining your style will help you determine what your overall goal is. It will also help you establish what emotions to include in your styled ecommerce product photo shoot.

  • Know the rule of thirds - This is a simple rule that lets you compose photos effectively. Chaitra explains more on her blog, Pinkpot.
  • Demonstrate size, scale and fit by using a model. This helps people to visualise how it actually looks on a person.
  • Remember branding. Use colours, shapes and patterns consistent with your current branding and brand message.
  • The point is to sell your product. Don’t let anything else in the image draw attention away from what’s on offer.
  • Show off the benefits of your product. If your product can solve a problem, dedicate a photo to it doing just that.

Proper Copper Design show how their hooks & rod can solve your kitchen problems

5. Use a tripod

A quality tripod will really help you get the most out of your photos. It also makes the process of taking photos much easier. Using a cell phone? Try something like this.Using a digital camera? Try this out.

Even a minute tripod like this one makes product photography a breeze.

You only have two hands. If one is preoccupied with holding the camera, you’re going to spend a lot more time arranging your shot with only your free hand. A tripod will allow you to keep the camera in one spot, which leads to a sharper, clearer image. An overall better picture.A tripod will also allow you to go and move lights, adjust the product and change things without losing the camera position.Buy a tripod.Invest a few dollars and get control over the whole shooting process, not just your photos.

6. Forget Instagram

Instagram filters have their place - on Instagram. Not on an online store where a product is being sold. Some filters can make images look sharper, that’s true. But they will simultaneously present your product in ever so slightly different colours.A filter added over a product photo will also damage trust and make a potential buyer question your quality. ‘If it needs an Instagram filter to look good, what does it look like without it?’.

7. Use your macro

Most cameras have a ‘close up’ mode, also called macro. Look for the little logo that looks like a Tulip. MomSkoop has this awesome guide on macro photography with a cell phone. This mode is often used to focus at a short distance to show off the nuances and little details. This is a great mode for jewellery, really detailed areas and...well, tulips. The overall result is quite astonishing and creates a completely different perspective. Your product photography can take on a new life

Silver Sky Creations use macro photography to highlight the small intricate details.

8. A sense of scale

No matter how creative you get, don’t forget that the one goal of your photos is to sell them. Your customers may get confused and leave a sale if your photos aren’t accurate enough.

Hannahdoodle uses furniture to give an idea of her pillow sizes.

Your product description may state that your coffee mugs are 85 cm high. But what is 85 cm compared a teaspoon, or a coaster - or a human hand? A bracelet that is 3 cm wide looks very different when it’s actually on the wrist. Don’t deceive your customers, give them some good quality product photos that show a sense of size and scale.

9. Show all your variants

It can be exceptionally frustrating for a potential customer if what they are interested in is available, but they can’t see it. Show it all. If your t-shirts come in 5 different colours, show each colour. Every product style should have its own picture.

etsy shop variants

Blue Iceberg show their white jumper in a lifestyle shot, but also the black variant.

Don’t just show a green swatch, actually show each different colour product in a different photo. Your definition of green may be different to someone else's idea of green. By showing off each variant in your product photography, your conversions will grow because people know what they’re buying.Want to know more about increasing your ecommerce conversions? Read the article:25 Ways to Optimize your Ecommerce Conversion Rate (read now.)

10. Don’t delete your product photos.

Don’t get frustrated and delete something because you don’t like it. Just because your picture looks average on your phone or the 2-inch preview screen, does not mean it’s going to look bad when it’s had some editing work done. By keeping everything that you take, you’re able to see what worked and what didn’t. The image you delete may, in fact, be the best one of the entire shoot.

11. Editing

Taking a photo is just the beginning of your photography adventure. Touch ups and editing are just as important as taking the photo itself. To get started, load your images into Photoshop or Lightroom. Ifthese aren’t available to you, try Pixlr Editor, the free, online version of Photoshop. Take a look at the colours in the image in comparison to the real product. Are they the same? Are the reds more orange in the photos or are the blues more green in reality? Be careful and don’t go too far. Gentle adjustments are all you need.

It doesn’t take a lot of adjustment to completely change this image from Nordic in Kent.

Remember, you want your product photos to be honest, not to make the product look different.Adjust parameters like brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, exposure and colour balance/vibrance. After a little fiddling, it won’t be long until you strike a balance that represents your product accurately.

You’re learning.

And that takes time. Don’t rush. If these product photography tips are new to you, be patient, and implement them one by one.Be prepared to make mistakes and be prepared to learn from them. As you focus on smaller and smaller details, your product photography will improve!

Your next steps...

Have you ever bought a pair of shoes because they smelt good? No, you bought them because they look good. People are visual creatures. By creating exceptional product photos, you’ll satisfy the needs of curious buyers. Your conversion rate will grow, as will customer satisfaction. Go forth, assemble your tools and start shooting!What are some of your favourite ecommerce product photography tips? Can you sell a bad product if you have fantastic product photography?

Phil Forbes
Phil Forbes
9 Must-Have Ecommerce Tools To Increase Your Online Sales Today

9 Must-Have Ecommerce Tools To Increase Your Online Sales Today

Looking for fast & easy ways to increase your ecommerce sales? Use these 11 top ecommerce tools to increase your revenue. Discover and grow now.

In the world of ecommerce, steady growth and a consistent income are next to impossible if you’re not willing to invest in helpful tools. When you first started, you may have been able to do everything yourself and do it well.  But after building an established fan base and a decent reputation, certain tools can help increase your online sales. We've scoured the internet high and low and found 11 ecommerce tools that we’d never heard of prior to writing this article.  We are lucky enough to also have the input from some well-known individuals. They've voiced their thoughts on the relationship between their industry and ecommerce.

BONUS: Selling on Amazon? Take a look at our favourite Amazon Seller Software for 2018, thanks to FitSmallBusiness.

So, with no further adieu, what interests you most?1 - Sensible numbers and graphs2 - Learning while you sell3 - Making a good first impression4 - Everything relevant, all in one place5 - How to do good English6 - Dealing with low ballers7 - Mother Nature8 -Being internet famous9 - Hashtagging 101

‘’The goal is to provide a great, engaging experience--to deliver what people want and love--and you simply can't do that without behavioral analytics. You've got to have a deep understanding of what people are doing on your website.”-Brian Kelly, Kissmetrics CEO.The role of data analysis in ecommerce is huge. Keeping track of what’s working and what isn’t, is the glue that keeps your sales growing, not just consistent.But it can get too much.

Analysis paralysis. Information overload. Too much info in too many places - and most of it irrelevant.Sometimes I need a nap with my good blanket after spending 15 minutes with Google Analytics.Sure, data like conversion rate, revenue and traffic are important stuff to know, but often it comes with a lot of other irrelevant information. And when you have that data, what do you do with it?Enter is taken from a wide range of interfaces and presented to you in easy to read ways. Personalised insights. Everything you want to know in one place.

Connect the channels of the software you use and Neatly builds a dashboard with your information. Connect, for example, your Shopify account for data like revenue to be shown along side your average order, your churn rate and other essential information. With the click of a button, go from your Shopify Data to your Google Analytics Data.

I went one step further and built a custom dashboard. I got a kick out of building my ‘eCommerce dashboard’. I connected my Shopify and Google Analytics accounts. I then threw in notifications for Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.That’s how I ran my store for a full day – everything I needed to know and nothing I didn’t need to know.A flexible and straightforward approach to anyone with too much data and no idea what to do with it.I set myself a small Twitter goal using their neat (pun intended) KPI tool. By the end of the day, I wanted to have an extra 50 followers. Using the KPI tool, I put in my data and was presented with a progress bar.

As my follower count reached its goal, the bar progressed. A simple concept, but a great way to visually represent KPI’s. This feature can be used with other things like store revenue, email list numbers and website traffic.The data of your website plays a huge role in the direction of your marketing efforts. But sometimes, it’s just too much. find the simplicity in all the chaos. A smooth and simple way to drive traffic to your online store.I’ll let their own pricing page how much it costs:

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The Bonanza marketplace

The Bonanza marketplace is one that encourages users (sellers) to grow, just as much as it encourages consumers (buyers) to find what’s right for them.First of all, Bonanza is your typical marketplace. People list their items and these items are seen by people who regularly browse the Bonanza website.But being a seller on Bonanza comes with a few more perks. You can pay an extra commission to have your Bonanza listings on eBay, Amazon, as well as Google Shopping. You can even go so far as to use a free account and pay an advertising commission to list your product on these sales channels.Think about that for a second.Which other marketplaces automatically list your product on Google Shopping? Not just a link to your listing in a simple Google Search, but a Google Shopping listing, as well.

Now I don’t know about you, but I get the feeling that more people use Google on a daily basis compared to any other marketplace.As a small boutique seller, being present on Google Shopping is an absolute necessity.This comes at a fee though. A minimum of 9% of your sale price will be paid in commission to get your items listed on Google Shopping. But this means your products are promoted to regular Bonanza buyers, too.Pay a smaller commission of up to 3.5% and save some money, but this only gets you the organic traffic of Bonanza.

Don’t want to pay a commission? No problem. For a fee as little as $25USD per month and a 9% commission, you can have your listing exposure doubled. This means you’ll reach organic Bonanza traffic, as well as your posts being sponsored in search results.Access to your store analytics in Google Analytics with every membership means that you can really see what’s popular in your store. The access to tools and other benefits increase with the membership levels.Yes, the membership concept of Bonanza can be confusing.But nothing good is easy.The tools and sheer exposure provided by Bonanza is an incredible gateway into the bigger world of online selling.The features are what makes the difference between ‘Yay I got 3 sales this month’ and ‘My God, I cannot keep up with this’.The sign-up process to is simple and easy. If selling elsewhere online, you can easily import from a CSV file. Ebay or Amazon sellers have the option of syncing their stock automatically.Bonanza sellers sell from their virtual ‘booth’. Much like a real-life market, this is where your visitors come and browse your merchandise.

The next steps are simple. Make a name for your booth, create your Bonanza account and set up payment methods.This next part is fantastic perk – preset return policies.For a long time, marketplace sellers have been confused about making their own returns policies. Bonanza offers a handful of the most common return policies as presets. You can add your own return policy for each individual item, too. A great way to remove a little nuance of selling on a marketplace.The next step is credit card validation to make sure that you’re a real person.Pick your level of membership or what percentage you want to pay, and you’re basically ready to sell. Traffic will start visiting your website and soon enough, your first Bonanza sale will come!The Bonanza marketplace is full of other helpful things for anyone selling online. The Seller success page is full of tips for anyone selling online. The Bonanza guide is a glossary on getting the most out of the marketplace.Bonanza made this list for a reason – it wasn’t the first, nor is it the biggest. But these are the exact reasons that make it one of the best places to sell your wares.The team educates and informs sellers about the bigger world of ecommerce and how to boost ecommerce sales outside of their marketplace. External resources like Google, Bing and eBay are utilised to give customers the most bang for their buck.Whilst the pricing structure may not be the most straightforward, it is certainly a step in helping vendors grow their business.Back to the top


One of the joys of selling online is that you control your customer experience from start to finish. Design, branding, the tone of voice, everything is your call.Brands that take this consistency through to their product packing are the brands that set themselves apart from the pack.Branded product packing guarantees that you deliver more than just a product - you deliver an experience.Packhelp helps you deliver that experience with custom designed product packaging.They also have a fantastic little app that helps you design your box the way you want.We’re going to design a box for our formal men’s shoes that I sell. The biggest pair of shoes that I sell measure 32cm x 28cm x 11cm so we need a box that is at least this big internally.Packhelp’s Mailer Boxes look like the best place to start. They’re strong and lightweight which promises security but saves money. They’re also completely customizable. The secure locking mechanism means that the box won’t accidentally open in transport, even without extra tape.

Next up, it’s time to choose the box variant I want to use.

At this point, I want to take into consideration my product branding. The colour of the products I’m selling, for example. The darkest shoes range from a navy blue and black through to a deep brown, reddish colour. For this reason, I don’t think the ‘Eco White’ option would best suit me.I have the option of full colour but I believe that may over complicate the branding. My website is a minimalist and full of earthy colours, so I think the simple ‘Eco’ box is best for me.Now another tough decision - quantity. When it comes to making this decision for your own brand, here are some things to consider:

  • Do you want to do it over your whole product range or just premium products?
  • How many of these products do you sell a month?
  • How can you factor the cost into product price?
  • Do you have room to store 10,000 boxes or only 20?

Having made this decision, it’s on to designing!Packhelp offer 2 ways to design your custom packaging. Download their software and design it all from scratch. But since we’re not that advanced, we’re going to use their online tool. This way, most of the hard work is done and we can still make our design just the way we want.

Here we see our box in a fantastic 3D layout. Using the buttons to the top right, I can focus on any side I want.Creating a simple design is, well, simple. 2 buttons on the left let you add text or images. Keep in mind the overall size of the images you want to use. I had to redesign the image used in my example here because the files2 buttons on the left let you add text or images. Keep in mind the overall size of the images you want to use. I had to redesign the image used in my example here because the files were too small. A helpful little popup comes up if you are going to make your image too big to the point where it’ll be pixelated.Speaking of help, I was unable to find out how to resize text. Using the built-in chat feature, Marcin answered my question in about 15 seconds.

Once I was satisfied with my design, it was simply a matter of completing a simple checkout procedure.Packhelp makes it incredibly easy to create unique packaging perfect for your brand.  Unique packaging goes a long way in separating yourself from the pack.First impressions last and you only get one!Bonus: Why people love unboxing videos and how they can help your ecommerce brand.Back to the top


Metrilo is 3 fantastic creatures all in one suite. Ecommerce analytics, email marketing & CRM. All 3 of these elements are important parts of your ecommerce store. Master these to really make an impact on your sales.Metrilo brings them all together into one simple dashboard that integrates with WooCommerce, Magento and Shopify.The built-in CRM puts together a complete customer profile that shows habits, order history, product interactions, contact details and so on.Your entire customer base can be segmented with over 30 different filters. Great for finding out as much as you can about everyone and market to them accordingly.Automated emails can be set up from within the platform, too. The same applies for any kind of email campaign, too – upsells, transactions, cart recovery, so on and so forthSigning up and connecting a Shopify store is simple.We start our adventure here:

After logging in, I was greeted with this smooth, clean and crisp dashboard. A little overwhelming at first, it doesn’t take long to realise the sheer power and abundance of information that Metrilo delivers.The revenue and visitors tally is great. I really like the percentage of total sales and conversion rates from different platforms.

Want to know more about increasing your ecommerce conversions?

Read the article:25 Ways to Optimize your Ecommerce Conversion Rate (read now.)

The ‘people’ tab is another great feature. The data is very informative about your visitors, even unidentified ones. A great way to make your marketing laser precise.

Visiting my own store in incognito mode, I was able to follow myself. Pages I visited, products I added to my cart and then abandoned, as well as the time spent on each page.For repeat customers, a complete back history of their purchase history and pages viewed is available.The aggregation of this data is shown off in another really interesting feature.

In probably the most informative feature of Metrilo, we have ‘Trends’. Select the time frame you’d like to know about and this plethora of information tells you anything you want to know.Seeing revenue from each traffic source is a handy way of seeing which streams are paying off. The same with seeing revenue plotted against referrals.The sales funnel data is another nifty tool that can show you where you’re leaking conversions.

The ability to follow trends is where the Analytics and CRM side of Metrilo crossover. I am able to see the patterns of visitors, one-time buyers and repeat buyers. I can then take this knowledge into the email campaigns section and create relevant emails.Firstly, define the people you want to email (cart abandoners, repeat customers, inactive customers), write the email in the email interface and send. All progress is tracked within the ‘Email Performance’ tab where you can see a complete report on the performance of your email campaign.

If you’re slowly trying new things with your eCommerce venture, Metrilo is a great tool to have in your arsenal. Use correctly, it's a fine tool to drive more traffic to your store and boost your sales.  Nowhere near as confusing as Google Analytics, yet informative enough to really make a change in your profits and how you operate.Metrilo pulls off well-equipped CRM system tied in with email marketing. I particularly like the visual representation of sales funnels.To get you started, Metrilo offers a 14-day free trial and after that, plans start at just $119USD per month. Bonus: Explaining customer’s buying patterns using lightsabers.

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BKA Content

"Digital communication is becoming an increasingly significant part of brand identity. The ability to communicate with others in a concise and relatable way can impact your online success more than clout and physical appearance." Celeste Mora,Grammarly Social Media ManagerA badly written product description is just as bad as no product description. Truth be told, bad writing in your web store is more than skin deep. It goes on to further affect your website traffic, brand image and SEO.

Your current product descriptions may be good at explaining what the product is, but does it actually sell the product to someone that’s interested? Why is it good at what it does?If you can’t put it into words yourself, you need the skills of a talented wordsmith.BKA Content don't make software like everyone else on this list. Instead, they offer a service that is by far, the most important thing any business of any industry can have.Writing. Words.But these guys just don’t make pretty words - they specialise in pretty words for eCommerce to boost yours sales. Product descriptions are just one area that the BKA team can take control of and use to boost your sales.

Unique and original writing all throughout your website is what helps your product stand out. This equates to conversions and your brand being remembered. If a buyer is sitting on the fence about a sale, some cleverly crafted words may be all that’s needed to convert someone.Quality writing is even more important if English isn’t your native language. If you're trying to get noticed in English speaking markets and you’re not sure if you ‘do mistakes’ or ‘make mistakes’, it’s time to find some help.Even for a native English speaker, a fresh set of professional eyes can breathe some new life into your titles. Fresh product descriptions and SEO and get that stagnant stock out the door.We all know how important a blog is to the credibility of your brand. And we all know that you’ve been neglecting your blog for quite a while. Yep, BKA can write your blog for you, too.Need the copywriting on your website redone? BKA will put together a team dedicated to perfectly articulating the wording for your project.Product descriptions, social media, press releases are just a handful of the services that the team can provide perfect English for.Each BKA writer has gone through rigorous training to make sure they can write with SEO in the back of their mind.Long has a battle been fought between the relationship of SEO and good writing.These guys kill those 2 birds with one stone. Back to the top


It will come as no surprise to retailers, that buyers love control. Given a choice, buyers will prefer to create their own combination of products than buying a set 'combo'.Giving the buyer control in your online store is a great idea. Giving the buyer control of the price they pay for a product - well, that’s got some potential.Shopper psychology of earning or winning a discount is powerful. Use it right and increase your chances of conversion.And that’s exactly what Pricewaiter does. Pricewaiter gives the buyer the ability to name their price. When adding a product to the cart, buyers use the tool to ‘haggle’ on price.

When both you and the customer are satisfied with the final price, the product is added to the cart. At all times, the seller is in complete control of all transactions manually or in a pre-defined manner.Integration is as easy as copy/pasting some code into your back end. The next steps are as simple as connecting payment methods for your shoppers and setting up your profile. Now, our dashboard shows a graph that displays your total revenue generated from the PriceWaiter application.Now, our dashboard shows a graph that displays your total revenue generated from the PriceWaiter application.

What I like most about this dashboard though is the data represented underneath. Total clicks, offers and orders, as well as important information about your averages.But now it’s time to set up a campaign.  A campaign is simply one way that people will be able to bargain with your final sale price.

This initial page shows us all the different kinds of ‘discounts’ that are possible. It also explains in which situations they’re best used. Bonus points for also showing how the button will look on your product page.For this example, we’re going to use a simple ‘Make an Offer’ campaign.Our next screen is where things get serious!

Designing the window that customers will see is very simple and to be honest, fun. From this same area, you design the confirmation, counter offer and declined emails.Setting campaigns up like this means that you need to manually interact with every offer. That’s great if you sell small numbers, but when you’re moving larger numbers, automation is essential - and that’s where PriceWaiter thrives.To do this, you place your products into ‘sets’. These product sets are then given rules. The total amount that each product can be discounted or the number that a customer must buy to receive a price break, for example.Price Waiter also goes one step further with the targeting. You can make your offer valid to people only in certain countries. You can even work free postage into the equation to sweeten the deal even more.Price is the one thing that every single person who visits your store will look at, regardless of the reason they're there in the first place.Unfortunately, the price is also something that a lot of sellers refuse to budge on. They set their price with profit margins and won’t budge.But with a tool like Pricewaiter and a little tweaking to your pricing plan, you can empower your buyer and lead yourself to a flood of conversions.Back to the top

Seed The Change

If there is any tool listed in this blog that can literally change the world, it is Seed the Change.Based in Sydney, Australia, Seed The Change is a for-profit subscription-based business. It allows vendors to have trees planted around the world every time a product is sold in their store.Empowering the buyer to help a charity can have a big impact on your conversion rate.

How can this help a seller?One word: Empowerment.You empower your buyer to change the word by buying things. This increases the shareability of the name and can ultimately increase the conversion rate of a store. Giving back to the environment in this way tells the customer that their purchases are changing the planet.Aligning with a charity or good cause like this can help define a brand's image, too.

One of the first companies to use Seed the Change was an organic skincare company. Very little relation to trees and deforestation. After integrating Seed the Change into their checkout process, the company saw 35% increase in conversion rates.A second company, selling novelty pyjamas based around the TV show ‘How I Met Your Mother’, saw a 25% increase in conversion rates. Regardless of what it is you sell, this tool clearly works.

Moral gestures like this are a kind of investment in your customer.The customer sees that the more they spend, the more tree’s they’re planting. The customer spends more.Integration requires you to do little more than copy/paste some code into the right places on your website. There is also the option to have an image displayed on your website, showing how many trees that your store is responsible for planting.

Whilst Seed the Change don’t actually plant the trees themselves, they work hand-in-hand with the conservation charity responsible for rebuilding forests.

This charity plants trees in places like Nepal and Haiti, which is still recovering from the 2010 earthquake.  The charity involved also maintain and protect the tree for 5 years after it’s planted.

The psychology behind cart abandonment can be is worth being aware of. One of the main reasons that people abandon their cart before completing the checkout is guilt. By doing something good on behalf of the buyer, you take away that last minute guilt.Their train of thought goes from "I really shouldn't be buying this for myself..." to "I buy this for myself and I'm making the world a better place too!"Integration into your store is free. For every tree that is planted as a result of a sale, you're charged less than 60 cents (USD) to plant a tree and maintain it for 5 years.A negligible price to pay to change the world, increase average cart spend and boost your conversion rate!Back to the top


I sell phone cases and natural soaps. I’m doing everything I can on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to get my brand seen, but I’m not having much luck. My website is set up very well, but I’m just not getting the attention or traffic needed to make any decent sales.Enter Intellifluence.Intellifluence is a community of influencers who can make a difference to your brand by delivering social proof. What is social proof?Social Proof is defined as a demonstration that other people have made a choice or partaken in a product or service. Social proof is proof that your product exists outside of your website in many different ways. Reviews, testimonials, or social media shares - and that’s what Intellifluence helps you with.Individuals with large social media followings can validate your product. Influencers give you an online presence away from your own website while also thrusting your product in front of their loyal followers.A tasteful and more effective version of product placement, almost.

Simply browse the community for an influencer that’s right for you, reach out and make contact with them. Suddenly your product is in front of that individual's social media following.The influencers will help promote anything: electronics, garden, fashion, homeware, cookware, just about anything.So let’s figure out how to use it to find an influencer for my products. I’ve signed up for my free trial and it’s time to find someone who can help me get my brand some attention.I’m based in the UK and would like my product to be seen across the pond in America. I’m going to make sure to search only for individuals in the U.S.

Here’s Leslie. She’s in the USA and has a huge Twitter following. She's interested in reviewing ‘Clothing & Apparel’ and is very responsive to messages. These notes under her name mean that she would like a product a product of value up to $50, or cash up to $50 for reviewing my product.

I followed the links on her page and found Leslie’s Twitter. I can see she has a large following and a lot of her tweets get interacted with.I also checked out her Instagram and saw that she loves dogs. Maybe I’ll reach out to her and offer her one of my French Bulldog Phone cases!The Intellifluence team give you some great tips when it comes to reaching out to influencers.The most important part of your pitch is to nail the subject line. Just like email marketing, the subject line is what will leave a good impression.Be clear with terms & conditions. Mention a time frame that you’d like a review done by, how many pictures you’d like shared on social media, so on. Be clear with what you want, but also remember to be flexible!There’s no need to ask them if they do reviews - they’re already here to do that. Get straight into your pitch and why they should review your product!Using the built-in messaging platform, I’ve written her a ‘pitch’.

I nervously clicked send and it didn’t take long to get a reply!

Now it’s just a matter of getting postage details and I send the product!What about the natural soaps? Well for this one, I’d like to build a bigger audience at home in the UK.  Searching for influencers just in the UK, I found Tatjana.  

One of the categories that Tatjana wants to be involved with is Health & Beauty.  Perfect for my natural soaps! She has a big following over a lot of channels, as well as a blog - perfect for a review!

She also has a very good Instagram following, which is great, as we know how good Instagram is for social proof!

Again, reach out to her with a well-crafted pitch:

And our influencer replied:

Again, all we have to do now is discuss terms and the finer points of the transaction and we’re all set!Social proof is a very important part of selling online. It increases notoriety, validates your product, pushes it in front of the loyal followers.Intellifluence makes the process of locating a relevant influencer and reaching out to them, much more straightforward - and more promising - than simple cold calling. The fact that every influencer listed in their database wants to do this, takes most of the hard work out of approaching the individual.Used correctly with the right influencer and Intellifluence can increase online sales fast. Get the right influencer and your product can be going viral for all the right reasons.Intellifluence offer a free 14-day trial to help you find your perfect influencer. After that, plans start at $39USD per month to keep you in contact with people that can help your brand out.Special thanks to Leslie Brooks and Tatjana from Fashion Artista their contributions! Back to the top


‘Twitter is an e-commerce sellers dream come true. Twitter, if done correctly, can send your site consistent traffic each month, virtually automated.’-Michael Kawula, Social Quant CEO‘Twitter is dead’ they’re saying.Wrong.It’s evolving.And while it does that, there’s still traffic to tap.Yet an online presence over multiple social media channels can be time-consuming. Customer service, marketing and promotions, a lot of these things happen via social media - and Ritekit makes that easier for Twitter users.The ‘kit’ consists of 4 individual tools:

But today, we’re going to talk about my 2 favourite - RiteTag and RitForge.RiteTag - takes care of hashtags. Using the web page, type in the hashtag you want to use and you’ll be presented with a range of hashtags like yours.Extra information includes how many tweets, retweets use that hashtag. What percentage of tweets with that hashtag have photos or links in them is another useful feature.

RiteForge - is a tweet building suite. Most tweets aren't worth engaging with. ‘Visit my store’. No. Your job is to make it interesting and give me a reason to click.The panel lets you build tweets using .gifs and images, but also lets you tag influencers and suggests hashtags, too. The tool also has it’s own schedule to let you post at certain times.

I logged in to Buffer and started building the social media queue using the RiteForge Chrome extension. This was way too much fun. It is a fantastic tool to easily build unique and memorable tweets!All of the tools in RiteKit come with Chrome extensions, but by far, my favourite is the RiteTag extension.Anytime you write a hashtag in Chrome, a small banner will pop up and show how frequently that hashtag is being used. A very handy way to get the most out of your tweeting!RiteTag has become my go-to tool for hashtag research.

Over to you!

So there you have it.  An in-depth compilation of our favourite ecommerce tools to boost your sales and boost your traffic!Some may work for you, some may not. Go forth and try them for yourself to see how they work for your products.What didn't make the list that should have? Let us know in the comments below!

Phil Forbes
Phil Forbes
Actionable Tips on How to Build Your Email List

Actionable Tips on How to Build Your Email List

Email marketing might be an old dog but it continues to hold its ground. Today we discuss how to build your email list fast, free and from scratch.

Imagine a baker baking bread. What is his key ingredient? He, of course, needs wheat, water, salt and sugar and some fat, but he won’t bake any loaves if he does not use yeast! Yeast triggers the process that allows a mass of dough to become a well-risen loaf of bread.The same applies to your online store. You also need a driving force behind the success of your web store. This force should be your potential customers. You want them to discover your store and become loyal, spending customers. But what's the best way to reach out to them and get them to stick around? Your go-to marketing communication channel should be:

  • commonly used,
  • personal,
  • and cost-effective.

Email marketing might be an old dog among digital tools but it continues to show it’s prominent potential when it comes to your business growth. According to the Custora Q3 2016 report, 19.8% of purchases were driven by email. That’s a huge increase from the 14.2% made during the same timeframe in 2015.


The global usage of email and the number of worldwide email accounts continues to grow. Consumers, in particular, tend to have multiple email accounts. With this channel, you are able to reach most of your potential customers. You can’t imagine anyone you know not having at least one email address, can you? Moreso, according to the DMA, the average email return on investment is 3800%. This means that every dollar invested in email yields a $38 profit. Email marketing is one of the more effective marketing channels and both in terms of cost and results.In addition to this, email gives you the chance to personalise your message and move from one-way advertising to a one-to-one bilateral conversation - a conversation which is relevant and engaging. In the digital world, where ⅔ customers are using Adblock and where Facebook is limiting its organic reach, email can guarantee you the best results in terms of really getting to know your individual customers. As a result, you gain a loyal community of engaged customers. Not to mention, there are many list building strategies that we can use to grow your email list for free.

Why you should start building your own email list.

Whether you’re thinking of running an online store, you’ve just started one or you are already established, expanding your own email list with willing and opted in subscribers can speed up your growth at each and every stage. Given that only 2% of your site visitors are ready to buy, you should encourage them to stay in touch with you, nurture them until the right moment comes and they are willing to make a purchase.Think of your website like a sales funnel. On the top of this funnel are your website visitors and on the very bottom - a small portion of people who become your customers. Since convincing someone to buy is much more difficult than convincing them to give you their email address, your own email list is an asset. And not only in terms of profit, but most of all due to the audience you gather that showed up to hear from you. You will be able to use email marketing as an effective promotion and sales tool because your message will be expected and welcome.

Pro tip:

To make sure you collect quality subscribers who really want to receive emails from you, follow the permission marketing practices. The man behind the idea of permission marketing is Seth Godin and he explains it in his book: “Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers”.The rules of permission marketing prove themselves in collecting email subscribers. Your email service provider allows you to choose between two ways to add new subscribers to your email list:

  • Single Opt-in: adds new subscribers to your list immediately
  • Double Opt-in” a new subscriber is added to your list only after clicking on an activation link in an automatically sent subscription confirmation email.

Always use the Double Opt-in method to make sure no unwilling subscribers, misspelt addresses or nonexistent people are added to your email list. The only subscribers of value are those that are genuinely interested in what you have to say. You can read more about the differences between these two methods here.

How to choose the right email marketing platform?

Before you start building your email list, choose the right email marketing platform. You're making a long term commitment here so take your time. At first glance, a majority of email service providers (ESPs) look pretty much similar in terms of their offer. Emerging digital technologies which email marketing absorbs somehow determine how a good email service provider should look like. Like most things, don’t make your choice based predominantly on price. Try to find an ESP that fits your real needs and helps you utilize online marketing. Look for a platform that is:

  • intuitive and easy to use
  • drag and drop email template editor and a library of responsive email templates
  • offers you multiple app integration options
  • makes it easy to manage and update your subscribers
  • allows you to gather subscriber insights for better personalization and targeting

Pro tip:

Remember about the added value of good customer service! The lack of it is one of the leading reasons why brands switch email service providers.

How to encourage subscribers to join your list.

I mentioned Seth Godin and his book about permission marketing already. Seth presents 5 steps of turning subscribers into customers. The first of them is to offer potential customers something that interests them.Obviously, you can’t expect a great reaction from just “Join our newsletter here!”. An average customer won’t give their email address to just anyone. Make it more interesting by offering something in exchange for the effort. On the basis of what you know about your target group prepare an incentive that will be valuable as a reward for joining your mailing list.

Rebates and discounts

This is a go-to tactic for most online merchants. Immediate discount or the promise of getting future discounts can be a powerful weapon, however, used carelessly it can also do significant damage.

Join the Club!

Who doesn’t love special attention and the perks of being a VIP customer? Create an idea of “the Club” (special program) where you will invite subscribers to exclusive news, new collection previews and other benefits. Make the rewards sound attainable and valuable. Look below at how H&M does it:

Mobile app

Shoppers increasingly use smartphones and tablets. It’s vital that your marketing is adapted to mobile device users so you do not miss out on conversion from this channel. Developing an online app will definitely help you gain subscribers and increase your sales.

These are just three simple, but effective techniques to grow your ecommerce mailing list for free. Read more inspirations here and find out yourself what works for you best.

Grab subscribers wherever and whenever you can

You can grow your email list free almost everywhere where your brand is present. And I encourage you to do so. Whenever your goal is to build an engaged community around your brand, the email list comes in handy and will resonate with the audience you’ve already gathered.

-social media

  • content marketing

However, the most important place for free email list growth is your website, a focal point of all your marketing activities. Make sure opt-in forms placed there are visible as soon as visitors come to your site:

  • In a form of compelling entrance pop-up
  • Or embedded on every single web page on your online store. Your opt-in form should be easy to spot, but at the same time, it cannot interrupt your visitor's purchase process.

Pro tip:

The number of fields on your opt-in forms should be limited to a minimum, because the more fields you require, the less your visitors will be willing to convert. An email address is enough to start email communication with a new subscriber.

There are exceptions to this rule. For example, when you’re offering something in return for a sign-up, like a membership to a VIP club, you are entitled to add more custom fields, because the offer presents real value. How about getting to know your subscriber’s birth date to surprise them with a personalised birthday discount?

Welcome new subscribers

The moment a new subscriber joins your email list is the moment of greatest interest and the basis for all future communication. The email channel is a proven way to foster long-term relationships that often result in sales. As each and every relationship, the way you start can determine how the relationship will evolve. Use a welcome email, a message automatically sent to subscribers at the moment of sign up and:

  • Show off your brand
  • Say thank you for joining your community
  • Deliver what you promised during the sign-up process
  • Make a great first impression

You can also create an automated cycle of autoresponders to feed your audience with additional content that allows you to keep in contact with people over time. Cyclical messages are a great occasion to ask recipients to create a special folder to keep the emails for easier access later - another signal to Gmail that positively influences your reputation as a sender.The more data you collect about your subscribers on what actions they are taking in their inboxes, and on-site, the better you can target them based on their stage in the buying journey and really benefit from email marketing potential!For more great tips on email marketing, check out the article, Email Marketing Magic that has tips and insights from email marketing pros, including Shoplo's very own content writer, Phil or go take a look at the FreshMail blog.

Maria Wachal
Maria Wachal
How to sell on Etsy: proven tactics shared by successful Etsy shops

How to sell on Etsy: proven tactics shared by successful Etsy shops

Are you running your own Etsy shop but not happy with your sales? Learn how to sell more on Etsy from 5 of the most popular Etsy sellers. Read now.

Perhaps you're new to the Etsy game. Maybe you've just had a nice summer break and want to kick it up again.  Maybe you're interested in selling one of the many other sites like Etsy.To assist you on your Etsy adventure, whatever stage it's at, we’ve gone out and spoken to 5 of the most established Etsy shops. These sellers have used Etsy to turn an idea into a brand and grow that idea. It worth noting though, that many of the sellers here have found their success by selling on Etsy and a website (like WooCommerce or Shopify) - or even one the many other sites like Etsy.With nearly half a million sales between them, our 5 Etsy pros have given us answers that anyone can use to increase their Etsy sales.

Lea - Etsy Shop: Words and Confetti

11,800+ sales since 2015

Question: What is the best way to drive traffic to your store? Does Etsy naturally take care of it? The best way to drive traffic to your Etsy shop is to master Etsy’s algorithm and to use accurate keywords! Indeed, if Etsy provides you with tons of potential customers, they don’t automatically place your products in front of them. That’s your part of the job and I recommend using the fabulous Etsy Stats page to help you with it! If your product is visible already, you still need to make sure people click on it rather than another one. To do that, you need to have not only the best product but also the best display photo they will see.To drive traffic, I also use social media and especially Pinterest and Instagram. I pin my products after I’ve listed them in my shop and simply doing that has brought a lot of customers to my shop. To give you an example, I have an art print that was sold over 300 times in one month and every single customer saw it on Pinterest. You have to take advantage of free advertisement.Another great way to drive traffic is to collab with influencers whose audience may be interested in your shop. You can do that by sending them free products, asking them if you can write a guest blog post for them or even.In my experience, driving traffic to your Etsy shop takes time so be patient!  


  • Understand and use Etsy SEO and tags.
  • Optimize your product listings and use the best possible photos you can.
  • Use Social Media- Instagram & Pinterest - to drive traffic to your Etsy shop.
  • Work with influencers to gain a new audience.

Shelley - Etsy Shop: C and T Custom Lures

34,600+ sales since 2013

Question: What are the key ingredients to growing a successful e-commerce business?The key ingredients to growing a successful e-commerce business are above all else hard work and the motivation to work long hours. It’s important to have a product that people connect to and want to purchase for many occasions. Buying online is an impulse buy a lot of times, so the product has to have instant appeal - plus a good refund policyIt’s equally as important to provide great customer service and quality work to gain trust and return customers.


  • Stay focused, motivated and don’t be scared to put in the long hours.
  • Try and make your product more than just a ‘one off’ purchase.
  • Make your product appeal to impulsive buyers.
  • Follow through with quality customer service.

Natalya - Etsy Shop: Natalya1905

12,100+ sales since 2009Question: What marketing method has worked best for you?

Since I started Natalya1905 in 2009, things have changed a lot. Almost 100% changed. What worked then, doesn't work anymore. There are dozens of ways to market your Etsy shop nowaday - and there’s too many to use them all correctly. Like entering Netflix or Barnes & Noble, you want to see everything, but there’s no way you will. This is why I believe in optimizing your efforts. It saves you time and your sanity. Choose the marketing method (or two) you like best. Social media, email marketing, blogging (whatever you're most comfortable with) and focus on it. Make it the main funnel to bring attention to your brand and drive sales. Pick your method(s) and stick to it. Let any other marketing method work around your main one.For me, Instagram is the main marketing tool. I post all the news there (new designs, new pattern releases, sales, events, questions, giveaways, collaborations, etc.). Some of my fellow Etsy sellers prefer Facebook, some love Pinterest, others run a blog or a YouTube channel.In the end, find out what you like best, learn how to use it effectively and work hard to make your success happen.


  • Use what you already know.
  • Pick one or two marketing channel and learn them inside out.
  • Focus all your marketing efforts into these channels to get the most out of them.

Maiko - Etsy Shop: Decoylab

7,800+ sales since 2007

Question:What's the most common issue when selling crafts on Etsy and how did you overcome it?The first thing comes to my mind is pricing. You have to know how to price your items. You don't want to undersell yourself. Unlike mass producers, individual crafters pay more in material costs. I see many crafters eventually approached by retailers for wholesaling. Unfortunately, because they didn’t factor wholesaling into their retail price, they have to decline the option of wholesaling as they’d have to sell to the wholesaler for less than what it costs to make the product. Their business, therefore, can’t grow, because they’ve been trying to make price the most attractive part of their item. If your plan is to expand to an Etsy alternative or beyond selling directly to customers, then you do have to alter your pricing.Pricing is an art of its own. And it is not fixed or rigid thing. Customers have different perceptions, expectations when they see the products and how much they are. Paying attention to that is important.


  • Don’t be afraid to make a profit.  
  • Don’t try and sell at a lower price to get more sales.
  • Be prepared to sell to a wholesaler for 30%-50% less than what you sell on Etsy.

Gabriel - Etsy Shop: PrettyGraphikDesign

351,000+ sales since 2012

Question: What was the worst advice you’ve ever heard about promoting your online store?As we really started our Etsy shop in the early days of digital products for handmade artists, we really had nowhere to look for advice. We basically had no idea how to start an Etsy shop.We really focused on working on building inventory, developing marketing strategies and sharing our business through social media. Never, ever do tomorrow what you could do today. Setting goals and action plans and actually doing them is really the best advice we can give. We studied and took advice from mentors and masterclass over the years, but to this day, but what is most important is that you apply those principles to your business right now.These simple steps are what we followed to create our dream business.


  • Look for the advice of those that are experienced, not just educated or knowledgeable.
  • Set measurable and realistic goals to keep yourself moving forward
  • Develop a plan for social media and marketing.
  • Don’t do it tomorrow if it can be done today.


One observation we have made of all our Etsy pros is that most of them have their own website.Words and Confetti sell on their website and also show off their great photography, while PrettyGrafikDesign and Decoy Lab operate a blog too. This lets them get the most of SEO and Google searches. C&T Custom Lures sells their entire range on their own website, too which cuts down on Etsy listing and sales fees!With these tips fresh in your mind, go forth and do what our Etsy pros have done - sell more!

Phil Forbes
Phil Forbes
11 ecommerce growth tips from top industry leaders

11 ecommerce growth tips from top industry leaders

Don't have an ecommerce marketing & sales strategy? These 11 tips from industry influencers will help you create one for your store. Click and learn how.

Phil Forbes
Phil Forbes
How To Sell On Facebook Using Facebook Live

How To Sell On Facebook Using Facebook Live

Have you heard of Facebook Live? Click here to see how 'Going live' can help your handmade craft brand be seen by more fans and sell more! Learn now.

This article is a guest post from the incredibly wise Jackie Muscat of Craft My Success.If you have a Facebook business page and a Facebook store that you use to sell your products or promote your Etsy store, the reach and engagement of your posts is extremely important. [sc name="etsy ebook"]If you're struggling to increase these stats, then there is one very simple and free tool you can use which guarantees a boost in these two super duper relevant areas.Video.And if you’re not using Facebook video regularly as part of your social media marketing, I have a question for you….are you “the petrified” or “the sporadic”?

  • The petrified. Video feels waaaay to exposed for you. Your inner critic raises begins to scream  “You can’t make a video!!! You’ll look stupid/foolish/ugly. No one will ever watch it and you’ll look like a total fool!!!” You don’t have any idea what to say or how to say it or even understand the tech fully. It all seems far too complicated and far too terrifying and so you just avoid it and keep posting photos instead.
  • The sporadic. You’ve done a couple, entertained the idea of using a video editor tool such as iMovie or Movie Maker but you always forget to make them and weeks go by between your streamings. You also feel uninspired by what to make a video about and sometimes the effort just seems too much.

I was listening to Michael Stelzner, the brains behind Social Media Examiner, one of the largest sites for social media help for businesses, and he claims that “If you’re going to make 5 Facebook posts next week, make 4 of them video”. He knows his stuff when it comes to social media so I trust him when he makes this sweeping statement. That is the power of video.In case you need a bit more convincing here are a few more facts…

  • Facebook live video is watched 3x more than pre-recorded video
  • The Facebook algorithm LOVES Live video and pushes that in the newsfeed more than a standalone photo post
  • Facebook live video receives on average 135% more organic reach than a photo post
  • 4x as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it

(source: what's the one thing you should take from this article?People will watch Facebook live videos longer than they will native videos.So, now you understand the importance of Facebook video, we're going to discuss how to properly sell on Facebook and to use it to engage your followers better. By the end of this mammoth blog, you'll know how to

  • Use Facebook live to keep your followers engaged and entertained
  • My favourite Facebook live tips & tricks
  • Advertise to people who have watched your videos
  • Create a Facebooking branding strategy for your arts & craft brand

How to go live on Facebook

You need to use your phone, or iPad or laptop and the Facebook Pages app. Mac users will need to use a third party app like OBS which is a tad more complicated. Simply go to your Facebook business page and when using the Pages app, you’ll see a button right at the top which says “Live”. Add your title for your live and a hook for why people should watch, you can even have a play around with filters, flip the camera forward and add a flash, and then once you’re ready, hit the red camera button at the bottom and you have a 3...2...1…countdown to prepare your beautiful smile welcoming your fans to watch. you make your next fabulous debut today.

facebook live tips how to go live
facebook live tips ideas

5 Facebook Live Ideas for your next video

  1. Craft show & Facebook Live - I know it's hectic before a craft show but it's a great idea to go live before the doors open to show your stall, what you have on offer and entice people to "come on down". Great to also do a quick Live at the end of the show thanking all those customers who bought and viewed and chatted with you and to talk about your best seller - huge for social proof.
  2. Behind the scenes - People are SO nosy. What you may think is unimportant or boring will be fascinating to your ideal customer. So use Facebook Live to show your workspace, how you organise yourself, how you source your products or why you use that material over another material. It is a fantastic way to build authority and professionalism with your business - plus people genuinely want to know!
  3. Sale / Coupon announcements - Get in front of that camera, be super energised and get excited - what a great way to promote a sale and generate some hype. Also, a great way to build some momentum for stock you’re just wanting to get rid of.
  4. Address feedback or questions - Do you find yourself answering the same questions time and time again and even having the answers in a pinned post isn't working? Use a Facebook Live to talk through those and any feedback (good obviously) you may have had recently from a product.
  5. Tease new products - Use Facebook Live and again your great energy and passion to tease at new products. Show only the materials, not the finished product. Or show a corner of the item but not the full image. Talk about the inspiration behind. A great way to build anticipation for a product with a combination of videos and standard posts.

Still struggling for ideas? Over on my blog, I've thrown together my own course for DIY social media videos (that don't look DIY). Head over and check it out.

Facebook Live Tips & Tricks For Your Next Video

Make the first few seconds count. Lead with a question which will hook them to keep watching such as "Have you left it late to order that birthday present for your best friend? I've got you covered!"Use the header to hook. Again don't just type "going Live about my products" - make it interesting and exciting for someone to click and hear it (not just watch it on silent)Repurpose them. If you're making them make sure you're using them to the max! Download the live as an HD video and upload to your blog, website, email list, youtube etc.Have fun! There are filters and stickers on FB live and they are there to use to add some fun. It's not just for the kids y'know.If you're shy - start off behind the camera. As a maker, you have a huge advantage of being able to show your hands only! So if you need to build up confidence to talk to the camera, start off showing your hands making whilst you talk using a tripod and your phone pointed at the desk (you can pick up bendy desk phone tripods for next to nothing)Smile before it starts. When you hear that 3..2....1.. countdown put on your biggest smile so when it goes live you're looking amazing and super welcoming. Use the emojis. Ask for people to hit that like button if they like what they see or ask for people to show you some love. Again have fun with it! (extra tip - this is also good for a reach point of view as when people hit an emoji it will pop up in the newsfeed that they’re watching your Live) ? ? ? ?

Running A Facebook Ad To People Who Have Watched Your Live Video

Now, this little gem of advertising magic is one of the many reasons why I love Facebook. Using Ads Manager you can create audiences for your Facebook adverts based upon who has watched one, several or ALL of your Facebook videos. How great is that!? Not only do videos get the most reach you can also then retarget these people to see more of your business and products!!! KERCHING!Ok so here is how you do it and just to note, these instructions are for desktop Facebook (not mobile). Anything to do with ads I would suggest you use desktop as the full functionality will be there (unlike mobile).First, click on your Ads Manager by clicking on the drop-down arrow at the top right of your homepage. You’ll see “Manage Adverts” towards the bottom and click on there.Click the expanded menu which is the 3 horizontal line button at the top left of and click on “Audiences”.Click Create an audience / Custom audience / Engagement / VideoYou should see this on your screen….

facebook live tips remarketing

From here you can choose your content type, so in this case, we are choosing one, several or all of your Facebook live videos. You can and should create several video audiences based upon all the variables you have at your disposal.  Once you click on “choose a content type” you’ll be asked to choose one of the below options.

facebook live tips retargetting

It’s time to put on our common sense hats here. If you have a video that lasted 5 minutes, advertising to an audience who watched at least 3 seconds is going to be wider and more expensive and potentially less engaged than an audience who watched 75% of your video. You can only pick one of these content types at a time hence why I create an audience with 50%, 75% and 95% and test my ads.Once you’ve picked your content type you then can pick your videos by clicking on the browse button.Note - that you need to be going in regularly and updating this audience if you are using them for ads as when you create new videos they won’t automatically be included.Choose a date range, again I tend to keep this reasonably relevant at 60 days rather than a full calendar year (who remembered what videos they watched 10 weeks ago let alone 52?) to keep my audiences relevant and as cheap as possible.Give it a name (I’m Captain Obvious when it comes to this y’all…..“50% watched ALL Videos”) click create audience and in 20/30 mins you will have your populated lists ready to use for adverts.So there we have it! Now, we're going to discuss getting your Facebook Page in tip-top shape to help you sell more!

Optimize your Facebook Business Page to Sell More

“You can’t make a first impression twice”I’m not sure who said that originally, but this is never more true than in the online world. On average, adults today consume 12 hours of media a DAY. That includes social media, newspapers, TV, movies, music and radio. Majority of those 12 hours are on our mobile devices or desktop.So it’s never been truer that as business owners we need to make sure our messages are clear, concise and easy to understand. Attention spans have reduced rapidly over the last few years. You’re probably even skim reading this post to some extent.That's why every sentence is a new paragraph -our ability to consume information in bite-size micro chunks has become more prevalent in the 21st Century.So, how do we ensure that we are not fighting against this with our Facebook pages for our businesses?That we are grabbing attention quickly and promoting our businesses clearly and not leaving any ambiguity at the door?

Setting up your Facebook “shopfront”.

When a new visitor lands on your page they notice 3 things within nanoseconds.

  • Your cover image
  • Your profile pic
  • Your business name

Those 3 need to be a cohesive collaboration. Think the Supremes. All singing in harmony to create a beautiful memorable song.If you get this wrong, your ideal customer could bounce off your page never to return again. So it’s SUPER important to spend time getting this right.

Facebook Cover Image Tips

This is the biggest real estate on your Facebook page. You will never have another opportunity to show your products or business in such a large way on your page again. Post pictures and videos are half the size.So how do we use this to our advantage?The job of your cover image is to clearly showcase your business or products with a mix of pictures and words.Tips for creating a cover image that POPS!

  • Use a beautifully shot HD photo/s of your products. Your best sellers. Or what your business is known for.
  • Add your elevator pitch statement or emotive words to convey who the business is for

You can use to create this within minutes. They have the up to date sizing for the cover image and also examples you can tweak to suit, for free.TIP - did you know you can use their “paid for” designs for free if you swap out their stock image for one of your own? Try it!Here are some fantastic examples:

facebook live tips marketing
facebook live tips header
facebook live tips banner
facebook live tips social media

TIP - make sure you put the focal point for the cover image in the centre as on mobile the left and right edges will be cropped.

Facebook Profile Picture Tips

There are a couple of standard options here. Use your logo, another product picture or if you’re a key feature of your business, a picture of you. Be mindful with the last option to make the photo of you, not a face on a photo as this may confuse people that they’ve landed on a personal page. Instead try an artistic photo of you making, or creating, or at your workstation with a cup of java.

Tell a story in your About section

When I review crafters & artists Facebook pages I always make sure I look at the About section. Why? Because this is a perfect opportunity for you to humanise your business and tell the story about your business. It’s a great way to connect with your viewer and build your know, like and trust factor with them, and become memorable. Your business is more than just your product. Don’t believe you have a story? Oh, my creative one of course you do!Perhaps you’re a stay at home Mum of 3 kids and you needed a creative outlet from the washing and the cooking and the taxi driving to gymnastics and the Maths tutor. You remembered you used to love painting when you were at school so you created a space in the spare room where you can let your inhibitions go and just be.Perhaps you work in a dull corporate job and you dream of creating wedding stationery full time. You stumbled upon your talent during your own wedding planning where you couldn’t quite find the perfect boho design so you created it. And you received compliments and orders from friends and family and then your business was born and it’s the fire in your belly.If you click on the “edit” button on your about section and complete the “long description” section you can write your story there.

Make it easy for people to buy.

We are all so so lazy. And always so busy. Along with our attention span, our patience for purchasing has become shorter and shorter. Call it the eBay age where with 3 clicks we can buy a new bed or a new outfit.Another common mistake I see on Facebook pages is creative people feeling scared or worried to “sell”. They talk about the product, show a photo but either expect people to click send a message to buy or to find it somewhere on their website or Etsy store.Sadly, this could be losing you sales and it’s such a quick and easy fix. 3 ways to make the sales process more seamless

  • Create a Facebook shop (it’s free) and then you’ll have the ability to link your products in your posts
facebook live tips newsfeed
  • Use a link to direct people to your Etsy page or website to purchase in the post.
  • Ask people to comment “I want this” in the comments and you reply with a link (great for the algorithm, but risky if no one comments!)

Now go forth and revamp that Facebook page so you can sleep at night assured that you’re not leaving money at the Facebook door.

Branding your business for social media

Have you given much thought to your brand?And no, I don’t mean your logo and colours.I mean your brand. The footprint you leave with people after they interact with you. Your business ethos. The feeling your business elicits.Building a brand that lasts and works has to be a combination of a few things

  • You
  • Your products
  • Your ideal customer

For my business, Craft my Success, I went through this process with a fine tooth comb and I hit some challenges.Because I am quite different to my ideal customer. I am more confident, more bold, more loud. I have the mouth of a sailor at times and enjoy my own jokes far too much for a normal person. My ideal customer is under-confident, fearful at times, unsure how to navigate social media and the kind of person who sits in the corner at the party next to the sausage rolls whilst I’m the drunk one on the floor busting bad Beyonce moves.So how can I find a middle ground that appeals to me and appeals to them whilst also promoting my business in the right light that doesn’t alienate or intimidate?I started by coming up with 3 words or feelings I want my business to stand for. Things I’m proud to be known for. Things I’m passionate about. Things I want people to feel when they find me. What I would love people to associate with me. They were creative, confident and clear.I also like alliteration.Then I began to search for photos that would appeal to the more feminine and soft side of my ideal customer whilst also ticking my boxes. My audience is creative souls, mostly handmakers and artists and I am a huge fan of flatlay (don’t judge me, I know it’s everywhere these days but I do love it!). So I found these images on and I purchased them to be my brand images.

facebook live tips branding
facebook live tips craft

The clean sharpness of the photos ticks the clarity box, plus the staged items show that my business is for creative people. The soft feminine tones don’t make me turn my nose up either! So how can you create a brand that speaks to your ideal customer whilst also ensuring that it’s you and your products?What would be your 3 words or emotions?I asked people in my monthly free challenge group to do the same...but I banned a couple of words from their list.

  • Handmade
  • Unique
  • Personalised

Why? Because those words are used so often they have lost their meaning. Every handmaker and artist is saying the same thing. What more impactful words could you use to describe the feeling you wish people to feel when they buy your artwork or your jewellery or clothes? How does this translate into your product photography and props? How does this seep into your copywriting? How does your brand seep into everything you do?Let’s think about coffee.Take any street where there are several coffee shops. Small independents and the big boys. What would you notice? The Starbucks has a consistent line of customers. The independents have a trickle of sales. Why? Is it because their coffee is superior? Maybe, but maybe not. I would put money on it being because their brand breeds familiarity. You know what you’re getting with Starbucks. You’ve bought the coffee in another town or street and you liked it. If you buy coffee from the small independent you may not like it. You also buy into the experience. The smell of the ground coffee. The rustic tubs of ground coffee for sale. The dark wood. The friendly baristas. The efficiency. The European feel. The friendliness.

How can you as a maker and artist build your brand into your social media?

Consider a few key points

  • Your photography. How would your fan notice it was your business in their newsfeed when scrolling? What are the easy identifiers? What style of photography would entice new ideal customers to stop and read? What props can you use to help elicit the core emotion/feel/ethos of your business?
  • Your website / cover image / background images. Much like my photos, what can you use as a backdrop to your business that showcases your brand and lures your ideal customer?
  • Your messages. If you are passionate about using sustainable packaging and materials in your business and sustainability and environmental factors are important to your brand - talk about them! Shout it from the roof top!
  • Your voice. Always be writing to connect to your ideal customer. Use emotive language and stories to get your point across and make it memorable. Use your personality (yes you have one) to be unique. To stand out.
  • Be consistent across platforms. Don’t have a different feel or brand across different platforms, make sure whatever style you choose suits all social platforms.

None of this happens overnight, not a brand worth building anyway! So it’s okay if this takes you days, weeks or even months to build. But once you’ve nailed it, it becomes second nature. Good luck!

Phil Forbes
Phil Forbes
6 Ways Retail Brands can use Facebook for Marketing

6 Ways Retail Brands can use Facebook for Marketing

We've got 6 tips for retailers marketing on Facebook as offline retail brands now consider Facebook and social media marketing as a necessity, not a luxury.

They say what’s in fashion now will have its time in the moonlight and then a new trend will take its place. But there’s no mistaking the podium Facebook has cemented itself on as one of the premier platforms for social media marketing for retailers. It’s no longer a luxury for retailers, but a necessity. Luckily, by optimizing their Facebook business page, doing a bit of market research, and taking advantage of Facebook’s business features specifically tailored for retail businesses, retailers can use the platform to exponentially grow their business. Here are 6 tips on how to do just that.

Optimizing Your Facebook Business Page

Your Facebook business page will be ground zero for your marketing efforts on the social platform. From there, you can offer special promotions, post images and deals for new items, and display company announcements. Here’s a short checklist of things every retail business page should take advantage of on Facebook:

  • Vanity URL  
  • Create an optimized welcome message to send to first-time visitors to your page
  • Have an informative About section complete with your business information, awards, milestones, and your overall company story and message
  • Links to all of your other social media profiles
  • Other business locations if you have more than one

Once you have all of these in place, it’s time to begin collecting data on your overall market strategy for the platform.

Conduct Market Research on the Platform

The foundation of any social media strategy should begin with market research on the platform you’re interested in. This encompasses things like:

  • Identifying niche influencers
  • Knowing your target audience
  • Staying on top of current trends
  • Compiling quantitative and qualitative data on all the above.

Manually combing through the platform to find this kind of data is time-consuming. We recommend utilizing a social media monitoring and listening tool to quickly get the data you need. For our example, we’ll use Unamo Social Media Monitoring.

Setting up Your Topic

Decide if you initially want to monitor your brand or just product items in your niche. For this example, we’ll start with “women(s) t-shirts”. It’s always a good idea to cast a wide net at first and clean your data afterwards to whittle down your results. From our initial search, we get 13,000 mentions in the last month. Most of these come from businesses marketing their own products and promotions, but if we want to see actual walking, talking people then we’ll sort by men and women. Now we’ve got a more relevant and manageable 10,000 mentions from women.

6 tips retail marketing facebook stats

Parsing Through Data

We know that people talk about clothes on Facebook. The sheer amount of mentions and such isn’t very important without the context of a viral trend. What is important is the contextualization of these mentions. The top Facebook mentions with the most engagement revolve around:

  • Contests
  • Influencer promotion
  • Popular culture references

This allows retailers to identify possible promotion and vanity themes that users are interested in.However, it’s important to create content in context with your target audience on social media. Just because some user here are interested in Night Owl t-shirts doesn’t mean it applies to a brand marketing hiking apparel.

6 tips retail marketing facebook giveaway

Identify the top influencers and posts and emulate their process whenever possible, but do so for your own audience. Also when performing your social media monitoring you can filter for pricing mentions in which case you can market your lower-priced products when consumers are discussing similar items that are priced higher.Conduct your initial market research as a springboard to get your Facebook campaigns off on the right foot.


Retailers have a distinct advantage on social media with contests. This is due to:

  • Easily shipping products to winners
  • Engaging with your already existing audience
  • Communication about size, colours, etc.
  • The universal want and need for more products from a consumer standpoint.

Contests are a great way to continually stimulate engagement, promote products, and build brand awareness. A good example of a contest was Curbside Clothing’s giveaway.

6 tips retail marketing facebook contests

The above post clearly states the directions on how users can enter the contest by sharing it or tagging a friend. They also provide links to product pages to view the merchandise. Even if some users don’t win, they may buy the products all the same. The process is simple enough to get up and running in a matter of minutes and has a huge ROI in raising brand awareness and promoting niche products. When marketing retail products on Facebook, it’s always a good idea to let the consumers do it for you by sharing your content and tagging their friends in it.


Niche Facebook groups are perfect places to market retail products that group members may enjoy.

6 tips retail marketing facebook groups

These groups have built-in audiences that have a passion for your product niche. The important part for retail marketers is not to be too heavy-handed in promoting your specific products. Rather they should take part in discussions and offer solutions when they are requested. However, some groups are specifically made to spot retail promotions and offers, in which case it’s vital to be an active member and promote your products when applicable. Run a simple search on Facebook and look in the Groups tab. They have descriptions which highlight what kind of content is allowed and what’s not permitted.

Facebook Catalogs

Facebook Catalogs are a must for any retail marketing campaign. Uploading a catalog to your Facebook Business may require some developer work, but when it’s done you’ll be happy you did it. Facebook catalogs allow retailers to catalog all of their products that they would like to market on Facebook. Cataloging items allows retailers to tag them in posts in which they appear so that users can easily hover over them, click them, and then be taken to your online store for purchase.

6 tips retail marketing facebook comments

Catalog items can be tagged in photos or videos and be used to re-target users as part of your Facebook advertising campaigns. You can visit Facebook’s guidelines on how to create catalogs here or create a data feed on your Shoplo account and upload it there.


What will help you in encapsulating all of the advice in this article is setting up a Facebook pixel on your website for retargeting purposes. Essentially, a custom Facebook pixel will allow you to mark certain pages and behaviours of users on your website so that you can later target them on the platform with special offers and ads. Facebook Dynamic Ads are great for that.Users that visit certain pages or search for things on your website can later be targeted via custom audiences.

6 tips retail marketing facebook ads

You can also create custom pixels based on catalogs so that these catalogs can be targeted at your audiences based on their previous behaviours on your website. Facebook’s pixel and custom audience can really bring any Facebook retail marketing full-circle. For example, any retail marketer can run this sequence of events with a limited budget:

  1. Create a Contest
  2. Have users tag their friends and share the content
  3. Promote product pages on your site via this contest that these users will click
  4. Finish the contest
  5. Re-target the users that visited with discounts or other promotions from the product’s catalog that was featured in the contest.

An easy and repeatable strategy that can have a great ROI for a business. Retargeting is an essential component of any retail marketing campaign on Facebook.


Marketing retail products on Facebook is somewhat of a systematic approach; marketers have to be aware of constant trends occurring and adapt their strategy to them constantly. Luckily, there is a very easily adapted streamlined approach to be ready for anything as long as the foundation of their strategy is in place with the abovementioned advice. Good luck!

How to compete with big brands

How to compete with big brands

Being a small store has its benefits. Use them to compete with big brands. See 5 possible advantages of your business over the big competitors.

[sc name="50 ways"]

Find your own niche and become its expert

One of the key factors crucial for ecommerce store to succeed is the choice of an adequate niche. The biggest stores offer a great deal of various products. Therefore, what is favorable in smaller stores, is their curated selection of goods, so that the items they have in stock meet customers' demands and are of really high quality. Take Lamps&Co. for example – it offers only original, handmade products for children prepared by best designers and manufactures. Of course, founding a business as a niche does not have to exclude expanding its assortment in future.

Lamps&Co products

Human customer service

Because of a large scale of the biggest stores, they remain anonymous in relations with their customers, whereas in smaller shops it is much easier to reply to all the e-mails you get, talk with the users and listen to them in social media.By keeping in touch with your customers not only will you gain crucial knowledge, but it will also help you build relationship with them, which may prove fruitful. Always remember to be positive and personal in communication with customers - you will not sound like a robot then. In terms of the best medium - offer as many as you can.Livechat has become more and more popular in the last few years, but email and traditional phone support ensure that everyone can communicate with you how they want to. If you're wary about providing phone support, an online answering service like PATLive may be the best solution for you.

Better product descriptions

In the majority of large ecommerce stores the descriptions of products are copied from wholesalers' catalogs. Unique product descriptions will enable you to optimise your store in search engines so that it is more visible and consequently visited more frequently.

Your own products

Preparing your own products gives you a guarantee that the goods you sell are unique and that the only place where customers are able to find them is your store. It helps you achieve a higher margin, since users do not have a possibility to compare your prices with other stores. Moreover, customers are more likely to pay more for things which they know are unusual.

An exceptional store history

Another advantage of your store may be its history – let your customers be the part of it. A way to emphasise the uniqueness of your store is to attach a deeper meaning to sales, for example by donating to some foundation or selling only the products with a fair trade mark. An instance of a store with such unusual history is business run by two sisters, Martha and Anna, whose grandfather was a tailor and they are still sewing and selling dresses together.

Manufacturing at Szyjemy Sukieki

The owners of small stores strive to be like the large, popular brands instead of taking advantage of the superiority they have over their competitors. What is your strategy to compete with large stores?

Agnieszka Lekszycka
Agnieszka Lekszycka
15 Awesome Things You Can Learn From The Best Etsy Sellers

15 Awesome Things You Can Learn From The Best Etsy Sellers

86% of Etsy sellers are Women. So what can we learn from men on Etsy? We discussed business, days off & marketing with some of our favourite male sellers.

What can we learn about 'men on Etsy'? What can the male sellers teach these '86%'?To help out the gents, we’ve decided to shine the Shoplo spotlight on some of our favourite men on Etsy, the best sellers that come from Mars. We asked a multitude of questions about their business, how they grow and develop and how they find selling on Etsy.

Roy of Christ Centered Forge creates unique hand forged skillets, hammered copper bowls, to floral sculptures.

Kosmas of Aluminiopassions makes customised aluminium items, such as bracelets, necklaces, key chains and other gift items.

Howard Brown of Brown & Williams Clothiers and Temporal Outfitters does a lot in the way of Vintage British clothing and vintage modern/retro clothing.

Bryan of bryancronk ceramics makes utilitarian pottery and attractive, rustic, handmade ceramics for everyday living.

Damir of fireflygentsware specialises in custom made and one-off vintage gentlemen's wear ranging from ties, tie clips, pins, and cufflinks.

Anthony of wakethetree creates fine modern furniture built for everyday use, handmade from beautiful solid wood.

How did you learn your skill to make your product?

Roy: I've been acquiring my blacksmithing skills over a span of about 8 years. I started learning on my own, mostly by reading books written by other blacksmiths, and also by trial and error. After several years, I started attending craft schools such as Touchstone Center for Crafts and John C. Cambell Folk School and I found that my skills increased exponentially by studying under a smith more advanced than myself.

Bryan: Needing to step away from the computer, I signed up for a ceramics class 8 years ago, and have been experimenting with pottery techniques since

Damir: I have been making things such as cufflinks for a few years as a hobby, just used the internet and went from there...

Anthony: My father is a woodworker. I grew up helping him in the shop and learning from him.

Newman (left) and Anthony hard at work.

At what point did you decide to work for yourself and not someone else?

Bryan: Pretty much now. I still currently have a 9-5 day job but am in the process of figuring out what it will take to be a creator full-time, and hope to be working for myself by 2017.

Roy: Up until about 4 years ago, I had a great career as a lead HVAC installation technician. One rainy morning, I got into a car accident on my way to work. That wreck caused me to have a spinal injury to such a degree that I could no longer work in that trade. I took a leap of faith that my passion of blacksmithing could provide for my family.

How did you hear about Etsy and why did you decide to use it?

Damir: I've been using it for a few years after I shopped on there once and said, "I can do that too!"

Kosmas: I heard through a friend who was also an Etsy seller. It was an opportunity for me to promote and sell my work outside Greece since nowadays my country faces a serious economic crisis.

When/what was the changing point in your business?

Kosmas: When my earnings from my Etsy shop covered my daily expenses. From this point on I decided to become a full-time Etsy seller.

Bryan: In the beginning, I posted all of my work. it was unfocused and scattered. A couple years ago, I started making faux bois style pottery, and it felt as if I found a voice. I put the new work onto Etsy and the reception was better than I expected. It was the first time I felt like I was on to something. My ceramics business and career is still in its infancy, but that was a changing point because it became clear what my direction and focus would be going forward.

A fine example of Bryan's work.

What was the biggest challenge that you faced in your first year?

Howard: Getting our listings/ products to stand apart from all the other offerings on Etsy.

Damir: Getting customers. I have a Facebook page too. I found that the more items you have the more likely someone will buy. Also, really high-quality pictures help!

Anthony: Making sure that we were managing our money well. When we started out, we tried not to accrue debt. We wanted to work with what we had, little by little. I had to start a shop from scratch, so getting the money together for shop tools and equipment was a challenge. I had to learn to be more creative with what I had, to make due with less. We also had to adjust to our new lives and learn to create a balance between personal and business.

Roy: My biggest challenge I faced during my first year was breaking my dependency on a weekly paycheck. When you sell online, the amount of money you make in any given week or month greatly varies. When you have terrific sales, you better save some of that money. And when you sales are dry, you better tighten your belt.

No doubts about Roy's work being functional and attractive.

How big is your team?

Roy: My team is fairly small. Including myself, there are five people who do work related to Christ Centered Ironworks. I do the majority of the forge work. I have two other blacksmiths that I sub-contract on an irregular basis. I also work with a local wood artisan to create crates for my skillets. My wife does everything related to the computer- bookkeeping, creating listings, replying to customers, social media posts, plus photography too.

Howard: Only 2 of us.

Kosmas: Apart from myself, my teammates are my wife who helps out when there is need and my little dog Joy who provides moral support.

Bryans assistant is also a great talker.

What does a day look like?

Roy: I wake up at 6am with my wife. We read our Bible, pray, go for a jog, and eat. After we've spent our time together, we wake up our children at 8am. I generally work from 9am to 5pm, stopping for lunch midday. If I'm cutting some deadlines close for orders, I spend two more hours in the forge after dinner. Normally we wrap up the evening with a movie and a prompt 11pm bedtime.Anthony: I try to get up early in the morning for a run. Sometimes it’s 4 or 5 AM, but making the time to get some exercise and be outside is important to me. Some mornings I’m in the office, working through details with customers on custom projects, purchasing materials or doing design work. Then I work on shop projects. Liz spends most of her day in the office. We usually quit around 6 or 7 PM to cook dinner and spend a bit of time together, relaxing before going to bed.Kosmas: My day starts at 7.30 a.m. and stops at 01.00 a.m. when I go to bed again.

Kosmas thanks one of his supportive Street Teams

Where do you find ways to improve your business?

Damir: I look around at other stores and keep up with what people buy. Changing prices, pictures etc. as the weeks go on.

Bryan: I read a lot. I read financial and entrepreneur blogs, keep up with Ceramics Monthly magazine, follow and watch what other ceramic artists are doing on social media. It’s a lot of trial and error, reading, and observing others.

Anthony: We keep up with other small business owners on social media and blogs. Liz reads some small business blogs and researches specific questions that we have. We try to keep a fresh perspective on things.

Anthony has a close eye for detail

What are your plans to develop the company?

Kosmas: My goal is to continue adding more listings to my shop. More listings mean more chances of making sales

Damir: I'd love to have my own gentlemen's store but I don't have the disposable cash right now

Howard: Eventually we would like to have a brick & mortar shop that acts as a vintage collective, where other sellers can exhibit their wares also, but the eComm part of the business will still be key.

How do you promote your business?

Howard: Through Etsy groups and facebook, as well as selling out at pop-up events and markets. We also take part in 2 or 3 fashion shows every year. I also handing out cards at costume events i attend.

Anthony: We keep up with our SEO and try to stay active on social media. We try to take advantage of press opportunities as much as possible.

Roy: We have recently been broadening our horizons when it comes to promoting our business. We've opened additional stores online with Amazon Handmade and Scott's Marketplace. Earlier this year, we launched our own website with a blog and store. We've had a professional facebook page for several years, but made it a goal (that we started in June) to post something 4 times a week. We post everything from products to shop updates, what we've been doing for the day, a recent article we've written for our blog and more. We make videos of our products in use, and post them on youtube.

Roy feels sparks with his work.

What has surprised you the most in the e-commerce world?

Roy: I've really been surprised by the vastness of the e-commerce world. I've literally sold items that have gone to the other side of the world. I love to look at the "map" under the stats section on Etsy and see all the views I've had in various countries worldwide.

Howard: The number of people who look, like and re-post things even if they don't buy. They "window shop" electronically and that gets us more exposure.

Bryan: The competition and how difficult it is to be found. You can’t expect people to find you because you have a good product, you have to find ways of shouting and getting people to notice you and generate interest.

Kosmas: What really surprised me was that there is so much demand from countries on the other side of the world for items in my shop related to Ancient Greek history and especially Spartan history.

Is your product for sale outside of Etsy? Do you make more sales there?

Bryan: Most of my sales are through word-of-mouth. I am lucky enough to have been contacted through Instagram, Facebook, and friends for commissions. Etsy sales are still relatively low for me, but I attribute that to the tactile nature of my product.

Roy: My products are for sale outside of Etsy. In the past, I've sold on eBay and CustomMade. In addition to my Etsy store, I currently sell items through my own website, Amazon Handmade, Scott's Marketplace, and occasionally locally. As far as the flow of orders, my Etsy store brings in the most.

What do the girls think of your product? Do you have many female buyers? Do you market to them or men on Etsy?

Damir: I've had a few female buyers who buy my items for their partners, brothers and family etc. Although, I wouldn't mind seeing a nice set of cufflinks on a girl's shirt one day!

Kosmas: Most of my listings target men. However, most of my customers are women who buy them as gifts for men.

Howard: We find that about 20% of our clientele are women because many vintage men's clothes are too small for the average guy today we find that a good many women buy our clothes. A large number of women who see our clothes rave about the looks and say they wish their men would dress that way.

Howard from Brown & Williams will keep you far beyond dapper.

What do you do in your non-work time?

Bryan: Outside of ceramics, I work full-time as a web developer and am fixing up an old house. I like to work with my hands, be it with a keyboard, hammer, or ball of clay.

Roy: When I'm not in my shop, I spend my time jogging, hiking, camping, playing with my kids, practising parkour and callisthenics.

Anthony: We love to travel, camp, hike and spend time in nature. We have a van which we use as a hybrid — it easily converts from work vehicle to camper.

What advice do you have for other guys/dudes/gents/blokes/ out there wanting to sell their own handmade work? What can we learn from men on Etsy?

Kosmas: To try the Etsy platform for sure but make sure they invest time and effort if they want to make sales.

Damir: Just do it - let your friends, colleagues and family know. Some of my friends have bought my items to give as gifts because each item that I have, there is only one out there so not everyone will have them

Roy: I encourage everyone to try a handicraft. If you want to take it further, set a small goal for yourself. Make a few items to sell. When you reach that goal, make a new one- this time larger. Keep growing! Don't be just a dreamer- be a doer! Don't be afraid to try new avenues- you may fail or succeed, but the thing that makes you truly successful is your attitude!  Men- don't be afraid of making pretty things! As far as I have observed online, women do most of the shopping.

Bryan- Find your voice and brand. I would advise other guys to know who they are and what their market is. I’m still working on this myself, but once I started putting effort into defining who I am and what I make as an artist, things started getting clearer, and a purpose to what I am trying to do and sell emerged.

Howard- Get out there and do it! Etsy is a great tool to showcase your crafts and handiwork. Don't be discouraged if sales don't come instantly... take good pics, write engaging descriptions and participate in Etsy groups. Also, think on what tags/ keywords will appeal to the customer you are trying to reach... what would THEY type into the search field?

Anthony:1) Make sure you have a great product that you are 100% confident in from the start.2) Take the best photos possible (they are definitely worth the investment when the customer cannot see and feel your product in person)3) Stay as organised as you can.4) Remember why you started. Consistently look over your goals and vision for your business. Don’t forget about the details or the big picture. Take a step back and analyse how things are going— this can be difficult when you are busy and wrapped up in the day-to-day. Liz and I have weekly collaboration meetings to make sure we are on the same page, to analyse what’s working and what’s not, and to find solutions together.5) Strive to provide excellent customer service. If your customer isn’t 100% happy with your product, do what it takes to make it right with them. Try not to let any of your customers walk away without feeling good about their experience. As a small business, you rely on customer feedback to build your reputation and to make sure your product is the best that it can be. Don’t ignore criticism —use it to change your product so that it becomes better.

A good supervisor, like Newman at wakethetree is essential to success.

Thanks very much to our favourite guys for giving us an insight on how they work their magic!

Who are some of you favourite men on Etsy? Let us know in the comments!

Phil Forbes
Phil Forbes
21 Blogs To Read If You Sell Anything Online

21 Blogs To Read If You Sell Anything Online

There is so much content out there on the internet. In the time that we have been at it, we’ve found some blogs to read if you sell anything online.

Our list is composed of everything. Colour inspiration, eCommerce and entrepreneur tips to crafting ideas and how to knit. Yep. If there is nothing here that helps you, please let us know and we will personally search the internet for you. Seriously.By the way, we also know how annoying it can be to sift through your bookmarks bar. Feedly fixes that.In no particular order:

1. The Side Hustle Nation

Have you noticed that not all Etsy stores take off and automatically generate a 6 digit income overnight? Sidehustle is a website dedicated to people that have their business on the side whilst working a 9-5.Our favourite read: How to quit your job this year.

2. Handmade in the USA

Handmade in the USA is a blog written by the lovely Jana. She is full of tips for entrepreneurs and makers to turn their passions into profitable businesses.Our favourite read: How to validate your idea.

3. Noobpreneur

Noobpreneur gets our vote for the best-named blog. are a team offering tips and ideas for small business owners and those who want to enter entrepreneurship with the right mindset.Our favourite read: How freebies can help your business

4. Social Media Examiner

Social media examiner are a behemoth. They know basically everything there is to know in all categories of social media.Our favourite read: 19 tools to create social media content.

5. Yotpo blog

What do Yotpo do? Not much, only get their customers more reviews, an increase in conversions, retention of customers, acquisition of new traffic, and a rise in search results.Our favourite read: How to collect and leverage customer photos.

6. Sue B. Zimmerman

Sue B Zimmerman is often called the Queen of Instagram. Her knowledge of the photo sharing social media application is second to none. Proof of this is how quickly she got on top of the new ‘Stories’ feature on Instagram.Our favourite read: Instagrams new ‘Stories’ for business

7. GetResponse Blog

GetResponse hail from Poland (just like us!), the home of the Startup business. GetResponse takes care of all your email marketing and everything that goes with them.Our favourite read: 9 little white lies about marketing automation

8. UK Craft Blog

UK Craft Blog is exactly that. A blog aimed at UK based crafters. A massive collection of crafty inspiration and ideas for anyone looking to keep their hands busy.

9. Folksy Blog

Folksy is a place to buy and sell handcrafted or designed work from UK designer-makers. Based in the gorgeous Sheffield, UK, this great little community always pumps of golden blog entries.Our favourite read: Styled product shots

10. Marmalead

Marmalead has to be one of the most overlooked and under-appreciated tools out there.  Specifically for Etsy sellers who want to grow, their tools are in-depth and thorough.  As is their blog. Bonus: The Etsy Shop Fitness calculator.Our favourite read: Why you should talk to your customers.

11. A beautiful mess

A beautiful mess are 2 sisters who are a women's lifestyle company focused on creating happiness every day through a homemade lifestyle. They do lots and they do all of it well.  Even better, the blog about it all.Our favourite read: Etiquette whilst networking.

12. Millo

Millo is a blog dedicated to making small business owners think about all aspects of their business and how they can be streamlined, made easier and made enjoyable.Our favourite read: Maximize productivity, minimise burnout.

13. Copyblogger

Copyblogger is hands down is one of my personal favourite blogs to read. Talking about a range of topics when it comes to writing content for a blog and how to push that blog in front of people that want to read it. Content Marketing Mastery.Our favourite read: Why you hate writing.

14. Shopify blog

Shopify blog- What needs to be said about Shopify?Our favourite read: How going beyond Etsy is essential to growing.

15. Bplans

Bplans is a wealth of information to starting, running and growing a small business of any kind.Our favourite read: Preventing small business fraud online.

16. Kissmetrics

Kissmetrics takes a very analytical and mathematical approach to improving your eCommerce store. Professional number crunching is behind a lot of things they discuss.  Definitely, something we all need to know more about. Once of our favourite blogs to read if you sell anything online.Our favourite read: How personalization helps drives customers.

17. Ohjoy

Ohjoy are producers of how-to lifestyle videos and a daily blog with a focus on design, fashion, food, and joyful moments from everyday life. Bright, bubbly and always able to make us feel better about anything.

18. The Responster

Responster describe themselves better than I can. “Weekly posts on building a business, entrepreneurship, and failing gracefully‘. One of our essential blogs to read.Our favourite read: How to gather and analyse customer feedback.

19. WME Group

WME group are one of Australia’s fastest growing agencies 3 years running. Offering in-house digital services for some massive Australian Brands, their blog is also a goldmine of knowledge.Our favourite read: The magic of using correct keywords.

20. Plenty of Colour

Plentyofcolour is a bit of an exception. It's not a blog per se, but it is a collection of images constantly updated.  One look at these images and you’ll know why it's regularly visited when we need inspiration.What did we miss? What don't we read that we should? Let us know your favourite blogs to read if you sell anything online!

Phil Forbes
Phil Forbes
Facebook Dynamic Ads - Set And Forget Advertising

Facebook Dynamic Ads - Set And Forget Advertising

Struggling with Facebook Dynamic Ads to market your product? Use this easy step-by-step formula to effective Facebook advertising. Learn and apply now!

Enter Facebook Dynamic Ads.Personalization is the way that Facebook is helping users attack the advertising complex.

Marketing Automation (advertisements being automatically made and placed in the most relevant spot) is growing. We see digital ads in columns we didn't know existed and somehow, they’re showing us things we recently had an interest in.Freaky.This is due to the ‘Dynamic’ part of Facebook ads. Facebook Dynamic Ads will reference your product feed to target certain people with certain products.Using Facebook Dynamic Ads, you can:

  • Automatically generate and display ads for every product in your product feed, based upon a template.
  • Show specific product ads to a person who has been to your website
  • Find audiences like the ones that are already interested in your product.

Best of all, they're automated. You design a template and the Facebook algorithm does the rest.Before we get deep into the ‘how to’, you need to have a Facebook Business Manager Account. It's a permission so you have the ability to manage many accounts. You can control user access, making it helpful if you manage more than one business, page and employee.Head to and the on-screen steps will run you through everything.Creating Dynamic Ads can be a little difficult as they need a little prep work and fiddling with the Facebook Pixel, but here is the rundown:

Create a product catalogue

We go over product feeds in detail in one of our recent blogs. In summary, a Product Feed is a list of all your products and details about them that marketplaces can reference in order to advertise your products.However, Facebook likes his product feeds set up a certain way.The following parameters are required for a Facebook Product Feed:id- a unique identifying number (SKU, for example)availability- either in stock, out of stock, pre-order, available for order, or discontinuedcondition- new, refurbished or useddescription- a short paragraph describing the item (max. 5000 characters).image link- a link to the product image. Carousel ads are 600x600px and single product images are 1200x630pxlink- a link to the product pagetitle- the title of the itemprice- the cost of the product with country code (eg 39.95 USD)gtin, mpn or brand- global trade item number, the number which uniquely identifies the product to its manufacturer or the brandFacebook also have a few optional categories you can add which they mention here.To upload your product catalogue, click the drop-down menu and click ‘Product catalogues’.

Then click ‘Create catalogues’.

Next, enter the name of your product catalogue (eg, winter range 16/17). Then choose which business you want to associate this product feed with and whether you’re selling a physical product or a hotel/vacation.After a few seconds, a new page will appear. Click ‘Add Product Feed’.

Here, choose the feed name, the currency you’d like to sell in (just in case you forgot to put it in the product feed), and the upload type.The upload type, you have two options.If you choose to upload your product feed to Dropbox, Google Drive or an FTP server, you can schedule your Facebook feed to be updated on a regular basis. When you change your product feed in Dropbox, it will be changed on Facebook.If you choose to upload it directly to Facebook, you have to manually upload a new Product Feed every time you make a change to a product.For scheduling recurring uploads, select that option and hit next.

Then choose the frequency and time that you would like your Product Feed to be updated.Paste the URL of your product feed and enter your Facebook username and password.

After a moment, your product feed is updated!For Single Product Feed Uploads select that option and hit next.

Select your Product Feed file to upload and select upload. After a while, it will be complete.

If Facebook sees that your Product Feed isn’t formatted correctly, it will tell you. Again, Facebook has strict formatting rules with Product Feeds and they must be laid out perfectly.Your Product Feed is now ready to go!

Configure your pixel

Facebook pixel? What? Well, straight from the horse's mouth,‘The Facebook pixel is a piece of JavaScript code for your website that enables you to measure, optimise and build audiences for your ad campaigns. Using the Facebook pixel, you can leverage the actions people take on your website across devices to inform more effective Facebook advertising campaigns’.It’s a little piece of code that lets you gather information on individuals.Facebook themselves do the best possible job at explaining how to set up the Facebook Pixel for your dynamic product ads.

Set up your Dynamic Ad template

So now your Product Feed is uploaded and your pixel is just the way it needs to be, it’s time to get creative. We’re up to designing the ad template.You will be telling the template,in which place the ads should put your data.To begin, head over to the Power Editor.

Click ‘Create Campaign’ and ‘Promote a Product Catalogue’ as your main objective.

Next, fill out the country that you’re in, the currency and the time zone and hit Continue.

Now it's time to create a product set. A product set is a list of items from your product feed that you specifically want to promote.Click ‘+’ to create a product set.You can filter your product set by Availability, Brand, Category, Product Type, and Price. This lets you create highly targeted ads.Now it’s time to define your audience, who will see your products.

Here, you’ll be able to select who you want to see your ads. Customers who have viewed content on your website added products to their cart, or successfully purchased products. Facebook knows who these people are because of the pixel we earlier set up.Viewed or added products to basket but not purchased. This lets you advertise to people who have been to your store, added what they want to the cart but not committed to a purchase. A little bump in the form of advertising complimentary products to them may be all that's needed to get them over the line.Added products to basket but not purchased. Like above but for more committed buyers, not so much 'browsers' of your store.Up-sell products. This simply works a treat. Up-selling is mega-potent because new customers are more likely to buy from you again.Cross-sell productsis another killer. Instead of trying to convert new customers, put some attention into past customers. Again, more likely to buy from you than cold targets.Custom combination lets you get really fancy and Advanced Options allows you to target a specific location, language, age or another kind of demographic.Select your budget, schedule and we also suggest keeping the placement settings to automatic. Facebook will physically put your ads in the best possible location on the Facebook pages for people to see.

Want to know more about increasing your ecommerce conversions?

Read the article:

25 Ways to Optimize your Ecommerce Conversion Rate (read now.)

Click “Continue”

Now we are going to configure the layout of your ads.Choose Carousel (multiple images with multiple links) or Single image.On the left, choose the Facebook page that your advertisements will be associated with, as well as an Instagram account if you have one.If using a carousel ad, the last card will have a link to a URL that you specify.

Image Credit: Facebook

The ‘Text’ box is where you specify the text that will be above the images in your ad. Using the drop-down menu, you can also choose text from a parameter of your product feed.‘Headline’ is the name of the product, shown in bold, while ‘News feed link description’ is text that is placed underneath, not bold. You can also choose the call-to-action button if you choose to have one.You are ready to go! Your Facebook Dynamic Ads are set up and ready to be taken to the world!We think Facebook Dynamic Ads are one of the best ways to specifically target individuals. They are versatile, relatively cheap and simple to make. With a product feed that is regularly synced, Dynamic Ads can generate a large amount of revenue without having to be maintained. A kind of set-and-forget advertisement that adapts to customers, if you will.Any other tips for Facebook Dynamic ads? Let us know!

Phil Forbes
Phil Forbes
The Shoplo Mobile App is live! Run your business while you’re on the run!

The Shoplo Mobile App is live! Run your business while you’re on the run!

The Shoplo Mobile App is here to help you manage all your sales channels, change your inventory data and monitor discount codes from the palm of your hand.

Inspiration can strike anywhere, at any time.On your daily commute, playing golf, waiting in line...If a customer can visit your store on their mobile device, why can't you manage your store while you're on the go, too?We’re making it easier for you to manage your store while you’re out living life.That’s why we’ve released the Shoplo mobile app.

Shoplo Mobile App Dashboard

Learn more about the app

Now, you can focus on your sales while out in the real world, on iPhone, iPad or Android. We’ve listened to your requests and are making it easier for you to sell online - desktop, mobile or tablet. Quite often, a nice little discount is all that’s needed to get a new customer to buy from you. Now, you can turn your discount on and share it instantly to social media from the cosiest corner of your favourite cafe.But it’s more than just mobile discounts that you can do with the new Shoplo Mobile App. Now you can also:

  • Manage, toggle and share discount codes while you’re on the go.
  • Process, manage and change payment statuses of your orders.
  • Compare and monitor the performance of all connected sales channels

Here’s how these features will improve your everyday life.

Discover the app now

Vouchers & discounts on Mobile.

Whether it’s a last minute gift for a forgotten aunt or a justification for a present to yourself, discounts are a huge part of online selling. Now, the Shoplo mobile app will gift you with the ability to activate, modify and share your discount codes from the convenience of your mobile device.

Shoplo Mobile App discounts

When you're out and about, living your life, use the Shoplo Mobile App to keep track of how many people are using which discount codes. Noticed that your Instagram code is converting customers better than normal? Use the Shoplo Mobile App to extend the discount from wherever you are in a crazy, jam-packed shopping mall. Perhaps you’re on the road, going to visit family for the weekend. Instead of having to pull out your laptop, simply open the mobile app and see your discount code. Use the built-in share function to automatically share your new code amongst whichever social media channels you like.

explore discounts in the shoplo app

Process & manage orders on the go.

Managing your store on the go means you’re no longer tied to a desk to fulfil your orders. Now with the Shoplo Mobile App, you can get order information, payment statuses and delivery addresses all from your back pocket - or wherever you normally keep your phone. Let’s say you’re heading out the door on the way to a workout in your fancy gym leggings. While looking for your keys, you get a notification that you’ve made a new sale in your store. Once you’ve found your keys, you can get your product and head to the post office and fulfil the order. The order details and postage address is all there for you in the Shoplo Mobile App. You can even update the status of your order and inform your customer that their package is on the way - all while doing your warm up on the treadmill.

Shoplo Mobile App orders

control your orders now

Download the app today!

Interested in trying the Shoplo mobile app? Just click the link below and download it to your mobile.


Start selling and managing your store wherever you are. Download today!

Phil Forbes
Phil Forbes
18+ Effective Time Management Tools to Boost your Productivity [+tips]

18+ Effective Time Management Tools to Boost your Productivity [+tips]

It's way too easy to get distracted when there's someth - hey look, a squirrel! There are many time management tools out there that can help you get more done in the day. Click here to learn more about the best time management tools and techniques on the market.

Let’s face it, everyone can manage their time a little bit better.We’re all guilty of opening Facebook or YouTube when there’s something more important we could be doing. But there are many time management tools can help you avoid that procrastination.If you’re like 99% of the population, time management and the work-life balance isn’t your strongest skill. You fall from task to task and feel like you survive, rather than thrive. Perhaps you’re now even asking yourself ‘What is time management?’And that’s perfectly ok.Traditionally, many people turn to to-do lists. While not innovative, it’s certainly a great place to start.In this article, we’re going to look at some of the best time management tools and tips to show you how to manage your time better. Some of the tools are modern takes on the traditional to-do list, some are much more in-depth and advanced.You don't need pricey time management software to keep your day on track - of course, everything nowadays is on mobile, too!By the end of this article, you will know:

  • How to improve time management
  • How to use time management at work and at home
  • The best examples of time management tools for college students, moms and anyone.

Whether you're a stay-at-home mom, college student, busy entrepreneur or just cramming for a Udemy course, the following time management tools and techniques are for you.Before you sink your teeth into these time management tools, make sure you’re familiar with some simple time management techniques that you can implement:

4 simple time management tips.

There’s no doubt that some of the personal time management tools in this article will help you be more creative and achieve more in your day. But before relying wholly on modern technology, it’s important to make sure that you’re in the right headspace to get the most your of your time.

Trial and error

There is no one right tool for everyone. One tool that a majority of people may swear by just mightn’t suit you.

It’s all about trial and error.

Most of the tools in this list are free. If there are paid versions, they usually come with a lengthy free trial to make sure you know as much as you can about it before you commit to the purchase. Try, learn, and see the best way for you to operate.

Start your day with the hardest part.

One of the keys to being productive throughout your day is to prioritise what’s important. If you spend your day doing all the little easy jobs and ignore the biggest tasks, well then you’re not really progressing.

Start the day by taking a big bite out of the biggest tasks there is for you to do.

Avoid distractions

Some of the tools in this article help you avoid distractions. It’s sad that these products need to exist, but knowing how easy it is to get distracted with YouTube or Reddit, these tools are a must.

Take breaks

Your human, and that’s not a problem. Your brain needs to rest, stop and refreshen itself throughout the day. Taking regular breaks may seem to be counterproductive, but it’s essential to keep your productivity up. Many people have had their ‘ah ha’ moment when they’re not thinking about the problem. Take a break and give yourself the opportunity to have your ah-ha moment.

The best time management tools online.

Now that you know the ideal way to lay out your day, let’s take a look at the best tools to help you manage your time.


time management tools tips habitica

Habitica is a habit-building daily planner app that treats your life as a character in a Role-Playing Game. Create a character and earn points, skills and items each time you complete a daily habit. One of my personal favourite online time management toolsAs a daily checklist app, each time you complete a task, you see your character become stronger and your enemies become weaker. One day you’re a level 3 Warrior fighting the sock monster, the next day you’re a level 8 Paladin riding your Royal Griffin into battle skeletons in your closet. It works because gamification is a great way to ‘hack’ our brain. When we have fun and see progress as a result of that fun, it’s addictive. More fun = more progress.An online seller can use Habitica to form a daily routine. For example, making sure that first thing in the morning, all overnight orders are processed. This is a useful time management tool for employees, moms and even for college students.You can use Habitica online as well as on their iOS and Android app.

time management tools tips unroll me

Remember the days when you woke up to 2 or 3 emails and felt important? Yeah, not anymore. 90% of emails that we receive are unwanted. Plus, it’s super time consuming to unsubscribe from all of them.And that’s exactly where helps. helps you unsubscribe to all the newsletter that you are subscribed to. After signing up, you’re presented with a list of companies that you receive emails from. Click a button to unsubscribe from any that you don’t want to be on. also offers an extra service - rather than multiple daily emails, will collate all regular emails into one single email - making it easier for you to digest your inbox whenever you have time for it. This is a great tool for anyone with a flooded inbox. If you spend more time deleting emails than reading them, this one’s for you. Simply put, is a free time management tool that takes back the time you waste on is free for life.

Google Keep

4.5/5 stars from 230 reviews on G2 Crowd

Google Keep is the one free tool that everyone already has, as it’s included with all Gmail accounts.

time management tools tips google keep

Keep is Google’s own little notepad and is capable of collecting lists, images, automatically transcribing voice recordings and much more.Keep collects different notes in various ways and displays them in any way you want. It works because it’s so darn convenient. For example, set up Keep to remind you of your shopping list when you leave the office. As an online seller, Keep is best kept at your side at all times. Have a fleeting idea you need to get down? Put it into Keep. Keep is also one of the best examples of time management apps for studentsIt’s available on web, iOS and comes built-in to Android devices.

BONUS TIME MANAGEMENT TIP: Upload a picture and use Keep’s Transcribe feature to turn the text in that image into written editable text.


4.3/5 stars from 2758 reviews on G2 Crowd

Time management at work is a lot harder than managing your own time.Asana is a web and mobile application designed to track team collaborations and is one of the best examples of a project time management tool for small teams. At Shoplo, we use Asana on a daily basis, as you can see in the example below:

Asana is one of our favourite online time management tools as it’s simple to use. Individuals can track tasks that have been assigned to them, as well as the progress of the entire team’s various projects. Anyone that ‘follows’ a task is updated when it progresses.Asana works well because it visually lets you see the progress of your tasks at hand.This is fantastic for anyone that has to keep track of various tasks and switch between jobs at different points during the day. Asana is free, but advanced features for a 5 member team start at around $30 a month.


4.8/5 stars from 13 reviews on G2 Crowd

Normally you wouldn't see two products that do the same thing in an article like this, but it's hard not to include ClickUp.ClickUp is another time management board like Asana, designed to keep teams and individuals on track.What's the difference between ClickUp and Asana? Well, ClickUp has answered those questions themselves!

time management tools clickup

ClickUp is a little more feature rich than Asana. It automatically integrates with your Google Calendar and Harvest, which is another tool we'll discuss later.I like that ClickUp lets you use checklists, just like a normal handwritten note. Another fantastic tool is the ability to add custom statuses.Sometimes a task isn't complete, but it's not waiting to be started either. With custom statuses, you can mark tasks as blocked, waiting for someone/something else, or not worth continuing.ClickUp is great for anyone wanting an in-depth and a birds-eye view on the tasks ahead of them. Students, workers, and whacky writers, like myself.ClickUp has a feature-rich freemium version, and full paid versions start at $5 per user per month.


Noisli is a tool that creates noise - but all the right kinds of noise. Noisli is (in my opinion) one of the best free time management tools out there.

time management tools tips nosili

Noisli takes sounds that are known to be relaxing and lets you adjust them to your liking. Creating your own atmosphere, enabling you to escape from wherever you are, to wherever you’d like to be.We all know how relaxing the sounds of nature can be. For example, wind, water, the crack of a fire. Noisli brings those sounds into your ears in the middle of your workday. If you’re stuck in the concrete jungle, throw on some headphones and escape on a train in the middle of a storm. This is a great tool for anyone - college students, busy moms, office workers that want to get out of the office. Whether you’re working or in need of some relaxing time, Noisli can take you where you want to be. Noisli is free. Yup, one of the best free time management tools.


4.3/5 stars from 272 reviews on G2 Crowd

Keeping track of your time is one of the most important time management strategies. Harvest helps you do just that. It's an online time tracking tool that also offers invoicing, expense tracking and time-based reports. Harvest is another tool that we use here at Shoplo, as you can see in the example below.

time management tools tips harvest

We're always trying to improve our time management skills so we use Harvest to keep track of how long certain projects take. This helps us manage our time better so we don’t under or over commit to certain projects.Click a button, Harvest starts counting. Click that button again, once you’ve finished a task and Harvest stops counting. Each period of time can be allocated to a project, task or client. Harvest works well as it doesn’t lie. What you may think takes 15 minutes, actually takes 90. Time tracking like this makes it easier to see your strong and weak points.Harvest is a great time management calendar to use in an unorthodox way to improve your life. For example, speed up the time it takes you to do a repetitive task.You spend 3 hours a week writing social media posts for your brand. Use Harvest to track your time and each week, try and make that period of time, less and less. Harvest is one of the better time management tools for college students to keep track of where your study time is spent. Too much or not enough time spent on this subject?Harvest is available on the web and with browser extensions. It can also be used on both iOS and Android. Harvest has a free for life plan but limits you to 2 projects. Paid plans start at $12USD per month.


Every found your train of thought is often a little...crazy? One moment you have an idea or a thought and then you’ve raced through to some bizarre conclusion? That’s not a bad thing, but Mind42 helps you visualise your thought pattern and other ideas in general. In the below example, you can see the ‘thought map’ for the question ‘What is Marketing?’

Mind42 is a tool that allows you form a structured diagram to visually organise data.Data that are organised in a visually way makes it much easier to digest and understand. People are visual creatures, we learn firstly by looking. If organizing your life and your brain is important to you, Mind42 can help.Want to rearrange your website? This is a perfect tool for doing just that. Trying to plan out a new series of blogs? Organising the data in this way is perfect for that. Mind42 is free for life.


4.4/5 stars from 409 reviews on G2 Crowd

If you’re anything like me, you have 3 different kinds of passwords you use. But some have capitals, some have numbers, some have one number. Then, when you can’t remember it, you need to go to the trouble of resetting your password - but wait, which email address did you use?Keeping track is just impossible. LastPass makes password management simple and is far superior to browser-based options. Below, you can see my personal vault, where all my passwords are stored. (The blurred areas are emails, not passwords!)

LastPass is simple. It keeps all your passwords together in one place. One ‘master password’ gives you access to your vault. Usernames and passwords are automatically inserted into login pages when you land on them. You can also share login details with others. It works because it saves you the multiple mild inconveniences that arise when you forget your passwords. It makes working online much easier. One of the more simple time management tips is to not waste time on mediocre things - kinda like chasing forgotten passwords.Anyone can take advantage of LastPass. No more remembering passwords for eBay or Amazon, for example. LastPass is available for free for life, and upgraded accounts with more features start at $2 per month.


As a kid, did you have a Nintendog, or perhaps a Tamagotchi? Remember the responsibility you felt as you nurtured, cared for and grew this digital creature?With Forest, you have that same responsibility, but with a tree - and the more you concentrate, the more it grows!In the below screenshot, you can see the Forest browser extension growing my tree as I work.

Add distracting websites like Facebook or YouTube to your ‘banned’ list and each time you visit them, your tree dies (along with your sense of accomplishment).Forest keeps you focused by using a sense of achievement. The Tamagotchi Effect takes over and you really want to see your little forest grow and prosper. As you try to visit your banned websites, you’re asked ‘Do you really want to kill your forest?’. Then comes the guilt!This app is great for an online seller or college student when they need to stay focused. Got a blog to write or other paperwork to fill out? Open your Forest extension (or mobile app) and get that Forest growing!Forest is available for free, but to sync your forests between web and mobile, you need to pay the $2.50 and upgrade to the premium version. Bonus: The Forest app gives back to the community by planting trees. The more trees you grow, the more ‘coins’ you earn and the more trees that a partner company plants in real life.


Focuswriter is a simple tool that removes all distractions as you write. Below is a stunning example of it:

time management tools tips writing

What does it do? It’s a program that takes up your entire screen, leaving you with only the ability to write. No toolbars, no notes, just you, your brain and the sheet in front of you. The beauty of Focuswriter is in its simplicity. Included in the download are some stunning, high-resolution images. These images keep the brain inspired and you focused on the task of writing.This is a valuable asset for anyone that does a lot of writing. It’s a great way to enhance the creativity of your blogs, emails, or social media posts.Focuswriter is free, tips upon download are welcome.


Have you ever spent a lot of time and effort trying to solve a problem to end up not solving it? Yet when you’re distracted, you think of the solution.

time management tools tips 30/30

30/30 also makes working more enjoyable. The idea of having so much work to do and so little time to do it in is usually why none of that work gets done. 30/30 breaks that time up into chunks of any size allowing you to focus and take a break. The time constraint forces you to focus. You know you don’t have much time, so you don’t waste it doing something else. You take breaks more often. These breaks act like a reward; you start to look forward to them.The 30/30 is one of the more effective time management tools only for mobile devices. The app can be used by ecommerce sellers the same way that everyone uses it - for problem-solving.emplTrying to find a new way to promote or develop a product? Spend some time thinking about it, then some more time not thinking about it. Trying to find a way to answer a question in your Udemy exam? Take a break away from it. 30/30 is available on iOS and Android and is free for life.

135 method

135list makes it easier to achieve things throughout your day. 1 big task, 3 medium tasks and 5 small tasks.

time management tools tips 135

135 list is a browser-based tool that’s also available on mobile. Each day, enter the tasks you need to do and then begin chipping away at them. All too often, a tradition ‘to do’ list fails. It’s too long, too complicated and you yourself can figure out what’s most important. 135 is a simple way to organise your day. By breaking it down into different numbers of various sized ‘chunks’, you visualise and process your day.This method is a fantastic way for anyone to tackle their day. 135 is one of the best organisation apps for good time management and has become my go-to daily planner app of choice.135 list is free for life, but various levels of customisation start

4.5/5 stars from 3197 reviews on G2 Crowd

Video calling is truly a modern wonder. At the click of a button, you can see, hear, and speak to nearly anyone in the world. But the main player in the game, Skype, is big, old, clunky and slow. For the professional, changes all that. As you can see in the following example, is full of features.

time management tools tips video call

Group meeting, webinars, screen sharing, recordings, Zoom does it all. And it does it all quickly and easily. Skype is clunky. ‘Can you hear me? I can’t hear you. I can see you but I can’t hear you’. Zoom avoids all that. The quality of both audio and video is reliable and consistent. This is our go-to option for video calling over Skype, as it’s feature-rich, yet simple. We use it to host webinars, an environment where we want people to watch, not talk. Perhaps you have team members that work from home. Or, maybe you’d like to have a chat with a retailer in another country. Zoom is a fantastic option for that. Zoom is free for meetings, webinars and conferences, as well as 40 minutes of recordings. More features start at $14.99 per month.


There’s no doubt that music can certainly affect the mind and your mood. Trying to study while your neighbour is blasting Norwegian black metalmay not help you reach your goal. But there are certain kinds of music that can help certain kind of minds function at a higher level - and Focus@Will helps you find that music and expose your brain to it. Here’s a sample of the types of music offered by Focus@Will:

time management tools tips music

Focus@Will puts you through a simple personality to test to determine which music is best for you. This music helps you ‘focus, reduce distractions, maintain your productivity and retain information when working, studying, writing and reading’.Only recently has science discovered that brain-shaping audio can prevent your mind from going to certain places - distraction and habituation. After using this regularly for the last 2 weeks, I can confirm its effectiveness. Focus@Will is also a great time management tool for ADHD adults. A specific kind of music for them helps them concentrate and focus their energy.Everyone has moments where they need to focus and concentrate. However, regular use of Focus@Will can certainly help your brand. Whether it’s concentrating doing paperwork, or designing a new marketing campaign, Focus@Will certainly can help you get your tasks done. Udemy students that need to concentrate, moms that want to relax and everyone in between, Focus@Will can help you.Focus@Will is free for 2 weeks and then pricing starts at $9.95 per month.


PushBullet connects all your devices, making them work as one. Simple as that. Here’s a list of some of the features:

time management tools tips mobile

Pushbullet connects your devices together - Desktop, laptop, mobile and tablet. SMS messages, push notifications and much much more can be synced. It’s also a fantastic way to send files and links from cellphone to computer, or vice versa. It works by taking the pain out of using multiple devices. It’s much easier to type on a keyboard than it is on a mobile. With Pushbullet, you can reply to your text messages using your computer. Chances are that if you’re a small business owner in the world of ecommerce, your business is spread out over multiple devices. Chat on the computer, texts on the phone, everything is everything. Pushbullet takes the pain out of that. It keeps everything consistent, making it so much easier for you to operate. By far, one of the best time management tools for small business or busy individual.PushBullet is free, but paid options start at $3.33 per month for extra capabilities.


4.3/5 stars from 203 reviews on G2 Crowd

ToDoist is an ‘intuitive to-do list that does more than just structure your day’. It allows you to keep on top of what needs to be done and makes sure it does actually get done! Here’s an example of my personal Todoist list:

ToDoist is daily checklist app that helps get everything out of your head and onto paper. Here, you can set due dates, prioritize it and then not think about it until it is due. This lets you focus on other important things.It works well because it’s simple and efficient in the way it frees up space in your head. Not only do you not have to worry about what to do, you don’t have to worry about when to do it, either. This daily planner app would be a great tool for the online seller, student or mom to keep track of his or her day-to-day tasks - not just at work, but also in their personal life. I’ve found it to be a fantastic tool to keep track of day to day errands, rather than tracking big massive projects. Todoist has a freemium version, and upgraded accounts with extra features start at $2.50 a month.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking

4.0/5 stars from 30 reviews on G2 Crowd

One of the most overlooked ways to write is by speaking. Speaking is much faster, and often easier than typing and with modern technology like Dragon Naturally Speaking, anyone can harness the power of their voice.[arve url="" /]Simply put, Dragon is voice recognition software. Rather than spending time writing out email and blogs, Dragon lets you write it all via your voice. This keeps your brain thinking about the entire idea of what you’re reading, rather than writing it out word for word and making sure it’s spelt correctly. Dragon does a little more than just transmit what you say into the written word. It saves you time - and a lot of time at that. The time saved by dictating your emails or blog articles is time that’s better spent focusing on other areas of your brand.Bloggers, marketers, any online seller that regularly writes blogs or spend a lot of time writing personalised emails, Dragon is a fantastic tool for you.Dragon starts at $300 for the individual software.


So there you have it! 18 of our favourite time management tools, online schedules and ways to plan your day.Whether you're a student, stay-at-home mom or struggling writer, these apps can help you reduce distractions, stay focused and achieve more throughout your day.What are some of your favourite time management tools? Have you got any tips on how to manage your time? Let us know in the comments!

Phil Forbes
Phil Forbes
How to Find A Niche: 3 Methods That are Guaranteed to Work

How to Find A Niche: 3 Methods That are Guaranteed to Work

Not sure how to find a niche? for your online store? The first step in building a successful eCommerce business is to actually define it. While you shouldn’t make niche market research harder than it is, it’s important to not rush the process. Here are 3 proven methods to will help you find the best niche market.

So you’re looking to start an eCommerce business...Congratulations! The first step, the one that will put you on the path towards making your first sale, is the biggest step of them all... how to find a niche.Look around you. Wherever you are right now, look around. What do you see? For me, I see a nearly endless assortment of profitable niche markets.From my view at my desk, I see wall art, coffee tables, computer chairs, accent chairs, a microphone stand, a desk, and some headphones, just to name a few. Now I’m not saying these are all great niche products to sell, but there’s a good chance that whatever is around you, can assist you in finding a niche.In this article, you will learn:

  1. How to find a niche market.
  2. The criteria that make a niche ‘good’.
  3. 3 methods for finding a niche and my favourite niche example

Before we dive in, let's make sure you're up to date on the niche definition.

What is a niche?

In the world of ecommerce, a niche is defined as a specific segment of the market where there is high demand and low supply. This is also known as a niche market.When starting an ecommerce venture, your success relies heavily on solving the problem that a specific niche market has.

Niche marketing

Niche marketing is the process of concentrating all your marketing energy on a small, well-defined segment of your target audience.This niche marketing definition is worth keeping in the back of your head. It's also worth noting that there is a big difference between finding a niche and niche marketing. Marketing your product to your niche is not niche marketing.

niche definition

Now that you're clear on definitions of what you are and are not doing, let's get started learning how to find your niche.

Why You Shouldn’t Rush Finding a Niche

If you're not sure how to find a niche, one of the first steps in is choosing a niche in a structured and well-planned way… it’s also the biggest point where we see people get hung up. While you shouldn’t make finding a niche market harder than it is, it’s more important to not rush the process. Getting involved with a trending niche might make you some money in the short to mid term, but it won't help you create a long-term brand that people want to be emotionally invested in. To give you a little background, my very first eCommerce store started making money within 24 hours of going live. I made a sale for $485 the FIRST night that my store was able to accept orders. Now, I’m not telling you this to show off. I'm not saying you can decide to open an online store and start making money the same day. I’m telling you because I want you to know the secret to my niche selection method. The same secret I used to make over $3,000 of sales in just over three weeks drop shipping. People are often shocked when they hear this because it sounds like I just threw together an online shop and starting making money through luck. But the truth is I spent A LOT of time researching my niche market prior to launching my online store.Before my store launch, I did a ton of market research in order to have the best chance of success once I was ready to launch. There was one reason that I made $485 within hours of launching. It was because I figured out how to find a profitable niche that fit specific criteria.

Criteria to Help You Find a Profitable Niche

Niche selection can make or break your eCommerce business. When establishing how to find a niche, you should look for niche markets that meet 3 certain criteria. Now, following these 3 criteria is not necessary to finding a profitable niche market, but from my personal experience, it will yield the most consistent results.Before we look at the criteria for a profitable niche, it’s important to know why are niches important and the differences between two types of niches: The bad (non-profitable) niches and the good (profitable) niches.A good niche:

  • Lots of sales
  • Low amount of customer service needed
  • High profit margins
find your niche

A bad niche:

  • No sales, or many problematic sales
  • Lots of customer service needed
  • Small profit margins
how to find your niche

Now that we know what makes a niche product good and not so good, let's take a look at finding a profitable niche product.

A good, profitable niche market will meet three pieces of criteria:

Price Point

The price of your product will go a long way in determining how your niche market takes to your product.The average product price should be $200 or more.This may come as a pretty bold statement - $200 is a lot of money for some people to spend online.That's is because when you establish your pricing, your average profit margin should be about 20% of the gross revenue.The same amount of time will go into processing an order for $20 as it will for processing an order for $200 or $2,000. If you’re going to be doing the work you might as well have a chance of making some real money on each sale!

If you want to make money, you need to sell expensive items. Expensive niche products sell better.

Still not sure how to find your niche? Sell a product that's over $200.Not that complicated, right?

Target Market

Next, I tend to select eCommerce niche markets that appeal to upper-middle-class families and individuals. That is because products that appeal to ‘discount’ niche markets tend to require much more interaction with the customers while yielding their fair share of complaints and returns.On the other side of that, products that appeal to luxury markets will bring your customers that expect to receive lots of individualized attention, resulting in more work for you. Part of what makes a profitable niche ‘good’, is it requires as little effort, while generating the most sales possible.

Don’t start a drop shipping business with a niche that requires a lot of individual attention with your customers.

When finding a niche, look for products to sell online to single people or families with disposable income who are used to shopping online and comfortable making large purchases over the internet.

how to find a niche market

Once again, expensive niche products perform better.

Brand Loyalty

What kind of computer or cell phone do you have? Is it the same kind of brand as your last one? Chances are if you own a Mac, the next computer you buy will also be a Mac.Why? Brand loyalty.When selling online, you want to avoid selling products that customers already have brand loyalty for. I like to pick niches where the customer doesn’t care what brand they buy, so long as the item looks and functions the way they want it to. When the customer does care about a brand, for instance with sunglasses, it is usually hard to be approved by major suppliers like Oakley or Chanel. Plus, it’s hard to convince people who are looking for a specific brand to shop generic instead.

How to find a niche example:

Let’s say I live on a lake and I decide I want to get into stand-up paddle boarding. I know I need a paddle board and a paddle but I have no prior knowledge of this sport or what brands are well known. I can care less what company makes the board as long as I can find some good reviews and the price is right.This is a great example of a niche product to sell online.

The average cost of a stand-up paddleboard and the paddle is over $700, the average customer does not care what brand they are buying.

What's more, this sport is part of an obscure niche, and is likely to appeal to the upper middle class that would be purchased with disposable income.

How to Find a Niche: 3 Methods That Work

Now that you know what makes a niche good and highly profitable, it time’s for the fun part: searching for a niche. These 3 methods are highly effective for researching and finding a niche that’s good for any business model, but especially drop shipping!

finding a profitable niche

Find your Niche Method #1: Focused Brainstorming

Before you can test different niches for profitability you need to take some time to think of niches to test. This doesn’t mean you think about it on the ride to a friend’s house, you need to block off some time and focus on brainstorming ideas. If you're after some great niche market ideas, sit down and make the time to concentrate.When first brainstorming profitable niches for online stories, make a list of at least 50 popular niches that fall into the criteria above: pricing, target market, and brand loyalty. To brainstorm new ideas, I often think of things that I’ve recently bought online. As well as asking family and friends what they’ve recently purchased. Also, think about what you’ve bought in the past. Think about all your family and friends and what they have in their houses.Write everything down, even if it seems questionable at the time. I then take this list and begin running them through my “lenses". Tons of niche markets are profitable, but that doesn’t mean you should rush into them.

Once you have your first list of niche products to sell, view them through these five lenses:

Competition - Scout out other stores and see what products are over-saturated. You don’t want to sell those, no matter how niche they are.Loyalty - Don’t go for a niche market or product that is dominated by a national brand(s).Pricing - It’s easy: the higher the price of the products, the greater your profit margin will be!Weight - Shipping is expensive but a winning combo is a high-priced product that has low shipping weights. Returns - Don’t pick a product with sizing and style preferences, that will test your return and refund policy.

Find your Niche Method #2: Think Just Outside the Box

When people pick their niche they often fall into one of two categories. Either people choose a very common niche idea or obscure niches, ones that are too ‘out there’. The common niches are often over-saturated. Leaving you in a highly competitive marketplace that you’ll struggle to thrive in.The other mistake is choosing an outlandish niche. Something that is very specialized, making it very difficult to make consistent sales without a ton of extra work. Again, if you research properly you’ll see that popular niches like this feel more like a boutique than an automated business (the kind that will give you freedom).The real way to excel at drop shipping is to pick a niche market that is just outside the box. A niche product example:

My best selling product ever was a portable ice maker.

If you think about it, this is just barely outside the box. Not as common as a refrigerator, but not as UNCOMMON as a walk-in deep freezer for a restaurant. Finding that nice balance early on makes picking the niche market a much easier process.

Find your Niche #3: Use Amazon’s Help to Get Very Specific

Amazon is the world’s biggest retailer and they sell pretty much everything under the sun. That’s what makes it one of the best places to find your niches and the products that are "red hot".

Here's the step-by-step process to finding highly specific niches using Amazon:

  1. Click on the 'All' tab at the left of the main search bar it will show a list of categories or 'niches'.
  2. Click on a specific category, that interests you (or at random).
  3. Then leave the search box blank and hit 'Go'.
  4. A new page will display and on the left-hand side a whole list of subcategories or 'sub-niches' will pop up.
  5. Click a subcategory and it'll take you further down into the niche into a more specific sub-niche.
  6. You now have drilled down into specific niches and can even go further still.
niche example

Amazon is especially great to help you find a niche market that is super specific. Even better is you can choose “Best Sellers” from the navigation bar at the top of the page just under the search box and see what's currently selling best. There’s no way you can’t find a niche on Amazon, or at least have a good brainstorming session browsing the site.

Amazon’s “Best Sellers” page is updated hourly making it a solid resource for profitable niche selection!


  • Tons of niche markets are profitable, but that doesn’t mean you should rush into them.
  • When brainstorming for niches, get out and open your mind. It’s amazing how many potential winning niches you can find.
  • When first brainstorming profitable niches, make a list of at least 50 niches that fit the pricing point, target market, and brand loyalty criteria.
  • Think just outside the box: don’t pick a niche market that is over-saturated, and make sure a niche isn’t highly specialized.
  • Stay away from niches that require a lot of individual attention from customers.
  • The same amount of time will go into processing an order for $20 as it would for processing an order for $200 or $2,000. If you’re going to be doing the work you might as well have a chance of making some real money on each sale.

Still unsure how to find a niche? Be patient and go through the process again and again.Finding a niche market is the most important factor that goes into building a successful online store. The good news for you is it is only getting easier to research and test the profitability of a niche product before you start building your store. So get creative, do your research, and get started building a successful online store!What's a niche idea that you've had? Struggling to find a profitable niche? Let me know your ideas in the comments!

Phil Forbes
Phil Forbes
10 eCommerce SEO essentials for your online store

10 eCommerce SEO essentials for your online store

There is so much SEO advice out there, but what about eCommerce SEO advice? A well-planned SEO strategy can be the difference between your online brand sinking and swimming. But how does SEO differ for online retailers compared to bloggers? In this article, you'll learn 10 SEO tips specifically for eCommerce. Read now.

Managing an eCommerce site can be difficult. With so many pages to look after, update and optimise, it can be tricky to know where to start. Whilst there is a lot of general SEO advice out there, we wanted to provide some specific eCommerce SEO tips, designed to maximise the optimisation of your online store, to help you drive more organic traffic for more conversions.Here are ten eCommerce specific SEO tips that will help you to optimise your site and start seeing some serious results:

1 - Start with the right foundations

Just as a house is planned so that it makes logical sense when you move between the rooms so too should a website hierarchy be planned in a way that makes sense to users. This is something that is easiest to get right at the start of your website build but by no means is something that can’t be fixed later. Your hierarchy should be driven by keyword research but should also consider user behaviour. The key here is to make sure that all your key categories are within 3 clicks from the homepage, with the most important and highest volume categories as close to the root as possible. By designing a hierarchy that makes sense both to user and bots, you are aiding your site’s ability to get indexed and improving users’ experience.

Want to know more about pleasing both bots and humans for SEO purposes? Download the free ebook:

SEO essentials for eCommerce (download now)

2 - eCommerce SEO success is in the long tail

Unless your site is selling an incredibly niche product, it’s likely that you have a lot of organic competition. A search for “dresses” for example returns over 3,910,000,000 alone. Unless you are an established website it is going to be difficult to compete in that space. That's where long tail keywords come in. Long tail keywords are searches that generally contain 3+ words and are much more specific than your generic “dresses” search. This means there is much less competition for these searches and thus they are easier to compete for. One of the best ways to find potential long tail search variations is to go directly to Google and look either in the “searches related to” section or the drop-down options in the search bar itself.

ecommerce seo services

The example above shows four non-branded longtail keywords that you can research and decide whether they are right for your business.

Another way to discover long tail opportunities is to use your own sites internal site search data to see what exactly people are looking for on your site. From here you can make variations of category pages to cater to these searches. Then watch your search rankings grow!

3 - Beware of keyword cannibalisation

Often when a site is being built, little attention is paid to the keywords that each page is targeting. This can often lead to you competing with yourself for high-value keywords and missing out on often more profitable, long tail variations of a keyword. The best way to avoid this is to make sure that you know what page is optimised for what. Also, be sure to follow the general rule that pages closer to the root should target shorter, more generic, high volume keywords and pages further away should target longer, more specific, low volume keywords. By following this approach, you can be reasonably sure that you will avoid keyword cannibalisation, with the bonus of the more specific pages helping to build topical authority for those more generic pages.

4 - Keep URLs short and clean

URLs on any site, but especially ecommerce sites, can get out of hand quickly if strict rules are not in place. There are a few rules that should be followed when creating URLs.

  • URLs should make sense to humans and bots
  • URLs should contain the target keyword within them.
  • URLs should still resolve if a portion of the URL string up to a forward slash is removed.
  • Hyphens should separate words.
  • Special characters should be avoided.
  • Stop words (and, but, a, of etc) should be removed

By doing this, your URLs become more informative and easier to understand. It also makes the application of breadcrumb (another ecommerce essential!) easier to implement.

Learn how to create a perfect URL for SEO in the free ebook:

SEO essentials for eCommerce (download now)

5 - Index your faceted navigation

Whilst some would argue against this, in the right setting and done well this can be a great way to rank for different keyword variations without having to create new pages for each version.

ecommerce seo company

Start by performing keyword research on the different variations of your products.

E.g. if you have a category for desks look at the different search volume for variations in colour or material like 'oak desk' or 'white desk'.

If there is search volume for these, don’t remove them from the search results but instead, allow them to be indexed. This allows you to increase your presence for longtail keywords, without having to create an excessive amount of category pages. This works best when the URLs created by the addition of parameters are clear and readable as opposed to a random string of numbers, letters and special characters.

6 - Canonicals are your friend

Duplication is your enemy. Unlike in the above example, most of the time, the URL strings created by your navigation are not ones you want to be indexed. They also dilute the authority of the main page and create duplications. In this situation there are three remedies:

  • Canonicals
  • Applying a no index tag to the filter URLs
  • Directing Google on how to handle them within search console

Canonicals, if managed well, are the best way to handle these. This would work by assigning the main page, generally the page without any kind of filtering, and then canonicalising all the filtered URLs to this one variant.

7 - Don’t use the manufacturer's product description

Often when you get a new product from a manufacturer its comes with a generic description and the temptation is to take the easy route and use it. Don’t. If there is one thing that search engines loathe it’s duplicate content and using that description will hinder your chances of organic success. Each product should have its own unique content that is informative and helpful. On the other hand, if you have thousands of products this can seem like a daunting task. Start with the most popular and/or highly searched for products and then as you add more products update these. Over time you should end up with a site free of duplication.Want to know more about writing your own personal product description for SEO?

Read the following article: How to write a product description that sells (4+ examples)

8 - Don’t just remove products

When a product is no longer available on a website, our initial response can be to simply remove the page. Don’t do this.

seo for ecommerce

By removing the page and creating a new 404, we are hindering both bots and user’s experiences.Based on the status of the product there are a couple of solutions.

  1. If the product is gone for good, then the page should be 301 redirected to either the category page or a similar product.
  2. If the product is just temporarily out of stock, then the page itself should be changed to let customers know when the product will be back in stock and allow them to sign up for a notification for when this happens.
  3. The other situation when someone may remove a product is when that product is seasonal. In this case, don’t remove the page, just update the copy to say when the product will be back and remove all navigations links to that page.

This means when the season kicks off again you have a page ready to go, that has retained its authority from previous years.

9 - Brand pages

In a lot of industries, there are key brands that consumers know and trust which also have high search volume. Ranking well for these can bring in additional customers who previously may have gone straight to the brand to buy. The best way to do this is to ensure that you have dedicated brand pages for each brand and that these pages contain all the products provided by that brand. The page should also contain relevant information available to you. It’s a bonus if you can work with the brand themselves, allowing you to secure additional content that will help your page rank well as well as that all-important backlink from the brand's website.

10 - Markup is key

Not taking advantage of the different forms of structured data available to you is one of the biggest mistakes you can make for an ecommerce site. Properly marking up your products makes it easier for users and search engines to find them and gives you additional impact in the search result, increasing your CTR. There are 4 kinds of markup you should make a priority to have on your site:

  • Product: This is the minimum that you should have on your product pages as they are one of the first indications to search engines what that page is about. This will allow the results that the page appears to be much more specific and relevant to the user.
  • Pricing: One of the key factors that determine where a consumer buys from is the price. If this is something that you compete on it is worth having it marked up in the search.
seo ecommerce
  • Review: Reviews overall are a great conversion tool, but marking these reviews up so that they appear within the search results is a good way to increase CTR.
  • Availability: Another factor similar to reviews and pricing is availability mark up and can also have a big impact on CTR.

When all these features are used together it can make for a powerful search result, with a great payoff for your company.

Round up

By following these ten eCommerce SEO tips you will start to see some serious improvements in your organic search performance. From increasing your visibility in the search results through structured data markups to optimising for a much great number of keywords through longtail optimisation, your opportunity to drive more traffic to your website will increase significantly.We’d love to hear from you if you have any more great eCommerce SEO tips or tactics that have worked for you so leave us a comment below!

Phil Forbes
Phil Forbes
20 Ways to Create a Sense of Urgency on Your Site to Grow Your Sales

20 Ways to Create a Sense of Urgency on Your Site to Grow Your Sales

Unlike a brick-and-mortar store, a salesperson isn't there on an eCommerce site, when a customer is leaving. This leads to countless abandoned carts, not to mention a massive decrease in the way people trust your brand. How do you prevent that? Create a sense of urgency on your site. Read on to see more.

Creating a sense of urgency in your online store is a great way to give customers the same excitement that occasionally comes from traditional retail shopping. But one reason why more and more are turning to online shopping instead of traditional in-store shopping is convenience. Everything about shopping from a website is so much more pleasant than going to any store.You can do it in the comfort and privacy of your home. You don’t have to deal with traffic or mingling with other people when you don’t feel like it. You can do it right here, right now.

But there is a difference between brick and mortar stores and eCommerce sites: how much power you have as a store to close the sale.

In a physical store, you can have charming staff, bright and flashy promotions, and the added benefit of letting customers feel and hold items in their hands. As an eCommerce site, how can you build that excitement, that anticipation, that sense of urgency?

Recapturing the Sense of Urgency

It’s that excitement and anticipation that we can attribute to the success of sales, promotions, and deals that both customers and stores love to have. But how do you recreate the fun fare and excitement of an in-store promotion on a website where you have little to no direct interaction with the customer?With certain proven techniques and tricks, any eCommerce site can recapture that sense of urgency and transpose it onto their website. In this article, you will learn:

  • Why a sense of urgency is important for an eCommerce site
  • Various creative techniques for building this connection with your customer
  • How to adapt these techniques for your own site and audience

Sense of urgency: Sales and Deals

1) Daily Deals

Daily deals, today-only promotions, flash sales these short-time, 24-hour offers are the perfect way to incentivise your lurkers and potential customers into pulling their cards out and pressing that “Buy” button.For this to work, the customer has to knowthat your promotion is limited to the 24 hours that you’ve set. If you put up a 24-hour bargain that they still see the next day, not only do you lose your customers’ trust, but you also lose the sense of urgency created by any future daily offers.How do you do this? Create a section on your site that has your “Deal of the Day”, to further drive their impulses. This will also prove that the offer won’t last long enough for them to give it a second thought.Amazon’s Today’s Lightning Deals are a great example.

sense of urgency amazon

2) Emphasize End of Sale Dates

Customers have a habit of getting excited about sales and then putting off the actual buying until the promotion is over. The goal is to get your customer to make the purchase. And a good way to do that is to make sure that they have a clear idea of when the special offer will end. Promote the deadline of your sale in the same place where you advertise it. If your promo ends on a certain date, make sure that your customers are aware of it. Airlines do this all the time.

limited time sale

3) Reward First X Purchases

It’s hard to say no to free giveaways, especially if we know they are exclusive and limited. By offering your first 20, 50, or 100 buyers a certain product, a little gift or added reward, you instil the fear of missing out in all your impulsive potential buyers. This Huawei deal is a perfect example.

free gift

4) “Coming Soon” Sales

Want to truly create that sense of urgency? Partner it up with anticipation. We all love brand new and limited-edition products. Which is why a great way to get to your customers is to tap into their anticipation, and it is just as bad as anxiety in some cases.Tease them about your upcoming products, and give them a progressively bigger idea of what those products might be as the release gets closer. And when you finally release the product, limit your stock numbers. This will build that anticipation to a max, and give that feeling of excitement to every buyer who gets one. Rue La La’s website has a great Coming Soon section here.

coming soon

5) Sale Countdown Timer

Who doesn’t have a love-hate relationship with a clock? At one point or another, we’ve all been staring at the seconds ticking by, waiting for something to end or something else to begin. Countdown timers have incredible psychological holds over us, which is why they work so well in creating the visual representation of our internal sense of urgency.By adding a countdown timer anywhere on your site, you drive up action immediately. Place it as a banner beneath the product, or even on the landing page. It shows your customers that there is a very physical and real number that is slowly counting down. And it plants that little touch of anxiety in their head.This example from Allen Edmonds is sure to have earned them tons of extra sales.

final hours

Sense of urgency: Items and Stock

6) Limited Product Stock

Availability is a huge factor when it comes to the buying decision. By showing that your product has limited stock, your customers will naturally create their own deadline in their head, but this time without a specific date. After all, who wants to lose out on a product just because they couldn’t make up their mind on a few bucks?This is creating a sense of urgency through the idea that customers don’t have much time to make their choice since others might snatch it up before they do. At Beauty Encounter, customers are encouraged to hurry up with a subtle yet effective “Hurry, low quantity!” message.

limited stock

7) Tag Out of Stock Products

You might be tempted to remove out-of-stock items from your product list just to keep it clean, or to avoid annoying customers who might want to buy them. But keeping those products there with a faded out image and an “Out of Stock” tag actually helps drive more sales to your other products.Why? One thing that we have to recreate with online shopping is the idea that other people are also looking around the store. This is something we can’t see on the internet. By showing that other products are getting sold out, we feel that sales are high and activity is booming. A customer might miss out on something else they wanted. Check out Flipkart’s perfume example:

out of stock

8) One-of-a-Kind Stock

One-of-a-kind products or exclusive products have their own inherent sense of urgency from their name alone. By creating exclusive products, your store immediately becomes the one and only place where that item can be bought. And if you run out, every interested buyer is short on luck.At BirchBox, they have a knack for working with popular influencers to fill their Special Edition make-up and skincare boxes. Every different box is unique and exclusive, not to mention that it’s promoted by the influencers themselves. This means each box already has the audience ready to buy it. Their exclusive tag is all they need to charge more.

exclusive ecommerce

9) Show Other Shopper Activity

There’s just something about knowing that other people are shopping in a virtual environment that makes a customer want to urge themselves along. When you feel that other people are around you, you get that sense of urgency simply from their imagined presence and crowding. does this by showing how many other people are looking at the same deal. The service hints, those people might book your preferred dates before you do.

sense of urgency other activity

10) Send “Last Call” Emails

Like the last call at the end of every night in a bar, online shoppers can also be prompted into purchasing with last call or last chance reminders. Don’t be afraid to send out SMS reminders to your subscribers, telling them about the quickly approaching end of your sale. Why SMS and not email? The latest texting statistics show that while 82% of texts are read within 5 minutes, people only open 1 out of 4 received emails.There's some fantastic SMS software out there to help you leverage this underused marketing channel!This example from Groupon includes a code that gives an extra discount.

sense of urgency last call

Sense of urgency: Your Customer

11) Custom Offers

By monitoring the customers’ activity on your site you can give them personalized discounts based on products they spent a long time looking at. Or if they choose to shop from a certain section, you can give them a prompt with a special discount card.Forever 21 has a floating offer that only appears when a customer specifically chose the sale section, making them feel a little bit more special.

custom offer sense of urgency

12) Give Offers For Abandoned Carts

Did you know that nearly 70% of online carts are abandoned by virtual window shoppers? This means that your store might only be getting 30% of the sales that it could potentially have from all interested customers. But many of them back out before the sale is done. Capturing this reluctant 70% should be your number one goal.So how do you create this sense of urgency? Offer a limited time discount to customers who have abandoned their carts in the past. When they revisit your site, prompt them with a discount on their next order which lasts for a short amount of time. Miracas executed this perfectly.

sense of urgency abandoned cart

13) Make the Most Out of Pop-Ups

Pop-ups are a great way to literally get in your customers’ face. A simple but prominent pop-up can do wonders towards pushing the customer to the Buy button. They immediately say whatever you want to say, forcing your customer to acknowledge that they know about your latest sale, deal, or promotion. But here’s a tip: don’t go overboard. If a customer sees a huge pop-up every time they visit your store, they’ll stop coming. Here’s a great simple example from Mobly.

sense of urgency popup

14) Charity Donation Sales

Consumers these days are more socially aware than ever. But (of course) they still love to shop. If you can combine their shopping needs with their desire to contribute to the world, you can help customers kill two birds with one stone.So partner up with a charity or an NGO. Let your customers know that a percentage of everything that you make from their purchases gets contributed to a cause that they would likely support. For example, BoxLunch has a great promotion: “With every $10 you spend BoxLunch will help provide a meal to a person in need.” Simple, sweet, and socially conscious.

sense of urgency charity

15) Partner Discounts

The sooner you realize that most other stores out there aren’t your competition, the sooner you can start benefiting from partnering with them. People shop at multiple stores for various items. If you know your customer demographic, then you can safely guess the other kinds of products they regularly buy.Find the other stores or brands that your customers probably buy from and partner with them. To your customers, this is all just a bonus, something they would never expect. It makes them feel special since they know that you had them in mind. It builds goodwill with them and establishes a long-term relationship, which is great for customer retention. One great example of these partner discounts Pampers offering Mother’s Day coupons at certain partnered stores. The sense of urgency here comes from the holiday setting of the coupon.

affiliate referals

Sense of urgency: Extra Tips

16) Make the Most Out of Holidays!

Holidays come and go, and no one ever looked down on a store for making the most out of them! And we’re not just talking about the obvious ones like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Those are going to be just as crowded with promotions as every other sales season. Instead, try to branch out and be a bit more creative with smaller holidays.For example, Chubbies offered awesome patriotic undies in the build-up to the 2016 4th of July.

holiday sale urgency

17) Write Amazing Copy

In this age of digital marketing and targeting techniques, it’s easy to forget the bread and butter of what could make or break a sale in advertising: Some kickass copy.Combine smooth and savvy copy with the copy that builds a sense of urgency. Use words like “Act Now”, “Last Chance”, and “Hurry”. This way, you can sell and excite at the same time.For example, Crate & Barrel keeps it clean, crisp, and informative.

good copywriting

18) Floating Bar Promotion

A constant floating bar hovering over your customers’ web page is enough to keep the idea of the sale in their mind throughout their entire browsing experience. Keep it classy, small, and crisp. On the other hand, make it too bright or loud, and it becomes annoying very easily.A great example of a good-looking floating bar comes from Forever 21. They have a black bar at the top that serves as a reminder of their winter discount. You can’t get rid of it, but why would you want to?

floating bar buy now

19) Limited Free Shipping

One of the easiest ways to drive that sense of urgency is to offer people a taste of your product with none of the downsides of online shopping: paying for shipping. By offering a limited-time free shipping during your sale, you give your customers that extra push to pull the trigger. Let them experience the joy of receiving a package without paying for delivery, all for a limited time only.At Bonobos, new customers get a short-time free shipping discount on their first order:

ecommerce free shipping

20) Reinforce Demand

Always reinforce the demand for your product. Whenever you get the opportunity, remind your customers that there are plenty of other shoppers just waiting to buy the products that they might be hesitating on. These little reinforcements can be done in subtle ways, such as reminders of low stock on the homepage, in the cart, and displays of other shopper activity.In the example below, you can see products already placed in the cart. But the sense of urgency is still being built with the reminder that there are only two left of the racerback tank product. And it works! Just think about it — how can they abandon their carts if they know that someone might pull the items out before they come back?

increase demand urgency

A sense of Urgency: Why Though?

After going through all this, you might still be asking yourself — why though? You might believe that your site and your products should have enough merit on their own to drive sales. And if they don’t, then you just have to improve, right?But here’s the truth: your site is just one of thousands out there, and you need to do everything you can to get ahead of the crowd.Closing every sale is the name of the game, and in a day and age where we can no longer charm our customers with personable salesmen in our stores, we have to evolve and adapt if we want to keep playing. With time-limited discounts, exclusive items, free shipping, great copy, and dozens of other small yet influential techniques, you can turn your average sale into the best sale you’ve had in years.So what are you waiting for? Start building urgency right away.Go. GO, GO NOW QUICK!

Phil Forbes
Phil Forbes
How to Price a Product: Ecommerce Pricing Strategies to Help You Sell More

How to Price a Product: Ecommerce Pricing Strategies to Help You Sell More

There’s been an odd misconception floating around the world of marketing and sales as of late… For some reason, many entrepreneurs, business owners, and

There’s been an odd misconception floating around the world of marketing and sales as of late…For some reason, many entrepreneurs, business owners, and “thought leaders” seem to think that it’s no longer necessary to focus on optimizing the prices of their products.Giving the benefit of the doubt to these individuals, the spread of this misconception may be due to a misunderstanding of the idea that most modern consumers place an increasing amount of value on factors like customer experience and the level of service and support companies provide them.While this is certainly true, that doesn’t mean that optimising your pricing strategies has little to no bearing on the success your company experiences.

how to price a product


On the contrary, the more this misconception spreads, the more important it will become to have a proper pricing strategy in place. In other words, since many other companies within your industry may inadvertently be neglecting their pricing strategies (and instead focusing on other aspects of their service), you may stand to benefit from focusing on this more basic aspect of your business.(Of course, this isn’t to say that the other aspects are any less important. The point is you shouldn’t ignore your pricing strategy in favor of other areas.)In this article, we’re going to discuss:

  • The most effective high-level pricing frameworks for ecommerce companies
  • The most effective ground-level pricing tactics used by successful ecommerce companies
  • Why, when, and how to utilize these frameworks and tactics to help your ecommerce company grow

Before we dive in, though, let’s take a moment to discuss why it’s still incredibly important to optimize the prices of your ecommerce products.

The Importance of Price Optimisation

As we said, although price isn’t the only factor consumers consider when making a purchasing decision, most consumers absolutely do pay attention to price whenever they’re about to open their wallets.Case in point, 80% of consumers say competitive pricing is the most important factor for driving purchasing decisions. And, even if they believe it isn’t the most important factor, nearly half of consumers rank pricing among the top three factors influencing their purchasing decision.


From a business standpoint, your choice of pricing strategies and tactics have a number of far-reaching effects. Implemented correctly, your pricing strategy of choice can provide for maximum profitability across the board - from your most expensive to your least-valuable products. On the other hand, a poor approach to pricing can be incredibly detrimental to your sales numbers, your profit margin, or both.With all this in mind, let’s take a look at the most effective pricing frameworks used by many successful ecommerce companies today.

The Three Most Commonly-Used Pricing Frameworks for Ecommerce

We’ll get into the more “down and dirty” pricing tactics used by both on- and offline companies a bit later in this article.Before we do so, though, we need to discuss the overarching pricing frameworks and philosophies that essentially inform how and why you may choose to implement the tactics we’ll talk about in a bit.Let’s dive in.

Cost-Based Pricing

Cost-Based pricing is perhaps the most common and well-known pricing frameworks in existence.(Speaking in general terms, cost-based pricing is typically how most “outsiders” assume companies price their products.)Essentially, cost-based pricing is the process of marking up a product (by either a percentage or a dollar amount) over the manufacturer’s or supplier’s initial price - whether for the product itself, or the cost of the sum of the product’s parts.Cost-Based pricing can be broken down into one of three different types:

  • Markup pricing
  • Margin pricing
  • Planned-Profit pricing

Markup pricing considers the difference between the price a company sets for an item and the original cost of that item to the company.The formula for markup amount is as follows:

(Selling Price) - (Original Cost)

Taking this a step further, markup percentage is then measured using the following formula:

(Markup Amount) / (Original Cost)

For example, if the price you pay your supplier comes out to $10 per unit, and you want to sell the product for $15, the markup amount would be $5:

($15 Selling Price) - ($10 Original Cost)

The markup percentage for the product would be .5, or 50% of the original cost:

($5 Markup Amount) / ($10 Original Cost)

Working backward, you’d then know that you’d want to markup the prices of your products by 50% in order to sustain this pricing model.Margin pricing takes markup pricing a step further, and looks at the actual profit margin of a given markup percentage for an item.To determine your optimal margin percentage, you first need to calculate your gross margin:

(Selling Price) - (Cost of Goods Sold)

You’d then take this number and divide it by the Selling Price of the item, and multiply this number by 100:

(Gross Margin) / (Selling Price) x 100

Using the example from above, your gross margin would be $5:

($15 Selling Price) - ($10 Cost of Goods Sold)

Your margin percentage would then be 33.33%:

($5 Gross Margin) / ($15 Selling Price) x 100

Again, working backward, you can use margin pricing to determine what your actual profit will be per unit sold (rather than total revenues). (A quick side note: Though not exactly a topic for discussion within this article, it’s important that you understand the difference between Markup and Margin Pricing, as confusion in this area can lead to major unexpected losses down the road.)Planned-Profit pricing requires companies to determine how much profit they intend to generate overall by selling a specific product, then fix the price of each individual unit accordingly. The formula for planned-profit pricing is:

(Cost) + (Desired Profit Margin Per Unit)

So, if a clothing company intends to make $10 per sale of a specific t-shirt, and each shirt costs the company $2 to purchase (or have made), the planned-profit price would be $12 ($2 + $10).As for whether or not to use cost-based pricing in your own business, it’s important to consider the pros and cons.First, the benefits:

  • It allows you to easily determine the price at which you offer your products
  • It ensures a certain amount of profit from each sale
  • It allows you to justify price increases if the cost per product increases on your end

However, there are definitely some major drawbacks to cost-based pricing, as well:

  • Because you won’t be taking into consideration the competition, you may end up overpricing your products - or underpricing them
  • Because you won’t be taking into consideration consumer demand for your products, the same issues may arise
  • Consumers typically don’t care about costs to your company, so they may not react well to an increase in the price they pay due to issues on your end

Overall, cost-based pricing may be a decent way for fledgling ecommerce companies to get started, but it’s typically not sustainable in the long run. Not only is it company-centric by nature (a big no-no by today’s standards), but it also forces companies to operate in a vacuum of sorts - which, of course, is not how things work in the real world.Dynamic PricingAlso referred to as market or competitor-based pricing, dynamic pricing is the process of using industry standards to set prices competitively - but such that increased profitability is ensured, as well.While getting started with dynamic pricing can be done manually, your first order of business should be to invest in software that allows you to:

  • Easily collect and analyze industry data
  • Calculate the profitability of different price ranges for different items
  • Potentially create pricing segments (more on this in a bit)

The manual part, of course, is understanding what data to collect - and what it all means. Regarding your industry, you’ll want to know the average (mean) price of a specific product, as well as the most common price and mid-range price for said product. The case may very well be that you don’t necessarily need to undercut your competitors; you might simply need to offer a price that’s a bit lower than that which most companies offer the same product for.You’ll also, of course, want to take into consideration the profit margin you hope to attain, as well as the overall revenues you hope to generate, by selling the product in question. Completely undercutting your competition might lead to an increase in your sales numbers, but if you aren’t making as much per sale as you’d hoped, your sales numbers are a moot point.Another important factor, here, is your store’s reputation. Reason being: the better your rep, the more flexible you can be with your dynamic pricing. For example, take a look at the following screenshot:

how to price a product


Notice how much higher Foot Locker has priced the same running shoe? Being the popular sneaker depot it is, there’s little doubt the company still generates a ton of sales at this higher-than-average price - a feat which almost certainly couldn’t be accomplished by a smaller brand.At any rate, once you’ve determined the price at which you want to set your products, you want to keep a close eye on your conversion rates and revenues, as well as on fluctuations within the market that will dictate the need for a change in your pricing.(It’s called “dynamic pricing” for a reason, after all.)The benefits of dynamic pricing are as follows:First of all, it allows you to find the “sweet spot” in terms of sales and profit generated. In other words, you won’t be undercutting the competition to make more sales (and sacrificing profits in the process), and you also won’t be losing sales by unintentionally setting your prices too high.Additionally, dynamic pricing allows you to increase your prices when doing so is deemed acceptable to - or, at least, expected by - the consumer. Simply put, as the average price of the product in question increases, you can feel free to increase the price at which you offer the product accordingly.Still, dynamic pricing does come with a few downsides and/or pitfalls to watch out for.Firstly, implementing dynamic pricing can be time- and labor-intensive - not to mention costly. As mentioned earlier, you’ll almost certainly need to invest in a software solution that allows you to analyze industry trends via automation and other assistive measures. Moreover, dynamic pricing, by nature, isn’t a “set it and forget it” type deal; you’ll need to stay abreast of changes within your industry at all times - or find yourself losing out to your competitors immediately.Another thing to consider is that price fluctuations - whether up or down - can cause hesitation among your customer base. At best, switching up your pricing too often may cause consumers to wait until the price of a product goes back down before they purchase it from your store - even if this means waiting ad infinitum. At worst, doing so might cause your customers to begin distrusting your brand altogether - causing them to move on to one of your more steady competitors. Finally, dynamic pricing can potentially cause price wars to break out among you and your competitors. In turn, everyone involved will begin a “race to the bottom,” which will essentially decimate profit margins across the board.While typically used by companies within service industries (such as airlines and hotels), dynamic pricing can be utilized to success by ecommerce companies, as well - as long as it’s approached cautiously and strategically.Above all else, the main thing to consider when implementing dynamic pricing strategies is to do so within a set of defined parameters (such as minimum and maximum prices, and a maximum amount of changes in a specific amount of time). In doing so, you’ll be able to make changes to your products’ prices as necessary without the risk of falling into one of the aforementioned traps.Value-Based PricingValue-Based pricing is the process of setting prices for your products based on the value of said product from the customer’s perspective.In other words, with value-based pricing, your goal is to determine the exact amount of money your customers would be willing to part with in exchange for a specific product.As value-based pricing is, of course, a more customer-centric undertaking, you’ll want to first develop and consult your customer personas. In addition to basic “on-paper” demographic data (such as income level, occupation, etc.), you’ll also want to dig deep into the psychographic and behavioral aspects of your customers, such as:

  • Their goals for using a specific product
  • The benefits and features of a product that are important to them (and which aren’t essential to them)
  • Their ability (and desire) to spend money on the product

Once you’ve determined these factors, your next step will be to determine exactly how your products fit these expectations.For example, take a look at the following Google Shopping results for a search for “Chromebooks”:

how to price a product

For individuals looking for a simple word-processing laptop, that $749 Pixelbook is way too expensive. Sure, it has extra features and all; but if these features don’t matter to the customer, then there’s no reason to spend an extra $500+ on a more advanced machine.At the same time, this doesn’t mean that all Chromebooks should be priced in the $700 range. Needless to say, the more affordable, stripped-down versions would not be nearly as successful if that were the case. The point, here, is that the $150-250 price range matches the amount of money those looking for a basic laptop are willing to spend.Another area to consider when implementing value-based pricing is the value your company provides your customers outside of the actual product being offered. For example, if you offer top-notch customer service, money-back guarantees, and other such services that go well beyond what your competition offers, you certainly want to factor that into the cost of your product.(Again, though: You need to be sure this additional service is seen as valuable by your target consumers - otherwise they won’t be willing to pay extra to receive it.)Now, the major issue with value-based pricing is that value is almost entirely subjective to the individual consumer. As we alluded to earlier, those who don’t value touch-screen capabilities would have no interest in purchasing the $750 Chromebook; on the other hand, there are certainly many consumers out there who would consider $750 to be an incredible bargain for a touch-screen laptop.

how to price a product

(Source / Caption: Case in point…)

That being said, the final step in implementing value-based pricing is rather ongoing, in that you’ll need to test and tweak a number of different variables until you get it just right.Obviously, you’ll need to tweak your pricing depending on how your products sell over a certain period of time. But, unlike with dynamic pricing (in which you change your pricing based on changes in the market, your competition, etc.), here you’ll want to do so based solely on your target customers’ expectations. While industry averages and like will certainly play a role in your customers’ expectations, it’s more important that you pay attention to the perceived value of your products in the eyes of your customers in order to find your “sweet spot” for profitability.As mentioned earlier, you’ll also want to continue improving the supplementary services you provide along with your product offerings, as well. You might, for example, find that a competing company is selling a similar (or even the same) product for 10% more than your company does - and also offers free two-day shipping for said item. All other things being equal, it could well be that this extra offer is what enables your competitor to successfully sell the product for more than your company does. Finally, you’ll also need to make the appropriate changes to your marketing content so that the value you provide to your customers (through both your products and your services) is crystal clear. The better able you are to differentiate yourself from your competition, the more valid your higher prices will be in the eyes of your customers.

how to price a product


It’s probably clear by now that value-based pricing is the way to go for ecommerce companies looking to reach next-level success. There are a few reasons for this:First, it allows you to meet your customers’ expectations in terms of pricing and, of course, the value you provide them in exchange for their hard-earned cash. In other words, value-based pricing allows you to offer your products at a price at which your customers aren’t just willing to pay - but at which they’re happy to pay.Additionally, value-based pricing allows you to justify your pricing in a way that matters to your customers. In contrast to the way this works for cost-based pricing, since you’ll be explaining the added value that’s being passed to the customer, they’ll likely be much more receptive to increases in your prices over time.Finally, value-based pricing allows you to be lean in terms of product and service development, in that you’ll be aiming to include only those features which your customers will find valuable. In essence, adopting this framework could not only lower your costs of doing business, but can actually transform the way in which your organization operates overall.Now, as with the other strategies we’ve mentioned so far, value-based pricing does have a few downsides.For one thing, much more research is involved in order to be successful - and this research needs to be ongoing. You’ll not only need to stay ahead of your competitors in terms of the value you provide your customers, but you’ll also need to keep ahead of trends in terms of what your customers actually value in the first place. As this data can fluctuate rather quickly (quite literally with the weather, in some cases), you need to stay on top of this at all times.Also, as mentioned above, value is subjective to each of your individual customers. The more your customer base varies in terms of persona, the more work you’ll need to do to ensure that you offer products that each of them will find valuable in the first place - and the more work you’ll need to do to ensure you meet each of their needs in terms of pricing.Overall, though, adopting a value-based pricing framework is your best for experiencing massive amounts of success in the modern customer-centric world of ecommerce (and retail in general). By pricing your products in a manner that consumers deem 100% fair, you stand a great chance of keeping your current customer base on board - and generating a ton of new business, as well.Pricing Tactics to Help Your Ecommerce Company Sell MoreAs promised, now it’s time to get into the more “down and dirty” pricing tactics you can implement in order to persuade potential customers to make a purchase - and to get your current customers to buy even more.A quick note: The point of explaining these tactics is not to help you “fleece” your customers or anything like that. One way or another, the goal of these tactics is to showcase the value your products provide your customers - in turn making them more likely to make a purchase.That said, let’s dig in.Premium PricingPremium pricing is essentially the opposite of the process of undercutting the competition:Rather than offering a given product at a lower price than your competitors, premium pricing dictates that you offer your product at a price that’s higher than expected.You’re almost certainly familiar with a number of companies that implement this strategy, such as:

  • Apple’s Macbooks
  • Grey Goose’s brand of vodka
  • Rolex watches of pretty much any variety

Now, to be sure, the value of these products do match their quality - for the audience being targeted by the company in question, at least:

  • Apple’s laptops are generally higher in quality, and are also incredibly powerful in terms of multimedia capabilities
  • Grey Goose’s upscale nature appeals to those who can afford better-than-bottom-shelf vodka
  • Rolex watches are certainly more well-made than lower-priced watches (though, some would argue, not well enough to warrant such high prices)
how to price a product

(Source / Caption: I can tell time for free by looking at the sun, thank you very much…)

When implementing premium pricing, of course your main concern is going to be marketing to consumers who aren’t afraid to spend a little more cash. Additionally, though, you want to be sure that your product truly is, in fact, more valuable than your competitors in one way or another; simply jacking up the price isn’t going to fool anyone.Using premium pricing tactics can have a number of benefits to your company:

  • It maximizes your profits for high-value and in-demand products
  • It allows you to make up for manufacturing costs (for the product in question and others, potentially)
  • It enhances your brand’s image, overall

The downsides of implementing premium pricing include:

  • The fact that your marketing, as well as your customer service and support initiatives, absolutely need to be optimized in order to justify the increased price
  • Competition makes it difficult to sell at higher prices - especially when your product doesn’t truly offer enhanced value
  • You’ll inherently be targeting a smaller audience with your premium-priced products

All that said, done well, premium pricing can lead to major growth for your company. It just makes sense: if customers are willing to pay more for a specific product, let them.Logic- or Emotion-Based PricingWhile logic- and emotion-based pricing are polar opposite tactics, we’re going to discuss them within the same section, here.Logic-based pricing works on the premise that consumers will assign specific value to individual features of a given product - meaning they’ll expect to see a more specific price for the product, overall.

how to price a product

(Source / Caption: Think “The Price is Right” prices”)

Take the following laptop, for example:

how to price a product


That $681.96 price tag, believe it or not, is almost certainly much more attractive than, for example, $675.99, for the simple reason that it doesn’t seem arbitrary. In other words, because it’s such a specific number, most consumers are likely to see it as representative of the cost of sum of all the parts of the product.(This, perhaps, is as close to consumers will get to caring about the cost of producing a product.)Emotion-based pricing, on the other hand, works on the premise that, sometimes, minor product specifications simply don’t matter to the customer as much as the feeling the product provides them.

how to price a product


Chances are, most customers who plan on purchasing this aren’t going to care much about how much it cost to commission the painting, have it mass produced, etc. Additionally, the fact that watercolor paints cost less than, say, acrylics, likely won’t factor into whether or not an individual buys this product. All they know is, it makes them happy, and it costs $28. Done and done.Simply put: Whether you’re able to implement logic- or emotion-based pricing depends solely on the type of product you offer. If the product provides some sort of functional value, logic-based is the way to go; if the product provides more aesthetic value, go with emotion-based pricing.Price AnchoringPrice anchoring is the practice of showcasing your more valuable items first, then pointing your customers toward similar products that are lower in price.The purpose of doing so is to play on the consumer’s “sticker shock” upon seeing the price of the more valuable item, so that they are more easily able to come to terms with the price of the lower-priced item.To use Grey Goose as an example yet again, it’s common practice for liquor stores to place the more expensive vodka (“top-shelf liquor”) at eye level, and place the less-expensive brands on sequentially lower shelves. In doing so, customers will typically see the ~$75 bottles first, leading them to base the perceived value of the lower-shelf liquors according to that upper-echelon price. In turn, they’ll typically be happy to spend $30 on a lower-quality bottle of vodka of the same size.Another method that may be more effective in the ecommerce realm (since consumers can typically sort items by price as they wish when browsing a store) is to showcase your products’ original prices (or their MSRP) along with the current price at which you offer them.

how to price a product


By presenting the current price along with a higher original (or, at least, previous) price, you can essentially make the customer feel as if they’re saving money by making a purchase. Now, again, the point here isn’t to “trick” your customers into making a purchase. That said, you don’t want to:

  • Ramp up your prices for a period of time just so you can bring them back down - and thus pretend that the new price is lower than usual
  • Straight out lie about the original price of your products
  • Lower prices without considering how doing so will affect your bottom line

Additionally, it’s also important to remember that, as we spoke about earlier, many people will actually want to buy your higher-priced items. In other words, you don’t want to just use your premium-priced products as bait for price anchoring, as doing so may end up costing you a massive amount of profits in the long run. The takeaway, here, is that price anchoring is less about changing the actual prices of your products, and more so about shifting the way you present these prices. Optimize the way you do this, and you’ll make your customers feel like they’re getting a deal every time they make a purchase from your store.Loss LeadersThe final pricing tactic we’ll discuss in this article is the use of loss leaders.A loss leader is a product sold at an incredibly cheap price (usually at a loss, as the name implies) in an effort to get customers to purchase complementary items that are much more profitable for the company.A few common examples of loss leaders include:

  • Gillette manual razors
  • Computer printers
  • Video game systems

In the case of Gillette, the company sells the actual razors for an incredibly low price, knowing that its customers will need to buy replacement blades at regular intervals - which is where the company makes the majority of its profits. In similar fashion, computer printers - though still rather pricey - aren’t all that profitable for companies like Canon and Epson. But, as you surely know, customers will certainly need to purchase dozens of ink cartridges over the years in order to actually use said printers; again, this is where profit is made.Video game systems, such as the Xbox and PlayStation, are also expensive to produce - and Microsoft and Sony don’t make much from each sale. However, these companies are able to recoup their losses and make profits through software licenses and live services.As these examples illustrate, loss leaders should typically relate - and even be dependent on - another product you offer, so as to ensure that your customers make this additional purchase. Even better, as is the case with razor blades and ink cartridges, it helps if the supplemental products are consumable, requiring the customer to make repeat purchases over time. Finally, while the loss leader may be expensive to produce, the supplemental product should be the exact opposite: cheap to make, and highly-profitable.However, it is possible to use loss leaders to get customers to purchase unrelated products that are more profitable. A common example is milk in a grocery store: while stores don’t make all that much off of said product, most consumers will typically end up buying more once they set foot inside the store. That said, using standalone products as loss leaders can lead to acts of “cherry picking,” in which customers consciously go from store to store bagging up these products on the cheap - and not purchasing anything else.So, again: If you’re going to implement this tactic, your best bet is to do so with a product that all but guarantees those who purchase it will come back for more in the future.Wrapping UpBy now, we hope you have a pretty good idea of which pricing framework will work best for your ecommerce company - and which on-the-ground pricing tactics you’d be able to utilize successfully.It may even be the case that one framework might work best for the time being, and that you’ll be looking to evolve to a more involved process as your business starts to grow. While, as we’ve said, certain frameworks are objectively more sustainable than others, you may want to try each one before you settle on what works best for your company.As for pricing tactics, you should now have a pretty good understanding of the best practices for each - as well as an understanding of when these tactics simply won’t be effective. The main thing to keep in mind is not to “force” the use of any of these tactics if doing so doesn’t make sense for your business; not only will they not work in the first place, but your customers will see right through your attempts - and will begin not to trust you.Have you used any of these frameworks or tactics in your own ecommerce business? We’d love to hear how it’s been working out for you. Let us know in the comments section below!


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