Optimized Ecommerce EP 023 – Common Mistakes by Newbies in Ecommerce and How to Avoid Them
In today’s episode of The Optimized Ecommerce Podcast, Tanner and Brad discuss the common mistakes new Ecom store owners make over and over again and how to avoid them. It's normal to get a little over-excited when opening your online store. Naturally, you look at your competitors and other shops for inspiration. But keep
Welcome to Episode #23 of Optimized Ecommerce – Common Mistakes by Newbies in Ecommerce and How to Avoid Them. I’m your host Tanner Larsson CEO of BGS with today’s featured guest Brad Owens.
Brad is joining us in today’s episode. He is an esteemed member of our BGS optimization team. He brings along with him years of experience and expertise on how to start your ecommerce store and the things you need to avoid while running it.
Today, we will dive into the most common mistakes in the Ecom space and save you a lot of time, effort, and money. And of course, valuable tips on how to avoid them.
BGS means Build Grow Scale! It is a community that we founded where eCommerce entrepreneurs and physical product sellers come to learn how to take their businesses to the next level.
Here’s just a taste of what we talked about today:
Less is definitely more
It is a common scenario especially with people who have just begun with their Ecom stores to add all the apps they thought they need to bring in people and pump up the sales. But little do they know that it’s hurting their sites more than benefiting from it. One particular reason is that the more app you have installed, the slower your site’s loading time becomes. It has a direct effect on your site speed. So just pick out the apps that address a specific need.
Unless you’re Amazon, don’t be a general store
Most businesses will start out as general stores that sell anything and everything through dropshipping, but all the facts and figures say that this is the one thing that beginners should avoid altogether to establish a name for their stores. Be a store that sells something specific. Something with a targeted market.
Narrow down options
This is true if you have a lot of categories in your store. The goal is to help give your visitors the best shopping experience and not confuse them with the products that you have for sale. So to make this work, you either have to have an optimized search bar or you can arrange your products well. Do this by presenting the customer your top-selling products and if you can eliminate the products that don’t sell, the better. In short, do not overwhelm customers with a ton of choices cause you risk them leaving the store.
We also discussed a few other fun topics, including:
- Your Home Page matters, so make it look as interesting as possible by making use of your value propositions.
- Top bar navigation should not distract people from their real purpose. It should not contain links that will drive potential customers away from your store.
- Take time to provide clean and clear details of the products that you are selling. Do not just copy what you see on the sites where you got the products from. Take your own pictures and write your own description. This is what will separate you from your competition.
But you’ll have to watch or listen to the episode to hear about those!
How To Stay Connected With Brad
Want to stay connected with Brad? Please check out their social profiles below.
- Website: BuildGrowScale.com
- Facebook Profile: Facebook.com/BuildGrowScale
- LinkedIn: Linkedin.com/company/build-grow-scale
- YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/BuildGrowScale
Also, Brad mentioned these items on the show. You can find that on:
Tanner Larsson 0:14
Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Optimized Ecommerce Podcast. I’m Tanner Larsson, your host, and today we’re going to be talking about something quite interesting with very interesting guests. All right, so a guest is actually one of the Build Grow Scale team. His name is Brad Owens. All right. Now the cool thing about Brad is not only does he work with BGS, and he’s one of our optimization experts, but Brad actually started out as a customer of BGS and had his own e commerce store, had his own retail business, and really has been in the physical product space in the e commerce world on his own for quite a while before coming to the BGS world. So what we’re going to talk about today and what Brad is going to be telling us about today is common mistakes that newbies and beginners in the e commerce space seem to make kind of over and over again and why they make them how to avoid them. And just some of the big things that are out there when it comes to what we see that beginners are doing. So, Brad, thanks for coming on.
Brad Owens 1:10
Yeah, thanks. Glad to be here.
Tanner Larsson 1:14
So, you know, Brad, to kind of kick this off. Why don’t we back it up a little bit before we get into the questions of all the mistakes and all the things and that kind of stuff. Let’s talk about your story. So how did e commerce start for you? How did you find BGS? Why did you find BGS and then why did you wind up working with us within and kind of cover the whole thing?
Brad Owens 1:33
Okay, so I started- my journey started probably in the early 2000s. And I was on eBay, and also did a little bit with Amazon. And at that time, Amazon had auctions and they had what was called C shops, I think C stores or C shops, which were horrible. And they’re really bad. And then I started a store using a 3D Card. And at the time, we did have Shopify they weren’t around. I don’t think big commerce was really limited with your options. So I did a 3D card and along with other marketplaces did really well and I got to the point where in 2010, I opened up a retail store. So we were in the mall of Georgia, it was kind of a combination of a hot topic with banned and licensed merchandise, along with a comic book store. So we had that that lasted for probably eight years. In 2018, I decided for a lot of different reasons just not to renew my lease, and just, you know, stay home and do the ecom full time. And once I did that, I noticed that okay, everything’s changed. It’s been a while still doing Amazon, but as far as e commerce, e commerce store, I was just really kind of rusty. Like Shopify, I didn’t even know anything about it. So I started my Shopify store and started looking for help really for direction because you have all these apps and all these other things with Shopify that I didn’t have before. And that’s when I found out about this book that I read. I was like, “Oh, this is awesome.” And so read the book, and then ended up joining EI. And that kind of led me to where I’m at now, being a revenue optimization expert.
Tanner Larsson 3:29
So back up, the book Brad read is the one you can see with the green cover on the back like they’re the version one of Ecommerce Evolved, which version two is about to come out. So I’m excited about that. But he read that book and found BGS through that, and then when he said EI he’s talking about Econ Insider, which is our mentoring program guided business accelerator program where we help stores that are established, go from good to great, and really dial things in. So you started working with us as a customer, and then we launched the internship program and something about that caught your fancy right? And then you join the internship program.
Brad Owens 4:08
Yes, I was at a point with my business where is actually was doing too well because I had myself I had a part time employee and we really went heavy into subscription boxes and I overcomplicated my boxes and they were selling too well, to where it was going to be like a massive investment of money and time to keep it going. Because that’s gonna have to hire more employees that’s gonna have to get warehouse space. It’s gonna have to get pallets of products, but not just pallets of products but pallets of products from all these different vendors. Once again, I over-complicated my box. And also at a point is I really don’t want to do this. So then the internship, you know, opportunity arrived and that’s when I was like, “Okay, this is awesome. I really want to be part of the BGS team.”
Tanner Larsson 4:58
Cool. So yeah, now from there Brad’s become one of our revenue optimization experts. So he works in our amplified partner program, helping our client and partner stores really dial in and scaled through optimization. And the other thing is Brad is also since he came from Ei, he’s still very involved in the Ecom Insider Program. He’s helping us launch our beginners course, Ecom Academy later this month, and he’s been very, you know, is still very heavily involved in helping both of those programs grow as well. So he’s got his hands in a lot of different pots in BGS. But that also gives him aside from his own experience, some rather unique abilities and insights into what’s kind of going on in the world of e-commerce as peoples kind of start and start to build and grow their stores. So why don’t we dive into that? What was your specific, let’s start there, your biggest mistake when you started?
Brad Owens 5:50
And when I say started, I’m talking about when I closed my retail store and started with Shopify, I had all this other previous experience, but nothing with Shopify, okay, so my biggest mistake, and this is really from a conversion optimization perspective, too, is I had Shiny Object Syndrome, where, you know, I had apps and with 3d cart, you didn’t have apps, everything. And you may now I don’t know. But back then everything any functionality was part of a new release or new version of the software. It wasn’t modular at all. So with Shopify, there’s all these apps there and I just wanted to add everything to it.
Tanner Larsson 6:33
Brad Owens 6:34
And that is like barely making it. I mean, you see everything, everything looks awesome. All these reviews. And, you know, you just want to have an amazing store. So you add all these apps, but that does a couple of really bad things. And you see it all the time in new stores too, is that you know, it looks like your store will end up looking like a Vegas casino from like the 70s and 80s. It was just all this flashing neon and lights, you know everywhere and you know, it’s just bad. You’ll have like all these pop up banners and like the little sliding pop up from the bottom that says so and so just purchase from wherever. And you know sliding reviews and countdown timers
Tanner Larsson 7:17
Cheeky, Add to Cart button, add to cart.
Brad Owens 7:20
The cheeky Add To Cart notice all the stuff that’s like it really hurts conversions drives people away. And the other thing too is like as you load more and more apps, it really slows down your site. So it affects your site speed. So that’s another reason why you want to kind of narrow it down, just really focus on the apps that you really need to use. You know, each app needs to have a specific purpose.
Tanner Larsson 7:48
So it’s basically a case of more is not better, which we initially think is right, right?
Brad Owens 7:54
Right. Exactly. But the first reaction was like, “okay, I just want to install everything.”
Tanner Larsson 7:59
Yeah, cuz the more I have, the better it’s going to be for the customer, the more money I’m going to make.
Brad Owens 8:05
And also, like, when I joined a Facebook group I like never to leave. And so I’m still in some beginner shops like Shopify. And you see that all the time, people will have like, brand new stores. They’re like, I can’t watch my store two weeks ago, I’ve had no sales, Why? And you look and it’s, it’s the same thing.
Tanner Larsson 8:24
30 apps installed?
Brad Owens 8:26
Tanner Larsson 8:28
We see that all the time, even in Econ Insider, much less than that beginners type programs. It’s more a matter of what can we get rid of, and another piece of that would be that a lot of people install an app, where it’d be much more beneficial to have a simple add a little bit of code added to modify their existing theme. They don’t need all that bloat of an app. And, you know, a lot of that comes down to read, you know, this, but for those of you listening, you may not. Not all apps are created equal in terms of how they’re coded. There’s no real guidelines or minimum requirements of functionality and code cleanliness are things like that required an app, especially for the Shopify store. So a lot of these apps have a lot of really broken code, cause code conflicts are very bloated in the way the code is written. So it takes a lot more server involvement in order to do a simple task. So in our case, Brad, you can back me up on this. We try to eliminate apps and replace it with clean code that mimics that stuff without the bloat of an app. Is that right?
Brad Owens 9:31
Yeah, exactly. And it can be hard to remove it too. Because even if you delete an app, it’s like on your laptop, if you delete, if you just go in and delete a program, you still have all the code and everything on your laptop, you’re not really uninstalling it. So it’s kind of the same thing with an app. If you remove an app, you know, a lot of times it will still leave all that code, like in her store, and just –
Tanner Larsson 9:53
And that code, slows down the site and also can still cause code conflicts with the theme itself. Right?
Brad Owens 9:58
Tanner Larsson 10:00
Cool. So that’s a big mistake, obviously. But you know, obviously one of the reasons guys, this is just a little bit of backstory. But one of the reasons, Brad is helping us with the beginners course, which is called the Ecom Academy. And it’s really more of a big A to Z program for years and years. Build Grow Scale has focused only on helping establish stores get better. And we realized that we had all these people coming to us asking us about, “hey, I want to start a store, can you teach me?” And we would always say, “No, we can’t.” And you know, go find someone else to help you build a store, and then we’ll come back to us and we’ll fix it. And you know, Brad was part of the ones that go and say, “Hey, guys, if BGS is so great at doing this, we have all this data that nobody else has, why aren’t we helping the beginners instead of basically saying, hey, go struggle and then come back, right?” So what we did was we developed this beginner’s program to do that because what we agreed upon through all of us and our external resources and everything that all these different guru programs and guru courses and all these things out there, there wasn’t really a good one. None of them were ones that we would feel we would never recommend like my sister, Brad’s cousin, anybody that we cared about, you would never say go get this course this is what you need. So we set out to build that and that’s what Ecom Academy is but now the next question, which I kind of set the stage for is what do you see people doing that are taught in a lot of these guru courses that we know to be wrong?
Brad Owens 11:34
Okay, so when when I first started you know, my site and before I found out about BGS you know, I was getting targeted by all these different gurus one of them like and then you probably know who it is but rented like a sailboat or a Lambo and was like the second biggest, Shopify site ever, and actually called the guy and once he found out that I had a legit business and I had all this ecommerce experience in retail and everything, he was totally not interested in me. And he’s like, yeah, we’re just what we do is we’re just drop shipping from China and Russia. And you know, we’re just building you a general store, you know, that you’re going to target, you know, with Facebook ads. And that is probably the number one thing is general stores, especially with drop shipping, you know, you’re just creating the store just full of miscellaneous stuff. And, you know, general storage does not work. I mean, you’ve got like Amazon and Walmart. And, –
Tanner Larsson 12:42
That’s about it.
Brad Owens 12:43
And even Amazon didn’t start as a general store. They started selling books.
Tanner Larsson 12:47
Brad Owens 12:48
So it just doesn’t work. And it’s not really trustworthy. I mean, your customers know that they come on your site, and they just see all this random stuff that’s not related at all the pictures are totally different. There’s no consistency with the site. And it’s just a bad idea. If you really want to build a legit brand. That’s what you want to do. You want to go away from a general store and niche down, and then maybe even niche down further and develop your own brand, which is going to be like a long sustaining business.
Tanner Larsson 13:22
And to kind of add to that a little bit, you know, guys as you listen to this, the way that the general store is two … things with a general store. Number one The reason gurus teach it is because it’s way easier to not have to pick a niche and drill down and find products and the target audience. They can say, “make a general store doesn’t matter what it’s about, just make a store, add products, and then they say, “Just keep testing the product on your store until it sells.” That’s not a business guys. That’s like trying to find a one hit wonder like an income stream. But when you sell, that’s where people upload all these products from these apps, and they have all 30,000 products and they’re in the kitchen, they’re in dining there. They’re basically the Walmart, but nobody is going to buy from you because you don’t serve anyone. It’s like casting a net in the ocean to catch fish. But instead of a net, it’s just strings of rope that just dangle down. Everything can swim right through it, you got to tighten it up. And that’s where the niche store comes in. So as an example of that, when we can niche and niche down, like Brad said, let’s say you sell mountain biking products, okay, but your store is marketed and your advertising is just to bikers, people who have bicycles, well, there’s a huge chunk of the market, there’s actually that is a road biker. There are also BMX bikers, there’s all these different ones downhill bikers that are not interested in mountain biking. So if you cast this super wide net to all bikers, you’re wasting a ton of your money, you’re wasting your market and everything else. Whereas if you just have a site dedicated to mountain biking, speaking only to mountain biking customers running ads to mountain biking people, you’re going to be much more successful. That’s really where Brad’s going with this. And that general store is made because it’s easy to teach you. It’s sexy to teach you because it’s like, oh, it’s super easy. You can always find a new product. It’s not the case. Right?
Brad Owens 15:11
Right, exactly. And it’s still okay to test. But that’s where landing pages like it’s like a funnel page, probably a better solution for testing instead of just building out a store.
Tanner Larsson 15:21
Because the trust factor is not there. If you’re selling a wine widget and someone and then you also you’re selling a TV and then you’re also selling a supplement, and then you’re also selling rugs and then also pillowcases. What are you? Why would I want to buy if I’m trying to find something special for a wine person, I want to go to someone who actually speaks the wine business and is focused on that, right? And so wherever you’re going to test products from a general sense, that’s totally cool. Like Brad said, use a funnel, build out a funnel, you can easily duplicate that funnel swap products, change a few things around, test that and then roll into your store. Now speaking of a store brand, we kind of touched on a few different things. You know, let’s cut touch on a couple of the pages that people seem to screw up the most. We’ll work our way front to back, even though that’s not normally how we optimize. But let’s start with the homepage. So what are some very common mistakes that beginners seem and sometimes advanced people are making on their homepage?
Brad Owens 16:17
Yep, we see this even with Ecom Insiders, when we do like our jam session reviews and things like that. So it’s not just beginners, but really, it’s the above the fold space and above the fold is basically like when you go to the page, that’s what you see on your screen without having to scroll down. That’s called above the fold. And what you want to do is you want the customer to instantly know just by look, just within seconds, knowing what your page is about, and what your value proposition is. That they’re in the right place. You know what you do, why they should buy from you. And then the goal is to move them on down to like a category or a product page. But a common mistake is just horrible to have the fold experience and that’s usually like your main image banner that may have nothing to do with your site, or at least not really convey what your site’s about, with no kind of value propositions. No reason why to buy from you. And we haven’t had one recently that was for dog treats. They had this huge photograph like, main image, it was really cool. But it’s like this black and white photo of what this kind of dog had been like hiking and they’re like, at the edge of a cliff. And they’re like looking at these beautiful snow capped mountains, all these pine trees. And then the dog was sitting in the corner of the page on the right hand corner, lower right hand corner is a dog, about 5% of the image with a dog. If you went on that site and looked at it, you would have no idea. You know what that site was about? You think it’s either hiking or maybe mountain climbing or camping or something like that. I mean, nothing in that image would tell you that site was about dog treats.
Tanner Larsson 18:04
And that’s that’s a big thing, right? They a lot of sites get big into the artistic or trying to make it too cutesy or just cluttered, right?
Brad Owens 18:13
Exactly. And the other thing, too, is like the top menu navigation, too. Usually, it’s just like a mess. You have all these links that really shouldn’t be up there, like blogs, and About Us and things like that, that, you know, it’s really not gonna generate any revenue. The worst thing is happening like Facebook links, you know, the links that will actually take you to another site. You know, you don’t want someone to come to your site, then just immediately leave your site.
Tanner Larsson 18:42
So what about the navigation? Like, why don’t you touch on that for a second, what is the purpose, because most people miss this, what is the actual purpose of the top level navigation, this is the navigation guy that sits across horizontally usually at the top of your screen.
Brad Owens 18:57
You just want to guide your customers through the site and make it easy to find what they’re looking for and there’s also a search bar, you really don’t see a lot without a search bar. So usually, you want to start with your top categories. And usually probably you’re the first menu item that you have should be like your best selling category. And that’s really you just want to create a good user experience.
Tanner Larsson 19:23
Now if someone has, say 20 categories, they need 20 category links in their homepage.
Brad Owens 19:29
No, they don’t. And if they have that many you need to have a good optimized search bar.
Tanner Larsson 19:34
So what would they do? Let’s say they do have 20 categories, let’s say they’ve got you know, a search bar or whatever, but they obviously need some kind of top level navigation, what would be a kind of a rule of thumb that they could follow to post up their navigation?
Brad Owens 19:53
Let me think about that.
Tanner Larsson 19:55
Okay, think about it, and then do it. Usually, take your whatever categories, like your 80-20 what category sell the most, you know, things like that.
Brad Owens 20:07
Okay, but that’s what I was thinking. Okay, but I don’t want to have the wrong answer though.
Tanner Larsson 20:12
No, there is no wrong answer at this point.
Brad Owens 20:15
We’re gonna be like, What?
Tanner Larsson 20:18
That doesn’t make any sense. No, that’s good. You know the answers like, you know, just, I’m trying to not say it and let you say it.
Brad Owens 20:27
Right. Got it. All right. Okay, so, typically what you want to do is you just want to narrow it down. And if you know that, the 80-20 rule, where 20% of your items make up 80% of yourself. That’s really what you want to narrow down. You just want to narrow it down to your best selling categories. The one that’s really generating the revenue. And honestly, if you have that many you might want to narrow it down and get rid of those products that are not selling.
Tanner Larsson 20:59
And there have always been products that aren’t selling, right?
Brad Owens 21:01
Tanner Larsson 21:03
Yes. So we see that a lot guys, that’s just a little tangent to go off on. When people, we all the time in EI and Brad sees this all the time when we do our jam sessions, and he helps people with this. But they have, let’s say they have 20 products or 30 products or 100 products, and they’re like, “Oh my god, I need all these products.” We’re like, “No, you don’t.” Well, they all sold well, how much do they sell? Well, this one sold once this one sold twice, this one sold 3000, this one sold 200. And you get down to it. And just like the 80-20 comes into play, where like, Look, 80% of your sales come from these three products or these four products, the other ones collectively don’t even make up 5%. So what if we just scrapped those products and focus your entire site on what actually makes you the money? And people think that by doing that, that they’re going to eliminate customers, but what all they’re doing is, you know, basically eliminating the Paradox of Choice. So I actually, you know, Brad, why don’t you touch on the Paradox of Choice for a second real quick as to what it is.
Brad Owens 22:02
The Paradox of Choice is when you have so many options that your customer like brain freezes, they can’t decide what option to go with. And so they end up leaving, they’re like, do I want this or this? I’m guilty of this with my previous side and then really … myself like in the early 2000s. I did my niche , like heavy metal and rock and punk t-shirts. And I did really niched down and really looked off topic, but like you think like Led Zeppelin and those bands would be my best sellers. No, they were like these obscure, like really extreme metal bands. So one ton because I didn’t have that competition. But as far as the Paradox of Choice, a lot of these bands, they’ll have like, you know, 50 or 100 designs and you just, you can’t offer all those. Your customer just cannot decide, you know, they’ll spend all their time deciding and then they’ll leave. So you just need to narrow it down to maybe about five.
Tanner Larsson 23:08
We’re saying like each band would have 50 designs, you have 50 bands. So you have 50 times 50, in terms of designs that when they can’t sort through that,
Brad Owens 23:16
Depending on the band, so especially with the vendors that would actually POD or Print On Demand. Some of them if the licensed manufacturers, they won’t actually print on demand, and those guys will have like, just like an ungodly amount of designs to choose from. And the worst thing is to offer all of those to the customer. Just narrowed it down to maybe five best selling ones, and just stick to that.
Tanner Larsson 23:46
Absolutely. All right. So a little off topic, but we’ll pull it back in. So we talked about the homepage with the mistakes or any other mistakes on the homepage you wanted to touch on?
Brad Owens 23:55
Those are, I mean, really at the above, the fold is probably the most common, I mean, you don’t want to have like, you know, all the apps you don’t want like pop ups, you can have pop ups on the homepage, you don’t want to sell. That’s another one is, especially with drop shipping stores, really POD too, you’ll see a lot of stores that will just have a ton of products on the homepage. And the homepage, that’s not where you want to sell. They’re not in that mode, they’re just still, you know, checking you out. So what you want to do is maybe have four or five best selling products on your page. Have your best selling categories on your page, maybe like you know about four best selling categories, but you don’t want to sell to your homepage that’s on your homepage. That’s really for when you want to send them to a category page and then narrow it down from there where the customer can filter through your products and then go to a product page.
Tanner Larsson 24:57
Which is where the only time you should really be selling to them is right on the product page.
Brad Owens 25:01
Tanner Larsson 25:02
So speaking of the product page, let’s go there. What are the big mistakes that you see beginners making over and over again on the product page itself?
Brad Owens 25:11
Okay, probably the biggest one and this is mostly for drop shippers, and I think most new stores are probably drop shipping stores and they have their plugin, you know, they import from AliExpress with their Oberlo or their Dropify plugin. And they don’t change the description, and sometimes not even the title and they import all the photos. So it’s just a really bad customer experience because if you ever go on AliExpress you have no product descriptions or descriptions or just bullet points of specs. And almost every new drop shipping store I see has the AliExpress bullet points of just specs. And most of us banks with people that do that what
Tanner Larsson 25:59
It’s broken English too.
Brad Owens 26:00
Right, can be broken English. I mean, it’s just bad. And most of the specs are specs that no one cares about anyway. So you want to have a good description. And then the worst is the title too is like AliExpress titles, their keyword stuff, the titles.
Tanner Larsson 26:17
Brad Owens 26:18
So you could have like 20 or 30 keyword words and one title is just crazy. And you want to create your own specific unique title that explains what it is. You can still have like a keyword or two just don’t stuff it with keywords.
Tanner Larsson 26:31
Just what keyword stuffing happens on Amazon products, but we still don’t do that on a Shopify or an e commerce store.
Brad Owens 26:38
Right? Amazon can do it because they’re Amazon. And then the description you really want to write a description that will talk to the customer. So that gets into like, you know, customer research, creating your avatar, things like that. But really, you want to talk to your customer, that in the image are going to be the most persuasive elements on your product page. Just create a good description. And that’s going to help with SEO too.
Tanner Larsson 27:05
Brad Owens 27:06
If everyone has the same AliExpress spec driven description that is not going to help you with SEO, they won’t … Google wants you to have unique descriptions.
Tanner Larsson 27:18
Brad Owens 27:21
Okay, and then you have probably that title, no reviews, no review stars. And then you need to have some kind of UVP on your page. And we’d like to have them below your Add to Cart button, which is like a Unique Value Proposition like, how long do you ship? A lot of stores, they have no shipping or return details on the product page. And that’s huge. That’s probably one of the most important things a customer wants to know other than price . How long is it going to take to ship and how long will it be before I receive it? And what do I do if I need to return it? So you need to communicate that clearly on your page flow.
Tanner Larsson 28:00
And not have it hidden somewhere at the bottom or behind tabs or something crazy like that.
Brad Owens 28:04
Tanner Larsson 28:07
So you touched on it briefly. But when it comes to product pages, one of the other things that people screw up a lot, whether it’s through importation or app or whatever is images, right? Or selling tangible products online. Now the things about tangible products in a retail environment are easy, because I can pick up this chopstick, I can look at it, I can see if I like it, I touch it. Online, the same product, I don’t get to touch it. So the pictures have to take the place or the video of me being able to do that. So how are newbies beginners screwing up the images? How are they messing up? How to use them?
Brad Owens 28:41
Well, exactly what you said they just use the AliExpress images they import. And the bad thing about that is a lot of times AliExpress you got to remember in China, they do not recognize intellectual property rights at all. And so all these photos, they’re going to be, they could be ripping off other brands and you may not even know it. Or these could be photos and really along the same lines, they could be copyrighted photos that they’re using. And you know, you can’t really sue China. I mean you know that’s not going to happen. And then another thing to look out for to us like all the knockoffs in China to like an AliExpress, you don’t want to import this. But as far as the images, you need to make sure that they’re not use AliExpress images, the best thing to do especially if you if you tested something and you’ve got a winning product, is ship yourself some of these products, take your own images and that will totally set you apart from your competitors. Think your own photos, and then even with print on demand, a lot of times as you’re using that little mockup that they have. It’s always good to have multiple images. If you can not just one if you can have multiple, especially like lifestyle images.
Tanner Larsson 30:00
Now when it comes to multiple images, though, people have a tendency to screw that up right away with the type of way they do their images or the number of images or how many of the same images that kind of thing. Right?
Brad Owens 30:12
You don’t want to, you don’t want redundant images. So if you’re doing a like a T shirt, maybe it has a graphic on the front in the back, have the image with the front, have an image with the back, maybe have like one or two lifestyle images with people wearing it and you can do that with using sites like place it. https://placeit.net/ which is cool, it’s got all these mockups that you can use, you can upload your your image and I’ll put it right on a person wearing it and-
Tanner Larsson 30:45
Brad Owens 30:45
And they also have another site I’m going to get back with the dog treats. They have like a ton of images. They had probably about eight to 10 images for like these dog treats and they were all like the bottle or they were different images of the treat and these were like pig lips or something like that something like really kind of gross looking anyway and all these multiple angles these treats, and it wasn’t appealing to the customer at all I’m like, Where’s the dog? Where’s the dog eating this treat? You know, give me something that’s gonna, again, you’ve got to create some kind of emotion for the customer so they want to buy your product.
Tanner Larsson 31:24
And it comes down to like if you ‘ve all been there, right? If you look at a product, and you wouldn’t buy it, neither will your customers. So if your store if you look at it and it doesn’t provide enough information, enough good quality imagery and different angles and all the things you need to know to make your decision. No customer is going to feel that way about it either. So you need to make sure you do that. And that like an example one of the ones I was looking for a backpacking hammock one time and found a site that looks pretty reputable to like and I found this. I wanted this really small, compressible hammock that would get you know, like a pound when it’s all compressed and very small, and I found the product, but I thought I wanted it and I clicked on it. And instantly I could tell that it was a dropship product. I wasn’t really worried about it at the time. The problem was, every one of the images was of the hammock compressed. In the past I never wanted to see a picture of the hammock out or the hammock hanging from a tree or the hammock being held up by somebody or being set up. So ultimately, I have no idea what the hammock looks like. So I never bought it. I wouldn’t have cared had it been drop ship had I actually known what I was getting. But because the images didn’t do their job, I couldn’t buy the product. And that happens all the time, especially with most of the beginner dropshippers stores. And I understand like they’ve got a billion and a half things to do trying to set up a store and learn all this stuff when you’re new to it. But that doesn’t give you the right to half ass the delivery and the optimization of your store because ultimately it’s not about you. It’s about your customer, right?
Brad Owens 33:00
Right, it’s so easy. It’s just so easy to import, you know, they’re the image for me, I’ll just import it, you know, so easy to do. But the thing is, you have to remember that everyone is doing that. And all the customer has to do is do a reverse Google image search, they just drag and drop that image into Google, and they will see the AliExpress listing and they’ll know that hey, I can get your selling this for 30 bucks, but I can get it in China for five.
Tanner Larsson 33:24
That’s true, too. Yeah, reverse image search is really kind of put a damper on a lot of the dropshipping stuff, because people can really easily figure out how legit something is. And there’s nothing wrong with many dropship products. I mean, there’s some crappy ones out there, of course, but it’s about how you sell it and how you present it. You know, there’s that know, like and trust factor that you have to create in order to bridge that buying barrier so that they’ll actually spend money with you. So Brad, we kind of talked about a bunch of different things around the beginner mistakes and stuff. But I want to also let you talk about the Ecom Academy because I know that’s kind of been your baby and you’re pretty excited about it. Why don’t you kind of tell us a little bit about Ecom Academy to kind of wrap things up?
Brad Owens 34:04
I’m super excited about this. I’m part of a team that’s been putting this together and it’s getting very close to launch. And basically, it is probably the most comprehensive beginners course out there today on the market. It is awesome. It goes everything from like if you’re a beginner or even if you think you want to start even if you have nothing ready from scratch. This gives you everything from the very beginning from like, mindset and productivity to deciding on your niche. Finding your audience, creating your customer avatar to build your site to awesome apps to use to like, what kind of business is going to be, is it going to be printed on demand? Subscription box or continuity or drop shipping or private label? We go into email marketing copywriting Google Ads Facebook ads. I mean, it’s so comprehensive that we had to create a course within the course.
Tanner Larsson 35:07
Brad Owens 35:10
It was like you know we start doing it. We were making all these videos and which is amazing. And again it’s about creating a legit business not like a little fly by night like drop shipping. I mean we go into such detail, but we’re like we need to have a quickstart or it’s just like a seven day one course a day. Mini course within this to really get you started getting your site up, getting products in it, doing some Facebook ads, and getting some sales and right away. So super excited about that. And the most awesome thing with BGS with where I’m at, is I’m involved in the build, the grill and the skill in all three parts. It’s just really exciting.
Tanner Larsson 36:00
He’s kind of, he’s excited, but he’s still underselling how cool it is. And we’re not trying to pitch you on because you can’t even buy it right now we’re just kind of telling you what’s to come. But the cool thing is, is these guys, they work in BGS, working on massive stores that they’ve all own their own stores and learn through the mistakes, the trials, the trenches, they’re using all the data that BGS collects from, you know, this year alone will do 250 million worth of sales in physical product sales through our partner brands and everything else. So we just know what’s working, and we also know what’s not working, and they’re taking all that data, distilling it down and helping people build that business from scratch the right way. Because here’s the thing, there’s a lot of ways to throw up a store and try to make money with it. The problem is, those things only work for so long, and then you run into the problem of it’s like, okay, I tried to make some money. But if I want to grow beyond this point, or keep it working after it fizzles, I have to now build a business and making money and building a business through E commerce are totally different things and that’s what EcomAcademy does. It’s like you want to build a real business that you can actually build it, then grow it, then scale it because you can’t build it and scale it without growing, you can’t grow without building. So this course actually takes that foundational piece and puts it all together. And you know, Brad says he’s working with a team. I’m a big team, there’s like, there’s like six dedicated guys to just that, that are also all active revenue optimization experts. And our team has over 60 employees and team members strong that do nothing but this all day long. So when we say not a guru program, this is about the furthest thing from a guru program you can get. And Brad and the team have been at least the last six months, night and day kind of burning the candles to make this a reality. And it’s finally there. And you know, Brad’s actually going to be in there on a daily basis as one of the coaches along with Jeremy and a couple other guys like he’s the best and this is his baby. And the cool thing is, it’s a living breathing organism. We’ve already haven’t even released the course and have already revised parts of it several times. So it’s going to continue to evolve and go as our data changes because e commerce is constantly evolving so we’ll keep constantly evolving the course. So Brad we’re super excited to have you on here. If you could give one piece of advice to a starting out ecommerce entrepreneur, what would you tell them?
Brad Owens 38:21
Join the beginners course. That’s our Ecom Academy. That’s number one. Again, join you know, come on board because I think it’s really to just have a I’m gonna go into mindset, I think.
Tanner Larsson 38:39
Brad Owens 38:39
You just need to really take action yet have a plan, niche down, don’t do a general store and you can sell dropship you can do print on demand, just know what you’re gonna do know your audience. And just work it you’ve got to take action. I think that’s the number I think so many people will just do a little bit at a time and then they just give up. But just work on it daily. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just a little bit every day to get me started. That’s back when I started I had a full time job. I would actually come home on my lunch break. And I had our lunch to take me 15 minutes here. I would quick sam. No, I actually eat a sandwich I would like to work on my site. And then you know 20 minutes until I had to be back I would get through McDonald’s drive thru eat chicken nuggets on the way back. Not the healthiest, you know thing but yeah, just a little bit of day just take action.
Tanner Larsson 39:39
Yep, that’s great. So guys, to wrap this episode up. What you need to do right now is click below subscribe if you’re on YouTube, subscribe if you’re on iTunes or Stitcher or whatever. Make sure you save this podcast because it’s a weekly podcast. We’re constantly putting out new episodes. And if you need the links to subscribe This is both a video podcast and an audio. So if you want to watch the video or see what we’re sharing on the screen. You can go to our YouTube channel and see it there. But the easiest way to get all the links you need is https://buildgrowscale.com/podcast. You can get the show notes there of all the episode releases and access to links to all the different places you can consume this podcast and with that, guys, we appreciate you Thank you for listening and we will see you on the next episode.
Awesome. That was good.
Brad Owens 40:23
Good. I’ve been holding back a sneeze for a while.
Ecommerce Store Audit
Want us to do an Audit on your e-commerce store and show you how you can make some quick changes that will dramatically increase sales and profits without increasing your traffic?
Ecommerce Store Audit
Want us to do an Audit on your e-commerce store and show you how you can make some quick changes that will dramatically increase sales and profits without increasing your traffic?