Selling Stuff Online: Products

SellingShizOnlineLast week, we talked about some basics you needed to be ready to sell things online. The next few weeks is the fun part: what you actually sell!

The most normal thing to sell is physical products. Physical products being things that have dimensions, weight, and possibly variables for people to select from (sizes, colors, etc.)

Selecting a shopping cart software: part science, part art. 

We’ll get into selling other types of things next week but you don’t need me to tell you that buying a seat in a stadium for the next Britney Spears concert you are going to is different than buying a black t-shirt. So different cart software is built to sell different kinds of things. You may also want to ask yourself these questions as you start your research to find a cart you like:

1) What integration does my cart need to have? If your cart needs to interact with your POS system or Quickbooks, that’s a good way to cross off a lot of options up front. Note the word ‘need’ here, you may be smitten by some swoonworthy features but knowing what you need will keep your eyes on the prize.

2) What payment gateway do you want to use? Some software only works with one or two gateways, some work with lots more. If you don’t have passionate views on payment gateways like some of us do, enter into this research knowing you’ll be flexible.

3) What are you planning on selling? And how many? See concert tickets versus black t-shirt example above. Also some cart software charges you by the quantity of items you list. So get a clear idea of what you want to sell first to help you evaluate options.

Once you have your cart softwares narrowed down to two or three options, start reading online reviews and looking at examples of each. This will give you an idea of customer support and whether you like the way it looks. For example if a cart promises to be ‘responsive’ and looking at the 4-5 examples listed on the website none of them seem mobile friendly, you may want to ask yourself why. Or you could just hire some nerd to do this nerdy research project for you. Seriously, there is a reason I can’t find a fun picture to go along with this.

Care about the little things.

The more information you give to customers, the better. Things like dimensions and weight not only help them figure out how that item will look in their living room but help you figure out how much to charge for shipping. When possible, fill out all available fields for each item in your cart software… and be consistent product to product.

Decide on shipping.

The below chart shows why you need to decide about shipping:


You have a few options when it comes to shipping: free, calculated, or flat rate. Rather than saying the same thing this article says, I’ll link to a nice blog post from Shopify about the differences between these three. 

In short, we’ve seen free shipping is quite motivating for a lot of people… and most consumers understand the idea of the minimum order amount to get it:


Cross-selling and Upselling: Helping People Buy More

So now you have what you’re going to sell, a cart you’re going to sell if from, and some idea of how you’ll handle shipping.

Now it seems a little sad we’re already thinking of how we can get your customer to spend MORE money with you but why wouldn’t we be? Your favorite brands cross-sell and upsell to you all the time.

Cross-selling: If you like X product, you may also like Y, Z, and A products. Or customers who bought X also bought… you get the idea. Many cart softwares will let you cross sell.

Up-selling: Getting someone to buy a higher priced version of what they were going to buy.

This is the best visual example for this I have ever seen. And the blog it comes from is super useful and you can go read it: http://blog.flowify.net/up-selling-and-cross-selling-how-to-increase-your-restaurants-revenue-using-resources-you-already-have/



Luring Them In With Bargains: The Allure of the Coupon Code

Now there may be points in the life of your online cart where you either need to move some inventory (to make way for new stuff) or you want to experiment with pricing. Coupon codes are something you can typically issue for either a dollar amount or percentage off either all the items in your cart or just certain items. For obvious reasons, they typically have an expiration date.

What coupon codes allow you to do is measure if/how purchases change while it is in effect. Most cart software will let you make them.

Then you distribute the codes (or perhaps different codes) via direct mail, email, social media, print and online ads, etc. to get them to your customers.



So I hope that is helpful as you sell physical products in your online store! Next week, we’ll talk about selling event tickets and things you may want to think about related to that. Stay tuned.

4 Hour Chef: My Experiences With Weight Loss

Some would argue I’m not that overweight. I don’t have to go to special stores to buy clothes, I can run a mile (most Americans apparently can’t do this), and I do a lot of my own cooking that many would have perceive as healthy.

4-hour-chef-coverBut as a former athlete, having a BMI that is technically obese has bothered me for awhile.

Go to the gym more, people said. Doing this made me hungrier and didn’t budge the scale nearly enough to keep me motivated. I’ve heard before that you lose pounds in the kitchen and ounces at the gym so I figured once I got an eating plan down, I could add the gym back into my routine for toning purposes. But I needed to feel success first… and have some go-to recipes that I could confidently throw together.

Cutting out sugar and carbs didn’t do it. Gluten free didn’t do it. I realized I had to take drastic measures… but needed some guidance.

I plunked down $30 for Four Hour Chef around Christmas. While I thought it was a bit expensive, I realized what I purchased was an encyclopedia. The pages are so dense with information, I don’t know where else he could have added anything. Well worth the price of admission.

It’s been a solid month since really taking on this latest book by productivity expert Tim Ferris. I’ve read his two other books: The Four Hour Workweek and the The Four Hour Body. In the Four Hour Body book, Tim tackled making your body work better. The chapter on weight loss was popular which is probably why he came out with Four Hour Chef, a cookbook that’s not just supposed to teach you how to lose weight but how to cook well.

This plan in summary:

1) No dairy, fruit, grains, alcohol, sugars, or other things that spike your blood sugar.
2) Eat protein, vegetables, and a few exception things sparingly (like avocados, tomato, dark chocolate, and red wine) only.
3) Eat a protein rich breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up.
4) Pick a cheat day and, after your healthy breakfast, eat whatever you want that day of the week.

How has this affected my life? I now take cinnamon in my coffee not creamer. No more quinoa at dinner or clementines in the office, both options I thought were healthy for me. And no popcorn, which is my absolute favorite snack. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m doing it.

This has involved trying new vegetables (for variety’s sake) and learning more about cooking things like eggs in a more flavorful way. This cashew basil pesto, for example, has rocked my world on chicken and also zucchini: http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2011/03/16/vegan-cashew-basil-pesto/

Cheat days have been epic. Derrick, who has been very supportive in my diet, cheats with me hard on cheat day, which usually involves a pack of Oreos, something I would have never allowed myself before. Do the cheat days slow down my weight loss? Probably. But saying goodbye to popcorn and other things I love indefinitely would be unsustainable and possibly cruel. If cheat days mean I lose the weight slower, I am ok with that. The end result will be the same and I’ll have a lot more fun getting there.

So far I’m down eight pounds with 32 to go. 32? Yes, 32. Trust me when I tell you that I know what healthy looks like for me and I’m going there and no where close to anorexic.

If you are the kind of person who’s tried everything and needs something based in science that works, give this plan a shot. There are lots of people doing it (there are forums and everything) and other than the book, it’s free.

I just feel like I’ve been trying to play by the rules of a game and all this time, I’ve had the wrong rule book. And if even one person feels this way that reads this and gives it a shot, it will have been worth writing this.

Buy your own copy of “The 4-Hour Chef” on Amazon (Note: this is an affiliate link)