Given that it takes time to establish any new business, many of us would be satisfied with a mere couple of sales in our first few months of operation - but obviously, we’d dream and hope for much more than that! But how can you achieve it?
We spoke to Nicole McIver, who recently set up a new online product business, For Her Box, that sells boxes of intimate products for women. Nicole managed to make not just a few, but over 500 sales in her first 3 months of operation, so we wanted to find out how she did it.
When it comes to pleasing your customers, Nicole says that no detail can be spared.
Despite being incredibly busy, Nicole lovingly packs all customer boxes herself, and takes the time to ensure they represent premium value to her customers. For example, she says that:
‘[I make sure] that every box is packed with lots of value (eg. $139.95 box has at least $180 RRP of items, if not more).’
From a return on investment perspective, Nicole sees this extra value is worthwhile, as:
‘A few extra dollars value per order makes my customers happy, they then leave a great review, tell their friends, and come back to the shop again. It’s like advertising, really, but the most effective kind!’
Nicole’s exceptional customer service has lead to a high number of return customers, which has been key to her success in making so many sales in her first couple of months.
Many mums in businesses think that more sales equals more purchasing which in turn equals more revenue, but Nicole cautions mums that often, the extra revenue isn’t worthwhile. Nicole has focussed on ‘special offers’ as opposed to sales in her first three months, and she explains why:
‘Take a $220 sale, for example. Of that, I’ll probably make $65 profit, as I’ll need to deduct: $20 (tax), $100 (actual stock price), Zippay fees ($14), delivery ($10) and packaging, labels, and other operating expenses ($10). So if I did a 20% off sale, I’d be making about $35 profit. It just wouldn’t be worth it!’
Nicole also says that regular sales have a damaging effect on your customer’s mentality. She says:
‘If you run discount sales often, no-one is ever going to pay full price. Sales need to be very rare, and so you shouldn’t rely on them.’
Instead, Nicole offers special offers, which she says have been successful for not only making more sales, but also moving less popular stock:
‘If you want to sell more products (and also unpopular products), pair them together. For example, pair product A (an unpopular product, retailing for $20), with product b (a popular product, retailing for $40). Let’s say those products together cost you $30.
Sell the pair for $50. If you do that, you’ll still make a margin, sell more products, and clear the product that isn’t selling.’
Nicole says there has been one thing that, above all others, she credits for her success, and that is offering buy-now, pay-later payment systems Zippay.
She says that just having the option makes her products much more attractive to customers, but she also gets leads a couple of other ways:
‘Zippay list businesses that offer their service and we do get click throughs from their sites. There is also a consumer group ‘We Love Zippay’ that leads to sales for us as well.’
Finally, despite the fact that Nicole’s business has so far made a very healthy 5-figure sum, she isn’t exactly swimming in cash. She explains:
‘The money I’ve made so far will need to be reinvested in stock so I can keep building the business, and make sure I’m bringing on new products every month. So even though it’s going well, I haven’t as yet paid myself a wage, and I don’t expect to this year. So I’m not exactly swimming in cash. But I hope that one day I might be!’
If your early success is anything to go by, Nicole, we’re pretty sure you will be!
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