What’s the key to getting your first ecommerce sales ever? That’s a burning question for every newcomer to online business. And even though there isn’t (and can’t be) a 100% universal answer, it can be really helpful to ask other ecommerce store owners about their strategies. That’s exactly what we’re doing today together with our awesome guest!
Hi, please introduce yourself!
Hey, I’m Carl Payne, 37, from the USA, currently residing in the Philippines and Thailand. My primary background is military – I spent almost 10 years in service.
After that, I graduated from The Art Institute of Atlanta, and Sae Institute of Atlanta: I studied Audio Engineering and Visual Effects with animation. These days, I’m an owner of a digital marketing agency, Monami Team LLC – we help people start and grow their online business.
Film is my biggest hobby. I enjoy creating short films with my wife: we replace the actors in popular TV shows with ourselves, just for fun.
Interestingly, this love for visual effects was something that prompted my first ecommerce efforts ever. We originally started our first store to earn money for my son’s short films back in 2014. With that gig, we were able to earn enough to buy his camera, his computer and software for visual effects.
How did this ecommerce journey begin, exactly?
I started working with ecommerce via WordPress about 8 years ago. As I mentioned, it began with helping my son start his own business when he was 12. After that I started helping friends and family set up their business, and online schools.
Over several years, I have spent countless hours helping everyone else. At some point, my wife told me to put my skills together and do something for myself this time.
I enjoy it! Building websites is fun for me. I love the challenge especially when something breaks and I have to figure out how to fix it.
Tell us more about your stores!
Currently, I have 4 stores. My stores and my domain names are very niche-targeted.
For example, I have a pet supplies store for dog owners, so there are about 118 products from the Sellvia catalog.
There’s also an upcoming project – a store for vegans that will launch next month. It will sell health and wellness items from Sellvia like essential oils, yoga mats, bath salts – very Zen type products.
Why Sellvia? What made you choose it as a supplier?
I discovered it while looking for a dropshipping warehouse located in the USA. That was enough for me to try. Other places that I reviewed just had very long shipping times. Customers don’t like to wait. Long shipping times mean canceled orders and low conversions.
The pet supplies store is super new, but I had my first sale within 12 hours of doing my first test – and so, the Sellvia products do sell!
Wow! What steps did you take to start making ecommerce sales?
Building a store is quick: it takes about 1-2 days. However, setting it up properly takes time. I like to take the time to compress each product image and rename the image files to give them the actual names of the products. Also, I like to change the descriptions of each item so that it’s different from others on the search engines, then I take the time to optimize my site until I can get an A+ rating on Gtmetrix.
I spend a lot of time on design, especially on my shop, cart, and checkout pages.
Taking time to customize these 3 pages is very important. I want my website visitors to feel like they’re visiting a new site, and not the same site they’ve seen over and over again.
Once all of this is done, which is somewhere around 21 days later (for me), then managing a store takes about 1 hour twice a day. In these 2 hours/day, I check for orders, check ads to see what’s working and what’s not, review emails if there are any, and update Sellvia products.
How are you promoting your products to make these ecommerce sales happen?
For the pet products store, it’s Facebook and Instagram ads – they work well for gaining web traffic. In terms of demographics, I targeted the ads at women aged 55+ with birthdays in the present month. I also tried TikTok and Google Ads for conversions, but they turned out to be expensive. In my experience, Google Ads convert, but with a low profit margin due to the cost of the ads.
Presently, I am not running ads on the site because I am still updating product descriptions, completing the SEO work and setting up social media accounts to drive organic traffic to the store.
However, I am overly positive that within 24 hours of running ads the store will generate conversions (sales) even in its current state.
Taking the additional time to set things up will decrease the amount of money you need to invest into ads.
How did ecommerce change your life, overall?
So many new opportunities!
I’ve secured some nice contracts for web development and store creation that has really helped me and my family a lot. I’m a nomad 😀 My wife and I travel the world with our daughter. We pretty much live in Airbnbs. My laptop is my office!
Isn’t that awesome? Thanks to his extensive and well-targeted efforts, Carl is able to generate ecommerce sales quite quickly even with completely new stores. Wouldn’t you love to try his strategy, too, and see how far it will take you?