Tips for Creating an Online Store

Posts Tagged ‘good advice’

Lessons from very tiny businesses

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

One of my favorite blogs to read is Seth Godin’s Blog and he just had a great post that I just had to share with you called “Lessons from very tiny businesses”.

Customer claims they paid… but you never got the order. What should you do?

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Angela of Little Bow Peep asked me

“I had someone email me and say they placed an order for several things and never received any of it yet. What should I do if I know an order hasn’t been placed? What should I do if the person demands their products but never paid for any of it?”

That is a great question.  Also challenging.  The customer obviously wants your product so you don’t want to turn them away.

Here is what I would do:
1) Be certain that you didn’t get the money.  Triple check in your Flying Cart order section.  Check all your PayPal and Google Checkout records.
2) Apologize and ask the customer for proof of the order.  An electronic receipt or amount charged on their credit card would do.
3) Call them up and talk to them over the phone. If the still are making demands with no proof ask them to order something else and you will ship the other items at cost.

What would you do?  All ideas/comments welcome.

One Word Emails come off as Rude

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

Something I learned recently is that people take one word emails rudely.  A customer recently emailed me if we allow custom domains.  I replied “Yes.” and sent it off.  The customer replied back saying “How rude.  I don’t want to work with a company that is rude to me.”


Was I being rude?  I don’t think so.  I got back to the customer within 3 minutes of receiving the email and answered his question.  However I can see how it can be perceived as being rude.  This is my strategy for next time:

Hi {First Name},

Yes!  We allow custom domains.  We have setup instructions here {link to the instructions}.

Let me know if there is anything else we can help you with.


So just watch out with one word email replies.  Your customer might think you are being rude even though you aren’t.

Do you have friends?

Monday, March 30th, 2009

I hope you answered yes.  haha

Ok so here is the point of this post.  Go ask a few of your friends to go to your store and buy something.  If they say NO ask why not?  Their feedback will be priceless.

I’m not telling you to go and bug your friends to buy something from you.  I’m telling you to get first hand feedback on ways to improve your store.

Keep me posted on the results!

Make Things Happen with Teamwork

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

The best businesses in the world were started by 2 or more people.  Having a good business partner can go a looooong way.  Do you have a business partner?




Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Never ever ever do it in emails.  Especially with customers.  IT WILL SOUND LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING.  The person receiving the email will be annoyed and not like you instantly.

Create customer confidence

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

Online customers need to have confidence in a store before they are willing to make a purchase. They need to feel confident that they are actually going to get what they order, and that you are a reputable business.

Here are some tips on how you can increase your customer confidence:

1. List your complete contact information, including your name, address, and phone number, in case people have a question about a product that they are thinking about buying. Seeing only an email address on the contact page may make your store appear a bit shady. You might even consider investing in an 800 number so customers know that you are willing to address their concerns on the phone.

2. List your certifications with reputable organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau, or other professional organizations. Increase your customer base by showing that you are internationally reputable. Put these certifications on your About page.

3. Get customer testimonials and post them on your homepage. This shows that other people are willing to vouch for the quality of your products and of their buying experience with you. Follow up with your customers after they receive an order and ask them about their experience and if they would be willing to give you a recommendation.

4. Use your About page to tell people who you are and help them get to know you.
How long have you been in this business? What made you get into it? Why do you enjoy it? People like to buy from businesses made of real people.

Basically, just let visitors know that you are a reputable and reliable store. If they feel confident in that, they are much more likely to get out their credit card and buy something from you.

Learn HTML – Spice up your store

Friday, January 25th, 2008

A lot of our fields are HTML friendly (product descriptions, text on the homepage, about section, etc.)  You can really spice up the look and feel of your store by using HTML.  Here is a great HTML Tutorial.

Interview with online store owner Matt Lerner (owns 2 very successful stores)

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Recently I was very lucky on getting an interview with Matt Lerner, President and CEO of Chili Peppers Collectibles, LLC.

He currently has 2 stores: USA Coin Shop and Proof Sets Direct (and is actually working on his third store).

1) Why did you start an online business?

Starting an online business made sense for me in many ways although its advantages have changed as time has progressed. The coin industry is dominated by primarily by older men. I was 10 years old when I first started selling coins and often times I was ignored by potential customers because I was so young. In 1999, when I was 13, I started selling coins on eBay, primarily the state quarters. On eBay people didn’t judge you by your age, but instead by reputation as a seller, a HUGE advantage for me. Today I am 21, my age can still make people uncertain about my qualifications, although as they say, the proof is in the pudding, I now have had over 12,000 transactions on eBay with a 99.1% positive feedback rating.

While that aspect of selling online has been instrumental to my success online, I find one of the biggest advantages of an online business is the flexibility. One of my true passions besides coins is traveling and my online business allows me to do just that. Unlike a 9-5 job, when operating an online business it doesn’t matter where you are, what time it is, or even how you’re dressed. I usually get my best work done at 3:00AM when I’m sitting around in my boxers. Over the summer, I took a road trip of America and operated my business from the back of my car. All you need a computer and an Internet connection and you’re in business.

2) What were your first 3 steps in creating a new business?

1.) Find your passion. You can do anything and sell anything you want, but at the end of the day if you’re not 100% passionate about what you’re doing, you should rethink things. Being passionate makes going to work something to look forward to rather than a burden.

2.) Become an expert. One of the most compelling selling propositions you can offer to your customers is your knowledge or expertise. It will make them more willing to pay a premium for your product, keep them coming back and allow you to improve you overall business.

3.) Fail and overcome. Starting a business isn’t as simple as it may seem. Once you have your passion and you’ve become an expert, it’s time to try it all out. Most of the time you’ll fail at first but it’s important to stick with it. Sometimes the best learning experiences occur after failures. Those who are willing to change their mindset or business practices through learning from their past experiences, will be the ones who will succeed.

3) Based on your experience what is your most effective way of promoting your online store?

I was extremely lucky to have a large customer base of customers who I had sold coins to while selling on eBay which helped me launch the site. However as I grow the business there are a number of things I try to keep in mind. One of the most important things I can suggest to anyone who is trying to promote their site is to really think about exactly who your customer is. Most of us don’t have the money to be able to afford to market to everyone. And lets face it, even if we could market to everyone, unless you are selling a way to live for eternity, everyone is not going to be interested in what you are selling. There is no use wasting money to reach people who won’t be interested. So focus on answer these questions: What do they like to do? Where to they go for information on the Internet? Are there any networks they belong to that you might be able to tap into? What is sorts of messages will they be most receptive to? Then think of ways to utilize that information to reach your target customer.

For me, most of my new customers come from Google Adwords. For those of you who don’t know what this is, when you use and type in a word or phrase, say a gold coin you’ll notice there are links at the top and to the right of the search results. These are paid search terms. People pay anywhere from $0.20 to $10 per CLICK for these ads. Many of the items I’m selling are great for gifts, so using this technique as extremely beneficial for the holiday season.

4) What are your favorite websites?

Other than USA Coin Shop? Haha. is one of my first stops when I log onto my computer. I also enjoy and

5) What is your 2008 goal for USA Coin Shop?

I’d like to transition the majority of my inventory off of eBay and onto USA Coin Shop so I won’t have to pay eBay’s outrageous fees and I’ll be able to pass along those savings to my customers. I would ideally like to be one of the top 5 online coin retailers on the Internet.

Thanks Matt for the Interview! If any of you ever get the chance to meet Matt, you will instantly be pumped to start a business. He is a die hard entrepreneur.

3 easy ways to not sound like a jerk over e-mail

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008



2. Don’t use exclamation marks excessively. Or even worse use exclamation marks and questions marks together!!?!?!?!?!

This makes you sound super confused, upset, and a royal jerk.

3. Don’t give one word replies

No greeting line? No Closing Line? No Signature? – This make you sound like you are way to busy for them. (a total jerk move)