Join Patrick Rauland for an in-depth discussion in this video Offering pre-sales to validate your product, part of WordPress: Ecommerce.
- There's a big difference between people saying they'll buy your product and people actually spending their hard-earned money. Often, you will talk to ten people who are excited about your product, to have only one of them follow through. If you're creating an online store this can be a big problem. You're investing your time and money into this venture and of course you want to know if it'll work out. A great way to get your toes wet before you develop an entire product line is to try selling just one product. If you can get enough orders, then you know you're on the right track and you can develop the rest of the line.
To get started, you could facilitate a discussion on a forum related to your product, or you can hold an in-person testing session, or even post something on your own blog. The idea is to get your product in front of the people you want to sell to in order to judge the need for that product. Recently, crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter have given creators a new avenue for testing the waters. James Olander, creator of The Roost, started a Kickstarter campaign where he raised $189,000 for his initial production run. It was only after that initial success that he created his own e-commerce site where he sells the stands year-round.
He had an awesome idea, proved it was something people wanted, and then invested in his website and production equipment. Crowdfunding is a great way to get pre-orders and judge interest. A while ago, I wrote a post about my frustrations with the Terms and Conditions functionality in WooCommerce, and I put a contact form on that page. After a dozen emails, I knew it was a problem worth solving, so I built a plugin and sold it through woothemes.com. If you don't get pre-orders, that's not a bad thing. You've saved yourself a lot of time. If you can reach out to those people and ask them why they didn't pre-order, you'll get some really useful feedback.
Maybe the pictures weren't good. Maybe they didn't trust the look of the website. Maybe the product looked too good to be true. This is all awesome news. Take that back to the drawing board, revise your pre-order page, and try again. If you still can't get traction after multiple pre--order attempts, there's probably a disconnect between you and your audience. Many e-commerce platforms and crowdfunding platforms allow you to cancel pre-orders or prevent them from being charged in the first place. If that's the case, you can shut down your experiment and try something else. If you get a few pre-orders, it's an excellent idea to reach out to those customers.
They could give you useful feedback, and they may give you great testimonials. Social proof is an incredibly important tool to build trust between you and the people who find you via a search engine. If you think you have a great idea, you can always throw caution to the wind and dive in head first. Over the years, though, I spent too many hours developing software that almost no one uses. Nowadays, I love getting some sort of validation from users that this is a real problem they have and that my product is a good solution. You don't have to take pre-orders, but you should definitely get some sort of validation from your users.
To start, you need to understand the market for your product or service so you can build your website around it. So Patrick Rauland kicks off with some key questions that will help you define your audience and organize your products. He'll then help you set up a payment gateway with PayPal or Stripe, ship orders, collect taxes, and secure sensitive data. And if you weren't convinced already, Patrick reviews the benefits of WordPress ecommerce tools as well as a selection of third-party tools that integrate beautifully with WordPress. Plus, get bonus tips on marketing your new website: attracting and retaining customers and increasing the value of the average order.
- Defining your audience
- Organizing your products
- Marketing your WordPress site
- Increasing average order value
- Getting paid
- Checking out with PayPal or Stripe
- Managing and shipping orders
- Collecting tax
- Protecting sensitive data
- Using WordPress or third-party platforms for ecommerce