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How to Launch an E-commerce Business from Scratch

How to Launch an E-commerce Business from Scratch

Hello, and welcome to Whiteboard Sessions with me Andrew Maff. I'm the founder and CEO of BlueTuskr are a full-service digital marketing company for e-commerce sellers. And today I'm going to show you exactly how you can actually start to figure out if your product is going to work. So if you're just starting off, I'm going to show you how to launch your product from scratch.

click & conversion

Now in this scenario, what I'm going to do is I'm going to show you how to do this, assuming that you basically want to bootstrap this thing. So if you have a ton of capital, you have investment, great, awesome, go launch an awesome website, and enjoy being rich. But for the rest of you, I'm going to show you how to do this correctly.

So this is based on as I said, you're just launching a product for the first time and you want to start slow because you can't afford a lot. So we're also going to assume that you have one product, I'm not going to show you how to find your product and what to sell. This is not one of those this is you've already figured out your product, you have a differentiated product, whether it's something it's a better mousetrap, or it's a new mousetrap or something along those lines, I'm gonna show you this.




Where to Start?

So we assume you have one product, and we're going to, unfortunately, have to start with the big bad Jeff Bezos, this asshole is going to get your money right away. And whether you like it or not, it's probably the best way to start. Now the reason I say that is because they have a pre-existing audience. Amazon already is basically one of the largest search engines, almost every product, and its mother is on here, you basically can't start on Amazon.

Unfortunately, that's the way that it is. As of right now, I'm hoping that this video is outdated a year from now, and this isn't the case. But I'm gonna show you how to do this because it's been the case for several years. So what you're going to want to do is you want to launch your product on Amazon, right, so your launch your product listing, you're going to get some great imagery, so spend the money or do it yourself and learn how to get some great product photography with some call outs and stuff like that. We'll do Amazon listings in another video.



Product Page

Make sure that you have a great title, make sure you got some good bullet points, your product description, like make this look as good as you can possibly get it right. The other thing you don't want to do is start doing some keyword research and figure out okay, what are the best longtail terms that someone is going to search that they're going to want to purchase my product versus a competitor.


Run Ads

Now keep in mind, you probably don't have a lot of reviews. And there's a whole another basket of rubbish I can go through about like how to get reviews and things like that. But we're going to pretend that you're doing this in a completely white hat way. And so what you're gonna want to do is look into keywords that you think are going to work the best. And what you're going to start with is a sponsored product campaign. And you're just gonna do some exact match keywords.

So you're basically only bidding on stuff that you know, you want to show for your bidding relatively high, but at least you only have one campaign. And if you're on Amazon, for the love of God, don't comment and complain about this, I know, you can run an auto campaign and learn other stuff. Or maybe you have 100 Another tactic, but I'm just going real high level right now. To find your best keyword exact match, run straight to there, figure out you know what's working here, maybe you want to make these phrases match and start to learn a little bit more there.

But then you can start to figure out, you know, adjusting your product listing, but as soon as you started to get sales in your product, and now you're telling yourself great, the people that are on Amazon want to buy my product, this is the cheapest way because honestly, to launch a new listing, it's probably gonna cost you like, you know, if you wanted to get nice product photography, and like-kind of had some design work in there, and maybe you found someone on like Upwork or something to do it, maybe 100 bucks if that. And then maybe you run like 10/20 bucks a day on here. And after a little while, you'll start to realize what's working and then you'll start to make some money there, right.

So this is why this isn't the least expensive way because you're basically looking at spending like maybe 500 bucks in your first month, not including getting your product. So now you've proven out okay, there are people on Amazon that are searching for stuff that is willing to buy my product, so great proven that.



Get Your Brand Registered

So next, what we're gonna do is we're going to go and get our brand registered. So your brand registry is on Amazon is you just submit your trademark, they give you your brand registration. And then essentially, you can now open up your own store. So your own storefront is what it's called on Amazon. So if you go to Amazon, I think it's above the title or below the title or something like that there's an area where it basically is a link where you can click it and it will take you over to whoever purchased that product. And it shows you their storefront if they have one. But either way, that's not entirely how people always get there.

What you're gonna want to do now is put some money into cleaning this up branding it, treat this as your home, this is like your website on Amazon. They're going to make this look as good as you possibly can. And then you're going to do some product display ads, right? Um, so based on their sponsored display, where the hell Amazon's call them now there was mix them up and confuse the hell out of me.

So basically, like we've learned what keywords are working, right, we did some exact match. Maybe we did some phrase match. And now we know exactly which ones are working. So we're going to take those same ones and we're going to add them into the display ad. And so now we're going to drive the traffic from here to our storefront.

Now, if you look at display ads, yes, it's possible for someone to click it and go to the listing if they click on this specific little icon. But in this scenario, the main ad itself is going to the storefront. Now, when you drive to the storefront, they're going to see your listing, they're going to click on your listing here and then go back to the listing best practices are not to increase the number of clicks. I know that. But the reason we're doing that is to prove out that we can actually get revenue from the storefront.

So we're driving traffic to the storefront, we obviously have the product here. And we're starting to see this display ad that we are in fact converting to getting sales, we know what's working. So now we have figured out that Amazon is working very well for us, right? So we know that the people on Amazon are willing to not only go straight to the product and purchase, but if I send them to my own branded area, I know that they're willing to purchase here as well. 

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Tryout Different Platforms

And so the reason we want to do this is that now the next step is to get off Amazon, you don't want to stay on here, Amazon will suspend you just because they're bored. And because they can Bezos even though he's in space all the time now will suspend you even from Mars. So I'm gonna tell you to get off Amazon. And the best way to do this is now your next step is to do Facebook, or probably Google because they are your two next largest channels outside of Amazon.

Now if you have a product where you are presenting a solution to a problem that people know exists, Google's probably your best bet, because of the way that people are searching their intent is to obviously find a solution that they're aware of. On Facebook, it's more you want to be if you have a solution to a problem people don't know they have, or if people have a problem, and you have a solution that they don't know exists.




So there's a level of education that's needed, then you want to try Facebook. So just for the hell of it, we're gonna say Facebook on this one, because it doesn't really matter. So we're gonna say you start on Facebook, and you start on Facebook, you're gonna want to do a couple of organic posts on your profile, just because sometimes people will click your ad and go over there to see what's working, or see what you're doing. And basically like, kind of want to keep something on there. So it doesn't look too sketchy.


Send Traffic to Amazon

But behind the storefront, there is a custom source code, right. So a custom source code is basically like a glorified UTM. It's, it's Amazon's UTM. So it's a custom URL that you basically take, and you put it as your Facebook main link, right. And so now you're going to drive traffic to your storefront. In the backend of Amazon in the backend of the storefront, you can see specifically if this ad is driving draft, how much traffic is driving, and if it's generating revenue for you, as soon as you see that, okay, it is generating revenue.

Now you know, that you can take off Amazon traffic and drive it to a branded area on your on Amazon and actually start to generate a little hint here, what you can do when you're doing Facebook is you can actually, I usually suggest when you're trying this to narrow your audience into people who are interested in Amazon, just so that you know that Facebook has some idea that they are willing to shop on Amazon helps a little bit because you're really just trying to prove a concept here.

;So now we have this whole concept going right, we can get traffic off Amazon to convert on Amazon, we have all of the Amazon traffic we know is willing to convert, we have 100% proven out the product. Now we need to prove out the business, right. So at this stage is where I usually suggest starting to reinvest your ad money into your different ads and start to ramp it up so that you can start to build your investment from there is when you're going to want to create your website.




Create a Website

Now, here's the thing with a website, and I say this once, and I'm probably gonna say it 10 more times, put your money into your website, do not half-assed your website, this is your home, this is where your brand is going to be built. This is where your company is represented the most. I actually know sellers who built ugly websites. And because they just wanted to give it a shot and see what happens. And it actually hurt their Amazon sales. Because some people do in fact, click away to see what the company is like. And if they see that their website is sketchy, it makes the product feel sketchy.

So half-assing This is really stupid. So make sure that you're putting your money into your website, because the last thing you want to do too, is build an ugly website and then realize like six months from now that you shouldn't have built an ugly website. And now you need to invest in a good website.

So for the love of God, don't build a website until you can build a good one. So now, let's say you know we have our product page and whatever it is, is priced at 10 bucks. And you have your buy now button, right? Now, this is where it gets interesting. And where a lot of people go, Oh, screw this video and they turn it off. And so because this gets a little interesting, but what we're gonna do is we're going to actually think about, and again, this is up to you, you don't have to do this, but it's an interesting approach where you can ease into this, we're going to add another button.




Marketplaces Availability

We're gonna have this button that says available on Amazon. And we're also going to say what the price is. So let's say the price is also $10. Right? So the reason we're going to do that is that you don't want people clicking this and being sent to Amazon, to find out that the price is the same because if they already know the price is the same, they might be more likely to just stay on your site, especially if you have like, free shipping options and Subscribe and Save and book purchasing and like all the extra sales and like all that fun stuff, why would they go to Amazon, right?

Now, you're gonna create another Custom source code, and you're going to use it in this button. So you can drive this button, it's going to go to your store. And then that way, you can actually track how many people have clicked this button and have gone to Amazon. And so at this point, we're now going to take these, and we're going to send our Facebook ads to our website, and we're gonna turn them off going straight to Amazon.

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Track your Data

So now I'm starting to get all my data here, right, but I'm still giving the user the opportunity to go to Amazon and I'm tracking are actually purchasing? Now, let's say you're spending $100 a month on Facebook ads? Well, I've got I hope that's not the case. But let's say you're spending $100 a month, right? And then you're spending $10 a month on I'm sorry, $100 a month on Amazon, and then you decide I want to spend 10 more dollars a month on Facebook, that's a 10% increase, right?

What I want to look at now isn't that I get a 10% increase in revenue here, or specifically a 10% revenue increase here, especially once I have both, I want to see that I had a 10% increase in revenue across the entire channel, because this is a very fluid market. So you'll have people who go to your website, and then we'll leave it and go straight to Amazon, we'll have people who will see it and go straight to Amazon like it's so fluid.

So really what you want to do is see what percentage Did you increase your ad spend, and then what percentage of revenue growth. And then from there later on in terms of optimizing your ads, you can adjust accordingly. But so that's something you have to think about. But so from here, we're sending our traffic to the Amazon, to our I'm sorry, to our storefront, and we're driving traffic letting traffic go here, even though obviously, we want to make sure that we do what we can get them to stay on the site. And so now this is where it kind of becomes now what are the next steps, right?


Other Available Marketplaces

Whether you've expanded your product line by now or released just different variations of your product or anything like that. The question is, do you start going into other marketplaces like Walmart, or maybe you want to go into eBay? Or maybe your product is specific to pets, right, so now we're gonna go into Chewy like there's a ton of different options here. So if you choose to go these routes, obviously, these two have their own advertising platforms, right. So you're going to run ads here, you're going to leverage their existing audiences, which is great.

But what if someone's more comfortable shopping or Walmart, or maybe they're more comfortable shopping on eBay, you might want to in a certain scenario, add more buttons that says where you are available, so available on Walmart, available on eBay, or maybe you're available on Chewy. Here's the con with that one list. Besides the obvious is that these don't currently have custom source codes, at least not as of me creating this video.

So you're not going to really be able to track it. If you're doing Facebook or Google ads, you can make this button click an event so that you can automatically turn off the ads to someone who clicked it in case they did purchase there. But the only reason you would want to do these and start to venture into offering these and other situations is you firmly believe that you just want to provide your customer the best experience and let them shop wherever you want. And you'll deal with the ramifications of possibly reducing some of your profit margins here or B, you hate operations.

So, you don't want to deal with shipping and hunt rubbish you got to deal with here. So you figure screw it, let them deal with it, which is also very possible. I see a lot of sellers that do that. So basically, there are a few options here. Basically, once this starts to show its face after you've spent most of your budget going here, now you're doing a lot of top of funnel stuff. So you're doing SEO and you're doing Google ads, and maybe you're doing like influencer stuff. And all this stuff is going your website, all this traffic come in here, all this data is coming here.


Now get rid of the drama away, keep an eyelet it run for a little while, keep an eye on all of your revenue combined with your ad spend, you've done. But at this point, if you're looking for an exit, right, you're looking to get your highest valuation. The largest email lists the largest amount of visitors to your website, the largest social media platforms, basically, anyone who acquires you obviously wants your sales and wants to justify, you know, your product line expanding and the company growing. But if you have a large community that you can sell to another business that they can leverage for whatever it else is that they're doing, you can get a much higher valuation than if you were just running an FBA business.

That's just like, you know, really tight-knit and really run well on operations. There's a ton of companies out there that acquire FBA businesses. But the valuations aren't always fantastic, but they're justified. But if you're going down here, once you hit a certain mark, you're getting more closer to like anywhere between like a six to 10x EBIT, depending on you know, your product line or category and all that fun stuff. But this is essentially how I suggested because basically what you're doing is you're Basically just spending like five 600 bucks to just test this out, then you're testing out another area, then you're testing out another area, and then you're testing out your own home.




Omnichannel Experience

And then you're kind of venturing off a little bit and letting people shop where they're most comfortable. And then you can get rid of it and really start to build this business. Because especially by this point, if you've started to get into all of these areas, your brand is starting to grow. Now the one thing I'm going to cater to the most is to make sure that you're providing an omnichannel experience to basically what this means when an omnichannel experience means is how the investment you put into your website, awesome imagery that you have the copy the way that you have it written and who you're speaking to.


Be Consistent

You need to make sure that that imagery and that copy is reflected on all of these because if I go directly to chewy, and I see your product is on chewy, but it's got an ugly picture and the copy sounds weird, I'm not going to trust it, I'm gonna think like that might not be so and so brand, because they don't usually say words like that, where maybe they had a ton of exclamation marks on Walmart, they usually don't do that.

So that's something to think about is if especially if they clicked over to eBay, and they went straight to here, they might feel a little more comfortable, because they just came from your site, but it looks like trash, they might feel like it's a knockoff, especially on eBay. So you have to make sure that all of your creativity and all of your copy are everywhere.

Think about this as retail, right? I love Skittles. And I can't just buy Skittles at 7/11 I can get them at Walmart, I can get them at Target, I give them another gas station. So think about this as your main retail outlet. But you're offering your product and all these other retailers. And you really can't have your brand look like trash everywhere else but look awesome and only your store, you have to have it looking great across the board that kind of went off on a tangent there about omnichannel stuff. But at the end of the day, Amazon product listing storefront off Amazon traffic, start your own website, let them go back to Amazon if you want them to, and then start to expand from there.


That is exactly how you launch a product and basically bootstrap it yourself. Go ahead comment in the comments, wherever you're watching this. Tell me why you disagree. Tell me why you agree or let me know what product you're selling on your own and I will I'll let you know what approach I would take with it but obviously please rate review subscribe and come out of these on a weekly basis plus for the podcast and tutorials and all that stuff too. Don't want to miss it because you're looking for good e-commerce content. It's definitely here but I really appreciate you guys watching and I will see you all next time.


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