Want to sell online but you can’t afford expensive payment gateways?
You might be rip roaring ready to pay the fees, but are you absolutely certain your online shop will work?
What if it doesn’t?
I used to think selling online would be a breeze. How wrong I was!
Don’t spend big bucks getting an online store going. It might not work and cost you plenty of money and trouble. And the way things are going on our planet, you need to hold on to every cent of your cash.
That’s easy, because I have a cost effective solution that’ll help you test ecommerce without the monetary stress.
I call it a fauxmerce shopping website.
It looks like an ecommerce site, it works (almost) like an ecommerce site, but it doesn’t come with the hefty price tag of an ecommerce site.
If you’re keen on testing things without spending too much, this is the perfect ecommerce shopping solution.
Why get a fauxmerce site?
A proper ecommerce system, although desirable, is expensive for small businesses to maintain. The monthly costs associated with payment gateways can chew on the stomach lining quite a bit.
But an ecommerce system that’s set up correctly comes with a powerful perk: that of showing you what clients are really interested in when they’re using your website.
And that’s just touching on what’s in it for you. There are some serious perks for website visitors too, if your estore is set up correctly.
How it works
It’s a simple concept.
I set up your site with WordPress and use a popular shopping cart plugin to give it ecommerce functionality.
But instead of turning it into a fully fledged checkout cart, I install an “add-to-quote” system.
This lets people add a product to their “cart” using a button, much like if they’re shopping a website with full ecommerce capabilities.
At checkout they click a send button and you receive an email with their details. You can follow up by sending them a reply with a price.
Combine it with analytics
Combined with some metrics, an ecommerce site can quickly form part of your drive to be more market oriented.
In other words, instead of guessing what people want, your ecommerce system can help identify what people in your niche actually want.
Since all my web design packages come with Google Analytics you’ll be able to determine whether that new product you’ve added is worth more time marketing, or if you should change direction slightly.
Combine it with a search function
I add a search box to your website that records what people search for when they use it.
This is some serious marketing power because it lets you see what people are actually interested in.
Let’s create a scenario.
You set up your fauxmerce site and start adding knife products to your website.
And from all your hard work you start seeing an increase in traffic. It starts flowing thicker and thicker.
Once the traffic starts coming in at higher numbers you see an increase in people using the search function on your website.
You can literally see what people are after by what they’re searching on your website.
But you see an interesting thing.
You were expecting people to look for the “sharpest knife brand”, but they’re actually searching, “diy knife sharpening.”
Now you know you should be adding a DIY knife sharpener to your online shop and sell that, in addition to selling knives.
Combine it with a blog
One of the best ways to increase your Google ranking is to consistently add quality content to your website.
Here’s a pro tip: whenever you add a new product to your shop, think of all the potential articles you can write about the product and do so.
If people search for a product on Google and it’s posted to your website and you’ve created content extensively around it, you’ll have a far better chance of drawing more traffic.
In other words, the peripheral content bolsters your main product pages.
From these peripheral article (or blog posts) you can link to your main product pages.
Now you’re taking a single product and creating a sea of content around it.
You’ll start seeing an increase in search engine appearances. In other words, if your content is top notch, you’ll be featured in Google more often.
You could write a single companion piece to bolster the main product you’re trying to sell or you could write a series of shorter articles that you can use to link to your main product too. (Longer articles seem to work better.)
Whichever way you approach it, adding peripheral content as companion pieces to your main products should see you enjoy a major increase in enquiries.
Combine it with automatic marketing
One of the best ways to tackle your marketing is to automate.
Why share your stuff on social media when you can flip a switch that lets you do it automatically?
Whenever you add a product to your website it’s shared to your Facebook page automatically.
Since social media marketing’s return on investment is stupendously low, you know you won’t be wasting your time by constantly having to share.
And because the automatic share includes your main product photo and a link to your website, whoever wants to know more about the product is forced to visit your site, which is much better than having to try and fight to get someone’s attention on Facebook.
Want to know one of the best marketing platforms ever?
As much as people complain about their email inboxes, it’s still a great place to meet them with your products.
Every time you add a product to your fauxmerce shop it’s sent out to email subscribers in a beautiful email.
That email contains a picture of your product and a link to your website. When the recipient clicks on the link they’re sent to your shop.
The power of a correct information structure
A website is a fantastic way to gauge interest in a venture. If you create quality content on a specific topic and keep an eye on your traffic, you’ll notice what brings people to your website.
To make sure your quality content is correctly understood by humans and search engines, proper categorisation is crucial.
To get you started with a fauxmerce site, I set up a few things for you.
I create up to five categories, all related to your niche, and add up to ten products (all information and images to be supplied by you).
Because you receive admin rights to your site you can add as many categories and products as you wish, your hosting package size being the only limit.
Since you’re doing the brands you’re selling a favour by trying to get more of their stuff out of their factory into the hands of your customers, why not capitalise by adding their logos to your website and setting up brand categories?
It’s a great way to get people to see products related to their favourite brands, or to introduce people to brands they’re not familiar with.
What you’ll get
Keep in mind that your fauxmerce system is set up so you can access the back office and upload products at any time.
And there’s no limit in terms of the products you can upload. The limit comes in with the size of your package.
But check the examples below to see just how big some of my clients are, while still on the 500MB hosting package.
So you’ll get a normal website, but with it comes a fake ecommerce shop to which you may add a bunch of products, set them up with an information structure that makes sense and write articles about those products that’ll help drive even more traffic.
Here are two examples of fauxmerce sites I’ve set up for clients.
My first example is a client who sells plastic watering and feeding equipment to the agricultural niche.
They focus on feeding and watering products for cattle and other animals. They also sell residential plastic water tanks.
All of their products are set up in appropriate categories.
They make use of the automated newsletter. And because I’ve set up a signup box on their website they regularly get people signing up for their newsletter.
But thus far they’ve been receiving good feedback through their fauxmerce site, with requests for quotes regularly coming through.
Hunting and outdoor gear
My second example is a client who sells knives, camo clothing and various types of outdoor gear.
They’ve set up the major brands they represent as product tags and added it to a top menu.
They regularly add their outdoor products to their shop and their search box is indicating that people arrive at the site and search for items in their niche.
Like with my first example, they don’t have to worry about paying heavy duty checkout cart fees every month.
If your online shop starts working I can always upgrade you to an ecommerce system with a proper checkout cart.
But until you start seeing real results, a fauxmerce shop is a great low-cost way to enter the world of online sales.
Ecommerce is a wonderful thing to have.
But if you’re not willing to pay the monthly checkout fees or you only want to test the water, get yourself a fauxmerce website.
Book a consultation to see how I can help you enter the world of ecommerce at a fraction of the cost.