The greatest feeling I've had this entire project was the day I logged into my email account and saw my very first order. When I first saw it I thought it might be a test from my developer so I didn't really think much of it. After I took a look and noticed that it was a real order and that I had already been sent the payment I couldn't sit still for a half hour! I was running around calling everyone who knew about this drop shipping project to let them know I had made a sale from a site with out spending a penny on PPC. I can't wait for you to have this same feeling!
Once I settled down and got the order over to my drop shipping supplier a few things started to come to light. These items really made my head scratch at how I had not been following up on my plan to make sure everything was the way it was supposed to be. Even though the site looked good and apparently was functional enough to make a sale it had a lot of problems. Below are some of the issues that were encountered. Take note of these so you do not make the same mistakes.
- Order Processing & Payment Processing: Two weeks prior to the sites first sale my developer had installed a custom shopping cart feature that processed payment through Authorize.net. The problem was the payment came to me from PayPal. We had decided previously to remove PayPal and go only with the credit card processor. This was to lend an element of professionalism to the site. Apparently there was a plugin update that through this whole thing off and had disabled my credit card processor. Luckily PayPal was still there or I would have never received my first order.
- My Supplier: When the order was finally sent over to our supplier the first thing they told me was that one of the products was out of stock. There is nothing worse then hearing this. Luckily I was able to get my supplier to produce the needed item right away. Having to go back to my very first customer and cancel their order would have been a disaster.
- My Inventory Manager: To be blunt... It wasn't turned on. This allowed for all products to be listed with endless supply. As this is not possible for many suppliers it showed a process that I had failed to plan for.
- My Contact Manager: Again this was not set-up. I use InfusionSoft.com to manage my lists and have had great results using their software. To find that my site was never linked to my InfusionSoft.com platform was very frustrating. The true value of a customer is not just in what they buy today but in what their lifetime value is. If you don't capture their info you have no one to market to.
- My Shipping Cart: After getting my first order and finding that the payment processing was not working I decided to place a test order to see what the problem was. When I went through the process I was very frustrated with how hard it was to buy something. I was simply asking for high abandonment rates.
- Shopping Cart Analytics: There was no software installed to track abandonment rates what so ever. There was also no lead generation system in place in order to capture user data before they abandon their cart.
So what did I learn by making my first sale? The simplest thing is that I needed to be doing more test sales earlier on in my development process. Had this been done many of these problems would have been found prior to my site moving up in the rankings.
They do say some people get SEO Blindness or that they get so obsessed with getting their site to rank that they do not spend enough time on functionality of their drop shipping site. If you want my advice you should place a test order every week that you work on your project. Your site will be better for it and you'll be able to catch your mistakes as they go.
Thanks for reading about my drop shipping project
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