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  1. #1
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    What are your opinions on the concept of selling your products in a real time internet situation. This is where you would answer peoples questions and point them to the best bargains in a chatroom/shopping center like setting.

    If you take a trip to the mall you'll notice people who come up to you saying "can I help you". It's my opinion that this is where the internet suffers (customer service). I can prove it easily. Take a trip to walmart and watch the people leave, count them and figure out how many leave empty handed. Was it 98 out of 100 or more like 2 out of 100.

    I'm starting a shopping site and I am thinking up some very cool customer service oriented ideas that I may have available to other affiliates in the near future.

    I understand that many of you would shun the idea of having to work to make a sale and don't have the time to waste doing so but that's okay because I'm not looking for your opinions. I'm looking for those of you who make only a few transactions per day and want to make some serious cashola by changing the internet instead of following the very poor example that has already proven to be a failure hence the poor ad rates.

    Anyways I'm not going to go into details right now but I'm wondering how many of you would be willing to sit in front of the pc and answer questions in order to convert sales at rates we've never thought possible on the internet?


    (Edited to clarify a point)
    "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."
    - Thomas Jefferson

    [This message was edited by Heyder on September 24, 2002 at 10:27 PM.]

  2. #2
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    Your point is clear and sensible, but if I were to do that, I would rather simply stock and ship my own products at my own markup, and keep all of the profits for myself. If you make it a full-time job, why settle for just a commission?

    I got into affiliate marketing to get away from this scenario.

    AS SEEN ON SE!!!

  3. #3
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    Hey Hey Hey Heyder, (couldn't resist)

    I had a customer chat facility on my site for a while and I didn't get many questions and the questions I did get were ughhhhhhhh........ very studip like where can I sell my old clothes.

    The system also seemed to impact performance on my load time and caused some instability problems getting hung up.

    That project didn't last long. I'll see a query come in and find myself yelling...... Go to such and such vendor [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]. If only they would have used the chat feature!

    I didn't have the capability to use the invite chat feature (I was using the free version) but I thought it would be interesing.....

    I'm not sure the internet crowd is ready to have web site hawkers chiming in on them telling them where to go and very few of them will actually use the feature to ask the question they already did on the internet.

    Overcome these kind of problems and I'll consider it sure.

  4. #4
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    Like many of your ideas, this one is both intriguing and evocative [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]. Personally, however, it sounds like a lot of work to sit in front of a PC for hours selling product. I'd like to think that my combination of targetted traffic, SEO + site usability (navigation+ site search) is such that it is effectively the same as "may I help you" interaction. I guess I see my time as better spent making more pages.

    However - I could see where certain types of big-ticket items may be easier to convert using this type of approach, or some affiliates may do better selling this way, etc etc.

    If you try it I'd be interesting in seeing the results data - by what percentage conversions were increased, etc.

    {

    Try me.

  5. #5
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> If you make it a full-time job, why settle for just a commission?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I guess that depends on how you look at what you are doing. Many people work for a commission as their full time job and I do consider this to be my full time job. I know there have been many agruements on this point but I'm not here to discuss that aspect.

    The rest of your question is simple to me although not proven or tested. Let's say you right now make two sales per hour from one hundred web visitors. Your commission is ten percent and the total of the two sales is 100 dollars which gives you at 10% ten dollars profit. Now lets assume it is possible to take those same 100 visitors and instead of just two sales per hour we get 20 or 40 or 60 sales. I don't know about you but that would be well worth my time even if just at 20 sales vs. only 2.

    Like I said this isn't proven at all it's just food for thought right now.

    "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."
    - Thomas Jefferson

  6. #6
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    I need to clear up another issue I see.

    This wouldn't be actual chat it would be more like buletin board or some sort of message system. Also the Q's&A's would be forever publically available regarding that certain product line permanently.

    So for example if someone asks a question about where can I get such and such ink cartridge at the best price and you answer with your affiliate link that link would remain permanent for the next person looking for ink.

    "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."
    - Thomas Jefferson

  7. #7
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    &gt;&gt; Like I said this isn't proven at all it's just food for thought right now.

    If you can prove that it works and provides a significant improvement in conversions, and back it up with actual data, I'd be interested.

    {

    Try me.

  8. #8
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Crankin-Deelz said: "I would rather simply stock and ship my own products at my own markup, and keep all of the profits for myself. If you make it a full-time job, why settle for just a commission?"

    This is easily done with Smoothsale or Groopz live help shopping cart plug-ins. www.ecomcity.com/news.htm

    WebMaster Mike

  9. #9
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Okay, some observations other than the fact that it's w*rk:

    I think the kind of products would be important. Not many people want to be bugged when looking at some cheapie item! I've w*rked in WalMart and know that the typical customer response is to say "just looking" to get the employee to go away, even when they are NOT just looking. Those who want help will find an employee, but for items of WalMart pricing, people do not want to be *bugged* on "general principles". Usually I pay close attention to what is done by the World's Biggest Retailer but I think they are selling *despite* the overabundance of meddlesome employees always interrupting the customer's thought processes. A "can I help you" when I am already looking straight at what I am wanting to buy (or going right toward it) is like a flesh-and-blood pop up. "Yeah, Beat it!" is what I'd like to say but that'd be too rude.

    On the other hand, it'd be nice to find an employee when I really wanted something. Just not until then.

    For more expensive stuff like "better" costume jewelry, expensive makeup, $400 watches, and such, though, I have watched customers in Hudson's and Lord & Taylor (decent department stores although not extremely expensive in general--much higher class than WalMart, though) and those customers will eat up piles of time BSing with the salespeople before they get out their CCs. The amount of time needed to convert a really high ticket item in a bricks-and-mortar would NOT allow 20-30 conversions an hour. More like 2 or 3. Watching this has been a hobby of mine for years so I'm pretty sure about how long it takes these people to make a sale on a decently-priced thing. It's still lucrative but not nearly as much as your projections suggest.

    In fact, it takes an average of 5 minutes to ring up an order in general so if you're doing something more in-depth than the equivalent of ringing it up, the amount of conversions-per-hour is severely limited. 6-12 orders/hour per person selling is realistic, ASSUMING constantly active phones. You might be able to cut that down if the person only wants one thing but if they bother talking to you they probably want more. Estimate 5 minutes per customer at the least. That estimate is based on much observation and direct retail experience; if you can beat the time then people will probably feel rushed which lowers the CR.

    Also you will need to know fairly in-depth info about all the stuff you promote so you can answer the weirdo questions like "where was your meat raised and what kind of grain was it fed?" Those with weird questions like that are also very concerned about the answer--if you don't know, no conversion.

    The Internet is open 24-7...what happens when you want to sleep but the customers are still awake? Is it Tough for Them? If it is, then a fair percentage of the people will be miffed at the fact that you're not "with it" about the always-open nature of the net.

    Also, don't forget that inquiries DO NOT come in steadily! They come in big batches I am sure, just like the traffic patterns in bricks-and-mortar stores. Expect to have long periods of dead time and then to be BLASTED with TONS of calls at once as people get back from work, or inclement weather happens. It makes staffing a pistol because you either have not enough people during the rushes (causing badwill) or you have a lot of extra people basically loitering around during the dead times.

    Of course, I cannot close without saying that the idea of adding so much w*rk sounds like taking a vat of pure Godiva chocolate and throwing a bunch of Brach's in it, but to each his own. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

    It may indeed be more lucrative than the regular way, just remember that a person really CAN NOT talk to 30 people an hour and give DECENT customer service at the same time. Call centers often give screwy answers because they are way too rushed, and all it ends up doing is causing badwill for the company. Decent customer service takes time like anything else.

    There is no knowledge that is not power.~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

  10. #10
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    I'm a fitness consultant and actually, I wouldn't mind sitting at my computer and interacting with a customer who wanted advice in this area - providing they pay me my fee of a hundred dollars an hour! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

    Of course, that's different from being a sales person. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] Actually, I'd like to be able to consult via computer. Heyder, if your idea is adaptable to that, do let me know.

    J

  11. #11
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>If you can prove that it works and provides a significant improvement in conversions, and back it up with actual data, I'd be interested <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Well I don't have anything to sell to you and don't plan on making something for you to purchase from me so I'll excuse myself from the burden of proof [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] but I was interested in knowing everyones opinion and thoughts on having to actually work to make a sale but at the same time (unproven) increase sales.

    "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."
    - Thomas Jefferson

  12. #12
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    As Leader pointed out there are no easy way to success online of off unless the passion is there. You can jump the hurdles of customer support which eat up your time if you have a pasion for your product. Look at how much passion she had in analyizing customer buying habits. Look at the passion to reach out ( even at a 100.00 per hour) to discuss physical health subjects even if it meant some boring hours waitingggg for the rewards of sharing some real knowledge to a stranger seeking advice.

    A small online shop with a product your totally emersed in is not a job ..it's a passion and will succeed. Why? Because the proprietor needs to share his passion for the products with his audience and will therefore make it succeed.

    Test this theory and out of the blue call 1-800-700-4515 ext 20 and Talk to Sal Herman about his products displayed at www.suspenders.com. I won't even warn him your going to call ..because no matter what business is waiting to be done with so little time to do it.. your call will be more important. That is the passion you'll need for a online/offline business, which makes you come back for more.

    Thank God Sam Walton had the passion or those friendly helpful Walmart sales people wouldn't be there when you do need one. He'd rather pay them just to be sure you were taken care of, if needed, rather than do without the personal service he gave in his first store.

    WebMaster Mike

  13. #13
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    I don't mean to be flip, but it sounds like a ball and chain to me. One of the great advantages of affiliate marketing is the flexibility it affords. I just got back from a trip accross the country, hauling my laptop along. I was able to keep tabs on everything while I was away, while at the same time enjoying my trip. I even added some pages. And, I made money while I was gone!!

    If I thought I had to be at my computer all day to answer questions, I think I would become very ill.

    "If I'd known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself." Bob Hope

  14. #14
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    hmm time for yet another clarification.

    You wouldn't have to sit at your computer all day. This would just be an option to do so at your own free will like when you wanted to make money. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] BTW this isn't intended for those of you who make so much money that you couldn't possible find a way to spend it. This is for the other 99.99999997% of you.

    "I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."
    - Thomas Jefferson

  15. #15
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    I agree with you Heyder....Internet is lacking in the customer service area.


    Now with a forum, I have one on one site, and won't own another. It's hard to get people to go to a forum. And the second problem with a forum, Is it'll be hard to get work done, because your always checking. Adding a forum isn't much work, but it requires great traffic to make a successfull one.

    Maybe a Catch could be.........Can't find what your looking, Need help with questions. Post your question, and I'll be back to you within 24hrs. (this will get rid of time problem, and having your butt tied to the computer screen) . A thought would be to to have the 24hour forum thing pop up when they exit as well, maybe you'll catch people frustrated, and well jump on it. Just be sure to make them have their email address, so you can email them the response as well as the forum.

    "Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open." Thomas Dewar

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