Author Topic: Critique my new side gig website?  (Read 863 times)

v8rx7guy

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Critique my new side gig website?
« on: December 07, 2017, 12:15:01 PM »
Hey everyone, I recently started up a new website on Cyber Monday.  It's going "OK" but I don't seem to be converting as many visits into the orders I was expecting... I am hovering around 1.5-2%.  This is my first website ever and really my first "real" entrepreneur attempt.  Would you all mind critiquing it for me?  I'm not even going to introduce the concept because I think that everything should be there for people to understand what I am offering.  Let me know what you think!

www.washingtoninabox.com

solon

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2017, 01:44:12 PM »
Just some things I was thinking as I looked at the site.

Very professional looking. Would have no qualms about buying.

Very jealous! Why didn't I think of that? This is the kind of side gig Chris Guillebeau would put on his side hustle podcast. https://sidehustleschool.com/podcasts/

How do you find so many Washington-related items? Do companies give you a discount on their products? Do they pay you to be included? I know you probably don't want to give away your business secrets, but these are questions that came to mind.

Good luck with the business!

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2017, 01:55:52 PM »
Looks awesome.  This is the kind of thing people will check out and file away in their head for future info.  I wouldn't just randomly order one for myself unless I was from there and missing it.  If I was living there, I'd buy it for people that hadn't been to visit yet or had and loved it.  I'd also buy stuff if I was out of state and wanted to send stuff to someone that previously lived there. 

Could you expand to other states? Not sure how hard it would be to source.

I worry people will steal the idea though and just buy the stuff and make their own basket to give as a gift but there is no way around that.

Could you sell at rest areas / the airport?

v8rx7guy

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2017, 02:35:06 PM »
Thanks for the compliments... I put a crazy amount of work into it considering I decided I wanted to do it in early November and set a Cyber Monday deadline for getting the site up.  I was born and raised in WA, so I sorta "know" the stuff that people around here, that was pretty helpful with brainstorming the products to offer.  I also did a lot of google searches for "what is washington known for" and "what famous things are made in washington", etc.  I had a big long list of items and started narrowing them down due to feasibility and cost.  I really want to keep my inventory low, but yet have a lot to offer for anyone.  I have gotten vendor / wholesale pricing on a few of my items which is pretty darn generous for a start-up... I am hoping as time passes and I buy more product I can get more companies to give me wholesale to get my margins up... certainly no one is paying me yet, but I have had companies approach me to ask to be included.

 I really wasn't planning on making much money this year, maybe just enough to cover inventory and a bit of my start-up costs.  I think next year when I have a little more legitimacy I'll get more orders and re-orders.  I am just a little bummed because I am only about 25% my sales goal with two weeks left until Christmas and a decent amount of inventory on hand.

I suppose it could be expanded to other states, I actually got this idea from a state that already existed.  So I'm certainly not the first to do this... though if I'm successful, I might try to expand the theme to a few other states I am familiar with.

bwall

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2017, 02:38:52 PM »
I think it's a good idea. Any business that offers 'thank you' gifts to clients would be a potential client; real estate agents, car dealers, or anyone who sells to those who make a big ticket purchase.

Also, not too easy to be 'amazoned' into a low margin business.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2017, 03:19:47 PM »
Hey everyone, I recently started up a new website on Cyber Monday.  It's going "OK" but I don't seem to be converting as many visits into the orders I was expecting... I am hovering around 1.5-2%.  This is my first website ever and really my first "real" entrepreneur attempt.  Would you all mind critiquing it for me?  I'm not even going to introduce the concept because I think that everything should be there for people to understand what I am offering.  Let me know what you think!

www.washingtoninabox.com

I'd suggest adding some Cougar Gold Cheese from the WSU Creamery but it's about $25+ shipping for a 30oz can so that might be a bit hard to fit in price-wise.

This is a great blog/podcast that should have some good tips for you. https://www.ecomcrew.com/ I'm in the very early stages of trying to build an ecommerce website and have found some great tips from these podcasts. I just listened to one of the first episodes on my drive in this morning and they mentioned that a standard conversion rate is about 2%.

I would echo the previous comment about marketing to companies sending out thank you gifts. I work in the commercial real estate industry and we have multiple clients who send us gift baskets or other gifts this time of year. Some of the brokers and property manager will send out gift baskets to their clients and won't bat an eye at spending $50 or so on something nice. If you were to reach out to businesses that have clients elsewhere in the country this would be a good fit. Better hurry though as the window is closing and this is probably going to be a pretty seasonal product.
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tralfamadorian

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2017, 06:54:50 PM »
Great idea!

Long time online retail seller here- I clicked through to your best seller box. My questions as a consumer that I did not see answered are (and what lowers your conversion rate as most people will not ask, they will just leave the site):

- What do the products look like? All I see are names. What's so great about Uncle Woody's Caramel Popcorn, for example? There should be a snippet there from their sales literature. Where are they in Washington? Since you're going for state pride, deeper location info would be good. What portion size, volume?

- What size is the box? How much of each is going to be in there? How is it packaged? Is it going to look all nice and be giftable as is? A picture of a completed box ready to go would help here.

- The best sellers box contains sausage, popcorn, salt, soap and a mystery 3-pack. The items don't really work together and each box probably should. All ready to eat items together, all items used for gourmet cooking together and all smells nice, pamper yourself items in a box.

- How much is shipping? How long will it take to ship? And how long will it take to get to me?

Now it's possible lots of these questions are answered elsewhere on your website but folks don't look, they just bounce. For an example of a business that does "ship you giftable stuff" really well and might be good to look at for how they organize their boxes and the types of pictures and information on a single listing page: http://www.mancrates.com

v8rx7guy

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2017, 07:17:12 PM »
Great idea!

Long time online retail seller here- I clicked through to your best seller box. My questions as a consumer that I did not see answered are (and what lowers your conversion rate as most people will not ask, they will just leave the site):

- What do the products look like? All I see are names. What's so great about Uncle Woody's Caramel Popcorn, for example? There should be a snippet there from their sales literature. Where are they in Washington? Since you're going for state pride, deeper location info would be good. What portion size, volume?

- What size is the box? How much of each is going to be in there? How is it packaged? Is it going to look all nice and be giftable as is? A picture of a completed box ready to go would help here.

- The best sellers box contains sausage, popcorn, salt, soap and a mystery 3-pack. The items don't really work together and each box probably should. All ready to eat items together, all items used for gourmet cooking together and all smells nice, pamper yourself items in a box.

- How much is shipping? How long will it take to ship? And how long will it take to get to me?

Now it's possible lots of these questions are answered elsewhere on your website but folks don't look, they just bounce. For an example of a business that does "ship you giftable stuff" really well and might be good to look at for how they organize their boxes and the types of pictures and information on a single listing page: http://www.mancrates.com

Thanks for the feedback.  I have always been concerned about your first item... and that is that people don't click the "what's in the box" button or main menu link.  This is where the pictures and description of all of the items live.  I wonder how I can make sure my potential customers find this page?

Making the best sellers a bit more "themed" would be a good idea, I like that.

Shipping info should be on the FAQ page, but I agree, maybe a bright icon showing the flat shipping charge would be helpful!

CareCPA

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2017, 07:32:17 PM »
Great idea!

Long time online retail seller here- I clicked through to your best seller box. My questions as a consumer that I did not see answered are (and what lowers your conversion rate as most people will not ask, they will just leave the site):

- What do the products look like? All I see are names. What's so great about Uncle Woody's Caramel Popcorn, for example? There should be a snippet there from their sales literature. Where are they in Washington? Since you're going for state pride, deeper location info would be good. What portion size, volume?

- What size is the box? How much of each is going to be in there? How is it packaged? Is it going to look all nice and be giftable as is? A picture of a completed box ready to go would help here.

- The best sellers box contains sausage, popcorn, salt, soap and a mystery 3-pack. The items don't really work together and each box probably should. All ready to eat items together, all items used for gourmet cooking together and all smells nice, pamper yourself items in a box.

- How much is shipping? How long will it take to ship? And how long will it take to get to me?

Now it's possible lots of these questions are answered elsewhere on your website but folks don't look, they just bounce. For an example of a business that does "ship you giftable stuff" really well and might be good to look at for how they organize their boxes and the types of pictures and information on a single listing page: http://www.mancrates.com

Thanks for the feedback.  I have always been concerned about your first item... and that is that people don't click the "what's in the box" button or main menu link.  This is where the pictures and description of all of the items live.  I wonder how I can make sure my potential customers find this page?

Making the best sellers a bit more "themed" would be a good idea, I like that.

Shipping info should be on the FAQ page, but I agree, maybe a bright icon showing the flat shipping charge would be helpful!
I would include actual photos of example boxes on the homepage, instead of a graphic of a box.
I would also be curious what the difference is between the "5-item Washington Box" and the "5 Item Best Seller Box?" They're the same price, and most potential customers are too lazy to click on both to find the difference. To us it looks like an odd duplicate.
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tralfamadorian

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2017, 08:07:25 PM »
Thanks for the feedback.  I have always been concerned about your first item... and that is that people don't click the "what's in the box" button or main menu link.  This is where the pictures and description of all of the items live.  I wonder how I can make sure my potential customers find this page?

Duplication is the easiest way to go here. Minimize your customers' clicks as much as possible from first touch to completed checkout- don't try to get them to get elsewhere on the site for information because most of them will not do it.

Smokystache

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2017, 08:23:49 PM »
May be a bit early, but eventually you could have seasonal boxes and give people a discount for purchasing all 4 seasons. Or some other variation of a subscription/multi-sale offering.

Could market it as a care package to be sent to college students.

Looking good!!

SC93

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2017, 11:11:59 PM »
You might think I'm crazy but.... you have 1 too many choices. Get rid of the 5 best sellers. I'm telling you, if you give people that many choices it will not work as well for you as if you cut it back to 4. 3 would be ideal but I do think you need 4 in this case. Great idea & nice job!

Northern gal

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2017, 12:08:33 AM »
I have also heard 2% conversion is standard.

Can you try split testing for pictures etc?

There was a webinar of femtrepreneur / samcart a few months ago that had 7 points on how to increase conversions. Pictures were definitely mentioned, I forgot the rest. There may be a webinar repeat though...


Linda_Norway

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2017, 02:48:31 AM »
It looks like a professional site.

I tried the search function. Typed in "Shipment". No hits. Typed in "Shipping". No hits. Typed in "Ship" and got a hit with a 5 item box. I had expected to find a hit with shipping costs or explaining free shipping.

From the front page:
Washington in a Box showcases Washington-made and Washington-themed items shipped in a custom artistic box for one flat rate, and you get choose the items! - maybe add "to" before "choose".

I would write Washington in a Box in quotes or in a different format, for example cursive. Then the text would be easier to understand the text at initial reading.

westtoeast

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2017, 05:04:19 AM »
Just wanted to say that I think this is a really neat idea! I used to live in WA and it was fun looking through the products you included. Good luck!

wordnerd

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2017, 06:03:19 AM »
Great idea!

Long time online retail seller here- I clicked through to your best seller box. My questions as a consumer that I did not see answered are (and what lowers your conversion rate as most people will not ask, they will just leave the site):

- What do the products look like? All I see are names. What's so great about Uncle Woody's Caramel Popcorn, for example? There should be a snippet there from their sales literature. Where are they in Washington? Since you're going for state pride, deeper location info would be good. What portion size, volume?

- What size is the box? How much of each is going to be in there? How is it packaged? Is it going to look all nice and be giftable as is? A picture of a completed box ready to go would help here.

- The best sellers box contains sausage, popcorn, salt, soap and a mystery 3-pack. The items don't really work together and each box probably should. All ready to eat items together, all items used for gourmet cooking together and all smells nice, pamper yourself items in a box.

- How much is shipping? How long will it take to ship? And how long will it take to get to me?

Now it's possible lots of these questions are answered elsewhere on your website but folks don't look, they just bounce. For an example of a business that does "ship you giftable stuff" really well and might be good to look at for how they organize their boxes and the types of pictures and information on a single listing page: http://www.mancrates.com

This is all excellent feedback.

MustachioedPistachio

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2017, 06:33:30 AM »
Just spitballin' here.

Are you doing or planning on any marketing? I used to work in hotels...this type of product would be great for loyal guests that live out-of-state. Businesses will likely be your best bet! Custom packaging for high volume business clients? Have you sent any boxes to friends, family, acquaintances?

Are you showing up in search results? From a super cursory search, here's your top competitor: https://www.madeinwashington.com/ . Personally, the type of merchandise on that site looks gimmicky and overpriced. Like, too gift-baskety. Devoid of thought and creativity. How can you offer a better alternative?

Do you plan on adding any more non-perishables? I'd imagine you could get some good wholesale pricing from local Etsy folks or artisans. Graphic tees, candles, hygiene products, small pieces of art, fridge magnets, cool infographic of "Did you know...?" about WA, etc.

Foresee any royalty issues reselling the sports team items?

Consider eventually investing in 49+ other domain names? ;) This seems like an interesting "franchising" type opportunity. If it really takes off in WA, then OR, ID, etc, then you could sell the business framework and brand awareness for a royalty or what have you.

katsiki

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2017, 06:36:29 AM »
Site looks great!

This sort of web site was huge 5-10 years for Louisiana / Cajun items.  (It still may be).  You might get some ideas if there are still good cajun sites out there.  They would do gift baskets and individual products (red beans, beignet mix, etc).

Good luck!
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v8rx7guy

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2017, 08:24:17 AM »
Ok, so a little update here.  I have updated my site with some items that you all recommended.  First of all, I fixed the typo in the "What's Washington in a Box" and I added a line at the end to lead people to click "What's in the Box"... hopefully this helps get people to see the items before grabbing a box.  Next, I added "$5.99 Flat Rate Shipping" to the announcement bar, right under the Promo Code, so I hop that helps people know ahead of time what Shipping will be.  Finally, I took photos of an actual example 3-item and 5-item box so that my customers can see what they look like (I still need to do an 8-item tonight).

I started pumping the Facebook ad machine hard last night, here's hoping for today!

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2017, 09:49:52 AM »
One more marketing idea - wedding expos! Couples getting married love to have welcome gifts in the hotel rooms for their guests.  You could market to them at the expos, advertise in local bridal magazines and talk to hotels about offering your packages to engaged couples booking rooms for their weddings.

webguy

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2017, 10:02:13 AM »
I don't have much time but here's some quick feedback:

1) This is too confusing:

12/1 - 12/8 Promo Code!
TAKE5 = 5% Off Entire Order
$5.99 Flat Rate Shipping


Personally, I would just offer a promo for free shipping, replacing the above with:

FREE SHIPPING on all orders until 12/8!

And make it big and bold at the top so it's obvious.

Or if possible, I would either include the cost of shipping permanently in the price of each box and either increase the price slightly if needed or just absorb the cost for now as you try to gain traction.  You want to try to eliminate any reason someone might have not to complete their purchase.  It's confusing to see a price, try to calculate 5% off that price, and then have to mentally add $5.99 for shipping. Just make it simple and easy for the customer to make a decision.

2) When ordering I would definitely replace the drop down list with something more visual.  This could be something as simple as an image that appears when hovering over the name of an item, a grid of images w/names to select from, or perhaps a more elaborate UI.  A dropdown of text like that isn't very helpful unless I know exactly what each item is, as I end up having to cross reference each item with your "What's in a box" page.

3) What's your main source of potential customers to the site?  Perhaps run a promotion or giveaway?  Do you include any marketing material/discount in the box to encourage re-ordering or purchasing the gift for someone else?

I don't think the site needs much improvement beyond just making things easier for the customer to order and removing any potential barriers. I think most of the effort is going to have to come on the marketing side.

surfhb

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2017, 03:07:46 PM »
Great looking site and a great idea!   I mean, it belongs in the MMM Hall of Shame but great idea for the sucka consumers out there. 

tag

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2017, 05:55:52 AM »
I only looked briefly but I really like it! I'm from Seattle. I'm going to forward your link to all of my family who still lives there.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Critique my new side gig website?
« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2017, 08:33:47 PM »
I only looked briefly but I really like it! I'm from Seattle. I'm going to forward your link to all of my family who still lives there.

I appreciate that.  Thank you!