I am passionate about building seller’s shops into blogs
If you are not regularly asking how you can make money from and on your blog, you may just be entertaining people. One of the best ways of doing this is by having something to sell and creating a platform on your blog where this can be sold and you comfortably and securely receive your pay. I have decided to call this a seller’s shop.
What is a Blog seller’s Shop?
A seller’s shop, simply put is and e-commerce page attached to a blog. It has all the characteristics of a full e-commerce site and uses the same themes used for e-commerce websites. The only slight difference is that it belongs to a blog and gets its pointer or link from the menu of the blog.
On the seller’s shop,
the blog owner can decide to sell physical products and or digital items.
Physical items are the things we see and touch while digital items are things we know they exist but we cannot touch or see the except we convert them to hard copies that can be touched or seen.
I sell the mineral water pot and it is a physical product.
I also sell e-Books, SMS units, Videos on MP4, Audios, etc and they are part of my digital products.
So for your blog to be well monetized, you must be sure that you have a way you can sell both digital and physical products.
This is one thing I do and I am poised to give the idea to you.
I have told this story before in another blog and somewhere is a Facebook group.
In 2010, I was privileged to be hired by Dynapharm Int’l as a resource person to educate Dynapharm distributors on how to market the Mineral Water Pot.
At that time we all thought that no other companies produced the Mineral Water Pot except Dynapharm. The truth none of us knew then was that Dynapharm was not even producing the Mineral Water Pot at all. The ones they sold were from other trusted companies. Overtime, Dynapharm bought the plant so that they can have control of the production of the Water Pot.
After a good research online, I found several companies that a actual producers of the Mineral Water Pot. Then I hooked up with one in Malaysia that was ready to give me a sample order. In about 90 days or there about, I had 200 pieces of the Mineral Water Pot in my name at Apapa Wharf, Nigeria.
Something different happened.
Dynapharm, till date, has only the 14 litres of the Mineral Water Pot but I was able to obtain 16 litres, 20 litres, 22 litres, and 28 litres of the Mineral Water Pot.
This created an opportunity for me to give varieties to would-be customers who will buy from me later.
But I had another challenge.
How can I sell this order that has arrived?
Will I sell to Dynapharm distributors who already take Dynapharm as the only supplier and every other pot seen as fake?
If I sell to Dynapharm customers, won’t this expose my disloyalty to a company that has helped me get more exposure?
If I want to explore new market, how long will it take before I can capture the market?
What platform will I be using to do my marketing and seminars if I eventually leave Dynapharm?
This question struck me because at Dynapharm I have freedom to use everything -the seminar hall, the sound system, invitation model like free SMS, etc. So if I leave, I would miss all these.
I also thought about the travel thing.
Dynapharm gave me opportunity to travel to all African countries to train their distributors.
While I was doing this, I was also connecting with well meaning people. Some of these are the best friends I have today.
Dynapharm made it possible that one of my books was translated into French and they were paying more the sales from those books without charging me anything.
At Dynapharm, I was able to sell the pH tester that I imported which distributors used to test the pH of the water their would-be customers are drinking. This way, when those would-be customers see how terribly their water pH falls on the acid side, they are motivated to buy the Water Pot.
So after considering all these,
I saw that the only option I had was to try and sell the mineral water pot online. That was the only way I could market the Mineral Water Pot silently and still maintain my relationship with Dynapharm.
So I created www.mywaterpot.com.
This website is an e-commerce website that has helped me since 2014 to sell the Mineral Water Pot to families across Africa and especially in Nigeria and Ghana.
I sell the Mineral Water Pot here, collect funds, get accounting, check inventory, see who got an interest, get alert when someone has paid with his location, etc.
So this website is a powerful resource that I cannot do without.
So having a seller’s shop means that you will have a page or the functionality of such a website attached to your blog so that you can make sales at anytime even as you sleep.
I am sure of one thing.
You can sell online and as a blogger, chances are that very soon you will start creating your e-products and nothing can be so rewarding than when people pay you to buy items that did not cost you money.
Does this idea sound impossible to you?
This is another experience that I had.
The year was 2011 and I had already started succeeding with Dynapharm.
Before we were invited for trainer’s conference with the real owners of Dynapharm from Malaysia, I developed an e-product based on my breakthrough knowledge of mini importation.
At that time, Nigerian cards were not accepted for international payments so that was a huge challenge for folks who wanted to buy things on the internet.
I discovered websites that sold items 10 times cheaper than how much they were sold in Nigerian market. Again, there are some products that were needed but no one knew where to locate them but they were somewhere on international websites looking for buyers.
One of such products that was in high demand at Dynapharm was the pH tester which I mentioned earlier. Mr Alex was the only supplier of the pH tester which he brought from his country Uganda. The price was N2,500 per 10ml.
People helplessly bought from Alex because there were no other suppliers. But something sad happened. Alex was shot by a gang who came to Kidnap family members of the Dynapharm Director at Aba, Nigeria. Alex’ demise was a great set back to the entire Dynapharm business in Africa but especially to those who loved to market the Mineral Water Pot.
There was no more hope for buying the pH tester which happened to be the best tool that convinced people that their water was bad.
Somehow, a distributor found somewhere in Port Harcourt where 5ml bottle of the pH tester was sold for N2,500. Due to the high demand for the tester, it didn’t take long for that source to finish its stock and never brought in more. The vacuum was further created.
By twist of fate, while I was looking for manufacturers of the mineral Water pot, I found that someone was offering the pH tester for N15 somewhere in China. Friend, you didn’t make a mistake, I said fifteen Naira. That was how I made a million Naira of my own the second time.
This was what happened.
As soon as I saw the product and was looking for how to make payment for 1000 bottles of 10ml, I went online to see if there were alternatives to making payments with cards from Nigeria. Then I found the Zenith websurfer card. After a few days of applying, I succeeded in making online payment to the company in China.
It was this success that triggered my next line of actions.
I started writing e-books to help every other Nigerian who was finding it difficult to buy items online and pay with their cards. This is the part that I loved so much. I sold the e-Book for N5,500 and it was advertised only once on the Guardian Newspaper. I still sell the e-book since 2011 till date from that one advert I made then.
This is the lesson here:
If you are running a blog, one of the best possible way to generate quick unlimited cash is writing an e-book that people will find irresistible. That way, you would be creating cash from thin air.
Why Does it Make Sense to Have a Seller’s Shop on Your Blog?
A seller’s shop allows a blogger to earn good money by selling his product or other people’s products on his blog. So if a blog does not have a shop, it is wise to know that the blog stands much lower chances of making money.
I make more money on the water pot blog by making people buy The mineral water pot from that shop. This is what I mean. You can find the seller’s shop of My Water Pot website at http://mywaterpot.com/index.php/shop/. This is the exact spot where visitors can buy the Mineral Water Pot from me.
How Does a seller’s Shop Work?
In a seller’s shop, products are displayed. Understand that any kind of product can be displayed. Products can be digital or physical.
Digital products are those that we can see and touch like Books, Filters, Cloths, etc. On the other hand, digital products (often called e-products) are those products or web items that cannot be physically seen in real life or touched. They only exist on the pages of the web.
You need to know that digital products can be converted into physical products. For example, an e-book is a digital product but once the owner prints it out and binds it, it automatically becomes physical product which is a book that can be touched and read by pages.
The seller’s shop displays the products by categories and the prices are tagged on them
- The visitor gets to the shop and makes decision to buy a product
- Then the shop records details of the transaction
- The buyer is expected to make payments
- Then if it’s a digital product, instant download will trigger but if it’s physical product, information is given to the seller for the dispatch.
What can be much better than being able to make sales while you sleep or away from your website? That is exactly what the seller’s shop help you to achieve.
What Do You Need For a Seller’s Shop?
To effectively run a seller’s shop on your blog, you need to integrate an e-commerce platform on your blog. Later on this post I will show you how to integrate an e-commerce platform on your blog.
The e-commerce platform will contain the product listing structure, the payment platform, the pricing structure, the currency settings, the quantity and inventory settings, the description options, etc.
It also contains a method of registration for buyers and “welcome backers.”
So while the e-commerce platform does all these, a little work would be needed to set it up and make it custom to the shop the blogger intends to build.
These are among the things you need to run an effective seller’s shop on your blog:
- An e-commerce platform
- A payment processing
- Defined delivery system
- Products to sell -either digital or physical or both
- A working e-mail to receive details of order and payment information
- Well defined price structure
This is a candid suggestion from an expert. Pls be sure to register your e-commerce business with the authorities. In nigeria, new businesses are expected to register with the corpoarte affairs commission.
You can sell other products like SMS, e-Books, Software, etc on your seller’s shop and it is up to you to decided what you want to sell. Find out how you can package your e-products in our subsequent posts.
Believe it or not a blogger without an e-product is not gonna make so much money.
Personally, I make money from my services, training sessions, e-products, affiliates, and webinars. You can do the same if you know how to monetize your blog by those means.
For webinars, a seller’s shop can help you sell your tickets if your webinar is going to be paid. You will also earn through your seller’s shop even if your webinar is a free stuff. Here is how. On the webinar, you may be selling some e-products and it is through your seller’s shop that you will receive your payments.
How Do a Seller’s Shop Collect Payments?
A seller’s shop collects payments through the payment processors.
Payment processors are organizations or companies whose responsibility it is to verify card payments and pass authorization to the seller’s shop. They check for validations as regards the card, the issuer, the user, and authenticity of the payment platform.
The processors stand as a meddle person between the buyer and the seller.
Often, payments are not released to the seller until 24 hours which is enough time for a payment appeal.
While the processors tend to give maximum protection to the buyer particularly, unscrupulous beings online try to trick the system and make the buyer vomit information to an insecure environment and thus lead the user to a lot of scam.
This is a candid advice from an expert. Do not allow your buyers to make payments on a website that is not secure. If your payments are insecure, chances are that you will lose massive number of sales.
Processors grant merchant status to certain shop owners so that, directly on their website, they can grant payment processing and manage their customer details all alone.
This process require a lot from the shop and makes the shop, most often, responsible for losses that may result from website insecurity or attack.
To curb this situation, a third party merchant status is often what works. This demands that a reliable company is given the merchant status and with the privilege to serve shops who receive payment through them.
This is what I mean:
2CO -2checkout is a web merchant company authorised to receive payments for shops that pass through them. They have the top merchant status. Now if a company called Thin Air Shop decides to receive payments from their customers via 2CO, it then means that after the shopper has opted to make payment, the shop takes his to the 2CO website where he can securely make his payment.
At the interim, 2co continues to hold this payment for ThinAir Shop until they demand to transfer it to their account.
Same is through in Nigeria where we have companies like Interswitch and eTransact. Intersitch, for example charges shops to set up payment collection platform. What Interswitch does then is to present their company as the authorized funds collector for the shops using them.
There are also sub-merchants who work under full merchants to further help in funds collection. We have Voguepay, SimplePay in Nigeria, for example.
The beauty of using merchants is that it takes security off your sholders as a shop owner.
But such services go with a price. You pay the merchants a token on percentage for helping you do your work and for rendering accurate accounts to you.
Challenges of the Early Days that Affected the Seller’s Shops in Nigeria and other African Countries
Collecting payments were challenging.
Most payment processors and merchants were not accepting Nigerian businesses for online payment collection. This was because of the level of scam Nigeria recorded.
PayPal is recognized worldwide as the safest and cheapest means of funds transfer. International merchants and shop owners use PayPal to collect funds due to PayPal’s flexibility and very low transaction charges.
PayPal payment collection can be integrated within the hour and be used to collect payment from anyone, anywhere.
But PayPal blacklisted most African countries including Nigeria as the chief culprit. This was so challenging as African online shops found it very difficult to collect funds online.
How PayPal Rejection Problem Can be Solved
For many years, Paypal blacklisted Nigeria and many other African countries. Because of this it was difficult for Nigerians to accept deposits via PayPal neither can they use Paypal to make payments. But around June 2014, Paypal partially accepted Nigeria into their platform. Paypal accepted Nigerian only on sending payments and not on receiving paymants.
This development has its own trouble. So far, Nigerians who want to receive earnings or other payments via Paypal do so through Paypal registrations done abroad.
However, Paypal alternatives exist for Nigerians. We have the likes of Voguepay, SimplePay, 2CO, MyPaga, etc.
In future posts, I will write about Alternatives to Paypal that can help Nigerian merchants receive payments on their blogs.
When a Nigerian Shop Uses Foreign Merchant Account, What to expect.
In recent times, Nigerian banks have been rejecting payments done on foreign websites except this is done with a dollar denominated card from Nigeria.
If this continues, it will be a blow for Nigerian shops who receive payment through international merchant account. This is because payments by customers from Nigeria will be rejected.
So while you try to choose merchants to set up your seler’s shop, my suggestion is for you to try local merchant accounts like Interswitch, VoguePay, Paga, etc.
NEXT is PART 2
Step-by-Step on How to Build a Seller’s Shop
And you will learn about platforms that can be used in building great seller’s shops
We will also look at themes that will help us achieve a good design of our seller’s shop.
To your sucess
Mendoh Urch Olivers