The Kuriosity Podcast


eCommerce Coaching Call with Simon Driscoll on Ways to Improve Website

As much as we like to repeat the old saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, we all know that first impressions really do matter. Within seconds we make snap judgements which influence our perception of what is or isn’t credible. 

Websites are no different.

Simon Driscoll is the owner and formulator at UXB a natural skincare company that specialises in cleansers and exfoliants. UXB was founded in 2018 and sells directly to consumers at

Simon began his skincare products journey after a eureka moment in a Turkish bath in 2016. Developing and formulating products very quickly became a hobby and passion for Simon. After a couple of years of selling products at fairs and markets he has decided to really push his website and requested Matt’s expertise.

Simon is very knowledgeable and passionate about the distinct skincare products that he formulates and sells. However, Simon’s biggest problem is traffic but no conversion.

While reviewing Matt highlights 12 ways to improve a website to increase conversion.

Simon's takeaways in his own words:

"1. The site just looks like a bland L'Oreal site with pictures that have been nicked off of Unsplash.

2.There is no personality to it and nothing to convince person who knows nothing about me as to why they should buy my product.

3. It's doing a woeful job at sales.

4. The only bit of leverage that I have is the fact that I know the product and I know how good it is.

5. I need to put a bit more personality into this brand and make it a bit different, and make it stand for something.”




Matt Edmundson

Kurious Agency

Jersey Beauty Company

UXB Skincare



Rethinking Your Business Strategy in Light of Coronavirus

Season 2 of The Kuriosity Podcast is almost here! 

But before we officially kick it in an upcoming episode, let’s address the one thing that is on everyone's mind: coronavirus. 

In the wake of coronavirus, we have all found ourselves on the war-path in one way or another. But instead of reacting to all that threatens to derail our businesses, now is the time to consider how we can re frame our businesses and be proactive in these unprecedented times. 

Join Matt Edmundson as he reiterates Bill Gates’ five key steps to preparedness that society needs to put into place in order to be proactive in these uncertain times. Learn how Matt has put these steps into practice with his own businesses in order to protect them now and in the future. 


#19 - Podcasting for your eCommerce Business…and a review of Season 1

Welcome my fellow eCommerce Entrepreneurs! My name is Matt Edmundson and this show is for those of us Kurious About eCommerce and who want to know how to get better at digital business.

The show is sponsored by the amazing Kurious Digital - an experience based eCommerce platform that I use to run and grow my own eCommerce business. If you are looking for a new platform, be sure to check out at That’s Kurious with a K, not a C,
In today's show we are wrapping up Season 1 with some lessons learned and some tips on why and how you can podcast for your eCommerce business. You will also get to find out what is coming in Season 2.
This is the final episode of Season 1. Season 2 is coming early 2020.
Breaking podcasts down into seasons, in my opinion, is a great way to podcast. The end of a season gives you a natural break and a chance to consider what has gone well, what needs to change and to understand where the industry is going. You give yourself thinking space and avoid getting stuck in one format forever.
Why we did a podcast
Podcast are such an interesting medium and the barriers to entry are really very low. 
Podcasting has also linked us to a much bigger and wider audience.
How we do the podcast
To podcast all you need is a microphone and a recorder.
Here we use audio editing software, Adobe Audition. Matt records through the Rode podcasting microphone into the Zoom Handy H6 and then uploads to Podbean. Podbean then notifies Apple and all the other platforms that we are on, that the podcast is live.
Good audio is key.
Additionally, we create a blog post around each podcast on the Matt Edmundson site. The Matt Edmundson site is built on KD core which is the same platform that we use for the eCommerce sites (the Kurious Digital platform) but without all the eCommerce frills. Although that has now been added to the Matt Edmundson site because we will be selling courses and products very soon. 
Our lessons learned
Batch processing. We got caught out with this last episode of Season 1 when Matt got sick and we didn't have it pre-recorded. Record a few episodes at a time so that you always have some in the can and stay on top.
The Kuriosity Podcast has featured guests, coaching calls and just Matt talking. We added news items with Sadaf to break up the podcast and to add another voice. This was a good move.
Why podcasts are good even for eCommerce businesses
Podcasts are great fun! Here are a few reasons you need to get out there and do it:
  • The least busy medium at the moment
  • Popular medium because they grant easy access to listeners wherever they are - driving, working out, walking, doing chores, the list goes on.
  • Being voice only means that the barriers to entry are much lower - especially if you don't like to be in front of a video camera 
  • Podcasting valuable content around the topic of your website will connect you to a wider audience and help drive traffic to your online store.
  • Content creation becomes a whole lot easier. From a single podcast, you can aid your marketing efforts by creating a blog post and social media posts for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin etc. It's a great way to get exposure and to educate potential customers.
Top tips for podcasts
  • Batch process a few episodes at a time to stay on top
  • Break up the podcast with additional voices
  • Give your best content and be transparent. The more real you are with your audience and the more value you bring the more likely the are to engage. 
  • Have fun with it! Being the energy and engage your audience.
  • Vary the speed in which you talk and the amount of pauses. Even though when you are recording you will be talking to wall, make your podcast feel like a conversation.

What is coming in Season 2

We will be aiming to have a guest in each episode so that we can offer expert content and more helpful interviews. We are reaching out to people now and fully trust that this format will be far more fascinating.

Secondly, every time we record a podcast we will broadcast the interview on FB live. This will be far more interactive and interesting as listeners will be able to engage with comments and ask direct questions to the guest. The podcast will be recorded and uploaded onto the various social media platforms.

Connect with Matt Edmundson on Facebook and lookout for the events we create around each podcast.

Thanks for journeying with us so far. We appreciate you and love to hear your feed, reviews, questions and ideas so keep them coming. If you haven't already done so, please give us a review wherever it is that you listen in as this helps us connect with new folks.

Finally, if you want to be a guest on the show please head on over the to the Matt Edmundson website and apply to be a guest.



#18 - The Five Essential Emails for Successful eCommerce Email Marketing

Welcome my fellow eCommerce Entrepreneurs! My name is Matt Edmundson and this show is for those of us Kurious About eCommerce and who want to know how to get better at digital business.

Despite popular belief, email marketing is still the best and most effective marketing channel across all industries. It has the ability to reach out to an audience that is already engaged and it gives businesses a much higher return on investment than any other digital channels. According to an eMarketer study, the median marketing ROI is 122% - four times higher than any other digital marketing channel.
Email marketing has evolved from just email blasts to delivering targeted and personalised emails. Targeted emails offer a much higher ROI but in this age of the GDPR businesses have to be strategic in order to maximize return. Since the GDPR came into force last May, millions of euros have been issued in fines to businesses across the EU for GDPR breaches. It's super important to give your recipients the option to manage the type of content they receive from you.
The five ways different types of emails that we use in our email marketing campaigns:
#1 Segment emails
Segment your customers and send them only relevant content and promotional offers. To stay on top of your game you have to be continually working to understand the customer so that you can send them relevant content that they can engage with. 
The format of your these emails also matter.
  • Create a catchy subject line that will immediately catch the attention of the customer and resonate with them. 
  • Use the recipient's first name - people like hearing their name and they'll want to know what you have to say to them.
  • Be personable and empathetic to create a sense of camaraderie. Your customers want to know they are being  understood and that you genuinely care. 

The ultimate purpose is to get customers to click on the link and make a transaction on the website. 

#2 Sequence emails
Sequence emails are sent to one email per person that is triggered by a behavior or an action by that person. 
Classic example of this is the abandoned cart. You can sequence multiple emails and send them over several days to help the customer come back to complete the purchase. This is helpful for gradually building trust with your customers. 
Sequence emails also work well with on-ramp and new customers. Aim to nurture your customer relationships and help them to buy into your values and your culture. 
Sequence emails are very targeted and are sent one email to one person based on their buying or browsing behavior. 
#3 Transaction emails
Transactional emails are triggered by a specific behavior on your website  - a customer buying a product from you. These are a series of emails that the customer is looking out for and waiting to receive. 
The customers are waiting for the order confirmation email. They want to read the email that tells them their order is on the way and that the order has been delivered. An additional email you can and should send is to ask for feedback or review of the product they've purchased.
You know then these are emails that will be opened and read by the customer. And this is why these transactional emails are a great opportunity for some well thought out up-selling and cross-selling. The customer already has a level of trust because they have just bought from you so they are far more likely to click through to your site.
#4 Customer service emails
Customer service emails are really important because they help retain your customers and build a loyal customer base.
These are emails that your customers will be waiting to receive because they want you to answer one or more of their questions. This is high value real estate space! 
Happy customers become loyal customers who will evangelize your brand and bring you new customers.
#5 Footer emails
These emails aren't going to be super fruitful but they are well worth taking advantage of. 
Instead of simply having a signature at the bottom of your work emails, put a banner advert under the signature or a link to a best selling product on your site.
Change this on a regular basis to keep it fresh and relevant. 
Think about these five types of emails and plan your strategy. Drop me a line and let me know how you are getting on. I will definitely subscribe to your emails and maybe even give you feedback on what I think you could do to improve it. 
If you have any questions or thoughts, we'd love to hear them! 



#17 - Create a content marketing strategy that will grow your business

Welcome my fellow eCommerce Entrepreneurs! My name is Matt Edmundson and this show is for those of us Kurious About eCommerce and who want to know how to get better at digital business.

Creating and sharing valuable and relevant content is one of the foundational elements of having effective websites that drive traffic and generate leads. It is a medium to long term strategy that needs to be carefully considered and implemented because of its direct link to the sales funnel. 
The reason being engagement.
The better your content can resonate with your customers, the better the engagement and the higher the conversions.
Not all engagement is the same. 
Outbound content management is short, snappy and easily digestible. It disrupts the reader and offers value that they are probably not even looking for. 
Inbound content marketing, on the other hand is where you try to make yourself more discover-able by people who are searching for specific content. This is where we you create content gold and get people to keep coming back for help on other related topics. 

Here are four steps you can take to create valuable, relevant and consistent content:


1. Define your content strategy

Before you do anything else, you need to have very clear and measurable content goals in place. Knowing where you are and where you want to be will give you a clear sense of direction from which you can create a content schedule.

2. Create only good content

The competition for good content is tough out there! To stand apart from the masses you have to understand what consumers in your niche want to know. Every bit of content you produce needs to hinge on being: valuable and relevant. 

For example if you have an online store, a product landing page can serve as an excellent content marketing tool that will quickly translate into conversions. The content here needs to be entirely customer focused - what they would like to know and see. Keep it relevant and give them content around what the product is, what problem it will solve for them, how it will transform then and (with a clear call to action) what they can do next. 
Another example is a product page, complete with videos, reviews and FAQs. A product page with images and solid descriptions for each product is content that is both valuable and relevant to the consumer - they want to know everything they possibly can before they make the decision.
  • How-to-videos that show how the particular product can be used or worn are highly valuable and relevant content. Your customers will watch the videos to better understand the product and learn how it can transform them. How is it valuable and relevant to them? Use subtitles if you are narrating because a lot of people watch videos with the audio off. 
  • Product reviews have a lot of mileage. Before we buy anything we want to know if it works and actually does what it claims to and one way to do that is to read the reviews. Amazon claims that over 90% of people read reviews before making a purchase. 
  • FAQs are a great way to engage your customers with valuable and relevant questions. You can build this content by preempting what you think your customers will want to know as well as include what questions your customers have already about that product. Take careful note of the questions your customers are asking and what they care about. Creating content around their questions will increase engagement.  


3. Be committed to your content schedule

With strategic content marketing you are playing the long game and in time your content schedule will add to the success of your organic searches and lead generation. Commitment and consistency are key.


4. Be deliberate about distributing content

Don't create content for the sake of it and definitely don’t create content with fingers crossed hoping it will get noticed by someone.
You have to be deliberate and intentional about distributing content in the right forms and onto the right platforms so that it can be noticed by the right people. For your eCommerce business to sky rocket, it is critical that the right people engage with it.
It may seem daunting to think how on earth you're supposed to find the time to create content in so many forms and distribute on just as many channels. But I bring good news! You don't have to create lots of different content to distribute. You can use one piece of content and splice and dice it in different ways to distribute.
Getting the content right is vital for driving traffic to your site and generating leads because it builds trust in your brand.
If you have any questions or thoughts, we'd love to hear them! 

#16 - Three ways to personalise the customer journey

Welcome my fellow eCommerce Entrepreneurs! My name is Matt Edmundson and this show is for those of us Kurious About eCommerce and who want to know how to get better at digital business.
As wonderful and convenient the world of eCommerce is, it is impersonal.
eCommerce personalisation is critical for online success. By giving consumers a personalised customer experience you can massively improve conversion rates and customer retention.
In today's show we look at three key ways that you can personalise your customer journey to enhance customer experience, engagement and loyalty.
1. Website personalisation
The aim is to understand the visitor as quickly as possible through their browsing patterns. The more you can anticipate their needs the faster you can begin to give them recommendations.
One way to do this is to segment your products by categories. This makes it easier for customers (first time and repeat) to browse and quickly find what they are in interested in. It also helps you gain a better understanding of what the customer wants so that you can begin to offer them relevant content.
For example, if a visitor on my site is looking at fountain pens, I am going to start making assumptions and show them fountain pen accessories or best selling fountain pens or blog articles about these pens. I am not going to show them ball-point pens. 
Another way to quickly understand your customers is to encourage them to create user profiles/accounts on the website. This helps you to build a complete picture of the customer so that you are in a better position to create and offer tailored content and promotional offers. 
Show customers personalised pages based on their anticipated needs/wants by creating categories like Favorites, wish lists, browsing, purchasing. The more tailored the content, the higher the conversion. 
2. Email personalisation
For effective and personalised email marketing you need to think about your customers and take their shopping habits into account before you can offer them specific content and relevant promotional offers.
And guess what?
Email open rates go up. Click throughs go up. Sales go up.
Segment your list of subscribers and use email sequences. Give your customers relevant content watch the conversion rate go up.  
Format your emails with a catchy and tailored subject line to immediately capture the attention of the customer and draw them in. Use the recipient's first name and always be personable and empathetic to start to build trust and create loyalty.
Email personalisation, particularly through sequences, are a great way to help engage your customers to increase conversion and to create repeat business. 
3. Social media personalisation
Remarketing pixels (most often through Facebook) are super targeted and a very specific. They help keep products and services on your customers radar long after they have left your site and moved onto their social media platforms. 
But social media personalisation is not just about targeted and specific marketing - it is also engagement. It offers a human connection with your brand in a personable and less formal tone. It creates opportunity for you to better understand your customers  - follow them back, get involved in the conversations by responding to their content and let them know they matter to you. 
For example, someone comes to my site that hasn't been before and leaves without creating a profile. The FB pixel fires and I can add them to a custom audience through automated software. For me, I would put them in the fountain pen audience. Then I would target them with on-ramp content, such as a video on how to write beautifully with a fountain pen and another on top ten mistakes beginners make with a fountain pen and so on. I would then see which content they interact with. The more they interact with my on-ramp content the more I get to understand them and the more personal the experience I can create.
In essence, the more you can understand the customer and what they want, the more you can personalise their experience and the greater the impact on your conversion rates. 
If you have any questions or ideas, we'd love to hear them!

#15 - How to Harness the Power of (Super)fandom

Welcome my fellow eCommerce Entrepreneurs! My name is Matt Edmundson and this show is for those of us Kurious About eCommerce and who want to know how to get better at digital business.

Coming up in today's show we’re going to be talking about the importance of fandom and how you can harness the incredible power of superfans for your business.

Superfans are an excellent sales force. They love your business and tell your story. They are mavens who can't help but tell everyone why they buy from you and why everyone else should also buy from you. There is no better form of marketing than word of mouth. 

Fandom used to be associated only with the all-consuming, hysterical teeny-boppers who were obsessing over music, pop-icons, fashion and culture. Demanding more from the brands they love. But now that we are armed with some phenomenal digital tools we have the amazing opportunity to create a direct two-way access with our superfans. More and more brands are using the direct to consumer model through the internet and social media. The growing trend of influencer marketing is also using social media to create massive influence on products.

We are all a fan of something but superfans are different in that they are engaged, obsessed even. Superfans are emotionally invested in your brand and naturally spend a lot of their personal time and energy talking about you, your brand, your values, your mission, your activities etc.

Superfans are your secret weapon to marketing and you want them in your corner so that you can form and harness the power of your (super)fandom.

Here are four ways to create superfans for your business:

#1 - Identify

The first step towards harnessing the power of your fandom is to identify the fans from the superfans. Distinguish between who is just a repeat customer and who is a superfan. 

You can do this by using the data you have on your customers - both on your website and your social media platforms. Determine your active followers on social media and analyse their comments, how they react to your content and how they talk about your brand to others. Are they on any Refer A Friend or Affiliate schemes that you have? Product reviews are another great place to find (and segment) your superfans - they'll write a lot of reviews and sing your praises too.

#2 - Reward

Once you know who your superfans are, you can start to create your fandom by instilling a sense of belonging and community in which they speak the same dialect and share the same views and values.

At Jersey Beauty Company, we do this in a number of ways but two that work particularly well for us is First Look and Affiliates. First look is giving our superfans first dibs or first try of brand new products and they give us their feedback by being the first people to write reviews on the website. Affiliates benefit by being able to build their own businesses. 

You can use VIP points, reward points, events - anything that gives your superfans a reason to belong.

Rewards programs are valuable, but your customers also appreciate being recognised for their engagement and participation with your brand. It's not a simple case of, if you spend a shed load of money with us we'll give you reward points. Instead, reward them for their engagement.

Make them feel special and like they are a part of your community. Consider offering points to your loyalty program participants who frequently engage with you on social media and make them feel special and important. Invest deeply in rewarding your superfans and understand what their motivations are. 

#3 - Empower (to transform)

Empower your superfans by giving them tools to transform.

Crossfit have set a great example of identifying their superfans, rewarding and empowering them. One of the ways they do this is through the Workout of the Day (WOD). A different workout every day is emailed out to all crossfit members. The WOD is interesting and effective and gets the people talking and coming back for more. Crossfit have created a community that works out together in the "box" - which is their language for gym. They also have t-shirts for purchase in every box that once again is symbolic of their community.

Crossfitters are naturally evangelising because they have experienced a personal transformation - not in just their bodies becoming leaner, stronger and more energised but they have transformed into more motivated and disciplined versions of themselves. And most importantly for them, they are part of a community that is encouraging and pushing them to keep transforming.

Crossfit has exploded as a result. With every superfan there is a transformation. At JBC the transformation is in the customers skin and their renewed or newfound confidence. As a business you need to understand the transformation process and help your customers understand the transformation they have experienced by giving them words to describe it. 

Keep your superfans close and allow them to be a part your brand. Make sure your fandom is the first to know about any upcoming events or any stories related to your brand through dedicated emails or perhaps a Facebook group. No matter what channel or channels you use, help your fandom identify their transformation and make them proud of it. Enable them to talk about their transformation to others. The more they talk the greater success your brand will have.

#4 - Engage

Get a good understanding of what platforms your superfans are hanging out on and engage with them there. Consistent engagement  with your fandom will increase their loyalty and your marketing. 

Social media platforms are a really great way to engage your fandom. Make use of Facebook pages, hashtags and forums and build your fandom community. Tell them transformation stories about others in your community and encourage them to share their own. Ask them questions. Get them involved.

The role of superfans is invaluable to our businesses. We have to do everything we can to identify and reward our superfans and nurture these relationships by empowering and engaging with them. Superfans are the key to long term business success.

Reach out on instagram @mattedmundson and tell us your stories. If you have any questions or ideas, we'd love to hear those too!


#14 - How to compete with the Giant of the Digital World - Amazon

Welcome my fellow eCommerce Entrepreneurs! My name is Matt Edmundson and this show is for those of us Kurious About eCommerce and want to know how to get better at digital business.

Coming up in today's show we’re going to be talking about how we can compete with the giant of the digital world, that is Amazon.

Let's face it, Amazon is at the top of the food chain when it comes to the eCommerce marketplace. There is no doubt about it. From it's humble beginnings in the garage of Jeff Bezos 25 years ago to an annual excess of $230 billion with more than 647,000 employees, Amazon is huge and it is a Goliath of an eCommerce business. 

And it isn't showing any signs of slowing down. CNBC recently reported Amazon's plans to take on the Indian market. They've got plenty of hurdles to overcome but it'll probably only be a matter of time before they resolve those issues and take their place as the dominant player in India's economy.

As they grow and take on other countries, markets and industries, we have got to ask ourselves, do we actually stand a chance?

Yes and here's two reasons why we absolutely stand a chance. 

1) We leverage with Goliath. 

eCommerce is only 10% of overall retail sales. The retail business is a $5.5 trillion business and only 10% of that is online. In the next decade it will jump to 20% to 40% and no one company can serve all those customers and all their needs. This is a great time to be starting eCommerce businesses.

2) We compete like a Digital David.

If you are familiar with the old Sunday school story of David and Goliath, in your head you will have a picture of this giant who is a champion, and is head and shoulders above everyone else. He is complete monster of a man and he is so intimidating that not one from the Israelite army is willing to go up against him. David, a shepherd boy, is the only one who volunteers. King Saul gives David his armour for battle but David takes it off because it doesn't feel right and instead chooses to slay the giant with what's familiar to him - stones and a slingshot.
Malcolm Gladwell has written a great book called David and Goliath in which he talks about how to overcome giants. He explains how David is cool because he's unique, he's authentic and he knew what would work for him. He wasn't going to pretend to be a warrior in the King's armour. He chose to go with what was right for him - five stones and his slingshot. 
This is how we Digital Davids compete - with what's authentic about us and with the tools we have. 
Here are my five stones:
Stone one: Customer relationships
Amazon cannot create the relationship with customers in your niche that you can create. They just can’t. They are too big and they don't have the people, the resource, the drive, or the knowledge to create that relationship that you can have with your customer. We have to understand that our customers hold all the cards. They can choose to spend their money with us right here, right now, or choose our competitor half way around the world. As a business you need to get to know your customers by listening to them, anticipating what they need and solve their problems for them. Like David we can be quick and agile and adapt to the needs of our clients.
By investing heavily in your customer you can earning their trust and loyalty. 
Amazon isn’t personal on any level. It’s totally transactional. People buy with their emotion and so you have the advantage of being able to appeal to your customer’s emotions by being remarkable and awesome their eyes. 
People love values. Other than speed and convenience, I am not sure what values Amazon does have. There is a whole host of tax issues with them, they are no longer the cheapest and the fake reviews are creating credibility issues for them. All these crevices can be exploited and can work in your favor.  
Stone two: Shipping
May sound odd but shipping is one of the key points about Amazon. They have totally nailed it with speed and convenience. But what they aren't able to do because of their sheer size, is be personable to their customers. Their packages are delivered in standard boxes and are a bit boring. 
Stone three: Play a longer game
3% of people buying online know what they want and are ready to buy. 1.5% of these customers go to Amazon where they search for the product they are looking for, sift through the options, pick one and click buy now. 
97% of those who don't go straight to amazon usually are the ones who 'don't know what they want but want to something'. They have a problem and they are trying to figure what they need to solve it. These customers need businesses in this specific niche who offer free how-to-videos, blog posts, content, tips  and tricks on how to do things.
Most buyers are in this category. If you find them and connect with them, then in the long term they become some of your best clients.
Stone four: Be known in your niche
Amazon's niche is 'no niche'. They sell to anything to anyone and everyone. 
But Amazon can't be everything for each niche so do the opposite and create a niche to sell in and become the expert. Meet the demands of the customer by having all the product knowledge and the content and the how-to-videos so that they wouldn't even consider taking their business elsewhere.  
Focus in on the needs of the buyer. For example, if I was selling niche fountain pens I would make sure I have the best content, the best how to videos and the best up sells for people looking for fountain pens. I would also offer the best curated bundles of pens with the perfect ink and the perfect paper that you could find.
Amazon doesn’t do this.
Create an experience.
Also create super fans. Word of mouth marketing is still the best form of marketing. We'll get into this in our next podcast.
Stone five: Know your enemy
In the words of Sun Tzu in Art of War: Know your enemy. Amazon gives you so much data that you can take advantage of and help your own eCommerce business grow.
In my upcoming course, I show you how I used this principle and how an idea i got from Amazon generated over $80,000 of sales on my own site. it was a product that I hadn’t come across before, but thanks to Amazon I discovered it and sold it! I wouldn't have known that product or gone to sell it if i hadn't known my enemy.
Amazon runs out of stock! They are big and don't always have the best stock management system. We sell the same product and people come to us when amazon runs out of stock. we offer a much more personable service and better rate and hopefully we'll have those customers coming back to us time and time again.
Final thought about knowing your enemy - maybe, just maybe, you could also sell on Amazon and take those customers. It's not something that will work for everyone but it is worth considering.  
There you have it - my five stones that you can use as a Digital David. 
Like David, you don't have to be afraid of your enemy. Rather, use what you have, run at them and chop off their proverbial head. You'll be surprised what you can do despite your size!

#13 - Understanding the REAL costs of eCommerce Shipping for your business

Welcome my fellow eCommerce Entrepreneurs! My name is Matt Edmundson and this show is for those of us Kurious About eCommerce and want to know how to get better at digital business.
Coming up in today's show we’re going to get into all things to do with shipping/ delivery. If you deliver your products directly to your customers or are thinking about offering a delivery service to your customers, you are going to want to listen up as this is quite an in-depth discussion with lot’s of good stuff.
After product cost, the second biggest direct cost that your eCommerce business faces is shipping. As a business your aim has to be to offer the lowest shipping rate possible while still giving your customers the shipping options they want and at the same time covering your own costs.
There are five key costs that you need to consider when it comes to shipping products to you customer:
1. Operational
2. Environmental
3. Packaging
4. Shipping
5. Hidden
So let's dive in!
#1 Operational Cost
These are all the costs that make up the processing of orders. You'll need to consider:
Who is going to pick and pack the order? How much time does it take? How many people do you have to employ to do this job?
At Jersey Beauty Company we found great efficiencies in simply rearranging the layout of our warehouse. For example, we grouped products together that are often sold together and placed bestseller items nearer to the picking station. Having most everything in arms length and laid out in a more organised manner made the process much quicker. We also wrote some code to start scanning orders. If after scanning the light was green it meant everything had been packaged correctly, if red it meant that something wasn't quite right in the order. In our first month of implementing this scanner we saved £7K in our operational costs. Suddenly processing orders was easier because we didn't need an extra person to check orders.
Consider ways that you can change your order processing to be more cost effective and efficient.
#2 Environmental Cost
We all have a responsibility when it comes to our environment and even more so as eCommerce businesses who provide a delivery service. 
eCommerce can be more environmentally friendly as folks aren’t driving around as much and shopping from the comfort of their homes and offices. Delivery services can be more environmentally friendly too when packages are grouped together and then shipped. Time in transit has a direct relationship to the environmental impact of a given delivery service. The faster it is, the bigger the impact. We need to be more mindful of this even though it may not be a direct cost to our business, it is a direct cost to our environment.
Consider ways how your business can be more carbon neutral. At Jersey Beauty Company we stopped using plastic bubbles and turned to popcorn! Not only is it a great low calorie snack, it is also cheap to produce, lightweight and biodegradable.
Think about your environmental impact as a business - everything from processing orders, packaging to delivery. Sustainable shipping has a real potential for good. 
#3 Packaging Cost
Packaging costs kick in when you've picked the products off the shelf and now need to package them into something to send to your customer.
How do you package your orders? Are your customers happy with their orders when they receive them? Whether you package up your products in envelopes, padded envelopes, jiffy bags, cardboard boxes - you need to think about what you customer expectations are when it comes to receiving their orders. Look around see and what your competitors are doing.
Be aware of all your packaging cost but sure to never compromise your service for cost. 
Based on our customer expectations and our priority of delivering orders in good condition, at Jersey Beauty Company we decided to use cardboard boxes from recycled materials. Yes it is a bit more expensive but it gives us peace of mind that our customers are receiving their order in good condition and our customers are happy. It was the same reason that we moved from plastic bubbles to popcorn. 
#4 Shipping Cost
Offering your customers the right shipping rates and options is key to your success as a business. You don't want to be the business that charges too much for delivery and loses customers or charge too little and not profit. 
Understand your service and choose a shipping strategy to make sure you deliver accordingly. Define what you want to accomplish with your strategy - is it to increase conversions? Increase average order value? Decrease costs? Improve operational efficiency?
Shipping rates are based largely on four factors:
i) Service and speed: Most customers expect a number of shipping options with as short delivery times as possible. Plus, they want it to be for free! Essentially the more expedited the shipping the more costly it will be (to you and the environment). In order to be cost effective as a business you'll need to map out the right shipping service to each shipping option. To do this you'll need to understand elements such as:
  • when does the package need to arrive?
  • does it need to be tracked?
  • does it need to be signed for?
  • is it being shipped to a business or a home?
  • what kind of products are you shipping - are they liquid, are they hazardous, are they gifts, are they in bulk etc make sure it's covered by your insurance company
ii) Dimensions and weight: The bigger and the heavier the package the pricier it will be to ship. Each courier will have different restrictions and rates and you'll need to go away and research which couriers are best for your business needs. In general though, some couriers charge on dimensional weight - meaning the size of the package as opposed to the weight. Most couriers offer a flat rate - whether its for weight or for destination. it's not the same for each so you'll need to do your research.
iii) Destination: Shipping costs tend to differ depending on how far the package has to be couriered. Using a few different couriers in order to keeping shipping costs for you and your customers down is a very good idea. If you ship internationally you need to keep in mind whether your products are allowed to enter the country you are shipping to; what are they additional taxes and costs. 
At Jersey Beauty Company we found better rates when we separated what we shipped into countries. For example alot of our orders are shipped to Sweden and we have found a courier service that just ships to Sweden for us. We have one for the UK. One for Australasia. 
iv) Shipping Volume: If you ship a large volume of packages then you may be in a better place to negotiate a flat rate with your couriers. The more you ship the more you save. It is also worth looking into a brokerage services because depending on what and where you ship it may be cost-effective. Some businesses are also joining forces to help keep costs low. Jersey Beauty Company does fulfillment for other businesses too. 
Shop around. Know your customer and find what will work for them and make sure that it will remain cost effective for you. Even if you have been shipping to customers for years it is worth investing your time in researching what whether it would be cost effective to change couriers. An overhaul of your services could save you a lot of money so it worth spending the time to shop around.  
#5 Hidden Costs
This is something that we don't often hear talked about but it is so well worth your while to be aware of the hidden costs when it comes to working with your couriers. 
Some of the things you need to consider are: 
  • How many times with the delivery drivers try to residential addresses if no one is home to receive delivery? Will they leave it with someone or in a safe place, redeliver at another time, or return to you? What is the cost of returns? Will the customer know where it is left or whether it will be redelivered? How do you know that your package will get safely and securely into the hands of the customer?
  • Does the courier deliver to residential areas? Do they have surcharges for certain areas? 
  • How are the drivers paid? A lot of drivers can be self employed and are paid by the number of parcels delivered. Such drivers will be looking to deliver as many as possible in a short space as possible and it may not be worth their time to deliver one package 20 minutes away. Your service to your customer would suffer as a result. 
  • What are the insurance costs of lost deliveries and who pays these charges? You, the courier service or the driver?

Read the fine print and become well acquainted with it so that there are no surprises later in the game. 

Shipping is a huge cost to eCommerce businesses so it really needs to be strategic. All five of these key costs need to be thrown into the mix when you're calculating shipping cost for your business. 

#12: Ways to Approach Just Another (Black) Friday

Welcome my fellow eCommerce Entrepreneurs! My name is Matt Edmundson and this show is for those of us Kurious About eCommerce and want to know how to get better at digital business.
Coming up in today's show, we are talking about Black Friday - one of the busiest shopping day in the retail calendar. It's time now to start planning a strategy that is best suited for your business.
No matter how you feel about Black Friday, it is coming and it is still one of the busiest shopping days in the retail calendar on both sides of the pond. This year Black Friday is falling on November 29th which for many will be just after pay day. Many businesses will be stepping up their Black Friday sales to get a bigger share of consumer spending.
With the number of Black Friday shoppers increasing year on year, how do businesses approach Black Friday in such a saturated market?
In reality there are two main options - either stand out or stand down. Stand out to get the biggest share of consumer spending as possible or stand down and save your discounts for Christmas sales.
However you choose to protect your margins and retain customers, essentially you need to be highly strategic in Q4 to protect your profit margins and create conversions.
Here are 10 Top Tips:
1. Get ahead of the curve and start planning for Black Friday now. Shoppers will start holiday shopping and researching for Black Friday sales in October. Plan your products and promotional calendar, marketing emails etc.
2. Be competitive and apply the right discounts. Consumers are becoming increasingly immune to discounts - they are used to getting 15%-20% off all year round so 20% off on Black Friday means very little. Use you landing page to clearly display your discounts.
3. Offer targeted promotions instead of site-wide sales to protect profit margins. Some businesses that offer massive discounts not only risk their profits but also stock shortages in the middle of the shopping season.
4. Don't discount for the sake of Black Friday. Looking at trends from Prime day a few months ago, research shows that "while discounted products saw the largest average period-over-period revenue increases (+820%), the roughly 59% of products in the sample that were not discounted over Prime Day still saw average revenue growth of +496%". These stats show that whilst discounts help, people were generally in the buying mood. We can expect the same for Black Friday.
5. Black Friday is not just a day of sales but a weekend long event. To keep the customers and the sales coming, make sure your extend your sale until Cyber Monday. 
6. Prepare for a huge spike in traffic by keeping your server speed and check out process in check - no one has the patience for a slow site and you don't wan't to lose sales and or valuable future custom. If you can google 'page speed insight' and check the speed of your website.
7. If you can't compete with the big businesses then create interest in your business by sacrificing old inventory -if you're a beauty site you could give away an item from old inventory for every customer who spends £10/$10 or more. Not only will you be able to get rid of old stock but customers will get to sample your products too.
8. Donate all or portions of your BF sales to Charity.
9. Do nothing. Don't participate in and save the discounts for Christmas instead. IKEA, Asda and M&S, Selfridges, Apple, Next and Primark are just some of the brands who have opted out of some BF events. 
10. Internalise #4 -  it's not just about discounts!
There is no right or wrong way to do Black Friday. As consumers we know we are going to be completely bombarded by companies competing to give us the best offers but that doesn't necessarily mean we aren't going to spend our money. In essence, consumers are looking for great value for money - whether it's on Black Friday or Christmas sales or whether our money goes to charity or goes to line profit margins.
>> A Look Inside Jersey Beauty Company with Director, Michelle Dunbar <<
Michelle shares her views on Black Friday and explains why Jersey Beauty Company didn't participate in Black Friday last year.
Michelle's view is that consumers have huge expectations when it comes to Black Friday. They expect offers and wait for that extended period of sales from Black Friday to Cyber Monday and the rest of the October and Novembers they purchase very little., This has a very negative impact on business.
When Black Friday first came to the UK there was lots of hype and we saw Amazon, supermarkets and lots of other companies jump on the bandwagon. Now there is a growing feeling of brand fatigue where businesses are feeling pressured to participate even if it comes at a cost to their business. They face costs such as extra labour, extra marketing, extra products all with great pressure to sell and make the same profit.
Jersey Beauty Company didn't participate in Black Friday last year because it didn't make sense for the business. They didn't have as many orders as they had in previous years when they did participate but they were far more profitable on Black Friday last year than they were in previous years.
Michelle strongly suggests that as a business you need to make the best decision for what is right for your business. You can offer deals and discounts in the days before Black Friday and still finish strong in Q4.