Alan: Welcome to the Commerce HQ success series this is episode number one. I'm Alan Young and today we have Adam here who's going to share his story of how he went from struggling with $300 days up to over two and a half thousand dollar days and over thirty thousand in sales in a month. We're going to talk to him all about that so I'm excited to speak to you Adam. So thank you for coming here and speaking to me mate.
Adam: How are you? And you're welcome mate. Are you okay?
Alan: I’m doing good man, and for all the people who are watching, just so you know you can't see Adams face because we've blocked it out for security reasons. Haha na I'm lying, to be honest with you I literally can't work out why the camera is not working on his end so we're just going to go with it so unfortunately, you're going to miss out on Adam’s beautiful face. So you'll just have to look at mine for the next 20 minutes.
Before we do actually get into the interview if you want to know about Commerce HQ and if you're not actually sure about it then the links are in the description. You can see a walkthrough of all the features you can see why it's a great alternative to Shopify. And you can see how you can get two extra free stores if you can. With Shopify, you only get one store, but with CHQ you can have multiple stores under one account and with the link below you can actually get three stores for a one store plan with commerce HQ so check out the links in the description. I'll leave that to you and let's get stuck into it.
So Adam let's get the ball rolling, so firstly let's just get into a little bit about you and how you got into e-commerce in general. So how did you actually come about e-commerce and are you a newbie or are you a veteran and what’s your story behind getting into it all?
Adam: With E-commerce I’ve been into it really for a few years now, how I actually came across it, I was looking to make money online essentially and I did all the basic things like eBay and everything else like that. I went through all the general hundred-dollar courses and just tried to find ways and building sites on WordPress. I tried as an affiliate, affiliate marketing, creating blogs doing all that. I have shiny object syndrome.
I see something like that looks great I'm going to give that a try and then ten minutes later I see something else and I go straight for that so what I wanted to do was find something that I could focus on and I could stick with then that's when I came across the Shopify platform.
That's what I initially started out on. And it's kind of what I was already doing but I was trying to build the websites to WordPress which is obviously a lot of work and a lot of unnecessary work when you've got a platform like commerce HQ or Shopify. So that was essentially how I got into it I made that decision and I was going to stick with one thing and one thing only and I thought you know eCommerce is the way forward really.
Alan: That sounds a bit like my story in a way. You go through that stage when you're a complete newcomer to the idea of just making money online. At first though you seem to get bombarded with marketers selling you courses and showing you ways to make money online. It's really hard to get your yourself stable in that environment but obviously you eventually made it through that to eCommerce in the end which I feel is probably the most sustainable kind of business in most of the make money online spaces. So yeah sounds like you know probably a lot of people who are listening to this probably experienced the same thing. So any way you said you had a little bit of experience with Shopify. What is the story behind that before you made the switch to commerce HQ?
Adam: I used it when I initially decided I was going to stick with eCommerce after I bought a course. It’s one of the first costs with an e-commerce business. I went and built my store and I paid the monthly installment and I did everything apart from actually generating traffic to the store.
So I literally made zero sales and I spent months doing it. I lost interest after a little bit but I would design the store with the branding and come up with a name and then two months later I'd be like, actually I'm going to change it all as I've had a new idea and I'm going to go for this now and then I'd redesign that all and then I change everything and I went through that cycle about probably two or three four times and then after that I kinda step away from it for a little bit. But then I'd really want to try and make it work again. I come back so I started there and I probably used it for maybe close to seven months properly actually running ads and testing products and everything.
Alan: And that was a Shopify yeah.
Adam: That was Shopify alone yeah.
Alan: Did you actually manage to get any sales or you didn't actually get anywhere with the platform before you switched. How was that?
Adam: I got sales here and there but I never actually got anything that was amazing, nothing that kind of blew me out the water to the point where it’s like wow yeah I can actually make a living from this. It was just a couple of sales here and there.
The thing that I tend to find with Shopify is there's a lot of apps and there’s a lot of add-ons and if you have issues with something there's a lot of different areas of customer service. So when you use that platform and you've got any issues then you've got all the different types of people that you need to talk to, to try and kind of work together and commerce HQ doesn't have that obviously. CHQ it's all in one house and isn't with Shopify.
Alan: There’s a lot of distraction especially when you are new to e-commerce in general. You're definitely going to come across challenges because obviously, you don't know how to move forward in certain situations when obstacles arise. People who switch from Shopify to commerce HQ have said it was just a lot of moving parts with Shopify. You had to get your apps from other places and there are multiple creators of apps that do similar things and you've got to decipher which app is the best. You might have an abandoned cart email sequence and you've got to try which app's the best one to go through and then you've got the other apps and then you have to pay for them and like you said you have to reach out to different customer services as well.
That's the good thing with commerce HQ. You don't have to do that. It's all under one roof and built in so it's nice and easy. so anyway, you've moved from Shopify then you went to commerce HQ lets just get into a bit more about that experience before we move into the other stuff.
So I how did you feel when you made the switch from Commerce HQ. What do you feel about a platform, the way it was put together, the way the apps were built in, the quality of the apps and all that kind of stuff?
What was your experience around that?
Adam: I was excited for it. I just purchased another course from the co-founder of Commerce HQ and I looked into it and I bought the platform to go along with it.
It just blew me away. So clean and so easy to use, everything's easy to set up. It’s pretty much a tick box system to get it started and get it up and running. Get your domain name and everything's there so obviously because I already had my Shopify store open and they have some kind of switch integration. So I actually clicked a couple of buttons and it brings your information from Shopify to commerce HQ.
You didn’t have to do a lot, it's a pretty easy process especially for someone who can't even get their own webcam to work.
Alan: So you obviously you like the platform.
So how long did it take you to get that first sale? And I know you had a rocky patch and we’re going to get into that in a minute. You obviously had a period where you're struggling to reach a certain level but just to even get that first sale. And I mean just in general, it doesn't mean on what platform but just you know what was your experience around trying to get your first sale.
Did you have to test a lot?
Adam: To be honest, when I started I spend a lot of time watching YouTube videos buying classes, reading, researching, I like to try and think that I got a good mindset of what you actually need to do to kind of succeed in eCom.
So when I picked my first product to sell I actually got a sale within about day or so. I never have issues generally finding products testing them and getting single sales. It's recognizing the winning products enough to scale and really push on.
That's where I struggle the most, I would say that I've come across many winners and just not known how to recognize them.
Alan: And I believe you the same for me and probably a lot of other people. I'm sure in the past I've had products which were probably scalable and I just didn't know what to do at that moment in time with the knowledge that I had.
It's a common experience.
So you got the first sale, for you it obviously wasn’t too hard. Some people might have had to test a few more products. But what was the timeframe and I know there's quite a bit of time from when you started and then when you actually started to get momentum but what was that like?
How many products did you test in that period before you started to get traction to where you've got to today at a minute?
Adam: I probably tested into the hundreds. But actually recognizing the winning products was kind of my fall down really. It's the place where I struggled the most.
I just didn't have the confidence. And if you go out there you test a couple of audiences and you get a couple of sales and everyone always says in the community you'll know when you found the winning product.
So if there was any kind of doubt in my mind they're like well it's not winning product because I didn't recognize it.
I've been testing products for three years now and I've struggled here and there. I just really needed to kind of go for it and go all out. it’s make it break it and that's essentially what I did so this is the turning point.
Alan: So this is the turning point, you tested a few hundred products and to be fair this is realistic. A lot the big heavy hitters they're not testing one, two or three products a week they're testing five a day. Over the space of six months you're definitely going to go into the hundreds. I don't think it's uncommon to test that amount of products to get traction and get winners but at the same time like you were saying you probably might have had winners in the past. You just weren’t sure how to scale them.
So let's talk about a couple of things really, first of all let's just say what was the change that got you some momentum behind you. What do you feel like the difference in your behavior and your actions? What's the mindset when you started to get you're thirty thousand dollars in sales in a month. What's that in comparison to what it was like when you were like struggling with a two to three hundred dollar days?
Adam: Yeah everything was different and now obviously everything changed when I decided it's now or never and I started testing. I tested 15 products, I now have three that were recognized to be winners. But then two started to outperform one. So I drop that when I thought I need to focus really on one.
I barely know how to scale one product so to scale three at the same was just a little bit too much.
So then again I dropped another one and I started to push this one product and started scaling.
Alan: Testing more ads so not more products just more ads.
Adam: Sorry yea, so I started testing more ads and started to just push them out there. I would duplicate, I would change the audience slightly, I would try to keep them as broad as possible. I would go down into a suggestions tool in Facebook so if I had one broad interest, I would click the suggestions and then I would just do the second one and do them a single if there were small audiences or I'd group them together.
It’s just crazy really how much it took off, there's a lot of worrying, there's a lot of concern, what if it dies tomorrow, I'm going to kind of have all this debt you know.
I’d already made the decision that it was make or break it and I was going to go in like wholeheartedly no matter what the outcome. If I ended up with no money you know at least tried at least I give it a good go I’ve been passionate about it for a while. I spent a lot of time and a lot of investment into it and you know what if it fails I could start again. I could recover from that in a couple of months and start again. Yea it definitely took a lot.
Alan: A lot of determination and obviously a lot of testing. I feel lik that's it the difference, the shift where you've gone from probably testing a lot less ads and being more cautious into just going for it.
You know you've got traction and you need it just get in to get the data in and build the picture for that product and you just like launching ads in different different interests, different types of ads and you've gotten a bit more board. So you need to test sometimes. I was doing well more precisely. Interests some might be more broad it really depends on the product obviously.
But you know that's just the way it so that's the key thing I'm getting from this is you got to test a lot of ads and just keep pushing and really going for when you get some traction behind something because I’ve been there before where I've probably got a winning ad and I've launched you know 10 new ads to start with and they've done really well and then I've gone half-hearted added five every few days and it's lost the momentum, like you know you've got to be obviously stacking them ads daily and really building a nice stack of winning ads which are going to cover the cost of the newer ads you’re testing over the days so it’s good to hear that man.
Adam: I was testing at some points 30 to 40 ads per day and like I say I was starting off initially on 10 dollar ads. You need to monitor them you need to check them. When you can see that you don’t have any clicks in 5 dollars. You need to stop them quick.
Cut the losers and keep pushing the winners, and duplicate the winners. Put more money into it, more higher budgets and just test what works. The thing is what works for one person might not work for another. And as coming into this I knew you need to test both ads and see what works for you because you will only learn properly from your own mistakes.
So if you recognize that something works and you can push that and you can test that ad that might even come back to you later and think I’m going to try this that works. It might be worth doing again so I definitely say test everything as much as you can.
Alan: So the key point now is test test test and do some more testing and get launching. So that's the one so I wanted to know as well what kind of conversion rates you we seeing. That a good conversion rate, 3 percent is a good conversion rate. What was your conversion rate on average using commerce HQ with you store.
Adam: Yeah currently daily it's about 8% so it's doing really well I have shared a couple of screenshots actually in the Commerce HQ Facebook group. But yes about 8% which is really good.
Alan: I'll tell you what if I can I'll get one of them screenshots and I will post it there now. If I have got that should be on the screen now for you to see. That's an amazing conversion rate 8%, I mean that is a really good conversion rate. It just shows you what a good platform with the good apps can really do you know for your store man.
That's the thing, you can use your platform where you're going to get a certain amount of conversions for your hundred visitors and if you've got a better functioning store with better apps then you know your store is built to convert.
This platform is built by marketers so they really understand the needs of what was really needed for a higher conversion rates. Obviously it's working for you to get 8%. So that's amazing and another thing while we are talking about conversion rates, there was something you was telling me before we started this was your abandoned cart conversion rate which is amazing as well.
So what was your abandoned cart conversion rate with the commerce HQ?
Adam: Yes it's approximately about 12 to 13% I think it’s just short of 13% now. It wasn't great to start with and again you got to test things and see what works. I had to look into it, I got some advice from someone. And yea 12 to 13% it's just crazy, I think it’s pretty much unheard of really. I’m happy with that because that’s extra income which isn’t even accounted for generally when obviously you’re launching ads in testing and I'm cutting. Them ads are coming in late they're coming in it could be 3 or four days later I stopped testing the product four weeks ago and I'm still getting people coming back from the abandoned cart emails and purchasing now.
So obviously it’s either got lost in their junk mail they’ve seen that you offer for a discount code they come back and bought it and it’s great. Because it’s money for nothing really you’ve already done the work you’ve essentially already lost that business and now it’s coming back to you.
Alan: Mate that's amazing and I'm probably going to get you to show me the actual stuff that you put in the emails so I'm probably getting a video together and show everyone courtesy of Adam that actual abandoned cart sequence.
So I look forward to doing that, so yeah that is amazing so just another great result when it comes to conversions with commerce HQ.
Adam: Sorry I can’t say take credit on that abandonment cart though it was all down to John Mac who is obviously one of the co-founders of commerce HQ so credit to John Mac.
Alan: Exactly so big up John Mac, John Mac is to found or co-founder of this platform so he can go and give advice which is going to make a difference to Adam going to make that much difference.
You know that he's building this platform with the intention of getting these conversions higher. So a lot of respect to John Mack, he does a lot of good stuff for e-commerce. So nice one for sharing that mate.
So look the next question I've got here is and I think you got to be real about this stuff. What are the challenges can people expect when coming into this business that they really don't expect it to be that challenging.
They imagine that it's just a matter of sitting around a computer launching a few products and they don't really understand the daily the struggles with running an e-commerce store. Such as customer service or whether it’s fulfillment, whether that’s you know PayPal problems ad verification issues and slow shipping times. Just lots of stuff which are moving parts which are definitely going to give you problems depending on what day of the week it is.
So I mean what are some of your biggest challenges? Just the biggest ones, you don’t need to go on about all of them but one of the main ones which has been an issue for you in running an e-commerce store and how you overcome it?
Adam: I’m a member of a lot the E-com groups on the likes of Facebook and everything and you kind of see all this stuff going on the back end I knew it existed but it just hadn't hit me yet.
So when I started scaling and started doing a lot of ads I hit a wall to be honest, I had everything from Paypal blocking my account to issues with AliExpress and to my banks contacted me because there was all this kind of money floating around and coming in and everything else.
And I've had lots of money pass through my account in the last probably eight weeks, more then I generally would in a year. Then obviously to the banks their alarm bells going off and everything else. You've two videos Alan and when I hit these kind of struggles and I actually watch them to help me out on how I needed to get to it really.
And some of them is like Aliexpress, they for my card to verify the details you know and I know again from your advice to try and do like this before they actually block your account so that it doesn't happen. But yeah I had a couple of different cards so they blocked one card and I started using another card then they block that card and you know and then I have to wait a couple days I had no other choice would please wait a couple of days and keep on at the customer service and try and get through it well you know I just keep at it.
I would keep on talking to customer service because when you have these help customers understand that problems happen and that things go wrong sometimes and you know we're not Amazon we're not trying to be Amazon. And so when you hit these struggles really you know make sure that you customer service is on point.
When people contacted us we're very personal in our emails not just generic stuff. We kind of have a little stories, a little list of templates that we spent saying we're really sorry that your products are not there yet. People complain and they’ll be like you know I've not received my products in twenty days and I'm so disgusted your company's a fraud.
And then all sudden it's like looks your products on its way. You can track it here and when they receive their products they're like oh my god you guys are amazing I'm definitely going to buy from you again and more orders generally come in as well.
So I will say that that's a big thing is that when you hit these roadblocks like PayPal has blocked my account and I'm you know I sent all my documents, I ring up, I kept calling them and saying you know you need to sort this out because while you're holding my money you're affecting my business which benefits your business.So if they hold my money and my customers complain it’s not getting charged back then they don't get paid either. So it's quite important you do it straight away and you have all these documents beforehand. Your driving license your bank statements and your proof of who you are and everything and be prepared for it. But yeah I’d say overall making sure you got the good customer service in the back end really helps out a lot for when you hit these road blocks.
Alan: 100%! You know what, I feel the same, I see people who've had customers emailing them and they haven't replied after two days.
It’s going to start off the scam alert in their heads. I love to get back really within a few hours and I have pre written emails. aAter a while you nearly get every single question repeated. So you literally just have to have the templates up and you just paste them into the reply.
Edit it obviously a little bit to fit the customers query properly but you know if you do it right away with integrity and an understanding you normally get a good response and I've rarely, rarely had someone who's been a real problem because normally they are understanding if you treat them with respect. So I like that you said that mate, your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Treat them well be quick replying to them.
Adam: A couple of times we’ve had angry customers and you got to understand where they’re coming from. You know in a world of things like amazon and next day delivery when they’re waiting is 20 days, 22 days to receive something you understand them.
Sometimes you they waited three to four weeks to get the products and then they open the packet and it's broken and it's such a shame. It’s like no problem we’ll send you another one out. And just send them a little free gift so if your profit margin was twenty dollars and you know obviously you know the customer satisfaction send them out a pair of sunglasses that kind of match the products or you know something else it's just a little something you think would fit their style, whether it be a necklace or something and just a little gesture might cost you five dollars but to them you know if it’s for 25 dollars they just got a twenty-five dollar product for nothing and really it’s cost you nothing more than a few pound or a few dollars. So that's how I’ve been handing it as well.
Alan: Next question that I wanted to ask you was and this was asked to me by a subscriber.
Do you ever find that some products of surprised you with their success?
So say have you tested five products and you're pretty sure that a few of them are just going to be duds but you're just doing it for the sake of it. And a after a few days you find that products you thought are definitely going to be winners ended up flopping and you you are pleasantly surprised with the results from the other products.
Adam: Yea definitely, I've learned from this last several weeks that there's no room for emotions in this game and you can't have personal attachment to products. And like I said that one thing that I've learned hugely is you've got to test everything you know my products that I'm winning with at the moment I would never thought I would be selling, it’s not something that I would ever really thought would have been a winner.
But if a products was doing well elsewhere I thought what have I got to lose I test it. So I tested a couple of audiences and got a few sales, I tested a few more and got a few more sales and just kept really scaling up that way. So yeah definitely say that there are products out there that will surprise you.
Alan: Nice! That's it, don't go with your heart, just be go with the data and see what the data shows you.
Adam: It's a numbers game isn't it.
Alan: 100 percent! I'm now going to wrap this up with a final question…
What would you say if you are just talking to all the subscribers listening and all the future people who are going to watch this video.
What was the one best piece of advice you’d give for aspiring newbies e-compreneurs?
And I swear that I coined that phrase, I’m sure I’ve never hear e-compreneurs before. So if I invented that you just witnessed the making of that word, if not then I’m infringing on someone’s words.
So do you have any advice mate for any new ecompenuers.
Adam: Yea definitely the biggest piece and the best piece of advice that I can give you really is just that you got to go for it, you got to be accepting that you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to hit road blocks. There’s going to be nights of worry there’s going to be night’s of stress, there’s going to be sleepless nights but you got to enjoy the process.
You’ve got to love it, it’s like I got one of my accounts blocked on PayPal and you know it's exciting times for me I oh my god PayPal have blocked my account,and I know now that I am at the next level even though I've hit a roadblock I'm at the next level of being an e-compreneur. So because you’re hitting these roadblocks so I’m doing something right I’m going in the right direction, so okay let’s overcome this really you know.
Do what you can to overcome it. And you come out on the other side and you’re right okay bring on the next challenge you know. You got to go for it you just got to find your products you got to test loads and loads of videos. You know follow someone that you have faith in that you believe in and what I would do is I would follow one person. But what I keep doing is I’ve been doing more recently is I’ve been following one person when I get to like the part of the process like scaling. And you're testing there's only so much you can learn so I will start watching different videos on scaling see how other people are doing see if there's other things that people look out for that that's maybe something that I'm missing on.
Different avenues to go down and that's the best piece of advice I can give you early you just got to suck it and go for it. Because got to you can watch all the videos in the world until you actually go try on your own and fail.
Alan: Take action.
Adam: But will you succeed.
Alan: Exactly take action and then you'll actually get some results and experience. Like you said at the start of your journey you were in shiny coin syndrome following too many people trying too many things not giving something enough time to work it's magic.
So just get stuck in with one thing and not go from one thing to the other. Just get stuck in and actually take action around one thing. Well done on your recent success and I hope it continues. And know thank you to for coming on and thank you from everyone who's listening to this, you know I appreciate you taking the time to come on here and speak to me about this. And I'll hopefully I'll see you again in a new video so to everyone listening if you want to know more about Commerce HQ check the links in the description. You can see our CHQ tutorial in action and get yourself two free stores and if we're not friends yet join the family and click Subscribe and I will see you in the next video of the commerce HQ success series turn till then.