It seems like there's a new form of social media popping up every day. How do you decide which ones to invest in and which ones just aren't worth your time? Well, you may never know unless you test things! Cheri Tracy is a master at testing new forms of social media to see if they'll result in sales for her cosmetics business, Orglamix. But she tests in a way that doesn't consume her entire week. With as little as 15 minutes each week, Cheri can be active on a social media platform and see sales as a result.
Find out where she's promoting her products and where she's seeing results – along with tons of other e-commerce tips!
On the Podcast
01:13 – The Business that Started on Bed Rest
5:50 – Why Shopify is Worth the Price
08:32 – Must-Have Apps for Selling
12:19 – What is Wanelo?
15:08 – The Buy Button
16:09 – How to Get Found on Wanelo
18:26 – How to Connect with Influencers on Wanelo
21:00 Once Upon a Time…
25:02 – How to Get your Brand Page on Wanelo
27:03 – Outfy
32:51 – Cheri's Secret Weapon
37:25 – Productivity Tips
40:11 – When your Business Feels like Cleaning the Toilets
43:04 – Cheri's Magical Mom Moment 😉
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The Business that Started on Bed Rest
When Cheri was pregnant with her first daughter, she was on bed rest at the end of her pregnancy and bored out of her mind! She already had a business private-labeling cosmetics (buying existing formulas and putting your own branding on something to sell it.) but as she sat in bed, she started reading and researching all of the ingredients in the cosmetics. Some of them had 30-40 ingredients in them, and she didn't think they needed to be there.
Cheri realized that she could build a better product. So she started Orglamix to create cruelty-free, natural cosmetics that felt more fun and glamorous than the current granola make-up brands in the marketplace.
Cheri started out on Etsy, and sold there for several years. It was really slow in the beginning, but she kept at it and grew year after year.
One year Cheri looked back and she had sold 10,000 units over the previous year! She thought, “I can do this! I have a business here!”
As Cheri's business grew, it got to the point where she was working 80 hours per week to keep things going, and her husband was across the country for his job each week. She was overwhelmed, so she stopped everything and took 18 months off from Orglamix.
Cheri just relaunched Orglamix on the Shopify platform a year ago, and it's been growing quickly!
Why Shopify is Worth the Price
After trying several platforms such as a WordPress plug-in that constantly crashed, and other e-commerce sites like Etsy and StoreEnvy, Cheri just can't get over how incredible Shopify is!
Cheri was hesitant to try Shopify at first because of the cost. The base price is around $100/month, and that doesn't include other apps and features you may need. However, Cheri's so glad she took the plunge.
It's simple and easy to use. Everything is pre-configured for you so that your site looks like a professional designer did it. But the wonderful thing is that Cheri can manage the entire site herself.
The other huge benefit to using Shopify are the sheer volume of Apps that integrate with the platform that will make your job as a seller so much easier.
Must-Have Apps for Selling
Cheri uses several Apps in conjunction with Shopify that help her e-commerce site to run smoothly.
1.) ShipStation. ShipStation can pull in shipping labels for orders from any platform that Cheri has integrated with it. Every morning she just pushes a few buttons and off her labels go to the printer.
2.) SEO Apps. Cheri uses several SEO apps that help her to get found in search more often.
3.) Email Marketing App. Cheri uses an app that's completely integrated with her site so that it can send out automatic emails if someone has a dropped shopping cart or if she wants to announce a new product.
Cheri's biggest response is from a simple little email she sends out the day after someone makes their first purchase from Orglamix. She essentially says, “Hi I'm Cheri, this is my company, it's so nice to meet you! I'm super excited for you to try my products, and please reach out if you have any questions.”Cheri gets about 25-50 responses back each week from people who are so excited to hear from her and have that personal touch!
4.) Receiptful . Receiptful sends an email that asks if the customer is happy with they're order. Then they can click to rate Orglamix. This rating system also helps Cheri to stave off any unhappy customers and resolve the issue quickly.
Receiptful has another great feature. If a customer shares it with their friends, they get a coupon for $10 off their next purchase, and their friend does too.
So how expensive are these fancy apps?
Cheri says that the fees for most apps are quite minimal. Some are free and some are $6/month. Ship Station is the most expensive app and it costs $99/month.
What is Wanelo?
Of all the social media platforms that Cheri has tried over the past year, Wanelo has been one of the most effective sites for her. We completely understand the feeling of social media overwhelm! You likely feel like you just can't add another thing!
Cheri gets that too, but what changed her mind were the traffic and sales that came rolling in without too much effort on her part.
So what is Wanelo, exactly?
Wanelo stands for Want, Need, Love, and Cheri says it's best described as a social marketplace. It's a way for shoppers to discover and buy products.
What Cheri loves about Wanelo is that users aren't saving DIY projects or recipes or reading quotes, they're all there for one reason… and that's to shop. Small indie brands can grow and make sales right alongside large brands like urban outfitters and anthropologie.
Wanelo's demographic is majority female, and 50% of its users are between 18-24 years old. Products that cater to young females tend to do well, but Cheri says that her market is considerably older, and she still gets high engagement and conversions with the site.
The Buy Button
One additional benefit to using Shopify is the “Buy on Wanelo” app that Cheri can use to sell her products directly on the site rather than redirecting Wanelo users to her site.
If you have a shop that doesn't have an integrated app, you can simply redirect potential customers to your site, but often, a few sales may be lost in the process.
Cheri says she pays Wanelo 10% commission for the feature, and they send her a check for her sales each month.
How to Get Found on Wanelo
You can get found in several ways on Wanelo.
1.) Create Collections. A collection is a group of your products featured together on your Brand page (the equivalent of your profile page on other social media sites). So if someone sees your brand page, they can browse your collections of your products.
2.) SEO. Use keyword -rich descriptions for your collections so people can find you on Wanelo via search.
3.) Create Stories. Stories are generally a mix of your own products plus others' products. It's kind of like a treasury and an Instagram post mixed together. When you create a story, your followers may see that story in their feed on Wanelo. They can then add your products to their own lists, collections and stories, and you'll continue to get discovered by other users. (In this way, it's similar to Pinterest in that your content can spread from one user to another.)
An added bonus? Since Wanelo is very mobile-driven, many of its users are receiving push notifications when new things happen (like a new story from a brand they're following!)
How to Connect with Influencers on Wanelo
When you first sign up for Wanelo, the platform will suggest brands and shops you should follow, along with super users to follow. Cheri calls these the Influencer accounts.
You can also find these influencers by heading to “My Feed” then choosing “Find People to Follow”. Wanelo will suggest top influencers to you, whose follower numbers range from 20,000 to several hundred thousand.
When you check out the profiles of influencers, many will provide their email address so you can reach out to them for potential partnerships. You can work with an influencer to create a sponsored “story” in the same way that you might do a sponsored post with an Influencer on Instagram.
Cheri just started reaching out to influencers, and she's in the process of doing 3 sponsored stories – she promised to report back to us on how it went!
Basic pricing for a sponsored story is about $10 per story per 10,000 followers. So if you want an Influencer with $50,000 followers to create a story with your product, you'd likely pay about $50 for the story. An Influencer with 250,000 followers will generally charge about $500 to post a story.
Once Upon a Time…
We're pretty sure Wanelo stories don't have anything to do with Snow White… so how do they work?
A story generally has about 9 products in it. Users create stories that have a certain look or feel. The products all pair well together and tell a “story” about a certain person who would use those products.
When you save a story to your Wanelo feed, it goes out to your followers. Each product in the story has a photo as well as a link to the product so customers can either purchase the item on the site or be redirected to buy off site.
Cheri shared Several Tips for Using Stories:
- Use a story to announce a sale.
- Use a story to host a contest.
- Work with brands whose ideal customer is similar to yours so by posting a story that includes each of your products, you gain shared access to each other's followers. (In this way, a story is similar to a loop giveaway – but you didn't have to give any products away.)
- Post stories at peak engagement times. For Cheri, this is between 8-10 PM Central time. She gets triple to quadruple the engagement on her stories at peak times.
- Recency and Engagement both matter for getting more eyes on your story. So the feed is similar to Facebook. Influencers with lots of followers who like and interact with a story with see that story rise to prominence in the feed.
- Create stories that don't just feature your own products but other products too. Cheri posts shared stories 80% of the time, and then her own specific story about 20% of the time.
Interestingly enough, Cheri gets a higher level of engagement when she shares her own products, but sharing other stories helps her to share the love, network, and find new people to partner with.
How to Get your Brand Page on Wanelo
If you don't have a Shopify store, it can be a drawn-out process to create your Brand page on the site.
You have to submit your feed, Wanelo will approve it, and then you can manually import your products into your feed. Wanelo is made up of a small team of people, so it's a drawn-out process to get your brand going on the site.
However, if you're on Etsy, you're in luck. Etsy is a bit more tightly woven into the set-up process, so getting your feed approved for your Etsy shop is a bit easier.
There's a new tool for e-commerce sites called Outfy.com, and Cheri is really excited about it!
It helps you promote and schedule your products on social media and e-commerce networks. Outfy integrates with Polyvore, WeHeartIt, Keep, Instagram, and Pinterest.
You can schedule 10-15 of your products to go out to each platform each day of the week in just 5-10 minutes' time. You can try 50 shares for free if you're a new account.
Cheri has been using Outfy for two weeks, and she's already seen a dramatic increase in sales as a result.
Cheri's Secret Weapon
Since Cheri sells directly on several sites such as Wanelo, Amazon, and her own website, we were curious about how she keeps her orders straight.
Cheri says that Ship Station is her secret weapon! All of the platforms where she sells are connected through Ship Station. She pushes one button to import all of her orders, and a few clicks later she's printed out all of her labels for the day. Cheri says it's like having a shipping assistant!
Some Features of ShipStation that Cheri Loves:
- Saves data for product weights. Ship Station will automatically calculate the shipping cost for each order because it's programmed with all the product weights.
- Saves shipping costs on multiple orders. If a customer makes multiple orders within 24 hours, Ship Station will notify Cheri so she can group their orders together and save on shipping costs.
- Projects inventory and sales. Ship Station will let Cheri know how many orders she's done in a given week and whether she's up or down in her sales
- Tracks Turnaround Times. Ship Station will let Cheri know if she's taking longer than 2 days to ship her orders (which is her personal goal.) If she sees orders sitting for 3 days, she knows exactly what to prioritize.
Cheri often gets 100 orders or more each day, so staying on top of her workflow is incredibly important!
- Set aside designated days to make products. Cheri sets aside two work days per week to just turn out more products and build up her inventory.
- Leave room for creativity! Because Cheri loves creating new products, she allows her time each day to create, but this is completely separate from her inventory build time.
- Package orders in bulk. Cheri can package about 150-200 orders in 2.5 hours . This is possible because her inventory is already made and organized, and she has her trusty tool, Ship Station to help!
- Scale back to ease stress. If you're struggling to stay on top of inventory with your own small business, Cheri recommends you scale back your offerings until you can build up that inventory. It will ease your stress a great deal when you can stop making products on demand.
When your Business Feels like Cleaning the Toilets
Cheri strongly believes that you should price higher for custom orders and for products you simply don't like to make! Your time, effort, and sanity are worth that higher price. (We agree!)
Cheri makes a pressed eyeshadow that takes her more time, and she doesn't like making it. But she has customers who really want that particular product. So… she raises the price… by a lot!
We all agreed that the same premium pricing should apply to our household chores. Triple the price for cleaning toilets 🙂
Cheri's Magical Mom Moment 😉
Cheri had a really sweet moment with her two girls the other week. Maybe they haven't outgrown the magic of childhood just yet!
Stay in touch with Cheri
To connect with Cheri in our Facebook group, you can sign up for our list and we'll send you an invite!