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SELLING ONLINE (like signarama)

Discussion in 'Website Design' started by normana61, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. normana61

    normana61 Member

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    Has anyone thought about selling their product online like signarama ? I have been looking into building a ecommerce site but have bumped into the initial high cost.

    I was wondering if other professionals have thought this out as well.


    There is signsite and others , but those are very boring, bland looking & expensive to operate. I wanted a site that really popped !!


    One way would be to group our monies together, my thought was if the cost is 25K to have a signarama site built, and I could find 5 sign companies, that would cost everyone 5K each. The site would be identical other than each of us would have our company name, info, phone, emails, the ability to change pricing, etc. We could even customize with our own sign examples. If 10 sign companies were interested it would drop the price to 2,500 ea.


    That would be a one time cost .


    You would still have hosting, domain, shopping cart fees etc. But you have that with any ecommerce site. This would be a very high end site.


    I would send the project to www.guru.com as their are hundreds of webdesigners on that site. And I am sure we would get plenty of bids to choose from.

    let me know if any of you would be interested and your concerns
    norman hi-image1@cox.net
     
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  2. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    it's been my experience that selling online is strictly a numbers game, in other words you will never be able to charge what you normally would. Think about it, if you are looking to buy anything online (a watch, DVD etc..) you ALWAYS go to a few different sites and find the best price. I understand that Signs are not a commodity item like DVD's, but the general public generally regards them in the same way.

    Plus you are cutting out one of your most essential services you offer, You!
     
  3. VinylLabs.com

    VinylLabs.com Member

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    I also develop websites, I'm mainly using the Magento platform. I'm not offering my services here however, since 1) i think its against the rules and 2) my plate is full already ;)

    but yes, Sites are expensive to develop. There definatly will be people saying 4000$ is too much to spend on an e commerce store, but honestly you do get what you pay for. It's not uncommon for some customized sites going for around the 10-15k mark.

    add into the fact that I'm pretty sure you would want something you can customize graphics with before submission (for example, a customised for sale sign they can edit on the site, then output as a print-ready PDF on your workstation), you're looking at a sizable investment.

    now...

    Most people think "well I'll get a website, and thats that, it'll just sell itself!" That is hardly the case. expect about 25% of your budget to be on actual development of the website. Whatever you decide to spend on your website, expect to spend 3 times that amount on hosting, support, marketing, advertising, PPC campaigns, etc.. etc...

    I've been so busy with client stuff, I havn't even had time to make moy companies site, the domain that I bought in 2002!
     
  4. VinylLabs.com

    VinylLabs.com Member

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    web clients are the least loyal types of clientele you can get. You have a repeat customer whose bought 5 times off you, but they find another site selling it for 50 cents cheaper, they will buy off there.

    i would suggest you keep it local, have a website developed for your business which costs you around 1k (cookie cutter site: who we are, what we do, how you can contact us) and IF you decide to venture into the web market, do something like a niche store.
     
  5. Fanaticus

    Fanaticus Member

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    I started a website 6 years ago with basically no money and very little skill in design or developement, just a lot of ambition and willingness to learn.

    I read a lot of books on SEO and Internet marketing (guerilla style... not spamming).... as well as put A LOT of time and frustration into it.

    Today it ranks #1 on 3-4 targeted searched terms as well as in the top 10 on dozens of others. One key term search will bring up about 30 different pages of our site that cover the first 3 pages of a google serp.

    I run and update the website and run production and contantly work on expansion little by little. The website and online sales generate enough to keep 4 people employed full time and allows for steady expansion.

    You don't always need a lot of money to start with, but money will certainly get you where you want to be a whole lot faster....

    It's also very easy to spend a whole lot of money advertising online and get very little results. PPC has never paid off for me. Mostly word of mouth and organic SEO.

    I use just about every free online technique that is available to me without spamming or violating any terms of services. Making videos, social networking, blogging, giving users an interactive experience, and providing much more than just a product online but an entire resource center where the user can study and learn about the product and it's uses or applications or read about it in the news or see current trends.

    Selling online is about a lot more than just selling.
     
  6. VinylLabs.com

    VinylLabs.com Member

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    good job, and I agree with you wholeheartedly about money getting you there faster. I started up a site for my current day-job employer 3 years ago, he started selling about 30k a month with PPC. He hired me again a few months back to update the websites (converting them from osC to Magento) but is now making minimum of 30K a day (some days hits up to 70k, albeit once in a blue moon) running off the same site I built for him 3 years ago. did my site make his business grow? no, his salespeople made it grow.
     
  7. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    and you will get a hit everytime someone types CHEAP SIGNS or SIGNS BEST PRICE)))))))
     
  8. normana61

    normana61 Member

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    Original Post Back

    Hi All,

    The site would be mainly for local /regional sales , not nationwide.

    I would be using this for selling in the 50-150 mile range, Customers could pick up , or i could deliver for a fee, or ship to the further locations .

    you can't really ship a 4 x 8 sign cost effectively so that is where the delivery would come to play.

    I basically like the idea where customers can design and order online. How many calls, emails , faxes it takes for a customer to tell you what they need , you design them something and they say "no i want it this way ". or better yet " show me examples and I will tell when i find it "
    the site would take away allot of the wasted time .

    You would get the order, letter style, color, dimensions, type of sign, material all together in the order.

    Your thoughts well appreciated,
    norman
     
  9. VinylLabs.com

    VinylLabs.com Member

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    it's doable with the magento zeetaprint api. however I think their prices are something like 1$ per preview.

    that means if someone comes to your site and makes a test sign, then leaves, you still owe zeta 1$.
     
  10. Fanaticus

    Fanaticus Member

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    is this something that a foriegn programmer on freelancer could do? Then you just plug the script into your server, set up the files, and there ya go? Probably have to have it hooked up to a database (MySQL?) to pull stock images from (the images they use to design with) and then have the final product emailed via form that lays out the design and specifies the elements - colors - fonts - and placement?

    Any custom image would have to be uploaded by the user, which would also get emailed to you or placed into a seperate folder either in the database or on the server so you'd have access to it.

    It would be much more effienciant to have them print ready, but not completely necessary as long as your able to handle the workload?
     
  11. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    Sorry I just can't see how customer designed signs will do anything positive for this industry, what this would do is perpetrate the idea that design has no value and/or there is no skill involved.

    If you are trying to sell to the local market, i don't think this is they way to do it. take the money you would spend on this and invest it in an amazing website that showcases what you can do for your customers and good photos of your work. Customers who are worth your time will drive 100 miles to you if you give them a reason to.

    Just my $0.02
     
  12. VinylLabs.com

    VinylLabs.com Member

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    Yes, almost anything is possible provided you have the money and time.

    this method is better suited for customizing of existing graphics. think of it like this: a sign for a house for sale. you can change the picture, change the phone number, change the agent, but the placement is unchangeable.

    for this, all you would need is a blank plate, the font, and a placeholder image location, the rest would be placed in via your poison of choice (xml seems logical for something like this)

    this is then converted to PDF and sent to the printer for processing.
     
  13. Joe Diaz

    Joe Diaz Very Active Member

    Never have liked the idea of taking the experienced and creative professional out of the equation and allow the customer to try to figure it out on their own over the internet. It cheapens what we do, and doesn't help the customer, because they walk away with a poorly designed and executed sign. Remember these people don't make signs for a living, they don't know any better.

    The professional sign makers in this industry need to spend less time trying to figure out ways to reduce human interaction, and more ways figuring out how to to get people into our shops were we able to take charge and develop professional relationships with these folks.

    Besides where is the fun in reproducing red, all caps, old english on black signs all day long. I'd rather be a forklift driver.
     
  14. Fanaticus

    Fanaticus Member

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    Most of the people designing their own signs and / or buying cheap signs online aren't the type of people who are willing to pay for a professional to do it right or to have the one-on-one with the company. They just want a cheap sign.

    The people who still care about quality and the personal aspects will come into the shop.

    Just imagine the crap the online sellers hear all day long from people who didn't get what they expected for $1.99.

    It's like the people who buy something on ebay for $1.99 and get free shipping, then ***** about the color being slightly different than it was on their monitor (or cell phone).

    2 different types of people.
     
  15. Prairieboy

    Prairieboy Member

    The idea is not new check out these sites.
    www.vistaprint.com
    www.buildasign.com
    This is not the market I want to be in. :noway:
    Local sales will keep your business going if you provide a good product and great service
     
  16. Ron Helliar

    Ron Helliar Member

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    "The professional sign makers in this industry need to spend less time trying to figure out ways to reduce human interaction, and more ways figuring out how to to get people into our shops were we able to take charge and develop professional relationships with these folks."


    +++ wise words not heard often enough
     
  17. 10sacer

    10sacer Active Member

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    How many companies are making over $1 million a year from internet purchases alone? I would venture to say that number is pretty small.

    Based on your method with 5 companies pooling resources - that makes their gross gain $200,000 each - if all goes well. If you have a sales guy who truly knows the industry - he should be bringing in between $50 - $75K a MONTH - I would rather pay that guy to go get retail priced signs than deal with essentially 10% margin giveaways - and you had better not have 1 Roland printer and a laminator - you would have to invest in ALOT of equipment and personnel to service these accounts because you have to send their signs back in 48 hours or less - thats what your online competition is offering.

    Its not as easy as just loading up a website and waiting for the orders to come crashing in - what are you gonna do if it works?!
     
  18. Fanaticus

    Fanaticus Member

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    won't be too much longer and people will start shopping in store and shops again. Postage is getting WAY to expensive for anything larger than a few cor-plasts or if it won't fit in a tube. Gas will be going up, so will shipping again. Every year it does, considerably. People would rather pay a huge upfront cost and get 'free shipping' than pay a lower cost and see how much shipping actually costs... Pretty soon it'll just cost too much and sellers won't be able to absorb the costs. And if they start getting taxed for everything they buy online.....

    traditional business has always prevailed.
     
  19. Ron Helliar

    Ron Helliar Member

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    Local purchasing upswings should already be happening in the background.

    Local buyers of products haven't quite gotten up to speed with the damage they've caused demanding online price comparison shopping at local levels. Add to that State Revenue departments increasing sense of entitlement to out of state sales tax revenue and watch Texas lose more than a thousand jobs this year alone. Amazon is one of the first companies with enough money to challenge an increasing Nexus ideology that states have developed.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/10/22/us-amazon-tax-idUSTRE69L5EC20101022
     
  20. CheapVehicleWrap

    CheapVehicleWrap Very Active Member

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    Backstepping...developing (or paying to develop) an ecommerce site from scratch is absurd and beyond your budget. There are several (maybe that's high) already developed and proven platforms to develop your site.
     
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