One Product Ecommerce Update

May 16th, 2007 by Chris

This is an update to my previous post on the topic.

My compost tumbler site is now profitable. My total development costs were $1000 almost on the nose, and my marketing costs were around $800. With a profit of $40-$60 per sale depending on specific product model I needed 36 sales to pass my original investment, and I’ve hit that mark in just under 2 months of operation. I’ve actually made a little more, as I had some larger orders with profit margins of ~$100.

So, I’m averaging around $1k per month in profit at this point. There are different ways to look at that. Compared to other sites I own, $1k a month is rather poor, on the other hand many new website publishers have problems reaching that point. My workload for this site is relatively low, it takes me 30 seconds to 1 minute of actual work to process each order, and that’s all I really have to do. So profit for time invested is certainly a very nice ratio.

My original marketing budget included 3 free products to send to prominent bloggers for review, only one blogger has so far written a review, although the others tell me they’re working on it, and one says she plans a large 2 part series. Some traffic is being provided by these individuals. Additionally I blogged about the tumbler on my own garden blog and that provided some sales, especially at first.

For search engine listings I have very few. I have good rankings, 8th, on MSN for my main keywords and good rankings for minor ones as well. Google I am only ranked on some obscure terms, and not very well, overall the site seems to be experience what many would call the “sandbox” but that’s okay, its not like I mean to pay my mortgage with this money, and eventually I know it’ll break out, sites always do, and then it should rank highly. My only Yahoo referrals are from their directory so far, I’ve added Yahoo sitemap submission to my todo list.

Most of my traffic then is coming from direct referrals from the aforementioned blogs, and PPC marketing. My PPC marketing efforts are achieving a very nice ROI, MSN especially (MSN traffic converts better than Google traffic, AOL traffic does pretty good too). I got $200 in free credits when signing up with MSN thanks to one of those various coupons they’re always mailing out, and so far I’ve put that to good use.

Overall the most impressive thing with the site has been the conversion rate. After discounting traffic I’ve been getting from the blog you’re reading (untargeted traffic) the site is only getting around 30 uniques a day now, for the first month it was even lower, and lately it has been averaging 1 sale a day. Or, to say it another way, my unique eCPM is above $1000. I can only imagine what’ll happen when the site grows most established and gets more traffic.

One thing I did not count on was a price increase. The manufacturer increased their prices due to an increase in shipping costs, but overall that hasn’t dented my sales. So that’s good, I was worried for a time.

So, the site is a success, I’m even thinking about making a few similar sites because I’ve identified a couple other garden products I feel I could efficiently sell. I just have to figure out if they’re drop shipped or not.

Between this post and the previous one I’ve outlined every step I took when making this site. I’ve kept no tips or tricks back, no secrets, truth be told there aren’t any. It’s all rather simple. In the end you just need to identify a product that you can market, and that fits my ecommerce selling criteria. Gardening is my biggest hobby, and I have a couple existing gardening sites, so I chose a gardening product. A product you would choose would be different, but the overall process should be the same.

5 Responses to “One Product Ecommerce Update”

  1. Dennis Pallett  Says:

    Hi Chris,

    I had a quick look at the website, and I noticed that you don’t use SSL on the check-out page, even though you do display a 128-Bit SSL icon. This is something you would probably want to get fixed, and it might even cost you a few sales (although I doubt that).

  2. Chris  Says:

    thanks for pointing that out. A little mod_rewrite snafu. The code to forward my parked domains to the main domain was doing the same thing with SSL requests.

  3. Peach  Says:

    With such a high eCPM you can prolly traffic this profitable with PPC.

  4. xed  Says:

    It gives me hope about ecommerce. Also you show how hobbies can give us real knowledge about what can sell.

  5. Brian  Says:

    Love this concept…It’s been a few years, still moving along w/ sales?

    Reason we’re searching this on google is that we are putting some focus on our online sales (+90% of our biz comes from private label Shoewallets sold by distributors).

    The Shoewallet fits many of the perameters you were looking for (outside of high price), one counter to that is a large target audience. Any further research done on this topic? Thx!

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