Web design

Internet Shop - 15,000 EUR for the first month

People have known a saying “worst is first”, which I cannot say about my recent experience of the internet trade. Most likely, this is just an exception that proves the rule, but after all, I want to talk about those minor findings that I made last month.

So, it is a little story about how you can easily make for one month at least 15 000 Euros.

My professional career is a web-development. I do the R & D in a small IT company; I write “advanced” applications for the corporate intranets and, in principle, I do not complain about my life. Of course, in this scenario I would like to do some interesting project at the same time, what I have repeatedly engaged in the world of Open Source. Over the time, I wanted to make money on the side projects that with Open Source was not as easy as it may seem from the articles on the Habrahabr.ru :) That's why I decided to try for myself something entirely new - open an internet shop.

Before I rush into a business battle, I have compiled a small list of personal limitations:

1. Set the capital - a maximum of 500 Euros
2. Time that would be given to the store - a maximum of 2-3 hours a day
3. Nominal value of goods - less than 1 Euro
4. Margin - a minimum of 500%
5. No large size - the size of goods should not be more than a book
6. Goods - something that is a very rare
7. Minimum of problems with the logistics

In early April, there was unrealistic noise around the new iPad, so I decided to sell some accessories for it. God created man and gave him to help Google, but Google said that such nerds like me thousands; therefore, the idea had to be given up with the accessories.

The initial vector of search remained the same and it brought me to the logical question: “What is Micro SIM and what do I do with it?” after an hour of searching, I learned a lot of interesting, in particular, that Micro SIM is an ordinary SIM, just without the extra plastic. As well, it turned out that in real life Micro SIM first will be used is Apple. It became clear that I need to do something in this direction. Further searches led me to the idea that out there are certainly clever men, who want to use Micro SIM in the standard sockets. So they would need a kind of “adapter”.
Google’s search did not give me the ready-made solutions. The idea of selling only one type of goods pleased me more and more as this one solves almost all problems of logistics’ shipments. I started to call the manufacturers of SIM’s and found what I was looking for the Micro SIM plastic adapters, 500 pieces for 400 Euros, the production was in Germany, with all the guarantees. I ordered, meanwhile, began to make the store itself. List items 3, 5 and 6 of the personal limitations were completed!

After that, everything was simple: I bought a template of website design (12 Euros). I bought two beautiful domains (22 Euros) and for one evening I put together a simple website of five pages describing the “goods”. I bought a stack of envelopes and plastic bags (another 37 Euros). Total expenses were 471 Euros. List item 1 of personal limitations was completed!

I decided to take the payments exclusively through PayPal, as supposed, that adapters will only buy Americans, because in the near future iPad 3G should have been only in their market. I did a little backend for the store, where PayPal transfers all orders and from there automatically are printed labels for the envelopes, and also sent the notifying emails. So after two days appeared quite a working shop. List item 7 of personal limitations was completed!

I once read many interesting books about the irrational behavior of people, so I've decided to approach the pricing as simple as possible: an adapter for 4.99 Euros or five adapters for 9.99 Euros. The cost of delivery worldwide included in the price. That is it. There are no more options. List item 4 of personal limitations was completed!

It just left a little - somehow start selling. If there is no market - it needs to be created. I hammered in Google “Micro SIM”, “Micro SIM Adapter”, “Micro SIM iPad” and opened for all three key words all top 20 websites. Most of the matches were forums or blogs, so there left only to write a few comments (no spam, all strictly to the topic). On the next day I got the first order. A few hours later came the second. Then there was a couple of days of absolute quiet, and it suddenly happened - a Brazilian blogger wrote about me, than he was copied by another Italian blog, and from there flew tweets, and orders went gradually.

In the business Fight!

This was the first real day of work site, for him it's 26 orders, where a half of them on one card, the other half to five adapters. It is surprising that until then had only one customer from the States. The rest are mainly from Italy and Brazil, and the iPad have not been introduced there yet!

I was inspired by my first success, I decided to plan work for the shop as follows:
1. One hour a day to devote to the “marketing” - to look for thematic blogs and to enter into correspondence with the authors, to participate in the forums, to look for the opportunities to exchange links
2. Half an hour of every evening to devote to packing orders for the last day - from the backend to print labels for the envelopes, and pack up adapters
3. Every morning before work to go to the post office to send all orders for the past day.
4. During a day to allocate half an hour to answer to all letters of support

Finally, I have somewhere 2-3 hours per a day of employment! List item 2 of personal limitations was completed!

The orders were not much up until release of the iPad 3G, only 20-30 per a day. It was strange that most of customers were not from the States. The different bloggers asked me for a free sample to write a review. One Brazilian website even took a short video about the adapters! I decided to keep up and also pretended to be a pleased customer and took a video how from the common SIM to make the Micro SIM.

On the day of release of iPad 3G suddenly a miracle happened. Orders started coming almost every 10 minutes. The Americans began slowly to catch up with. The news stories slipped on Engadged and Gizmodo and the website received 2000-3000 visitors a day. The average percentage of conversion in this case amounted to as much as 9%!

I quickly raised the price to 5.99 and 14.99 for one and five adapters, respectively. Surprisingly, buying capacity only became bigger after that. Periodically, the requests began coming in larger parties (as I understood from ebay dealers), I had to make a separate page for the “partners and dealers” with the prices for larger parties. Business was going well; the average turnover per a day was 700-800 Euros. After the advertisement of iPad 3G in Europe count of orders increased again. Now the average turnover per a day is a little more than 1,000 Euros. At the same time expenses are not more than 30%.

Plans for the near Future

1. Once it happened that I created a monopoly :) in the retail market for the MicroSIM adapters in one month, there is fairly well-known fact that if people have something to compare with, they are more willing to buy - then I decided to make for myself the business competition and I opened a second adapters shop with the slightly higher prices.

2. I also noticed that the level of conversion significantly below the average for the visitors from Japan and Germany. Accordingly, it would be logical to open two more localized versions of the website in Japanese and German languages, respectively.

3. Perhaps the most important become legal. I was not expecting that it would be so easy and fun, because there has not been a legal set-up for the shop yet. This question also should be resolved in the near future.

Interesting Summary

1. Unbelievable, but it is true. Despite the fact that in Google's search now my shop occupies if not the first place virtually for all the keywords, then certainly is in the top 5 - there is no more than 10% of the traffic (200-300 people per a day) and the conversion into the buyers is very low, not more than 4%. But traffic on the links, on the contrary, firstly it is large, and secondly conversion makes about 10-12%

2. Unbelievable, but it is true. Readily and most of all buy Italians and Brazilians. Conversion rate reaches as much as 20%. The most indecisive clients are Germans, they look at, but do not buy a lot, as well many people write in asking a support phone number.


1. One wise guy was trying to arrange me the business competition on the French market buying my 100 adapters at wholesale prices and selling them by the piece 15 Euros. In vain he just took my own photos; I quickly found him and frightened him by the court. He took off the adapters from sale in the same day.

2. Twice, the cellular providers turned to me (one from France and the other from Emirates), twice, it was a request for 50 000 adapters. Both of them I directed to the manufacturer. Did they business together? I do not know.

3. There were two orders from Russia. I sent confirmation of shipment in the Russian language; it seems that they liked it.

Actually, this interesting story happened to me last month. I am ready to answer questions or somehow to justify certain decisions. Any criticism is welcome :) I did a simple conclusion for myself - the minimum time should be spent for reasoning, we must act immediately!
“Translated from another resource”

P.S. For reference, the store - microsim-shop.com
Pirat 30 august 2011, 12:25
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