eCommerce Store Guide
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eCommerce Store Guide

eCommerce strategies - Learn how to set up your professional e-commerce site, no huge investments made.
4.5 (9 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,411 students enrolled
Created by Patrick Gerrits
Last updated 3/2016
Current price: $10 Original price: $20 Discount: 50% off
5 hours left at this price!
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  • 3 hours on-demand video
  • 1 Article
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Make better decisions
  • Choose the next step for your business better and more precise
  • You know how to run a professional webshop
  • Know the right way to utilize SEO
  • Choose which e-commerce system is the best for you
  • You dare to make a choice which product you are going to sell
  • Make a choice between drop shipment or taking stock
  • Know how to treat your customers
  • Know what steps could kill your business
  • Being able to see opportunities and grab them
View Curriculum
  • A computer with internet
  • Trust en believe in yourself and your capabilities
  • Know your way around the internet

Always wanted to be an entrepreneur or maybe an eCommerce entrepreneur? Always had the dream to start selling stuff? Maybe even thought about selling stuff online? Maybe you're even started already! That is great stuff! I have been in that situation some years ago. But then I just did it. I bought some products, let me build a professional online store (first mistake) and started. Now, almost 5 years later, I had over 10 eCommerce businesses in various businesses. From small too big. From a success to an absolute failure. During that time I learned a lot! Now is the time to transfer that knowledge not only to my intimate customers but also to you! Join this course now, 30 days

*** Over 1000 Students joined this course! Join them now and learn all about setting up and running an eCommerce business ***

This is what other students are saying:


If You Want to be the Best, then Learn from the Best:Patrick is a great person and a great teacher. He successful yet very kind & ground to earth. It feels very motivating & energetic while taking this course. Its great to see the best becoming even better and that's because he keeps improving the course by adding more content periodically


28th March Update: Added 4 lectures. Advanced Tacking Stock and Dropshipment, theme your shop for a few Dollar and why i prefer WordPress.

18th March Update: Added in depth lectures about installing, configuring WordPress and WooCommerce.

12th March Update: Added lectures about in depth SEO, how it works and how you should use it with WordPress

Some courses out there only focus on SEO and Online marketing, but this course doesn't. This course will teach you everything that you need to know to start selling products online. It does not matter if you doesn't have any experience or you are already started. I will guide you from the beginning to the end. It is designed to provide you with hands-on knowledge of critical topics such as:

    ·What is eCommerce

    ·How to set-up your eCommerce business

    ·How to determine your market

    ·Make, buy or use drop shipment

    ·Find your Customers

    ·Make customers to find you

    ·Run the eCommerce business

    ·Customer support

    ·Manage growth

    ·The future

This course is easy to follow with practical tips. At the end of the course you will have a new look to eCommerce and will run your business better.

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone who wants to start a business in e-commerce
  • People from any age
  • Entrepreneurs or people without any expirience
  • Succes is not created by one aspect, all of them work together. You must take the full course to take the full benefit
Compare to Other E-Commerce Courses
Curriculum For This Course
49 Lectures
3 Lectures 09:13

Introduction to the course, i will teach you with section does what and what sections you can skip if you already have an online business.

Preview 07:26

What is eCommerce? That is a fairly simple question. eCommerce is trading in products or services using computer networks, such as the Internet. Wow that is a nice description don't you think? But personally I think that is more than just trading. It is about your place on the internet, the way people find you, experience you and most of all of they are treated. In a normal store you expect there is personal that helps you if needed and that there is always a place where you can return your goods. I think online trading is the exact same, but somehow not all online store do that. Next lecture will continue on this subject but going a little deeper in to the different aspects of eCommerce

Preview 00:56

As we spoken about In the last lecture e-commerce is not just having a webpage with some products and PayPal linked to it. It is an experience for customers. You want them to feel at home, you want them to find your products easily and you want them to buy your products as quickly as possible with as less possible questions asked.

After that you want that the product is delivered as soon as possible or at least within the timeframe you communicated, that the product is intact ad that is the correct one! But even if that is all perfectly executed you want to have a very good customer service, and simple and clean instructions how to return the bought products and when the client did that as well, make sure you give them a refund on the moment you received the goods. No questions asked!

What makes e-commerce?
What is your business?
5 Lectures 08:59

In this section we are going to setup your business and make a business plan. To start with the goal. You have chosen to go through this course. You made a decision that you want to run your own webstore or maybe how to perfect the one you currently have. It is very important that you have a goal set in mind. I you want quick money, I don't think this is the best choice, If you want more control in your life and make better decisions about the time you spend on work, this is probably a good choice.

I started in this business because I taught I was a good sales guy and I was a Nerd. So I started to sell stuff online. I loved gaming so why did I not start a webshop in games! And well there was my first webstore. Not a great heroic tale with some fancy plot turns, but it was my story and how I made this decision.

What is your goal?

In the beginning of my career I taught that everything would go perfectly fine if I do it all by myself. Just me, myself and I. No one to talk to, no one that I need to explain what I'm doing and no splitting of the profits!

Well, as you can probably guess, that is all nonsence. My best online experiences where those where we had a team of 2 or 3 persons. You can split tasks, you can talk to your team members about strategic decisions, they tell you of your mistakes, they show you how to make it better and besides that all, and 2 minds are more creative than 1 mind.

So again, think about this one and who are you going to work with.

Who is in your team?

Your eCommerce company is getting somewhere! Well, in theory then. Because we are not there yet. In this lecture we are going to choose which product you are going to sell. I sell fabric, make-up, games, gadgets and some other stuff as well.

Why do I sell those? Sometimes because I love the product (games), sometimes because is saw an opportunities (games & makeup) and sometimes just to try something new (gadgets). The import thing to keep in mind here that there is no right or wrong. It will just take a new approach. For example, if you are going to sell a new product that no-one ever heard of you will have to spend a lot of time on getting people to know the product and see the benefits. Positive side is that you have none or very less competitors. You can also start to sell a product that is well known like games. You don't need to explain your customers that the PlayStation is a neat device but there are dozens of other shops out there that sell the exact same product. So how will you stand out?

Again there is no right or wrong. This step is very important and it does not matter to take a few days or even weeks to make a decision. My personal preference is to sell products that are getting to be common but where there are not so many competitors out there.

What product are you going to sell?

In the last lecture we talked about the product you are going to sell. Depending on that choice you will need to select your preferred target customer. Let's stick to computer games. Your main target is the group who uses it most AND has money to buy it. That would be the kids from 18 – 25. The secondary group is the group of kids from age 10 – 18 and the final group is the 25+ group.

I divided my customers into three groups. The reason I did that was to design my web store, my marketing and pricing strategy to match those groups. This is very important. You will have to make a main decision. That group is going to be 60% of your total sales. You web store design, the words you use, the pricing, the delivery methods, etc. all of those things need to be fine-tuned to your primary customer group. Then make some decisions to suit your secondary group without taking out stuff from the third group. You don't spend too much time on the last and tertiary group. That is just extra sales without any big effort.

Who are your customers?

The suppliers are the backbone of your company. But there are quite a few of them out there. You have the domestic ones, the one I a neighboring country of the once further away, like for me Asia of the US. Each of those have pros and cons. For me Asia is a great market. Lot of products, great prices and if you know you way around a lot of opportunities. There are a town of brands of good products there you don't know of yet. That is good, because maybe you can become the sole supplier for your country, state of even region. Like I did with the mobile chargers.

Important to remember is that the supplier is the start of your process. If something goes wrong there, or if you don't 'trust' they don't do it. You need to place your trust in them to deliver on time and if you go on with drop shipment (we will speak about that later) than it is even more important. I have a simple rule for myself. I need at least 2 or 3 suppliers or I won't go into business. I Also place orders by them all. TO build a relationship. I something goes wrong with supplier A I still have supplier B and C.

Then there is the question, where can you find them. That has been a reel difficulty for me in my beginning years. I did not know where to find the supplier. After some years I found out how to do it. It is a combination of Google, calling and some detective work.

On google you can find a lot of them, if you search for the right words. Always try to use the word wholesale in the sentence or use the “minimum order quantity” or MOQ term. Almost only wholesale companies use that.

If you search for game wholesale.

The final one is calling manufacturers to ask a list of wholesalers or distributors. So just call or send a mail. The final one is to do some detective work. A good place is an event like the CES in Las Vegas, there a lot of companies there so you need to do some shopping, but you will get there.

Where are the suppliers?

Section 2
3 questions
Make, Buy or ... ?
7 Lectures 30:24

In the last topic we talked a lot about the importance of the supplier. I also mentioned that when you use drop shipment it is even more important. But let's not get ahead or ourselves. There are 3 options. You buy products from a manufacturer or wholesaler and take stock. You buy from a manufacturer or wholesaler but now you let them keep the stock and send products to a customer directly and the last one is that you are the manufacturer. I will explain them more in depth in the coming lectures.

The possibilities

Tacking stock, this was in my early days the most logical choice. Buy products from the supplier, ship it to me, I pay after 30 days and in the meanwhile I can sell the products. It felt more like being an entrepreneur. You only have a certain budget, so which stock are you going to butt and which not. And how many. It is a fun game. I really loved making those decisions. But there are some big downsides. What if the stock is not sold to your customers? Even worse what if the stock is not sold yet but the prices already dropped so no matter what you are going to lose money.

The choice of taking stock is not wrong, you should just know that there are other options. And if you take stock take your losses quickly. Your profit is usual in your stock. In my previous company we were at the point we had over $80.000 stock (buying price). We had 20.000 on our bank account. And a bank credit of 50.000. The smart ones already see there is a problem. We had some issues with our webpage and suddenly on of our suppliers send a bill of 90.0000 euro. All our money was in the stock! So the business was perfectly healthy (from a balance perspective) but the cash flow became a problem. We then needed to dump our stock onto the marker to get some cash to pay the bills.

Remember, money in stock is no money on the bank. To make money of that again you need to sell it first…

Taking Stock

Taking stock - advanced

Drop shipment is wonderful new (well it was new a few years ago) method for eCommerce businesses. It is great! You call your drop shipment supplier, they send you a big file of all their products, prices and current stock (called a feed) and you import that once or twice a day on you online store. If a customer's places an order they pay the money to you, but the order is fulfilled by the supplier. You after each order of bundled in batches you send those orders to the supplier. They package them en send them to your customer. After that you will receive an invoice for the cost of product, shipment cost and a handling fee. And there is the catch. The handling fee. When you take stock the handling fee is your profit, because you do that and no one is charging money for that. In return for that handling fee you only have to do the sales and support. But your profits are way less. But please don't make the mistake that the risk is also less. All the risk is with you. If you spend the money on other stuff you cannot pay the bills. You are still an entrepreneur, don't forget that.

I'm using drop shipment as most as I can lately. Yes the profits are less, but now I can run 5 stores in the time of 1. And if the profit is 2 or 3 times less than normal, I still make more money in the end. So again think about that one. It is always possible to switch between methods.

Drop shipping

Drop shipment is all about managing your customers and taking advantage of all the things drop shipment has to offer. Receive and import the complete catalog XML file. And on every order send back an order.xml file to the dropshipper. They wil take care of the rest. eCommerce just became a lot easier.

Drop shipment - advanced

In this lecture we are going to talk about a special method for requiring your products. Make them yourself. Currently my wife is creating baby products, like blankets, napkins, etc. We are starting an online store off course (what would you expect) to start selling those blankets. The are some definitive pro's to this. We can set our own price, we control the stock, no middle man and a product we can take responsibility for.

But as always there are some big downsides. Yes we can determine our own price, but what is that price then? What I'm currently doing is determine a good market price. So I'm testing out prices on the internet on eBay, amazon, etc. Also is try to sell them as second handed. It is interesting to see what people are bidding. For example we thought about a sales price around $40, we got some bids on eBay for $25 - $30. En that was for a second hand used product. So maybe the retail price can be higher.

One more thing to consider is stock. Be honest about the actual stock you have, or mention very clear on your online store what delivery time is. At one point we received 5 orders on 1 day and that my friends was not a good day for me as a husband.

Become a manufacturer

Take some time for this decision, look around, find out what your competitors do, and are there drop shippers in the market? Is it still profitable to run a drop ship online store? If you would ask me t chose for you, I would definitely chose for taking stock especially when this is your fist online store. Just for the learning experience.

Which is best for you?

Section 3
2 questions
E-commerce system
4 Lectures 14:01

I'm going to start of one of my personal favorites. Specially for starting eCommerce entrepeneurs. The combination of WordPress and Woocommerce. WordPress is a very well know open source Content Management system or CMS. The beauty of WordPress is the fact there are so many users around there that almost all issues are known and there are a lot of free expansions. For example Woocommerce. It makes an online store out of your WordPress site. And trust me you would not see that it is WordPress store anymore. With the use of the right template (we speak about that later) it looks really good.

The system itself is getting better and better. Everything you need is in Woocommerce and if it not there you can extend it with plugins. For me this is the recommended way to start. When you get the hang of it you will be setting up a web store within a week with the same professional look and feel of a multi thousand dollar website.

Wordpress / Woocommerce

I don't know why but with this one i want to start with a big downfall. It is very difficult to customize Magento. The really good extension are all paid and are quit expensive. Magento is an open source online store CMS. It focuses 100% on eCommerce. Like WordPress which is built in PHP, Magento also is. But in Magento it is not as accessibly as WordPress i think. Magento can feel overwhelming at first, but when you are getting to know wit it is only getting better.

So what is my advice? If you are going to start out with a simple eCommerce business, don't do it. Are you switching your already running store, consider it. If you doing mass transactions and you have for example people that work for you that need to access the CMS, Use Magento.


The final one i want to discuss i relative new for me. I build an Opencart store a few months ago for a relative of mine. It is quite a nice system. It is somewhere in between Magento and Woocommerce. It is more focused on eCommerce than WordPress but It has a lot of functionality but not the Pro feeling from Magento. I actually loved it. The modification options are a little higher then with Magento due to the simpler system. There are also a lot of plug-ins out there free en paid that will help you create a personal online store.

Currently I have the following decision tree:

Is it a new shop? (Opencart of WordPress)

Does it have a lot of products (Opencart)

Or just a few (WordPress)


The reason i prefer WordPress is all about the easy interface, the easy and huge extension possibilities. Besides that WordPress works great in SEO.

Why i prefer WordPress

Section 4
2 questions
Wordpress in depth
6 Lectures 48:57
Install WordPress quick method

Install WordPress on local machine

WordPress is very easy to install. Just go to and download the latest version. When you have done that move over to you're server or hosting panel. Upload the zip file to the root of your web server (the httpdocs folder for example). There you can unzip the file. Normally WordPress will extract the files to the folder WordPress. So you need to go to There you get a very simple wizard to guide you trough.

Do not forget to setup a database!

Preview 07:48

After you installed WordPress you need to add the WooCommerce plugin or extension. This is very easy to do with some easy steps. Just go to the plugins menu option. And Click on the "Add New" button on top of the screen. Search for Woocommerce and install the plugin. After that you can customize WooCommerce to fit your needs and you specific locale. You will set up the local currency, base country, tax settings and payment ans shipping methods.

Install & Configure Woocommerce Part 1

This lecture continues on the previous lecture.

Install & Configure Woocommerce Part 2

Why spend thousands of dollars on designing and building a customer theme or chop for you eCommerce business? Spend $60 and get a better and fully functional theme you can create any site with.

Store design - a super cheap way!
Customers, where art thou?
3 Lectures 06:57

In this section we are going to talk about how to find customers en let them find you. It is important to note that you had to choose you primary target customers to start working on this one.

Who are your customers?

The question it get a lot from my customers is how to find customers. Or how they find you. First of all I want to get it out there that having an online store means that everybody on this planet with an internet connections (and probably a credit card) can buy something from you. That might be true, but the fact is that you don't have a store in the center of a city which people just pass by to take a look around.

Online shoppers shop for a goal. They want something and are searching for it. If you deliver want they want, they should find you when doing that. Remember that people don't accidently get on your store, they come for a reason. “But Patrick, I get a lot of visitors that come wo my online store and don't buy anything, matter of fact some of them leave after 5 seconds”. Correct, Google indexes your website, it has an algorithm for that. You can set a specific term to be found on, but you never know all terms that will show site in the search results. In the gaming store I had a couple of years back we had suddenly a lot of visitors on the keyword “plants”. Why? Well because there were some games out there with plants in them (angry plants) our site was back linked a lot and apparently we came up in the top ten of search results. A lot of people open the link and then come to our store to think: “huh?” and then just leave.

You probably want more than that. In the next lecture we will take about the latter one and after that how they find you online.

Do they find you or do you find them?

Go out there and look for sites where your target group is. It can be a forum or a comparison site. Place an ad there, help people out with questions they have interact with your group. Now a days you can use Facebook and Twitter. Follow influencing people on your field. Interact with them en let them interact with you. Follow the followers of that person. Maybe they follow you back and create a community. Same thing for Facebook. Join groups where you can advert you knowledge.

But never spam. Place a link in your forum signature, your profile or even you profile picture. But do not spam, because people will hate you for that.

Where can you find your customers?

Section 6
2 questions
Being found online, offline or both?
11 Lectures 49:55

To let people find you online SEO is very important. TO be clear I'm not a SEO expert. There are plenty of good SEO courses here on Udemy. SEO is all about using the right words, in the right context on your store. And then repeat that pattern. Over and over. But it is very important not to lie. Be honest. Don't use the keyword LA Lakers if you sell garden products. Google will punish you for that.

First step is to find out the best keywords for your store or business. You can do that using the google tools available. See what keywords are highly searched and how many competition you have.

After that build your content around those keywords. Us that word in the product descriptions without being weird. Us normal sentences. Create descriptions with some body. Use an URL that has you main keyword in it, the URL of the product should contain the keyword: /playstation-call-of-duty-ps4.html

You can guess what the keyword is here don't you?

Google will love you if you have great content with good keywords that they see all over the place on your store again with good content surrounding it.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

I hope you understand that I did not learn this all by myself. I learned it by using it, testing it out. Using free and paid tools out there. One tool is use a lot is Yoast for WordPress. Funny fact, this guy behind one of the most popular SEO plugins for WordPress lives in the same small village as I do here in the Netherlands. This tool from Yoast will tell you want to do per page with information in WordPress. It will tell you if the keywords, title, content, etc. are good enough for a high rating. Just by looking at what the tool makes as good teaches me what to do in a non-WordPress environment.

To sum up:

A title with the keyword in it and the words that comeback in the text on the page...

An url with the same as the title

The content which has the keyword in it and al lot of relevant text around it.

Images with a good alt text

Meta tags for that page that are relevant, meta title that is relevant.

In the past I owned the website I reached a top 5 ranking in Google for the PlayStation 3 game Fifa. The trick what I did there was the same as I described earlier. Except is also added landing pages. So each product of mine had a separate page that could be only found through google and the sitemap (not in the menu's) On that page I displayed the products, a short description of the product and the buy button.

Besides that I had a separate section on my online store talking about related stuff but again not so related. SO I talked about fixing a specific PlayStation problem. How to replace the hard drive. The history of the PlayStation, etc. etc. Maybe not so interesting for the gross of my customers, but Google loved it. I was a one stop place for PlayStation related information and products.

I sold about 50 products a day in the second month of my business through organic google searches. I have to be honest, I also had the lowest price on the market.

Implement SEO

In this lecture we talk about how to implement SEO on a WordPress store using Woocommerce.

SEO in more depth using YOAST

Summarising SEO all the steps you should take.

Another option to get found online is off course advertising. This is a tricky subject. Because one guy makes thousands with it and the other one only loses many. I'm the guy that is in the latter category. Maybe I'm doing it all wrong but I find it very hard to get results. And if you get, they are very hard to pinpoint to the campaign. One exceptions is Google AdWords, which you can track trough google analytics. My overall experience is that when you have a small profit margin it is very difficult to utilize a good online campaign unless you are swimming in money.

The campaigns that frustrate me are the cost per view campaigns, where you pay money for (possible) views. I rather pay more for every action than 10 cent per view.

But for name building, views to your brand/logo, and also some results it is a god alternative.

Online advertising

Affiliates are not something you should start with when you just opened your store. That should be done after a year or so. Affiliates want a small percentage per sale and in return for that the put your products on their webpages or they send mass mailings. Problem is that the good ones want some proof of your company, they want to start a long term relationship. Besides that it also uses some of your time for administration purposes and some technical adjustments. Only cost you money when you make money. So I think win – win.


Affiliates - advanced

Social media is another sport it think. IN the past I did some experiments. I opened an online store but not only 1 I opened 3 of them. All of them selling the same product, practically the same online store with some color variations and layout changes. Store A focused only on mouth to mouth advertising and organic google results. Store B focused on twitter and store C on Facebook. Funny to see that there wasn't much difference in sales between them. The Facebook store got me a lot of visitors but little sales. The twitter got me some sales, but also not a lot of visitors. The organic one, did best for me. I think it is because the people from store B & C are not volunteering to visit your store. They come through because I become a follower of because some friend of theirs liked my Facebook page. They are not actually looking for what you are selling. The people form google are… I think social media is great to do, you should to it, but do not expect them to bring tens of thousands of sales. Use it for customer service and promotions, that's better for me. Off course now a days you can also place advertisements on there. You can refer for my lecture on advertising on that.

Social Media

Showing of how good you are in comparison to your competitors. Not only you sell the product for a good price but also if you have the product in stock and what the users of that comparison site rates you! And in most cases you pay per click. I had no experience of the sites costing me money. The drove great traffic to my sites (over 70%) and the conversion rate was 10%. So I only spend 10x the click cost per sale. My profit was about €6 so there was enough left.

Pleased look into this form of advertising. When you got great reviews, have a great price than you will really make good money. It is also good for your Google ranking because of all the back links.

Comparison sites

The only thing is that people can only review your store or services. There is no selling. Two thing you should take from this. The site itself is a backlink to your site. And you can use the data they gather about you to show off on your site. For example if customers rate your store with an average of 9.2/10 than you can say on your store that that other site tells you that. Great marketing and gives potential customers trust.

Review sites

Traditional media can be very expensive but it can be worth it, if you have enough to spend.

Traditional Media

Section 7
5 questions
Expectations in the first month
4 Lectures 06:08

Now we are getting to really start your business. You should have a marketing strategy, defined your product, and defined the target group, the website system. You are practically ready to start. Except from the fact that we just talked about it and you are doing all the work. Now something different. We are going to talk about the first month running your business. A lot of course are going to stop after the last lecture but it think after starting the biggest questions arise. If not trough the lectures, don't forget that I'm available to all you questions.

Expect to make a loss in the first month. If you made a profit that is very good, there is no wrong here. But expect nothing. The first few days no one knows that you exist. Yes sure your friends do and you have 10 likes on Facebook. But that does not mean that people need what you are selling... yet. It takes time. Most important thing is that you should not panic. Celebrate your first sell that is not from a friend. But don't get depressed that it will take 3 or four days after that sale for the next one.

Preview 02:14

It is great to have a filled online store and that you have 20.000 products in stock. But uhm… what are you going to do with that? Start slow, make sure you can act quickly if necessary but don't 'make the same mistake as I did. What I did was after we were online for 2 weeks we had about 5 sales. I then came up with a great promotion! I called my supplier to purchase some stock, and he asked me, how much do you need. I responded send me 80 pieces. Well that is not wrong or anything only thing was that when we closed down I found 10 copies in a box….

It is important that you have 1 product of 20.000 variations then 20.000 variations of 1 product. Even though I strongly advise not to start with 20.000 products.
Sold out or sold nothing?

Talk on twitter But don't spam, create a harmless Facebook promotion, look for good review sites or comparison sites to add your products on. Look for improvements on the website. Tune it. Look for new wholesalers or new opportunities.


Invest big time in marketing unless you planed it out correctly. Don't post fake reviews on your own, don't drop prices because that other store is a little cheaper for a period. Don't buy more stock than you have money of. Don't make rapid investments or decisions. Don't stalk your twitter followers and don't create a Facebook like & win campaign every week.


Section 8
1 question
The customer is king!
3 Lectures 11:46

The customer is king. Who knows that phrase? I think it is the thing that makes or breaks your company on the long run. From day 1 to the very last day we treat our customers as kings. They are always right, well almost then. If they mail us saying the product is defective, they can send it back on our cost and they will get a new one. If they say the mailman did not deliver, we send a new one. Always respond within the same day or when over business hours, respond on the next morning. Sometimes a simple email just telling that you are looking into it will do the thing.

When customers ask for a refund (after you received the product back off course) you make the refund on the day you got the product back. Don't wait days. Even if the client is unhappy and that is why they send the product back, be nice, be polite and be a gentleman. You will be rewarded on the long run.

Customer service defines who you are

Customer Service - advanced

Customer service really defines your brand and company. We were known as the best online store in the Netherlands for two years in a row. We were the best rated online store on trust pilot, one of the bigger review sites. Customers knew that, when they placed an order with us, it did not matter anymore that were $2 dollars more expensive than the other guy, because at us, you were sure that you will get the product on time and in good shape. After some time trust becomes more important than price.

it defines your brand
Is growth the way to success?
2 Lectures 07:10

You are probably wondering what went wrong me my successful business. I will tell you that. In 2010 we were 1 ½ years in business. We were awarded for the best online store for the first time and sales where booming. In 2009 we made 300.000 of total sales. In 2010 we made 1.3 million. The profit margin was about 10 – 13%. We spend about 50.000 a year on marketing. But what went wrong. In the summer of 2010 the company was growing fast. So fast that we needed new financing. At that moment we were running the business on a Current account with a max of 25.000 euro. To imagine we sometimes had to pay invoices of 40.000+. We were already talking with our bank to increase the Current account to 100.000 or 150.000. There were no issues. Until in the summer the crisis hit in Europe. Greece fell apart and the financial sector broke down. The bank suddenly thought the company was way too young and gave us a Current Account with a max of 50.000. Because companies younger than 3 years could not get more.

At that moment we were in trouble, stupid as we were we trusted the bank, we trusted that the 100.000 will come. But it didn't. After a few weeks we had a stock of 70.000 euro, 20.000 euro cash and an invoice coming in of 100.000+. Then we were in trouble, normally you would pay the invoice with the Current Account and max it out. But that was not possible and we had to dump our stock onto the market. That was strike 1.

Due to our growth we were opening stores in 3 cities in Netherlands. That cost money. A lot, we did not have all at a sudden. Strike 2

The biggest postal company in NL decided to go on strike during December that costs a lot of sales (went down 50%). Strike 3

And finally, we were buying our goods in the UK. We were paying in pounds not in euro. Due the the downfall of Greece and the economic crisis within the Euro zone, the price of the euro dropped increasing our buying prices with 10 – 15% overnight.

That my friends cots us all of our profit for that year + an additional 80.000 euro of losses. Eventually in 2012 (even though the stores where running breakeven and making small profits) we had a serious cash flow problem and no more money to buy products. We decided to file for bankruptcy ourselves. All customers got their orders or their money back.

So what to learn from this…

What can go wrong?

So we are coming to the end of this course. The question is, now what. I think you have plenty of luggage now to start on your own. Maybe after a year or so, you start an extra online store or maybe even buy a competitor. Everything is possible. Like is said many times before stick to your plan, make minor changes, grow your business, take more stock, more product variations maybe expand in to more countries, with the internet the whole world lies at your feed. But remember the stuff I have been talking about.

What to do next & Conclusion
1 More Section
About the Instructor
Patrick Gerrits
3.9 Average rating
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7,874 Students
7 Courses
WordPress Expert, eCommerce professional & Entrepreneur

I'm Patrick Gerrits, 31 years old and father of a daughter and son. I'm a e-commerce entrepreneur, and IT Architect, but most of all I'm a idea machine. I always looking for new opportunities and I see possibilities instead off problems. I believe that you can sell everything online if you just know how to do it.

I have been an entrepreneur for life. Started when is was sixteen trying to sell t-shirts of computer games to my friends. When I was 22 i started my first 'real' web shop. Before that i was just trying out concepts and products to sell. When the shop did not sell anything for 1 week, I got bored and started a new business (Now i know better).
The real one was a shop selling computer games and game hardware. It was a huge success creating over 1 million of sales in the first year and being awarded best web shop in the Netherlands two years in a row. The growth was enormous but so was the learning curve, we made mistakes during that rapid growth that eventually got us. The shop went bankrupt after 3 years with a cash flow problem.

I'm proud of that experience during the last 6 months, when the company was going bankrupt, I learned the most. I'm putting all of the things I learned in my new businesses. Trying out new concepts, different sales models or even different shop systems.

Now I help starting entrepreneurs with their e-commerce business. Sometimes i help started business as well. I try to be the companion for the entrepreneur, helping them from A to Z. But also making sure they don't make the same mistakes I made in the past.

Here on Udemy I'm here to teach you everything I know about e-commerce and help you make the next step and maybe the best step you make in your whole life!