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New Website, daily visitors, no sales - ideas??

islajavacoffeeislajavacoffee subscriber Posts: 1
edited May 2008 in Website Critique
We did all the right things, created a business plan, identified a target market, created a very good product according to all the test marketing (fresh roasted coffee - we roast to order).
Purchased good e-comm web site software, created a brand and trademarked it, accept payments with PayPal and ship UPS.  We have 5 signature blends, + 2 classics (Mokha Java and a fantastic Italian Espresso).  Checked our competition and our price points are both fair and competitive with the average.  We sell wholesale and retail, though the web site handles the retail side of things.
We are advertising with Google AdWords and often place in the first 10 sponsored links on the first page of search results for "roasted coffee", "fresh roasted coffee", and "fresh roast coffee", right alongside Seattle`s Best, Green Mountain, Gevalia and others.
Lots of impressions, daily visitors to the site, but no sales.  We sent out samples in December with 10% off first order, loyalty and referral incentives (11th pound free after 10 - for the lifetime of you being a customer), 5 referrals that convert to orders nets the referrer a free pound, and these two strategies should provide the opportunity for our market to gro organically.
We also donated our coffees to a local high school booster`s organization, both for their dinner coffee service, and for silent auction.  Included new customer welcome packets outlining the incentive programs - no sales.
Perhaps launching a retail business in the middle of a recession (Michigan - not a great business climate at the moment), but we market to a national audience.
You can find our merchandise on our web site a number of different ways, and we include links to FAQ, help, privacy policy, contact us, etc on every page and even a helper menu of these links on the home page.
Any ideas?
Kevin, Roastmaster/CEO, Isla Java Coffee Co., LLC


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    islajavacoffeeislajavacoffee subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks for the input, but you didn`t answer the question that this thread centers around - critiquing the web site.  Our AdWords ad has resulted in over 8000 impressions this month with targeted placement often in the first 10 sponsored links on page 1 of the search results.
    We have had 69 click-throughs to our site.  This is a web site critique thread, right?
    I understand you are trying to sell SEO services, but what I`m looking for is website content and what isn`t compelling those 69 targeted visitors who were compelled to click on our ad and visit our site but didn`t place an order.  That`s an average of over 2 new visitors a day.
    Looks like SEO is equally as competitive as fresh roasted coffee
    islajavacoffee4/27/2008 9:23 PM
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    WeblineWebline subscriber Posts: 13 Bronze Level Member

    Personally, I don`t think theres much that really sets you apart from other sites. You advertise your products, talk about why it`s unique or different or better, etc. But to an average visitor, there isn`t anything solid, or any evidence right away, that you really are better than the others. Obviously, your visitors can`t smell or taste your product right away. I`ve never purchased food or drink products online, simply because it`s easier for me to go down the street to get what I`m familiar with vs. going with the unknown; I already know what I`m getting.
    Their edge, in many cases, is their names, which are popular and known. You are up against bigger, better known companies, so you have to work harder to get peoples attention,

    set yourself apart, get people to trust you and your product. Free samples might help, or free shipping on a sampler, but that can be extrem

    ely expensive on your part. So  part of the trick is to  throw a convincer in there, something to make your visitors say "Yes, I want to try this", and follow through.
    Part of that, to me, is the images you use. Waves and reefs and buildings are not conveying anything to me about this being a superior coffee; they are just imagery for the names/categories, but don`t tell or show me anything as a potential customer. I want to see the product in some form with clear pictures.
    If it is roasted to order, does that mean it is done when I place the order? How long before it is shipped? How fresh is it when I get it? Maybe simplistic questions with obvious answers, but myself  I would like it spelled out clearly and fairly soon if I`m considering it. Something like "Shipped within hours of roasting!" would be beneficial.
    Basically, tells us why this is beneficial to us, and not so much about yourself, right up front. You already know about you, and we can learn about you on your "About Us" page; make the benefit to me clearer first.
    When you say "good ecomm software", I can`t comment really on the cart functionality, but checking with W3C there are almost 200 errors in the code, an excessive amount of javascript and css, and I don`t see things like h1/h2 tags. Cleaner, corrected, optimized code would help for SEO. Much of the text is too small and difficult to read. And the main page looks like a standard shopping cart site layout, nothing to really catch the eye and grab a users attention.
    You`re dealing with coffee lovers, which I am, and I`m sure you are too; make it appeal and sell to me, which it isn`t. If you visited your site for the very first time and knew nothing about your company or products, would you be convinced to buy?

    Webline4/27/2008 9:36 PM
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    bchwlkr56bchwlkr56 subscriber Posts: 0
    Thanks for the beneficial tips, I will use them to create a more friendly website.
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    islajavacoffeeislajavacoffee subscriber Posts: 1
    Thank you all of you - that`s exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for.  Now it`s time to go to work.
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    stonesledgestonesledge subscriber Posts: 608 Silver Level Member
    Hello http://www.erinhurry.com/islajavacoffee.zip . as you will notice, they all have "niche". What you need to know is your specific niche in the large and competitive market. Also you want to showcase that to folks, as soon as they visit your site. You want a visitor to be intrigued and to feel a connection to your product. "why should I purchase here?"..... " i like the prices here but the other site xyz" 
    I personally have 3 roaster clients and it`s all about the wholesale. That is where I would focus.. you want folks selling your products and you  can then focus on producing and creating. My one client actually sustains an entire community in Guatemala and the other just opened a very small retail spot to help build his brand, he is holding weekly cupping events and we make sure he gets lots of local publicity in the newspaper. He is all organic. The third client sells organic free trade coffee and added a chocolate line that is made with her coffee to help her stand out. Get into the bakeries...they have those in MI... go talk to the coffee houses..they may not be happy with who they are with and small restaurants in town. Get folks set up as resellers. The coffee market is so competitive and the one who hustles and bustles the most, has a great product and a great personality to make people want to "work with them" , will be the guy in your local market to get the goods. It will go from there... Sally will tell Aunt Susie where she gets that great coffee from...so make sure you keep your current clients happy..give collateral to get in touch.. and don`t be afraid to sponsor a coffee break at a local event or community meeting... Go whoop some butt!!
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    vwebworldvwebworld subscriber Posts: 40
     quick review of your site I have three comments:

    Your styles ( in the page code) should be moved to an external style sheet.
    To help conversions - you should reduce the number of clicks required for the viewer to purchase the product.
    I would change the content of the home page to feature more product.. that`s what you want to sell.

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    stonesledgestonesledge subscriber Posts: 608 Silver Level Member

    So what do you think you will do to get the results you are looking for?
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    exgeekexgeek subscriber Posts: 1
    You`ve gotten lots of great feedback here.  The only thing I wanted to add is that ecommerce sites usually have a conversion rate around 1% or less so it`s not that shocking that 0 of 69 visitors converted.  I am sure some of these suggestions above will help, but you are also dealing with a numbers game to some extent either way.
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    stonesledgestonesledge subscriber Posts: 608 Silver Level Member
    I second that... gotta build the brand outside of the www and then use that as a tool for sales.
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    islajavacoffeeislajavacoffee subscriber Posts: 1
    Wow, Erin,
    You did a lot of research!  Thanks for the zip file. I have been poring over the posts.  I think some of them are quite valid, and yet others are critique for the sake of critique.   I have found out something that IS working and that is I TALK to people (in the local market), find out from the discussion whether they are coffee fanatics or not.  Sometimes they know who I am and what I do from word of mouth and I get people asking me for a sample before I`ve had the conversation.  We have loyalty and referral programs that reward customers for these WOMM activities.  That is marketing that works.  So I`ll address some of the comments but I won`t name names. 
    For instance the comment about having lists that are not highlighted as links, like many sites when you roll over your mouse the "list" item turns into a an underline and when you click to it you go right directly to that CATEGORY for the coffee.  In the coffee business, visitors know their coffees by various criteria, hence the categories, signature blends, fair trade, organic, single origin, growing region, flavored regular, flavored decaf, etc.
    As far as the comment about clicking around and not getting to much of anything and then eventually getting to prices - HUH?  You can get to coffee products and prices by at least 3 means on the page,  and often in 1 or 2 clicks.  You can find coffee if you know what your favorite coffee is by name, what growing region it comes from, if you like Fair Trade, Organic, Bird-friendly coffees, by roast style ("I like medium dark") coffee, flavored, unflavored, decaf, etc.  Not everybody shops for coffee in one way.
    As far as the "other stuff we sell",  We specialize in the "unplugged" coffee brewing experience, and the tast difference between any coffee brewed in an automatic electric coffee maker and the unplugged experience is dramatic.  We also speak of that on our site in "the more you know" section which appears as a section unto itself on the home page.  Cross selling related items is a standard merchandising tactic that WORKS.  It make take me raw materials and labor to produce a coffee product at a decent margin.  It takes me nothing to buy something at wholesale and flip it at retail and it RELATES TO THE CORE PRODUCT.
    I have run at least 2 other online retail businesses in the past 10 years, and sidelines account for at least 50% of the sales.  In fact I have one customer who is also a professional associate of mine in my "day job".  I gave him a bag of coffee. He likes the coffee - says it`s like no other he`s ever tasted.  He has a K-cup brewer that he and his wife is unsatisfied with.  He browsed my site and is very interested in (as he puts it - "soup to nuts" brewing stuff to replace his unreliable K-cup brewer). He has to convince his wife to spend the money.   Sales is a process and I`m working the process.  For the COGS of about $5 for a bag of coffee, he is planning on spending the cash for a Burr Grinder, 2L carafe or airpot, filter cone, filters, cleaning agent, and a French Press.  That`s over $150 in related merchandise with a 50% margin...for giving a way a bag of coffee and establishing a relationship.  Filters and cleaning agent are consumables, and thus part of the repeat purchase experience along with the coffee.  Ignoring cross-sell opportunities of sideline items in any online retail experience is just plain foolish in my experience.
    As far as highlighting links, etc.  The web has changed, but I am in fundamental agreement with this one.  However the "static blue text with an underline" type of link is passe` and there are other ways to highlight.  I`m not crazy about the black text that changes when you rollover it (because the link value is not apparent to the user scanning the page), but I can fix that with a style change.
    We do have a restaurant chain that we are supplying already, and a short list of repeat retail customers in the local, California, and Florida markets created strictly by WOMM.  We did accomplish that having only been online since Feb 1 of this year.
    What I`m finding, however is that paid AdWords gets me visibility in the first page of sponsored links, and puts me right alongside Seattle`s Best, Green Mountain, Starbucks, etc. and visitors do click through, but competing with established brands I`m a nobody at this point.  I recognize that.  But I do have to take notice that those clicks that did come to my site, did choose me over Green Mountain, Seattle`s Best, etc. so I must have aroused curiosity.  Perhaps I still need to work on the "compell to buy" proposition.
    And for those who think I`m just a newbie amateur on the web, I`ve been  guiding companies as a web and enterprise architect since 1996 to put their products on the web, perform stock trades, apply for multimillion dollar capital acquisitions (airplanes, trains, etc) and managing the financing securely and remotely, from small mom-and-pops to Fortune 100 companies.  I`m far from new to the web/e-comm wholesale and retail space, and I bring the experience of those 10+  years as well as having run 2 online businesses that sold retail items long before e-comm became mainstream.
    I appreciate the input from all of you, and especially you Erin for putting a positive spin on it and doing so much research.  Trust that it will not go unnoticed or underutilized.  It`s great information for me to compare and contrast to and perhaps pull something out - a technique, or value proposition or something else that will give me an edge in the competitive field of Roasted-to-Order specialty coffee.
    Best regards to all,
    Kevin, Roastmaster/CEO, Isla Java Coffee Co., LLC


    islajavacoffee5/3/2008 9:14 AM
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    stonesledgestonesledge subscriber Posts: 608 Silver Level Member

    Hi Kevin,
    You are very welcome.


    I have two people I think you would enjoy bouncing ideas off of. They are both in your industry. They both would be delighted to discuss what they are doing, trends, resources, events, tricks of the trade, what has worked for them and what has not. You also can give them a different perspective from your standpoint and background. If you are open to that I would be more than happy to put you in contact. Just Pm me, and I can provide you with my email or phone to give you their info. I have learned that in life and in business that you can only grow with first a plan to do so of course but what really motivates is excitement in knowledge. I am always excited when an associate of mine brings up some new ways to do things. Things of would of never imagined were a possibility. It not only a new way to discover growth but motivates me to want to do better. There is so "much" out there, and the more I look, the less I know and this is what keeps me reaching.


    You have definitely done your homework from what you explained above and having been on the www for 3 months and already been successful, that is quite an accomplishment. You know how to make this work from your previous experience. I say, surround yourself with like minded folks and stay excited everyday about what you are doing. Your possibilities are limitless. This excitement will spill over into all you do, especially sales and volume.


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    islajavacoffeeislajavacoffee subscriber Posts: 1
    Those are some interesting observations.  We`ll take them under consideration.
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