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Vurge and Thailand One Year On


I have to start by saying wow a year in the internet space is like 5 in the real world! So much has changed when I read over our direction from your last article featuring us.

We were asked to talk about the hard times not just the good, and we have had our fair share of both.

Firstly, we still live in Thailand and have seen some of the most amazing things, and experienced moments in life we will treasure for ever. I’ve shared a few picture highlights with you.

In the world of online ecommerce we hit some lows, picked ourselves up and come back stronger then ever.
A few months after your last article the majority of our new sites were spanked from Google to the point of no recovery. We had hired an SEO Company to help rank them and this, maybe with the combination of our how public they were (we were being featured on several ecommerce platforms) contributed to them being lost.

After feeling sorry for ourselves for a brief period we asked ourselves what can we do to start again and make sure we protect ourselves from this happening again. Nathan now has a huge passion for ranking sites, it’s like a game to him, but more importantly we both understand that without rankings our sites will never be seen and reach their full potential. I know people survive using market places and social media platforms but for us this is risky and usually requires ‘garage sale’ prices which is not the direction we want to take. We focus on higher profit margin, lower conversion products, and provide additional services and extras to justify the higher prices.

Nathan went about learning how to rank better, and took back control of all our SEO. We still contract people to do what needs to be done, but we control what and when. We re-launched the majority of the same sites plus a large number of new ecommerce niches we discovered. We experimented with different SEO ‘theories’ across the different sites to determine if one was better than another. I can honestly say the results have been amazing. We are still experimenting and a lot of the results are new so we are not confident in confirming what has/has not worked in concrete, but all of our sites are doing really well, and it’s great to have real control over every aspect of our businesses. Thanks to our new direction, I’m having to head back to our warehouse in Brisbane shortly to get ready for hundreds of new products that are on their way for many of our new sites that are ranking and receiving regular traffic, and it will be nice to get back into the physical side of our businesses instead of sitting in front of a laptop.

Another trend I have noticed over the last year is suppliers increasing their ability to sell direct to the general public in smaller quantities. I have had numerous small business owners contacting me, asking how they are meant to compete against suppliers that now offer lower quantities and prices making them easy access. We decided that this is the wrong question business owners should be asking, they should be asking ‘how can suppliers compete with me?’. Obviously you can not compete on price but you can compete on branding. Suppliers ship via slow mail, they don’t accept returns, they don’t brand and they don’t put emphasis on providing great customer service to smaller buyers. This means they won’t build confidence with consumers who would rather pay more for guaranteed quality and service, and the ability to quickly return the item to a local address for an exchange if required.

There will always be customers that just want to pay the least amount they can for the product they want, these customers will usually shop via market places such as ebay first. These have never been our target customer, as our customers are searching for a better experience when they shop online, and providing them with one is my mission. This is how you get word of mouth advertising, the most effective and cheapest form of marketing.

A lot people reach out to ask if there are any niches left. There sure are, and this year we found over 15 low competition, medium to high traffic niches. One of our latest niche ecommerce sites is receiving over 800 unique visitors a day. We haven’t even launched it yet (the site only went up 5 weeks ago!), but the initial product line is on the way. A reader of our ecommerce blog asked if she should launch a business around a particular product and most of the time we have to deliver the news that we feel there is not enough traffic (it’s amazing how many business owners skip this vital step), but she hit a gold mine. She found a niche that has over 12,000 local exact match searches a month with very little competition, so we are now helping her get off the ground, while kicking ourselves that we did not find it first! We never compete with businesses that come to us for advice, but we do sometimes get a little jealous…

(Read the original article here)



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