Oct 282015

Subscription based ecommerce is gaining popularity in the USA. Are you considering something similar for your products or services? Here are some of the popular formats.

  1. Same product - Same price - repeat purchase:
    This is the oldest format and has been going on in the non-internet world for ever. The simplest example is newspaper / magazine subscriptions but also popular for office supplies like paper, ink cartridges, break room supplies etc. You pay a fixed amount every month in advance and the publications or products are sent to you every month.
    1. Customer Advantage: Convenience.
    2. Merchant Advantage:
      1. Predictable revenues.
      2. Longer lasting revenue streams per customer. Subscription based customers don't cancel that often even if they don't use the products that much. It's too inconvenient to cancel.
  2. Different products - Same price - somebody else does the selection for you:
    A relatively newer concept made popular by companies like the Trunk Club. You pay a monthly fee, a fashion consultant has a session with you online, suggests a wardrobe for you and then sends you a box of clothes every month to suit your personality and lifestyle. You can talk to the consultant periodically and suggest changes.example of subscription based ecommerce
    1. Customer Advantage:
      1. Convenience.
      2. Professional help 
      3. Discreet
      4. New items to enjoy and look svelte in - an area men seldom pay attention to otherwise
    2. Merchant Advantage:
      1. Customer loyalty
      2. Reaching a new type of customer
      3. Competitive advantage
  3. Different products - Same price - you pre-select items for the whole year:
    One of our clients came up with a suggestion and we created and implemented it for him. Without disclosing his items, he sells premium designer accessories, let's say costume jewelry - a set of necklace and earrings. These are not cheap and each set costs $800 to $1,200. Women love to have such premium quality costume jewelry but can at best afford one set a year. The way his model works is customers sign up for a subscription, say $99 / month. Then they go through his selection of jewelry and drag and drop the sets they like for the next 12 months. Set A for January, set Q for February, set JQ for March and so on. Every month, he ships the customer her choice of jewelry and in the same box the customer ships back last month's necklace.
    1. Customer Advantage:
      1. New premium necklace every month. If you are a woman, you can truly appreciate it's value
      2. Affordability
    2. Merchant Advantage:
      1. Customer loyalty
      2. Reaching a new type of customer
      3. Increased sales - the monthly payments make it easier to pay for an expensive item

Trunk Club Subscription Ecommerce Service

Have you come across a unique or uncommon type of subscription? If so, please share in the comments below.

Thank You.

Sep 162015

Not every ecommerce site is the same so it's hard to say what features you must have. What I have done is list almost all the features that an ecommerce site can have and you can pick and choose what you need for your ecommerce system / shopping cart system.

Product title

Stats (views / fans / item follows / sales)

Short description

Social proof

Long description

Social sharing buttons

Product Make

Social voting e.g. give a product thumbs up

Product Model


Manufacturers part #



Up-selling (buy with X and save $$$)

Your internal part # or SKU

Request back order when temporarily out of stock

Product settings

Pre-order for items not yet in stock

Product options

A blog that blends well with store to improve search rankings.

Product variants

Newsletter Subscription:

Product attributes

Good Payment Gateway:

Quantity restrictions

Privacy Policy:

Support any product type

Good Return Policy:

Search Box:

Customer login & registration:

Featured Products

Delivery Information

Related products

News & Events:

Intelligent recommendation system

Fast load times

Highlight special offers

Ease of use

Easier Dashboard management

Seamless checkout experience


Clear policies

Image Management

Crisp photo galleries and product photos for pushing people to buy more.


A clean navigational menu to guide customers throughout your site.

360 views of products/ Product Zoom

A What’s New category to expose new items

Unlimited Product images with options

A live chat module for a fast and easy way to contact your company.

Visually appealing template

An email acquisition form for selling to people later.

Colour options

Mobile responsiveness, as many people are buying through mobile devices now.

Good Graphics

An affiliate program that convinces people to sell your products for you.

Add to cart button

Refer a Friend


Discount/Voucher/Coupon system


Gift certificates.

Payment methods

Integrated CRM software


Integrated Shipping Software

Returns Management

Thank you page

Sizing / size guide


User generated content

Sell your Products option

Item reviews (and / or comments)


Tools for rating reviews


Sorting options for reviews

Order tracking.

Syndicated expert reviews

Order history.

Links to PR e.g. this product reviewed by popular blogger

Opportunity to generate and print invoices.

Links to value add content e.g. buying guide

Opportunity to view, edit or create orders from admin dashboard

User Q&A (a nice addition for some brands to reviews)

SEO friendly URLs.

Social comments e.g Facebook comments -

Auto generated sitemap.

Opportunity to distribute products through various marketplaces and social networks, like eBay, Amazon and Facebook.

Inbuilt report system

Purchase tracker - showing the latest people who have bought the item

Integration with third party analytics system

Add to wishlist

PCI compliance.


SSL support.

Trustmarks (security signs, testimonials)

Professional technical support.

A live chat module for a fast and easy way to contact your company.

Solid and well-structured documentation.

Brand differentiation

Extensions / plugins

Security & Trust logos

Talk to your developer and see which features and functions are practical for your application and can fit your budget.

If you can think of features that I missed, feel free to mention them in the comments below and we will publish them here so others can benefit.


Sep 102015

Have you received an email titled



What PayPal is doing is implementing a step higher security between your website and PayPal to reduce the chances of hackers getting access to it. It's good for you the merchant and it's good for the consumer.

Any website that is using SHA1 SSL (1024 bit) certificate  will need to upgrade SSL certificate to SHA2 (2048 bit encryption)/SHA256 SSL. A website using SHA1 SSL will need to upgrade to SHA2 SSL and all will be okay. 

Don't panic. Contact your developer and he can check or contact your hosting company and they can check. If you are not up to par, your developer can take care of it. It's not a very expensive fix. Don't have a developer, contact our Interloper, Inc. and they'll help you out.

Sep 072015
Self employed fileds of work - Arts & Entertainment - Computer & Mathemetics lead the filed of self employed / freelancers

Self Employed Fields of Work - Report by People Per Hour

The latest report by the U.K. based People Per Hour freelancing portal reports that Arts and Entertainment and Computer & Mathematics are still the two biggest sectors of the self employed economy in U.K. and the world at large. Healthy contributions by Business / Financials and Office / Administrative support.

Read the full report at http://research.peopleperhour.com/reports/Semi-Annual-Report-on-Self-Employment.pdf

Aug 162015

outsourcing eBay Listing Services

Should I hire somebody for listing products on eBay. Yes. Full time or part time? Depends on the volume of work.

Data Entry type of jobs are the easiest to outsource but be careful with the quality of English and grammar you desire. If you are going to provide the text, then it's less of a worry but if you want the data entry person to formulate and write the Title and Body Text, then you need to hire a little more carefully. People with good English cost a little bit more but they are still half the price of local data entry people. If your volume of work justifies it, you may hire multiple people to create eBay listings for you.

Would you require image resizing or editing? If so, make sure you let the freelancer know that beforehand. Not everyone can handle images and eBay has gotten very strict about it's image size and quality guidelines.

You may want to do a test run of 10 to 20 hours. See what kind of information they need from you, how they create the descriptions, can they adjust picture sizes, make the page look better and list accurately. If the test run requires that you adjust your methodology, then do so. If it shows the provider being reluctant to use common sense, encourage him as quite often it is a fear of making errors. If it still does not help, then maybe you need to find a new provider.

One of the reason data entry gets outsourced so often is that you prepare your part of the work during the day and then send the files to the outsourcer on the other side of the world. They do the data entry / create eBay listings while you sleep. When you wake up, your products are already listed and people are bidding and buying them already.

If your products are price sensitive, your freelancer can also do price comparisons for you. You'll be surprised how good lower cost staff can help you do more business.

As you get comfortable and start doing more business at a lower cost, you may want to explore additional items to add to your website or upload the same products to other marketing portals like cutratestreet.com, Amazon, Rakuten etc.

Feel free to contact us for a quote on our Data Entry and eBay Listing Services.

Aug 082015

The biggest reason is poor communication. Sometimes that gap is linguistic in nature, sometimes neither party is willing to work in the other’s time zone, sometimes the business owner just does not realize he needs to do a better job at explaining his business process to the outsourcing company.

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