Here's a big difference between people saying they're excited about your product and people actually spending their hard-earned money.
Often, you will talk to 10 people who are excited about your product, only to have one of them follow through. If you're creating an online store, this can be a big problem. You're investing your time and money into this venture, and of course, you want to know if it will work out.
A great way to get your toes wet before you develop an entire product line is to try selling just one product.
If you can create enough orders, then you know you're on the right track and you can develop the rest of the line. Recently, crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have given creators a new avenue for testing the waters. James Olander, the creator of The Roost, created multiple Kickstarter campaigns. In his first, he raised $180,000 for his initial production run, and in his second, he raised almost $800,000. It was only after his initial success that he created his e-commerce site where he sells the stands year-round. He had an awesome idea and proved that it was something people wanted, and then invested it in his website and the production equipment. Crowdfunding is a great way to get pre-orders and judge interest. If you don't get pre-orders or some sort of interest, that is not a bad thing. You've saved yourself a lot of time. If you can, reach out to those people and ask them why they didn't pre-order. You'll probably get some really useful feedback. Maybe the pictures weren't good. Maybe they didn't trust the look of the website. Maybe the product looked too good to be true. This is all awesome news. Take that back to the drawing board, revise your pre-order page, and try again. If you still can't get traction after multiple pre-order attempts, there's probably a disconnect between you and your audience. Pre-orders are the best form of validation, but running a crowdfunding campaign is a whole project by itself and involves you learning an entirely new platform. You can instead focus on getting emails. A crowdfunding campaign about bedding collected around 10,000 emails before their launch with the help of some ads. However, they knew they weren't going to have 10,000 customers because someone giving you their email is a much weaker form of validation. Sheets & Giggles, the company here, only expected a three-percent conversion rate. This will, of course, vary industry by industry, and it depends on the size of your list. If you have an email list with 100 friends and family, you could get maybe a 40% conversion rate. But as you reach out to people who know you less and less and eventually reach out to the general public via ads, those conversion rates really drop off. So you can use email addresses as validation. Just understand, it's a much weaker signal. If you think you have a great idea, you can always throw caution to the wind and dive head-in first. Sometimes you're so passionate, you just want to make a thing and skip the validation step. But then, you can't expect people to buy your product when you launch. Over the years, I spent too many hours developing software that no one uses. Nowadays, I love getting some sort of validation from users that this is a real problem and that my product is a good solution.
Before you build a whole site, make sure that you get some sort of validation.
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