Episode Number 92 is posted under E-commerce

“I Started Selling Handkerchiefs Online…And Now My Wife Quit Her Job” – With Steve Chou

my wife quit her job
Entrepreneur Ignited Podcast by Derek Gehl “I Started Selling Handkerchiefs Online…And Now My Wife Quit Her Job” - With Steve Chou
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Summary:

Steve Chou shares the strategies he used to create numerous online businesses that gave him and his wife the freedom they wanted. Steve is the founder of MyWifeQuitHerJob.

Transcription Episode 92: How Selling Handkerchiefs Online Has Given Him The Lifestyle He Only Dreamed Of – With Steve Chou

Welcome to the Entrepreneur Ignited Podcast, a podcast designed to skip all the hype, skip all the BS, and just give you guys you real actionable tips and strategies from real entrepreneurs, digital entrepreneurs, to help you grow your business and income on the internet.

This is your host, Derek Gehl.

Today we’re going to be diving deep into setting up e-commerce shops and creating e-commerce business online. I know this is a business model a lot of my listeners ask me about, a lot of my students were asking me about, and so today we’ve got a special guest to share their vast wisdom and experience on this exact topic.

He’s the founder of bumblebeelinens.com, an e-commerce store that specializes in selling linens and handkerchiefs, as well as the founder of mywifequitherjob.com, which is a brand I absolutely love, where he shares his successful e-commerce strategies with budding digital entrepreneurs through his blogs, training and podcasts.

If that’s not enough, he’s also the founder of the Sellers Summit, which can be described as the ultimate e-commerce learning conference. Without further ado, I’d like to welcome Steven Chou to the show.

Steven, thank you so much for being here.

Thanks for having me, Derek. Happy to be here.

Awesome. Now before we get started, Steve, can you just expand on my introduction and just give me your journey as an entrepreneur? How did you get started online and what was the path that allows you to claim “my wife quit her job” and brought you to this interview here today?

Yeah. It all started with our e-commerce store. My wife and I, we got married. She knew that she was going to cry at our wedding. We ended up looking all over the place for a handkerchief because we paid a lot of money for photography, but she didn’t want to be seen using these nasty tissues.

Looked everywhere for handkerchiefs. Could not find any except for this factory in China. We ended up buying a couple of hundred of these handkerchiefs because that was the minimum order. We used maybe a handful of them and then we sold the rest on eBay and then they sold like hot cakes. That was the end of that.

Then later on, when we became pregnant with our first child, she wanted to quit her job and we live in Silicon Valley which is a very expensive area. You pretty much need two incomes in order to get a house in a good school district, and so we got back in touch with that vendor, started importing these handkerchiefs and we threw up our own website.

It started going really well because we kind of already validated the idea on eBay. Within an year we had already supplanted her six-figure salary just selling handkerchiefs so my wife quit her job.

Selling handkerchiefs.

Yes. Very manly product, my first choice, naturally. 🙂

Yeah, not so much. Not so much, but hey, you can’t argue with results, which was fantastic, right? Today, that’s now segued into your other website, which is mywifequitherjob.com. What’s that all about then?

Yeah, so what’s funny about that is, once my wife quit her job to stay at home with our kids, a bunch of my friends started asking me how we did it, and so I just decided to document it on a website. That’s how mywifequitherjob.com was born, basically like an online diary of my e-commerce adventures and how my wife quit her job, essentially.

Wow. Awesome. Now let’s dig in here. What I want to do is I want to approach this interview from just the average person that’s like, “Hey, I’ve heard e-commerce is a thing. There’s a good opportunity here. I don’t have any ideas and I have questions.” These are the questions, because I get them. I know you get them all the time from people that are looking at this as an opportunity, but these are the questions that first come up. Can we start with that?

Sure, absolutely.

Okay. Right now, well, you sell linens, you sell handkerchiefs, you found this niche, so the big question for everyone that’s getting started is that in today’s environment, with the rise of Amazon and more and more people selling physical goods online and setting up e-commerce stores, what do you look for? How do you find a good niche?

Yeah. You know, what’s really nice about today as opposed to when we started is there’s a lot of tools and there’s a lot of data out there, right? For example, if you wanted to look at all of the completed sales on eBay, there’s this tool called Terapeak that basically scrapes all of the complete listing so you know the exact sales of a particular item on eBay.

Likewise for Amazon. Amazon is pretty transparent also in terms of how much money each seller is making. You can use a tool like Jungle Scout to get an idea of how much everyone is making, selling these goods on both of these platforms. Between the both of them, you can just go in and just start brainstorming stuff that you might want to sell to see whether it’s competitive or whether it’s saturated and whatnot..

Let’s talk about competition and saturation because I’ve been watching lots of people go down this road as of late. You’ve seen it, obviously, over the last few years. There’s been a lot of hype around setting up Amazon stores …

Right.

… and just tapping into it. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to that were like, “Yeah, it sounded awesome, so I sourced iPhone cases and started selling iPhone cases.”

It just falls apart, right? You can obviously see what demand is and yeah, is there a lot of demand for iPhone cases? Sure, there are, but there’s a bucket of competition out there, right? What are you looking for specifically when … I mean, demand is just one piece of the puzzle.

That’s correct.

What’s the other piece?

A lot of people ask me this question. In my eyes, even if something is pretty competitive, as long as you have a pretty good unique value proposition, you can probably go through and still stand out amongst the crowd, but let’s say your value prop isn’t as strong.

Let’s take eBay, for example. Let’s say you wanted to start a business selling on eBay. For Terapeak, there’s this number that they provide called the sell-through rate, which is the percentage chance an auction will actually complete if you list a particular item on there.

You can use that number to judge how many people are selling that item to determine how saturated that environment is, but in general, I think the most important thing is to not just sell a “me too” product online or something that everyone else is selling. Make sure you have some sort of value add and as long as you can present that value add to your market, you should do okay even if it’s a competitive environment.

Well, let’s talk about handkerchiefs then.

Yeah, yeah.

It’s a handkerchief, right? It’s not exactly the most complex feature-laden product.

That’s correct.

How did you come up with … What is your USP?

Yeah, so the way we did with our handkerchiefs is one, we decided to become the largest selection of handkerchiefs, so we carry the largest selection. Second of all, a lot of people, they just sell handkerchiefs, but they don’t frame the product. What we decided to do is we decided to target weddings specifically, we target funerals and that sort of thing, and we do custom embroidery.

A lot of people don’t want to be doing this, and because we do of all this stuff in-house, so we have these industrial-strength embroidering machines in-house, and we can turn these things out on a dime, because everyone waits until the last minute. Our key value propositions are the largest selection and we will bend over backwards to make sure your stuff gets delivered on time because we do everything in-house.

Okay, so that’s really interesting. Do you have your own, effectively, a factory now where you’re doing this?

It’s a warehouse. I guess you could call it a factory, where we’re personalizing everything.

Right. That being said, are you buying the handkerchiefs in bulk and then embroidering them in your factory and then shipping them?

That’s correct.

Yeah, okay.

There’s different ways. We have some of our own designs now. Stuff is coming from all over the place. Some of it it’s pre-made, some of it’s our own designs and some of them are actually we buy wholesale from other people.

Right.

It’s a variety, yeah.

Right, okay. Now when you were first getting started, obviously, you didn’t have all of that though, right?

That’s correct. When we first got started, actually, there were not that many people selling handkerchiefs period, and so just the fact that we were carrying a bunch of them, a large variety of them in the first place really made us stand out.

Okay. How many years ago was that, that you started?

That was 2007.

2007, okay. What does the market today look today in that niche and has it changed for you? Have you been able to hold your dominant position?

Yeah. You know, a lot of people had popped up, especially once I started blogging about it.

Yeah.

A lot of competitors started popping up. In fact, there was like Hummingbird Linens and a whole bunch of other linen places, but once you have a website out there and you have a brand, and you start getting entrenched in the search engines and that sort of thing, it becomes a lot easier to defend your position.

Right. Okay, so now let’s go back to the beginning, right?

Okay.

Let’s pretend we’ve got an idea, okay? We’ve used the Terapeaks, we’ve used the tools that you’ve mentioned there. We’ve come up with what we think looks like a good potential niche, right?

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

How do you test that without investing hordes of money in inventory and having to deal with brokerages and all that stuff that comes along with buying bigger containers?

Yeah, absolutely. Let’s assume that you can get a small quantity of your product, whether it’s just sampling quantities. The easiest way is just go ahead and try to sell it, so what I advise that people do is, if they want to be extra careful, they’ll sell this stuff on eBay first just to make sure that they can unload it.

I’m not a huge fan of eBay as a major platform because it’s a lot of trouble, but if you sell it on eBay first just to make sure that you can unload the item in the event that things go wrong, then that’ll make you feel better.

Then you want to sell it on Amazon because there’s just huge built-in marketplace on there. If you can get traction on Amazon and you know that you can unload this stuff on eBay in case the stuff does not move, then that should make you feel comfortable enough to actually make a bulk order.

Okay, so effectively eBay is the testing platform by minimum and then Amazon is ultimately your holy grail.

Well, your own website should be your holy grail. Some people just skip the eBay part altogether because Amazon is such a large marketplace.

Okay. Let’s talk about that then because we’ve got all these different platforms and this is one of the questions that arising all the time now. As people look at this e-commerce model, they think, “Do I need my own website? Why can’t I just plug into Amazon, use Fulfilled by Amazon and just run it all through there?” Why do you need a website?

Well, you can, but that’s putting all of your eggs in one basket. Amazon has been changing the rules a lot, which I’ve heard. I’m sure your audience has been hearing about. They changed the way incentivized reviews work, they’ve increased the prices of FBA.

Essentially, if you are just selling on a single marketplace that is not controlled by yourself, you are in very great danger in case Amazon decides to change the rules or even decides to ban you.

my wife quit her job steve chou

Just to give you an example, let’s say you have one bad batch of product that you accidentally ship to Amazon. As a result, the customers get this bad product and you get a string of negative feedback. That could lead to your listing getting suspended.

All of a sudden, you’ve got all this product inventory over at FBA and your listing is suspended, and you got to beg Amazon to un-suspend you. This could take a period of weeks or even months and meanwhile you’re just losing money, whereas if you have your own property, you can collect your own email addresses, build your own customer base.

Doing B2B stuff is a lot easier when you have your own brand as well. There’s a variety of reasons why you need to get off Amazon.

Right, right. As far as brand goes and USP goes, you’ve created a brand with what you’re doing, right? You are the, you said Hummingbird, but it’s not Hummingbird. Bumblebee.

Yeah. That was our competitor that went out of business. I just remembered that one for some reason.

That’s terrible. I mean, that’s so close. Bumblebee Linens, okay.

Yeah.

That is your brand. Are you seeing people successfully going into e-commerce and building scalable stuff under a generic brand or are the people that are scaling successfully sticking to a product category and focusing on one brand?

I think you should just start out narrow. I’m not sure if that’s what you’re asking, but you don’t start out with a full blown store that just sells a variety of items, right?

Yeah.

Focus in on one product type that you can just do very well and then you gradually branch out. You were asking about, I guess the name of your brand?

Yeah. Again, when I go to Amazon now and you start drilling into these really specific product categories, you’re seeing all of these random brands you haven’t heard of and you buy it.

You never hear from that company again, because you bought off Amazon, and there’s no additional marketing material in the product when you receive it. There’s no incentivization to try and capture my lead. I scratch my head going, “Am I missing something with what I’m seeing in some of these commerce businesses?”

That’s the problem, right? People who shop on Amazon think that they’re buying from Amazon and not from your brand because Amazon does not allow you to contact the customer.

Sure, you can put some sort of insert in the package. Once a customer sees it and have them register to get their email, but Amazon polices everything. You cannot have an ounce of marketing in any of the emails that go out to their customers and they act as a go-between as well. They’re purposely trying to limit your contact with the customer.

In your e-commerce business, I assume you’re selling on Amazon right now.

We are, yes.

Obviously it’s a good source of customers. Does it make up a larger source of your customers? Is it an important part of your business? Do those customers have a different lifetime value?

Yeah. Our store represents the bulk of our revenues and then Amazon is a small percentage of it, but it’s growing every single year. I treat Amazon as just another channel for cash flow. It’s really hard to get those people over to your site. Here’s the way I think about it. Some people just go straight to Amazon and they’re just like very religious Amazon shoppers, right?

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

There’s other guys who like to go on Google. There’s other guys who like to shop on the small boutiques. It’s just another marketplace to reach out and branch out your business.

Right, exactly. For everybody that’s listening, I really like how Steve’s positioning this because, Steve, my issue with a lot of these Amazon businesses I’m watching people start is the pure and simple fact that they’re entirely reliant, as you said, on that single platform and at the mercy of Amazon’s policy changes. They could shut off their business overnight.

Let’s go back to your website then because I think this is the part where I see a lot of the new generation of e-commerce people failing, because us, old school guys, have been around for a while. We’re just programmed. Create websites, market those websites, find channels for customers.

The new guys are saying, “Why do we even need websites?” You create a website. First of all, let me ask you, do you have any platform of choice? Are you a Shopify guy?

I started a long time ago and there wasn’t Shopify back then. What ended up happening is I started with pretty much the most popular open source platform at the time which was osCommerce. Since I’m a tech guy I have heavily modified it over the years so that’s almost like a custom platform at this point. Today I obviously don’t recommend that. If you’re tech-averse, go with something like a Shopify or BigCommerce.

Yeah, yeah. Okay, okay. You get your website set up. You’ve got these channels that you base Amazon stacks. That’s great, right?

Mm-hmm.

The big wall most people run into is, okay, I’m selling handkerchiefs or I’m selling widgets. Where do I get traffic? Look at AdWords.

Yes.

To go up there and pay a buck a click, can you make money selling handkerchief at a buck a click? I don’t know.

Yeah. The first thing that I would do for most people is to start out with Google Shopping. I’m not sure if your listeners are familiar with it, but if you do a search on Google, there’s usually a picture and then a price.

What’s nice about Shopping is that they actually see the picture of the product and then they see the price and then they see your store name, and so that if they actually click on that link, there is a strong purchase intent, so those ads tend to convert pretty well as opposed to just buying keywords for regular search.

Right, okay.

Here’s the thing. A lot of people are a little hesitant to start their own websites because it is a lot more complicated, right?

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

On Amazon you just have to worry about one thing. You get the product. You put it on Amazon and then Amazon marketplace is so large that you’ll get sales. With your own store, you have to have a way to bring people back as well in addition to getting them to your site. All these links have to be in place in order to make sales.

In your example of just buying AdWords and paying a dollar per click, the average conversion rate for a store online is on the order of 2% or 3%, which basically means that you’re paying money to drive traffic to your site and 97% of these people are not going to be buying, right?

Mm-hmm.

So you got to have all these other things in place. You got to have an email sequence. Try to get their email so you can bring them back on a consistent basis until they are ready to buy.

You also need to do retargeting. For your listeners, these are ads that once you land on the site, you can buy specific ads specifically targeting the people who already know your brand, who have already been to your website. It’s just this process of having all these pieces together, driving traffic to your site and bringing them back on a consistent basis, and then making consistent sales that way.

All right. You just shared a lot of stuff there and now I want to take a quick step back.

Okay.

Because you were talking about lead capture. This is trying to capture email addresses when they come to the website. When you’re in, say, the digital market or the information marketing space and certain businesses just lend themselves to having opt-in offers, right?

Right.

What do you offer for an opt-in offer on a handkerchief site or something generic like that?

I could tell what we do and then I call tell you what other people as well. Right now, we are offering a free crafts e-book so that you can do a lot of DIY stuff with your wedding, which uses our products. They get this book and they go, “Oh, cool. I can make this thing for my wedding and oh, wow, I can get the materials from Bumblebee Linens.” That’s something that we give out for free.

Got it.

Other people like to give out coupons for free shipping or first time customers sort of discounts. There’s a variety of ways to get the email address early.

Right, right. Let’s shift gears and let’s talk about social then, because we’ve talked about search. Search is great because their intent is they’re looking for something, right?

Yeah.

Social is a little bit of a different beast because they’re not necessarily searching. That being said, I’m seeing a lot of people in the e-commerce space, physical goods, having a lot of success on Facebook, on the different social media platforms. Where do you position yourself on that? What’s working for you these days?

When you’re on Facebook, for example, the ads that point directly to a product tend not to do that well because people are there just to see what their friends are up to and that sort of thing. They’re not ready to buy.

What’s worked for us is we’ll send a Facebook person over to a piece of content and then retarget them at that point with offers once they’re familiar with our brand. During that first sequence where we’re sending them to content, we’re trying to grab their email address.

We’re trying to put out a piece of content that they’ll remember our store with and then we consistently bring them back with emails and retargeting so that when they’re ready to buy, and it might not be for a while … Someone who just recently got engaged might not be buying their stuff for another three months, so we just make sure that we stick around for three months until they’re ready to actually make a purchase and then when they’re ready to make a purchase, they’ll think of us.
Right, right. It’s interesting. I think with the more, let’s call it general products, that are hard to target, you’re right, I haven’t seen people being able to buy and place direct product ads. The people, insert a side note here, that I’ve been seeing that have actually been able to sell products profitably through social advertising is when they get into really bizarre niches. Raving fans of Donald Duck and they are selling vintage Donald Duck paraphernalia stuff, right?

Yeah.

You can laser target, but beyond that what you just said is what I’m seeing, I think, across a lot of the general product stuff.

The people that are doing well with Facebook ads, for example, they’re selling t shirts and let’s say the Patriots, for example. They’re doing really well on football right now. They’ll sell t shirts that specifically target Patriots, like New England Patriots. That tends to work okay.

Yeah, yeah. Interesting. Okay, so now with the retargeting, let’s dig into that a little bit because that’s, I think, something that not enough people are doing and it’s very, very powerful. When you’re retargeting, if you don’t mind, I’ll ask specifics here …

Sure.

You’ve pushed a piece of content out on Facebook. Somebody has clicked to consume that content. Now they’re in a custom audience you can retarget. How long are you retargeting for and what kind of frequency are you following up with?

Yeah, so our pixel lasts for 30 days. Is that what you’re asking?

Yeah, yeah.

Yeah. This is what we actually do. We do a combination of regular retargeting and then dynamic ads retargeting. Is your audience familiar with the distinction?

Some will be, some won’t be, so I would explain.

Okay, so dynamic ads is when you upload like a product list over to Facebook and based on whatever product a person looks at, they’ll actually get an ad with whatever product they looked at, and so it’s very powerful.

For us, we retarget both ways. If someone actually looked at a product, they will see an ad on Facebook with a picture of the product that they looked at. If they didn’t see a product, they will see an ad, whether it be a video ad or just a regular static image ad, which will take them to a page that really just shows off our unique value proposition and that at the end has links to the various product categories.

Right, got it. Got it. All right, so I’m going to shift again because something I noticed on your website that I wanted to dig into …

Okay.

… was the publicity that you’ve gotten because you look like you’ve been very successful in being featured in different sort of magazines, and you’ve gotten some really good exposure that way. You want to fill us in on how that happened?

Yeah. You know what’s funny about a lot of those mentions is, for example, on the magazine mentions, those are great for social proof. They don’t actually bring in that many sales or if they do, it’ll spike like when the issue comes out, but then it’ll just slowly trickle out and die. Really, it’s for social proof reason.

The way you get those is you find out what the publication calendars are like for some of these popular magazines and then you just write a quick and dirty pitch. You find out who the editors are and you just pitch your products. Over the holidays, if you’re lucky, they’ll choose one of your products. It’s like a volume game. You send out a lot of pitches. Most of them aren’t going to get accepted, but the ones that do, it’s great. You get published.

Got you. Got you. I agree. My experience has been that there’s not a big bump in sales, but it’s the long term value of being able to use that in your marketing to build credibility. When I went to your website, I was drawn to that. Wow, look, they were in Bridal magazine and stuff like that, which I thought was very, very cool.

Now we’re going to shift gears again. I want to bring it back to the actual logistics of running a physical product business.

Okay.

That’s one that I see as a roadblock for a lot of people getting started, whether it be fulfillment, warehousing, cash flow management. Did you have experience with this stuff before you started?

No, not at all. Not at all. I don’t know where you want me to start with that question, but just logistics-wise, what’s really nice about Amazon is they will handle your fulfillment as well as your returns.

Yes.

That just makes it a whole lot easier. Even when you have your own website, you can also fulfill using Amazon’s warehouse as well. The only downside is it comes in an Amazon branded box. If you don’t like that, then you’ll have to get your own third party fulfillment house unless you want to do it yourself. I don’t know where you want to go with this.
I guess let’s take it back to the guy is just getting started, right?

Okay.

I just ordered my first order of the product that I’m going to be selling. I’ve got my website up . We’re going to start moving some volume here. Where do I start?

I would just start with Amazon. I strongly believe that you should validate on Amazon to begin with because there’s a marketplace right there. Once you get some traction on Amazon, you start your own site.

In theory, if you already have your own site, if you’re following my methods, you probably have stuff on Amazon FBA. The next logical step is to just simply fulfill your goods from Amazon FBA so you don’t have to carry any inventory.

Okay, so do you see the future of the old school fulfillment house as just sort of petering out?

I was thinking that was going to happen and then Amazon eliminated the non-branded box option. If you’re running your own site, you don’t want your goods coming in in an Amazon branded box, because then guess what? They’ll see this box and they’ll go, “Oh, I can get this on Amazon.” They’ll start shopping on Amazon.

Ah, okay, okay. I didn’t realize that in the past you’d been able to have a non-branded box.

You could pay a dollar, I believe, and get a non-branded box.

When you had a non-branded box would they allow you to put inserts in it?

No, you can’t.

Still couldn’t put inserts in it.

You still can’t put anything into it, yeah. That’s correct.

From my perspective, tapping into Amazon, you got to play by their rules, but everything outside of Amazon that I’m doing business on, you’re missing out on so much if you can’t put marketing material into the products that you’re shipping out.

Yeah, you have very little control. In the long run, you’re probably going to want to do a combination.

Right, right.

The reason we carry all of our own inventory is … We use Amazon FBA as well, but we do a lot of the personalized stuff. It’s a pain in the butt, but it’s a value add that Amazon can’t readily take away from us that easily.

Right.

Because we can turn stuff on a dime, because we’re like our own factory almost, per se, it’s a little extra work, but that is like our value proposition and that’s how we stand out.

Right, right. Excellent. Okay. We’re just about out of time, so I got a general question for you. You’ve been an entrepreneur for a while now and you started, like you said, back in 2007. You’ve had great success with this.

Looking back to when you first got started, knowing what you now know today, what are some of the things you would have done differently?

I would have started building my email list for e-commerce a lot sooner. It’s just one of those things. We’re both internet marketers with our digital products, right?

Yeah.

It’s just very obvious to collect emails and run them down the sequence and that sort of thing. For some reason, when it comes to physical products, it wasn’t that obvious to me.

I remember that first question that you asked me, like, how do you put together a compelling lead magnet for a physical product store outside of giving away physical products? That was just one roadblock that prevented me from taking action on that. I didn’t want to give out coupons. I’m actually not a big coupon fan.

It wasn’t until I’ve racked my brain a little bit to figure out what to give to the customers, and that’s when it all started clicking and we started gathering emails. Email is actually a significant portion of our business today.

Really? That’s interesting because I would have assumed, and obviously wrongly, that a handkerchief was kind of a … I mean, how often do you have repeat orders? What you’re saying is it plays a role.

See, here’s the thing. A lot of our customers are actually event and wedding planners.

Ah, there it is.

This is the low hanging fruit. Whenever we get a really large order, we actually reach out to that person and say, “Hey, are you a planner? If you are, here’s a discount code. We’ll make sure your stuff always gets on time. We’ll have special handling for it.” Those guys come back.

Right, right. Okay, anything else that you wish you’d done sooner or differently?

Anything else. Besides starting earlier, because man, I started late … You started early, right?

Yeah, yeah.

I’d be all powerful if I had just started like five years earlier.

Well, it’s never too late to get started. It’s interesting what you said about the email there too because I’ve always come from the internet marketing side. We were doing email marketing back in the ’90s. I’ve always been baffled, because I’ve watched the e-commerce world grow … We used to have one of the very first courses on how to sell on eBay. We did a lot of eBay stuff back when … The early days of eBay.

I was always fascinated watching the e-commerce guys. They would never build a list. They were always just working on chasing the next new customer.

Yeah. I think maybe the reason for that is because with digital products, you need an audience and they’re buying it for you, and so you need that list to establish your credibility and that sort of thing, whereas with physical products, you don’t need any of that in theory. You can just sell it because the products stands on its own.

True, yeah.

Maybe that’s why. I don’t know.

I want to back to one thing you just said there too that intrigued me, and that’s you’re not a fan of coupons. Why is that?

Yeah. Do you guys have Bed Bath & Beyond over in Canada?

Yes, we do.

Okay. You probably have gotten those 20% coupons.

Oh, yeah.

Yeah. All the time, right? I will not shop at Bed Bath & Beyond now without one of those coupons. I just won’t. I don’t want that to happen with our store as well. People will start discounting the coupons, so to speak.

Yes.

You get those out too often and that’s what’s going to happen. That’s why I’m not a fan.

Yeah. You’re training your audience to never, ever buy …

Exactly.

… at the proper price. It’s funny, our biggest, oldest department store here in Canada is called Hudson’s Bay Company. We call it the Bay. We’re exactly the same. They have sales so often, if there’s not a sale on, if you don’t get the Bay Day coupon for 40% off, you don’t go. You just wait, right?

Yeah.

That’s how we are trained. That’s a slippery slope. Once you’re there … It’s the whole coupon code phenomenon I’ve watched as well. Whenever I go to website now, I’m not a particularly cheap guy, but I like a deal, right?

Yeah.

If I’m on a website and I’m about to order and I see a field for a coupon code, I stop. I’ll go out and I will search for coupon codes for that specific offer. If I found one, because as you probably know, there’s websites out there that specialize in coupon codes, boom, I’ll take it and I’ll get the discount.

Yeah. I like your philosophy there. I’ve never been a fan of that either. I think that’s a very good approach.

Here’s what’s even worse that could happen. There’s a bunch of sites out there giving out false coupon codes. A customer will find it and get pissed off also.

Oh, yeah. Great.

Yeah, that happens all the time.

Fantastic, right? They’re angry at you for something you had nothing to do with.

Exactly.

Yeah, great. Love it. All right, so now before we wrap up, Steve, where do our listeners connect with you? Where can they find out more about what you’re doing?

The easiest way is to just head on over to mywifequitherjob.com If you guys are interested in e-commerce, I do offer a free six day mini course. If you just go to the website, there’s a big sign-up form right there. It’s pretty good. It’s a bunch of videos that will just walk you through the process.

Awesome, awesome. I will make sure I include the links to those in the show notes. Steve, thank you so much for sharing all your e-commerce experience and wisdom with our listeners today. It was great to have you on the show.

Yeah, thanks for having me Derek. Really appreciate it.

Fantastic. All right, everyone. That was e-commerce expert Steve Chou. As always, any links mentioned in the interview will be included in the show notes along with the entire transcript of the episode. As always, you’ll find it at entrepreneurignited.com/podcast.

If you guys liked what you heard here, make sure you head over to iTunes. Leave me a rating, leave me a review. If you’re an Android user, leave it on SoundCloud.

Now it’s time to take the e-commerce tips, tools, strategies that Steve shared with you here today and apply that final essential ingredient to actually making this stuff work for you. That ingredient is action, so go forth. Take action. Even just take one thing and apply it. Apply what you learned here.

Stay tuned for more info-packed episodes of the Entrepreneur Ignited Podcast.

This is your host, Derek Gehl signing off.

    Join the conversation, add a comment using the form below.

  • Joanna says:

    Very interesting how Steve Chou was able to turn around this business onto an online digital product. Who would think that a simple handkerchief would make you quit your job? Very inspiring Steve Chou! Thanks Derek for featuring him. Though, I’m not tech savvy like Steve, I hope I could reach the same success as they did!

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