What is the difference between those who create websites and those who use it? Is it the tools they use? No, themes and plugins are available to everybody.
So is it the complexity of these tools? No: as we have seen before, one of the best aspects of WooCommerce is its simplicity.
The difference is in the knowledge, in knowing how to use those tools, and that's where we find the answer to the second important question.
Same tool, different hand
In order to better explain this concept, let's see a tool that is used both by professionals and inexperienced vendors: discounts.
Everybody understands why offering discounted items is such a widespread marketing strategy appreciated both by sellers and customers: on the first end it means more sales, on the second one it means less cost.
And this is one of the first things our beginner seller will try, in an attempt to bring new life to his store. He might come up with it himself or read it in one of the many cheap guides you can find on the internet by simply searching “How to increase sales”, and he will try it... but will it work?
Sure, some customer is going to get curious about the novelty, but you can never expect to meet all of the expectations, especially after reading that a discount system can increase both the sales and the average transaction value.
So what is wrong with it? Are all those guides just wrong?
That's clearly not the case, it's rather about what you offer and how. It's not enough to say that discounts work, we should also wonder why they do.
And that's the difference between those who can offer an advisory service and customers who can't manage to increase their sales: the first one wondered “why” and then enriched their knowledge thanks to marketing strategies used on the internet.
A customer offers a discounted product, spreads the word and then waits for the sales to rise.
Consultants knows that there are different types of discounts, each working in different ways and each may improve a different aspect of the store.
They know that discounts will use Cialdini's Principles, such as the Principle of Reciprocity (if we receive a gift, we feel obligated to reciprocate with something equally valuable or more) and the Principle of Scarcity (a timed offer triggers the desire to purchase, out of fear to miss a unique opportunity)
And not only that, a consultant knows that a discount applied to a product may increase its sales, while a discount based on the amount of purchased items or the cart total value might also increase the average transaction value on a store.
A consultant knows that discounts can also be a powerful marketing tool, such as offering discounts for social network shares or reviews.
As you can see, those who work with the internet end up with knowledge and competences that customers, given their limited experience, cannot possibly have.
And even in case they wish to gather every single piece of information required to bring their stores to success, that would take months, maybe years, and no final customers ever decides to invest that much time into it, mostly because they wouldn't know where to start from.
The basic difference between a final customers and a consultant is that while the first one looks for a miracle way to turn his store around, the second one knows the answer lies in optimizing each single aspect of it.
And this is where we should start from, to offer our advisory service: we have knowledge that our customer doesn't have and seeks, that's why it's valuable.
But how much, exactly?
The value of consultancy: the Nielsen case
In order to define the value of a service, we need to observe a variety of parameters, such as the demand, the offer we provide and the benefits that my consultancy service may offer.
For what concerns the demand, we've already seen how 11 million stores over 12 million all over the world have troubles boosting their sales.
Truth is our customers pool is not made of 11 on 12, but of 12 on 12! Meaning that every customers, including high traffic stores might need a consultancy service.
The more a store rises in value, the more important it gets that each aspect of it is optimized.
So, given there's plenty of demand, how should we value our service?
We clearly need different price lists based on the effective competence you have (which effects how much you will be able to increase your customer's income) and on the customer's revenue.
For instance: say that thanks to the competences you gathered you may offer consultancy that would increase a store's income by 30% (a fair prediction).
If a store makes 1000$ each month, a 30% increase would mean 3600$ extra. This amount might just be the value of your service, given that your customer will only have to invest the amount of profit he gets the first year and will later on find himself managing a store with a constantly increasing income.
But that is just the beginning. We are talking about small numbers and small time stores.
What if a big store asked for your consultancy service? A store that makes 100'000$ each month?
Increasing their income by 30% would mean 360'000 dollars more each year! How much can a service like that be worth?
This might seem odd and too good to be true... as always, it's always best to experience the potential of a tool personally.
Have you ever heard of Nielsen? Since 1998 it works on marketing analysis about online sales, identifying what customers buy and the best ways to offer products, quickly becoming a landmark for all those who wish to improve their online business.
Why is Nielsen particularly important in our case? Well, you might be interested to know that they offer an advisory service for website optimization as well.
And how much does it cost?
Thirty-eight thousand dollars. Not a bad starting fee for a design analysis. For a content analysis you might have to spend up to 100'000 dollars for their consultancy.
And is clearly not yet the limit: think about companies such as Amazon that make 90 billion dollars every year... how much could a thorough consultancy service cost them?
It clearly isn't easy to reach this kind of numbers, it all depends on three elements:
- Your competence – It's pointless to advertise huge boosts in sales if you are not able to guarantee them.
- Your fame – Every single satisfied customer, every single company in your portfolio rises the value of your consultancy service.
This means you are hardly going to find a million dollar company asking you for consultancy as your first customer, but there are all kinds of sellers and businesses that will allow you to start climbing the ladder of this industry, in this almost endless marketing field.
It's no exaggeration to say that this kind of service is one of the most advantageous lines of work you can find.
A new gold rush is starting, start digging!