Episode #060: How To Sell More Merchandise Online

OTHER WAYS TO ENJOY THIS EPISODE

Today’s show is focussed on the world of merchandising and selling this merch through an online store! For Leah, her merch and online sales have made up such a big part of her business and ultimate success and so her and CJ really want to impress upon all the listeners how important the way you approach this stuff can be. To start, Leah unpacks the impact it made when she started giving e-commerce its rightful dues and learning about it in a focussed and engaged way. From there she talks about the principles of increasing revenue in the online world and why she cannot recommend Shopify highly enough. The discussion also covers serving your fans and looking for their feedback as your number one directive in further products and offers. We also talk about photography and copywriting and these two seemingly small aspects are so pivotal in the sales process. To finish off, Leah shares her passion for adopting a ‘print on demand’ model for her shop and a few ways to improve conversion rates to completed sales. For all of this great information and more, tune in today!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Today’s #win student spotlight message! 
  • The hugely significant role that e-commerce and merchandise have played in Leah’s work. 
  • The three basic ways of increasing your revenue as an e-commerce business. 
  • Why Leah recommends Shopify above all other platforms. 
  • Leah’s focus on serving her fans and why this is so important.
  • Product photography and the impact that quality pictures can make.
  • Taking care to properly represent your product through appropriate and thoughtful descriptions.  
  • Abandoned carts and increasing conversion rates to completed sales. 
  • Familiarity and trustworthiness as the two most important factors for an online store.
  • The joys and wonder of the print on demand model! 
  • And much more! 

Tweetables:

“This was an accidental coaching business in many respects. I was out there to make money with my music. That was the whole point of what I was doing.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:04:07]

“Anything that applies online is going to apply offline. Not everything offline applies online.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:09:46]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Savvy Musician Academy — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/elite/call/

Savvy Musician Mastermind on Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/groups/savvymusician/

Savvy Musician Spotify course — www.savvymusicianacademy.com/Spotify

WordPress — https://wordpress.com/

Shopify — https://www.shopify.com/?ref=savvy-musician-academy 

Bethan Nia (Student Spotlight) — https://welshharpist.co.uk/ 

Click For Full Transcript

00:22 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show, this is CJ Ortiz, I’m the branding and mindset coach here at the savvy musician academy. Once again, I am the chosen one who gets to sit across from the illustrious one, Ms. Leah McHenry, how are you doing? 

00:40 Leah: Thanks, illustrious, that’s a new one.

00:44 CJ: I got a million of them. Good things happening on the podcast, it is enjoyable for me to be able to sit down and do these with you Leah, we have great offline conversations and that’s great to take these online as well and talk about all the myriad of things, the ever-changing aspects of online music marketing and that’s really – this is what this is. There are a million and one ways to skin a cat, there are other ways that people are playing music for a living or doing something to push their music business forward.

You’ve had significant success doing this yourself and so, you kind of carved out a path, you developed your way of doing things over time, through trial and error, tremendous investment of time and money on your part and have gotten tremendous returns on that and I remember when you started, I remember getting your first album and where things were with you.

Just to turn around and come back to it and see just how many other – that must have been pretty significant, I know what it’s like from when I do my motivational aspect but when you got started, not many people knew you and it’s one thing they build your own fan base musically. But, then Leah, to on that other side of your decision to start the Savvy Musician Academy just to know how many lives, musicians and careers that you’ve impacted, it’s got to be pretty significant.

02:13 Leah: Yeah, it blows me away. I mean, A lot of you guys know the story or have heard the story but when I started out, really getting serious about my music career. I was approached by a lot of friends actually, other mom friends of mine who are singers and songwriters and they were asking, how was I getting all these results and everything and ended up thinking, you know, it would be helpful if I just compiled all these knowledge I have into an ebook.

I don’t know, it must be just in my blood or DNA, my ability to teach. My dad was a principal of a private school for many years. I think something in the DNA, where he was always very good at being able to take complex concepts and principles and be able to break it down in easy to understand format. Just kind of bite-sized and he’d explain these science concepts to me, political concepts to me in a way I could understand and I think that taught me how to teach.

I ended up putting that into a little ebook and that went over really well and then, of course, that ended up turning into a video course format and once we released that and I started doing webinars. I saw webinars were becoming a thing and I thought that would be a great way to get this message out to the world is in that kind of teaching style format.

I saw some other webinars out there and I thought, “Well, I’ve never done this but I’m pretty sure I can kill that.” I did and it did, it blew up like very quickly and before we knew it, there were thousands of students and actually, that became quite stressful too, I will say. Going from just putting something out there to all of a sudden, my goodness, dealing with hundreds and hundreds of people from a customer service standpoint and a growth standpoint and a leadership standpoint. I mean, you are forced to really grow. 

You know, the fact that I’m sitting here and that we’ve done all this and we’ve helped thousands of people, I never imagined that I would be here. I never imagined that we would be doing this, that wasn’t even my intention. This really was an accidental coaching business in many respects. I was out there to really make money with my own music. That was the whole point of what I was doing and then I found out, I had this other passion, this other calling for helping other people, teaching and I’m pretty darn good at it. Here we are.

04:25 CJ: Ain’t that amazing? It’s funny how you work so hard at something, right? You don’t know where you’re going to land and over time, you refine every little end of it and you travel loose ends as they say and by the time you’re all done and get to the place. It’s as if it was meant to be. Somebody looking who didn’t see all the work that went into it, they could say, it’s almost as if it was meant to be.

Yeah, well, that’s how great things happen, it can seem like that way, what others call destiny or something, you know, the end result of a lot of toil and innovation and experimentation, et cetera and e voila. You know, especially something like this now which is so needed by the huge tribe of independent musicians around the world that need this sort of thing.

You know, one of the things that I think became a big part which I’m going to talk about today for you was selling merchandise. You know, which is not common. Maybe the big bands will sell merchandise on their tours and that’s how they get a lot of their income from it but it became a significant part of what you did and we’re going to talk about that in the whole merchandise philosophy, the e-commerce philosophy, which is really unique amongst the music marketing space and people out there.

Leah, I don’t know a whole lot of people that can really speak to this area with depth and authority like you can. Again, another reason why this podcast and your courses are so important but before we get into that, I want to just share a little student spotlight and today’s win is from Bethania. She writes, “I am consistently getting great engagement on my posts and have top fans who regularly comment on my posts.”

“I’m so over the moon that I have dialled in my culture and that I’m so certain now of my brand and culture and what my fans liked to see. I know that this is going to be so beneficial when I release my album and run a crowdfunding campaign. And a big thank you to CJ for helping me really hone in on my branding. One of my fans in my page even suggested I become a TV producer, as my post and images are so strong. Hey, think outside the box, anything is possible.” Great.

06:44 Leah: Fantastic. 

06:46 CJ: We applaud that Bethan, good for you, applying the information, getting results isn’t that what it’s all about Leah?

06:52 Leah: Exactly. I see Bethan I see you in our Elite Group, you are consistent, you act or you ask for help when you need it, you used the resources, you’re using the group. I’m not surprised by this in this sense because you’re doing exactly what you should be doing so we’re proud of you.

07:10 CJ: That’s great, awesome. Good for you. Again, you guys can get this sorts of results, you can dial in things for your music brand and find your target audience and build up your super fans and this is so important, it relates to what we’re about to talk about is again, Leah is not out here telling you that you’re going to become a household name and this is how you’re going to fill arenas.

No, if you want to play music for a living, write your music. You don’t need to be a household name in order to make a full time living with your music. You just need what Leah refers to as her super fans. People who are just crazy about you, crazy about your music, crazy about the culture that you both share together and how you can leverage that with a small amount of people and turn that into a profitable online music business and we’re going to get into a key aspect of that today as we talk about how to sell more merchandise online.

Maybe you haven’t even sold any yet. Maybe that’s not even a part. But, it’s important for you to understand this so that you go into your career in music. You may not even have an album out yet. But you come into your next season armed with these possibilities and that’s what it is. You’re going to be armed with possibilities and opportunities.

Okay, Leah then, let me ask you this. How significant a role has this aspect, merchandise, e-commerce played in your music business?

08:43 Leah: It has been a game-changer for me. Ever since I had the lightbulb go off in my brain that I need to stop treating my music career like a typical music business and I need to start treating it like an e-commerce business. There are several reasons why and I’ll explain them and then I want to talk a little bit about some of the details there. You know, I think people typically, when I think about selling music.

They think about only selling their music. I think that’s what most people do. Then, when I think about selling merchandise, they’re thinking about what bands do at a concert, you know? They’ve got this merch booth and a table of you know, t-shirts and hoodies and key chains and stuff and that’s cool. But they don’t translate that into online and I particularly deal with training people in how to sell their music and merchandise online because that was the only tool that I had and I’m doing multiple six figures doing that without touring at all.

To me, here’s one concept that you can take right now. Anything that applies online is going to apply offline. Not everything offline applies online but I think anything you learn online will translate very well offline. In some cases, you can switch them back and forth. But, you got to treat them very differently. People’s behaviours and the psychology behind how people buy things online is different than in person.

You need to be educated on those things and we deal a lot within our Elite Course, you know, I don’t even call it a shameless plug because I really believe that everybody needs this information. You can’t succeed without understanding the nuts and bolts of these concepts. You know, when I stopped treating it like just selling music and I started treating it like e-commerce, all e-commerce is, is buying something on the internet and it’s the way the transaction happens and then getting it in the mail, right?

Before the internet, there was mail order and people would get a flier or something in their mailbox and if the ad sold them on it, they would write them a check or write all the numbers of their credit card in there, mail it away. I mean, that was the old school version of e-commerce.

Now we have the internet and now people can shop so much quicker. They can see something and on an impulse, put in their PayPal or credit card and buy something right now if it appeals to them. Then, have it sent to their house and so talk about convenience. This is – I mean, you’ve never had a better chance at selling music and merchandise than now.

It has played a huge part and specifically when I started treating things like an eCommerce business. I started to think a little beyond just selling music. When I first got started, I just wanted to validate the music itself and once I got past that point and I realized hey, people do like my sound they do like my brand, they do like my music. I can now venture out. 

I did things incrementally so I first waited till there was some demand, “We want a t-shirt, you know? We want more stuff.” Okay cool, we’re going to do a t-shirt and we did a short run of them. I made sure I could sell that and if I couldn’t sell it, I would probably start to analyze why. Was it the design, was it the price, was it the product, was it my copy, you know, was it the description that I had?

There’s so much that goes into the psychology and that’s what I want people to understand that if people don’t buy your merchandise, there’s a very good reason why. It’s not because they didn’t want to buy it, it’s because you sucked at something. You have to figure out what it is.

12:19 CJ: You’re right.

12:21 Leah: Once you figure it out, you can literally sell – 

12:25 CJ: You can scale it.

12:25 Leah: You can start scaling that and add other things. Game changer, when you start treating this like an e-commerce business, instead of a music business.

12:37 CJ: That is so huge. Just that phrase, when I learned to stop treating it like a music business and started treating it like an e-commerce business. Because that literally is the entire approach here. When we say online marketing, granted, you know, the social media aspect plays a role that’s all the stuff we do to warm the market so to speak, to get people ready to make a purchase.

It all is going to begin right there when you change your thinking. One thing Amazon has done is taught everybody to be an online shopper, you know? People are in that mode now, you’re seeing the statistics every year at the holiday time, how people are doing more and more of their shopping online. I do more and more things online because of our approach to nutrition, et cetera. 

You know, we’re not eating sweets or all that kind of stuff. Whether you can have diet drinks or what have you, whether those sweeteners are bad for you but my son had found the stevia-based soft drinks and they’re surprisingly good. I mean, they’re so pure, if you were to pour out the root beer one in a glass, it’s actually clear.

13:48 Leah: Clear, I love those.

13:51 CJ: Because there’s no food colouring, none of that junk in it but it actually tastes like root beer. But, you know, we’re like, “Okay, let’s see if they have any other – they have the Mountain Dew flavour or a Sprite kind of flavour,” and because he only found a few at the store and there’s so many more. He’s like, “well, should we find another store?” I said, “Son, I guarantee you, they’ll send it to you,” you know?

Sure enough, there’s all these assorted cases that you could get. Nowadays, even when I’m looking at something online like if I go to an OfficeMax or a staples.com or BestBuy. You see them in Target and things like that, it says, you have the option in-store or have it delivered. I think more and more people are getting into that mode which means, if you’re going to capitalize that, on that. You have to think like someone who is running an e-commerce business.

14:43 Leah: Absolutely. You know, I wanted to just do a little teaching here for a second and for everybody listening, whether you’re a student or you’re not a student of ours, you know, there are only three ways to increase your revenue. Three ways and there’s probably a few more than that but these are the basic ones in any business, okay?

You can either increase your prices, you can add more products for people to buy and you can add more customers, okay? Those are the three basic ways to increase your revenue. In an e-commerce setting, we can do all three of them, we might do two at times, we might increase a price or lower it for a discount during a promotion or something.

This is what the game-changer is for me. Is that I can add more products specifically and then I can add more customers and here’s my specific approach. When I had this little epiphany, I was like, “My gosh, this is a really cool idea that I’m going here.” Here’s what I decided to do. I thought, what I’m going to do is I’m going to create a music store like my shop where I sell my music and I sell other products that align with my brand and my culture and that way, then what I’m going to do is I’m going to advertise to both my fans and I’m going to advertise to cold audiences that don’t own my music.


The thing is, my other items are going to be so cool, they’re going to look awesome enough that they would buy those things without ever hearing my music, without knowing who I am, just because you know, whether it’s an impulse buy or they just really like it and I know how target those people. The thing is, this whole foundation is resting upon the fact that you know your niche and you know your culture.

You should build your entire e-commerce brand based off of that culture. Rather than having a general store where you are selling, you know, fishing rods and CDs and socks. Well, you could sell socks but you know, don’t do that. You should really appeal to a specific culture and we have specific modules and even episodes on this podcast where we talk about and of course we go much more in-depth in our programs.

But the whole thing is resting on culture, that’s it. That way, I can target a cold audience, people who don’t know me and they’re going to come for the product and they might even stay for the music and then what happens is if they buy something, let’s say, even like a cheaper product and they get into my email system, guess what they’re going to be hearing about? My music. I’m now going to turn them into a fan. 

What I’m doing here is kind of cross-pollinating, cross-promoting. I’m going to – in these three ways to increase revenue prices, increase prices, add more product or add more customers, I’m going to add more products for my existing fans and the price is going to go up or down depending on what I’m doing and then I’m going to add more customers, so people who aren’t even fans of mine yet, I’m going to present them other products and then introduce them to my music.

I’m doing two things at once and that has become real powerful machine for me and that’s what our whole Super Fan System Elite Program is based on is this entire concept of this e-commerce thing and in order to make it work though, you can’t just go open a Shopify store, throw some stuff on there and think it’s going to work, it will not.

The whole thing relies on getting your branding and your culture and your artist identity, you got to figure that out first. If you don’t do that first, the whole thing comes crumbling down and there’s a lot also I want to talk about in this episode, things that matter that a lot of people don’t even take into consideration. 

I sure love this topic because it’s opened up entirely new fields for me, it’s opened up new doors, I have ton more new fans as a result of being able to market other products to people that fit my culture that didn’t know about my music. It’s been very cool.

18:33 CJ: Okay, now, you mentioned Shopify. Just in terms of platforms, some people may not be familiar with what some of these eCommerce platforms are.

18:41 Leah: Year, there’s a number of things out there. If you’re working with a WordPress website, some people are using something called WooCommerce which is a plugin, it’s like a store plugin. A lot of people are using band camp and you know, I started out on band camp as well and then you have people using Bandzoogle and there’s a bunch of other ones, there’s a whack of them. I do not recommend any of those other ones, especially, you know, I would love to be able to recommend Bandcamp but unfortunately, they’re stuck in the dinosaur age and won’t allow you to put a Facebook pixel on your site.

Which means, those of you who don’t know what it means, it just means you cannot track any customer behaviour at all and you cannot retarget them. Which is internet marketing, it’s a crime in internet marketing, 101. You have to have a Facebook pixel if you’re doing any kind of advertising, any kind of tracking at all.

They don’t allow that – I’ve made complaints about it, I’ve talked to people. Several of my students have talked to band camp and it sounds like it’s not even on their radar to add it and I’m thinking, you guys are all about trying to empower musicians so Bandcamp, if any of you from Bandcamp are listening to this, know that I would recommend you so much more than I do if you would allow that one thing, it’s not that hard to add, you should really add it.

Other things like Bandzoogle, I’m just, you know what? None of them are built specifically for sales conversions. Bandcamp’s got some other cool features like you can let people preview albums and give them special access. They got some cool features like that. But what I’m talking about specifically, e-commerce, getting the sale, there is no competition. It’s Shopify. 

Shopify is the eCommerce platform. No WooCommerce or BandZoogle can even compare. Shopify is built for sales, it’s formatted for sales, everything about it is designed for sales. Why would you even go anywhere else?

20:33 CJ: Right.

20:34 Leah: It’s a waste of time.

20:36 CJ: Yeah, I agree. It’s been that way for years and again, until you start thinking in terms of e-commerce, you’re not necessarily going to recognize the importance of something like a Shopify and the kind of features and plug-ins and what have you that you can use for everything from what you just mentioned. Retargeting to little bells and whistles that again, help make sales, create a kind of a bundle-like, add to order type things. To up your – you mentioned adding more products, increasing prices and all the sort of stuff is, you know, because you can get people to buy more than one item, you know? 

A lot of the money that gets made is not initially the little Facebook ad you put out there on the front end. Most of that money gets made more in the back end, with the retargeting, it gets made in the bundles, it’s getting made on that end of things and so you have to think in these terms. Let’s get back to basics though, Leah, about — you’ve mentioned culture fans, et cetera. That means the artist has to know their fans and has to know what their fan wants.

21:39 Leah: Yeah, even though I mentioned that I am targeting a lot of cold people, you know, I’m so in tune with my culture because I’ve studied my fans, they are my ideal customer, that you know, it’s a lot easier for me. Now, I can scan products and look at them and go yeah, I think that would go very well but a lot of e-commerce is also coming down to testing. The thing is if you can take out some of the risks from the beginning, you’re much smarter and wiser for doing so and one of the things that I am a huge advocate of and you probably hear me talk about it all the time, is serving my fans. I do use constantly and so I will do that with t-shirt designs. I will have a few different options. I will survey my fans. You need to consider them like a little beta group testers or you know when some big corporation is going to come out with a product and they put people in a little controlled group. 

And they’ll stand behind the glass and watch do the kids actually play with these toys or do they throw them on the floor and think its garbage, you know? Consider your fans that group of people, they are your little test group and they’re going to tell you honest feedback and you should always ask for honest feedback. “Don’t hold back guys, I want to know the truth.” Because you are saving so much time and money by getting those answers. 

And getting the general consensus on if they prefer something or not. So I did an extensive one one time where I ask them everything from design styles. So before I went to go actually get a design made, I compiled a bunch of different types of artwork. I think I just got pictures off of Pinterest or something and I just let them vote on the style, you know and I made sure they were different enough that they could really pick something and then I even put colour schemes in there. 

You can put fonts, you could survey them on everything that you can to understand your people a little bit more. And then from there, I was able to come up with a great design and lo and behold, when I put that t-shirt out it sold. So then it’s no surprise, right? You are digging into who they are and they’re just telling you. It is such a goldmine. I can’t even express. Why stress out about something when you can just ask and they’ll just tell you? So that is a big deal.

23:52 CJ: Yeah, if you can do what you just described and then drop the ball when it comes to executing your own design on something, right? So how important then does design become, once you settled in on a style. 

24:06 Leah: Yeah, so with e-commerce, everything about e-commerce is extremely visual from the design to people are analyzing the quality of something even from the image that you take. So the product photos matter as much as the design matters and the mock-up. So you know, people don’t want to see some crappy picture of the potential of what a mug could look like. I mean you want to either take a real photo of the mug or something or have a really good product mockup for example. 

And so just remember that people will judge a book by its cover. So the design of the t-shirts, whatever is going on your mug your t-shirt, your hat that is the thing that will determine if someone is going to buy it or not. More than anything else. More than where you have the buy button the page like those little things can add up. Those are little optimizations but ultimately is the design on the thing desirable because they can go buy a mug and they can buy a t-shirt at Walmart but the question is is what your offering exclusive and unique that is not sold in stores?

25:16 CJ: Right and so obviously this leads to the customer experience at the store at your online store and so the design, the visual is there. What about what you say? What about product descriptions? How much time do you put into something like that? 

25:33 Leah: Yeah, actually you know I think a lot of musicians get stuck on things like product descriptions. They think, “Well gosh, what is there to say about a t-shirt like really?” And I run into that too but you know this is the time to be creative. You’ve got to make it fun. You’ve got to make it engaging. I always come up with something – it can be even silly. It can be humorous. You can make outlandish claims about “When you drink from this mug you will turn into Superman.” 

Or whatever but just be light-hearted, be creative, this is the time to be creative. And there is a couple of websites I’d love to go to, to get inspiration and I share this with our Elite students as well when they get stuck and so if you are not a student, this is going to really inspire you. There is a store called thinkgeek.com and they just sell all kinds of geeky stuff from a Star Wars lamp and all kinds of stuff and they are selling all sorts of things we think what would there be to possibly write about this product. 

And they come up with the most creative descriptions that are sometimes several paragraphs long and it always impresses me and I am like, “Wow I got to up my game on my product descriptions.” Because they are so good. So that is going to draw people and it tells people that it matters. You put thought and care into this item. You are not just greedy to try to get something. That is how you sell people, it is by showing them how fun this product is and how they can’t get it anywhere else. 

There is a bunch more details I can give that are inside of our Elite Program that is not all free content here because it actually matters that people get it in a step by step format. But just to give you guys a tastes that these little details actually make a difference in the sale. 

27:14 CJ: Right, well the word optimize is something that they should get used to. Optimizing means all of these little details that go to work together in aggregate form to cause somebody to buy is not just the offer. It is the store experience, it is the buying experience. They could be a great product but if they can’t find a button or the description doesn’t give them enough information or the image just doesn’t look right or there is something wrong with it. 

These are the little things because people are short on time, they will bounce right out of your store and one of the – for anybody who’s gotten into this to see the numbers of how many abandoned carts you might have. Now granted there are several reasons that someone might have abandoned carts but oftentimes, they were frustrated or things weren’t clear, they had a doubt about something, something demanded their attention. They got tired of messing with trying to get through it and they just said, “I’ll come back to it later,” and they never do. 

28:13 Leah: Let me share a little something about that that I just experienced because a large amount of people, if you get a lot of traffic to your store and I get quite a bit to mine, there is going to be a large percentage of people that add things to their cart and then don’t buy it. So I have been working hard to try and increase that conversion rate. If you can just increase it by 1% that can add up to tens of thousands of dollars more per month or per year. 

And so I am working on figuring out is there any issue even the smallest little thing that can cause somebody to go, “Oh I am not going to continue with this transaction,” and there was a little thing I came across on my shop and this was this little glitch that the PayPal button, for example, was showing up on the cart page but it wasn’t showing up on the checkout page, where they actually go to do the transaction and I think a lot of people according to a couple of comments that I saw on my ads. 

Because you should always pay attention to this, people will really tell you anything going wrong. They will come back to your ad and actually write it there and they said I can’t find PayPal and I said, “It is in there.” And they said, “No it is not there.” So I go, “Okay let me check that out.” So I go there and sure enough, the PayPal was showing on the cart page like I said not on the checkout page and it is one little thing even though it is there. They are not expecting it to be there. 

They are expecting it to be in a different place during the checkout and so as soon as they saw that PayPal wasn’t available during the actual where you put in your payment information they’re abandoning cart and I thought, oh my goodness, it took me weeks to figure this out. I’m like I don’t understand it is there and what it was is that it was not in the place they expect it. So I have been working with developers to try and get that button over to the place where they expect to see it. 

So this is why I say so much of it is human psychology. You got to start being fascinated and interested in people’s behaviours and what causes them to do things and why they don’t do other things. So start being really fascinated by that and you’ll make a lot more sales. It took me weeks to figure out, “Oh it is over here but they are expecting it to be there” and nobody ever told me that. I just put two and two together and I’m like, “Okay, let’s see if we can get that PayPal button on the other place. 

And then I bet you we’re going to see a huge increase, in conversion. So there’s an example of me going through the process. 

30:26 CJ: It’s those little things man. You know, you wouldn’t think of it. You wouldn’t think that would such a big deal. “Oh, people will find it,” don’t assume that people would do anything. Don’t even assume that they’ll do, they will stop buying or they will abandon the cart. That you can safely assume. We wanted to talk about checkout experience, the payment processors aspect and I think that touches on that but it is important that you know, we consider that customer experience. 

But that is all the more reason to use something like a Shopify. Which takes us into the themes and that sort of thing. In other words, some of the basic themes will have all of these things, for the most part, built-in and they have done a lot of the groundwork for you. You don’t have to think through a lot of those things. It’s again the premier e-commerce site in the world. I mean everybody uses Shopify. 

31:23 Leah: Huge brands are on Shopify and this is another reason why I wanted to discourage anyway from using Bandzoogle, Bandcamp, any of these other things is because actually, so many people have done shopping on Shopify without realizing it because you don’t see Shopify anywhere, you are just there shopping. And the checkout and cart experience is very familiar to people. People are more likely to buy something when the process is familiar. 

People don’t like going through a website where the buttons are in a weird location, the fonts are weird. There’s a black background and everything starts to seem sketchy and spammy and scammy to them. So the more familiar of an experience that you can create, the more likely you are going to make the sale and that’s why I love Shopify so much. That is one of the big reasons. Is that whole check out experience. The payment processes are standard, people know how it works. 

And then going into the whole theme like you just said, Shopify has a bunch of free themes. They have premium themes. I use a premium theme, all that information is on our Elite Course on what I use and why and why not using a free theme. They are fine though and there is a lot of people making money with free themes, you can but they are designed for sales. The way the format is, the layout, all of these things actually matter folks. 

It has to do with psychology. Again sales psychology, people’s behaviours and you know once upon a time you used to want everything above the fold and that just means that everything important would be above the line on their laptop or mobile device or desktop before they start scrolling and to a degree some of those things matter. But now we are in a scrolling culture and people are used to scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll. 

So for example, I can have a whole lot of stuff on my home page. And all the important stuff it is okay for me to have a really long home page because people are used to scrolling and that is completely acceptable and I make a lot of sales based on my home page. 

So that is just an example of why this platform matters and you have too many limitations on these other platforms like Bandcamp and Bandzoogle, way too many limitations. So I mean my rule is take the advice from people who are actually doing what you want to do. As opposed to your other broke musician friends, are you going to take their advice? Go ahead but I am making this simple for you. So don’t send emails telling me why you love Bandzoogle so much. 

I am telling you, when I started using Shopify, my income increased, not just because of the platform but because of all these other things we talked about so far. 

33:56 CJ: Wow, if you can’t tell Leah is very passionate about this aspect of the business because she could go on literally all day about because she hasn’t even gotten into the details of these things just the type of apps that brought in – 

34:10 Leah: This is a high level. 

34:11 CJ: Yeah it is a whole ‘nother thing, so let’s talk about just briefly probably the most important point because I got somebody who asked me the other day about one of my products and they were assuming that I was the one fulfilling orders. They were assuming I was the one who had a bunch of inventory and so then I have this particular size and whatever. So the point was is that he wanted a much larger shirt, which was not available in the particular shirt style that I was using on a particular tank top, what have you. 

So I have to tell him, I said, “Well no, I don’t handle this aspect of it. I have vendors who are handling this.” So this takes us to the subject of, well Leah, do you have a garage full of all of these different sizes of t-shirts that you’re selling? You happen to put these things in bags and ship them out the door. I get it that you have this great Shopify store but how in the world are you getting these shirts done? How is this money tied up in inventory? What about sizes? How do you know to get the right sizes? 

35:07 Leah: Well man, this is the beauty of Shopify and this will change your life, this will change your world when you get into this but there’s this amazing thing called print on demand and print on demand has been around but what you can do with it through Shopify and the different print on demand apps they have and the different vendors, so when I say apps they’re just vendors using an app to help you. You can create products, design the products. 

Upload those products to your shop and then fulfill them and they actually will drop ship those products for you and deliver them right to your customer and what’s incredible about print on demand why this is the model I recommend to all of our students and we have in-depth training on this, is there is such little risk involved. When I started doing this we literally did print 100 extra larges, 100 larges, 100 mediums and we had to hope that we could sell them. 

We had to hope that and they really were sitting in my garage and we really were mailing them physically ourselves and then just wow, my world just opened up when I learned about this. So these print on demand comes. There is a whole whack of them and we have specific recommendations for our students on the ones that we trust but it is a game-changer because you don’t have any inventory, you don’t personally ship it, you don’t have to worry about any of that. 

But you actually don’t even pay for the product until you have been first been paid, which is like, “What?” So the way it works is someone buys it, that money gets deposited into your account and then the app charges you for that product. So the money is there before you even have to worry about paying for it and then they fulfill the order and they will have the different processing times and then they ship it for you. You don’t even have to touch it and it is all automated. 

36:59 CJ: Yeah and they put your logo on it even. 

37:02 Leah: Absolutely, your logo, your design and it is all the best stuff like it’s all the same brands that you would go and get printed anywhere. It’s all the same, the same thing as you go to any bands merch booth, same brands. So the only tradeoff is that they have to make a bit of a markup as well. So they are getting it at a super-duper wholesale price. It is distributer price. They are marketing it up to a wholesale price for you and then you charge retail. 

So the only downside to this is that your margins are a little bit smaller than they would be if you went and printed them all yourself upfront. So usually if you did a huge batch of a thousand t-shirts you’d get a better price than when you are selling them one-off but really, I will take that any day especially when you don’t even know how much you can sell. You don’t have to have the merchandise. The inventory is sitting in your garage. You don’t have to ship it. You don’t have to touch it. You don’t do anything that is well worth it, the whole hassle. 

37:57 CJ: Oh yeah, plus you can do, you can throw products up quickly and you can add stuff. You can say, “Okay, you know what? I am going to put this design not just on a t-shirt. I am going to put it on a coffee mug, I am going to put it on a hat, I am going to put it on a dog bowl, I am going to put it on a shower curtain, I am going to put it on an apron, I am going to put it on a piece of canvass they can hang on the wall. I am going to put it in front of a journal that they can write in.” 

There are so many different products that you can put your artwork on and I mean within minutes, guys, literally within minutes and you don’t have to do a thing plus if you were to do like you just described Leah, yeah you get a cheaper unit cost. If you bought a thousand shirts but how many of those are you going to be sitting on two years from now because you just bought too many mediums? You got too many extra larges. 

38:44 Leah: And you find out that most of your fans are a XXL. It has happened to me. I actually had people requesting like four and five XL, like I do not have that in stock. So with this print on demands, a lot of them have all of those huge ranges of sizes and colours and the options are amazing. They are adding new things all the time and the other day I have seen then just adding all kinds of things like coffee coasters, cutting boards, like things you’re just like wow this is really cool. 

So that’s the model that we teach because most people don’t have the capital to go and invest in a whole bunch of merchandise they don’t know that they can sell. So you know I am not even going to talk about other kinds of drop shipping. It is not necessary this is what you need and so this is the model that we teach in the Super Fan System Elite because it is so effective and there’s no risk for you to do it. Absolutely no risk. So that is – yeah. There is a lot we can say on this but this is pretty thorough already. 

39:41 CJ: Yeah, I love to be able to offer as many things as I do from the items we just mentioned and hats and mugs and shirts and phone cases and you name it. You know offering all of these different things and I didn’t have to spend any money to buy them and have them on stock. Because if it was things I had to buy and have in stock then I’d probably only have t-shirts. I would be offering embroidered hats for goodness sake. 

I wouldn’t be offering a shower curtain or a cutting board or what have you or I’ve got all the phone cases and that kind of stuff or several different coffee mugs, I wouldn’t be offering that and the great thing about it is there are little apps where you can do items bought together and so if let’s say like I have a shirt that says “Eat, Drink and Be Metal,” in my store. So I can show down below the mug that says “Eat, Drink and Be Metal,” and the women’s shirt. 

So, in other words, you can get not just the shirts and say, “Oh wow, he’s got it also on a mug,” so I can get the mug and the shirt and save money and et cetera. So you can do as Leah said at the outset about adding more product and doing these things creates a bundle like effect that get people to go up. They came for a shirt but they ended up getting two or three things on the way out so. 

40:56 Leah: Right and there are so many things that you cannot do on Bandcamp and Bandzoogle like up sales and down sales. That is just helping little order bumps, things that are going to increase the average order value, which just means like how much the average person is buying, right? So like CJ said, showing them other related products, bundling products things that they can buy on their way out to checkout, right? 

All of those things matter greatly in an e-commerce setting. And I don’t really know of anybody else teaching this stuff, in-depth, I really don’t and I will tell you, I have taken a lot of different e-commerce courses out there and then they are always translating it into the music business. It is this always a very awkward thing. So that’s why I am here. I am here to bridge that gap between what works in business and what works in music because I am doing it. 

41:43 CJ: Well there you go and like I said, we go real deep into this subject but the best way to really become a master at this is to become a part of Leah’s Elite Program, the Super Fan System Elite Program and if you’d like to learn more about that, we would love to talk to you and tell you more about that. So book a call today, here is how you can do that, go to callsma.com. Book a call, talk to one of our staff members. They will go in deep with you. Take as much time as needed. 

To help to see if this is a great fit for you. If this could launch something new in your life that could spell you finally getting on track, putting an end to confusion, getting out of your rut, getting unstuck, getting that dream again, dust it off, polished and really getting you down the road to what you thought was gone. What you thought it was too late for what you thought maybe, you know you are just not cut out for, suddenly possibility is going to come back into the fore. 

So do that today, callsma.com and again, if you’d like to please go and leave a review for this podcast. Go to your favourite media player, give us some stars and a great review. It helps us to rise in the rankings. It helps other wonderful people like yourself find out more about Savvy Musician Academy. Leah, always a pleasure. 

43:07 Leah: Oh it was a pleasure to do this episode. I hope you all enjoyed it. 

43:10 CJ: Talk to you guys soon. 

43:12 Leah: Bye. 

Leah McHenry

Leah McHenry

It's become my absolute obsession to find out what will make musicians successful today. In the face of many obstacles, and in the vast sea of the internet, we have an opportunity that has NEVER been available to us in the history of the music business.