Podcast: This Dog Can Hunt! E-commerce Secrets From Rob Snell

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In this episode of Landing Page Optimization, SiteTuners CEO Tim Ash talks to Rob Snell, co-owner of Gun Dog Supply and author of "Starting a Yahoo! Business For Dummies," about online store mistakes, innovation in small business, thought-leadership, and e-commerce store challenges.

Rob shares stories about Gun Dog Supply, a small business he runs with his brother Steve. He talks about a time when the trust symbols on their shopping cart caused the browser to throw up error messages as if the customer's identity were being stolen. He also shares how, as a small business, they differ from larger companies who have a rigid testing process. He's willing to experiment and deploy radical changes on his store right away as these changes, although they sometimes fail, rake in a lot of money when they succeed. As a small business, Rob says they can't afford the 1% to 2% sales increase that small changes result in. He advocates the "go big or go home approach," and always aims for at least a 20% sales increase. 

Rob also believes in the culture of innovation, and says that at no point will he stop testing. He continually gets ideas of things to test from other people when he attends shows and conferences. 

He shares how their store has, in seven years, increased its revenue tenfold. One way that they've done this is making sure they get quality traffic to their site. Rob says that in the U.S., about 98% of the people who visit a website do not convert. His company counters this by working on the content on the site. As a way of establishing themselves as experts, they write about things they don't necessarily sell but are related to their products. This, he says, increases both traffic and conversion. 

Tim asks Rob what his sources of inspiration are, and Rob says he looks at things from the psychological perspective. He clarifies that he is not interested in manipulating people - he merely wants to address pain points and give people confidence that what Gun Dog Supply sells is going to solve people's problems. He also looks at relationship-building as core to their business. He believes in running promotions to acquire new customers, taking care of existing customers, and being within reach when customers have questions. 

Tim and Rob also talk about challenges of an e-commerce store, and the correlation between conversion rate optimization and hair loss. 

First Air Date: May 9, 2011

Listen online or download the podcast from WebmasterRadio.fm