74 search results for “nick winkler”

How RIPT Apparel Turned $3,000 Into $4 Million Selling One T-Shirt At a Time

How RIPT Apparel Turned $3,000 Into $4 Million Selling One T-Shirt At a Time


Remember your bachelor or bachelorette party?

While nights like those can be a bit hazy for many of us, the entrepreneur we're lucky enough to be learning from today remembers his all too well.

In fact, it turned into an ecommerce nightmare he'd rather forget.

But what started as a disaster, and founded with just $3,000, is now an ecommerce juggernaut that generates $4 million a year selling just one t-shirt at a time.

What's behind the success?

The founder is sharing the one key decision that changed everything, as well as what he learned from that botched bachelor party, so you can take your online store from rags to riches in a hurry...

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How Shelfies Saves Thousands of Dollars Using Shopify Flow to Automate Custom Order Fulfillment & Fraud Prevention

How Shelfies Saves Thousands of Dollars Using Shopify Flow to Automate Custom Order Fulfillment & Fraud Prevention


Picture your face plastered all over a sweater...

That's the kind of custom all-over-print order the CEO featured in today's post is best known for delighting customers with.

It has become a multimillion-dollar business. But behind the scenes, it’s a time-consuming grind that’s anything but glamorous: picture manually checking for and sending custom orders to designers and trying to halt fraudulent orders before they're produced and you wind up with inventory you’ll never sell.

Now, imagine putting all this on autopilot.

That's exactly what the founder being featured today has done and he’s revealing exactly how he did it in just a few clicks so you too can save hours and thousands of dollars automating manual processes that underpin your business ...

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How Smoke Cartel Used Shopify Plus to Launch 24/7 Live Chat & Slash Customer Service Response Times 93%

How Smoke Cartel Used Shopify Plus to Launch 24/7 Live Chat & Slash Customer Service Response Times 93%


It's not just one flat tire ... 

But the digital equivalent of all four blowing out at once. 

Smoke Cartel was transitioning to a larger warehouse when their internet service was cut, employees unexpectedly quit, and the company had zero customer service for four days.

Angry customers piled up. And so did the request for refunds.

How did they turn it around, once again accelerate growth, and slash customer service response times from two days down to an hour?

Not only is Smoke Cartel revealing the tool they used to succeed, but also the one key integration she says you too can make to improve customer service and turbocharge growth ...

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How The Economist Uses Shopify Plus to Test Ideas, Delight Its Audience, & Invent the Future

How The Economist Uses Shopify Plus to Test Ideas, Delight Its Audience, & Invent the Future

Hint: They test as quickly as possible.

You can't teach an old dog new __________.

I'm betting you filled in the blank correctly and I'll also guarantee you're wrong...

At least if you're talking about The Economist, an ancient media company that was founded in the 1800s.

What's that?

You though old media was dead, huh?

Well, not only is this old dog learning new tricks, he's teaching those tricks (and a lot more) to the rest of the world as part of a strategy that blends ecommerce with editorial content in ways that create new streams of revenue...


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How the Next Great American Sport Is Growing 2,700% with Generous Surprises & On-Demand Delivery

How the Next Great American Sport Is Growing 2,700% with Generous Surprises & On-Demand Delivery

You might call it an entrepreneurial dream killer. It’s a monumental problem that strikes immediately after you’ve taken the plunge; quitting your day job to pursue your side business full-time.

“The transition was not easy,” says Scott Palmer, a marketer and operations pro who experienced this scenario when he dedicated himself full-time to Spikeball, which sells equipment and apparel to people who play Roundnet -- a sport described as a cross between volleyball and four square. “It’s really stressful especially when you have a family depending on you.”

The company’s founder, Chris Ruder, had been running Spikeball as a side business out of his living room for several years. “He’d put the kids to bed and fulfill orders all night,” Palmer recalls.

But shortly after Ruder and Palmer dedicated themselves to Spikeball full-time, fate intervened and posed a hulking challenge formidable enough to crush a lesser company. “There was a strike at a major port that prevented us from getting our regular shipment,” Palmer says. “We ran out of inventory and couldn’t fulfill orders.”

Even worse, the duo’s lofty goal of doubling sales every year was in jeopardy. “It looks like an unrealistic goal every year, and this made it worse,” Palmer says.

But instead of allowing this dream killer of a problem crush Spikeball, Ruder and Palmer crushed the problem. “It’s all about learning from your mistakes and managing risk,” Palmer says.

Today, Spikeball splits each inventory shipment between two ports so if one goes offline the company still has inventory to sell. It costs a bit more to split shipments but the peace of mind it brings, as well as a better customer experience, is well worth it. “The best part was we hit our revenue number,” Palmer says with a smile. “We didn’t think we could, but so far we’ve been able to overcome everything life has thrown at us and double sales every year.”

Even more impressive is that Spikeball is a company founded on a ragtag collection of equipment being held together with nothing more than grit and duct tape.

The Next Great American Sport

Even if you haven’t heard of it…

Roundnet, a two-on-two game similar to doubles volleyball in which participants begin play by serving a ball into a ground-based net (like a mini trampoline) and score points after three touches when the ball hits the rim of the net or ground, has been around for decades.

Ruder continued playing though and kept his equipment, which was battered and bruised after years of use, yet still functional by patching it together with duct tape. That duct tape laid the foundation for a multimillion dollar company.

It was during a vacation to Hawaii where, despite the equipment’s rough edges, others noticed Ruder and his family playing and became curious. “They were all dying to know what sport Chris was playing,” Palmer says.

The idea for Spikeball was born right there on the sand in Hawaii. It’s a humble beginning for a business that has grown exponentially and recently celebrated Roundnet’s National Championship tournament in Washington D.C. by awarding a $5,000 first prize. Notably, the sport is now enjoyed by people across the country thanks to the awareness and equipment Spikeball sells:

  • Over one million people now play nationwide
  • 250 tournaments will be held in 2016

“People love the Roundnet,” Palmer says. “We’re literally building the next great American sport.” Spikeball, once a part-time living room-based endeavor, now has fourteen full-time employees and two offerings: (1) Spikeball equipment and kits that empower people to play anytime and anywhere, and (2) a SaaS platform in which Spikeball enables Roundnet lovers to organize, accept registrations, and run their own tournaments

“We give them loaner equipment and everything they need to operate tournaments,” Palmer says. “It’s really cool to watch the sport grow in real time.”

Spikeball is growing as well. Since its founding in 2008, the company has grown more than 2,700% and posted record sales numbers each year:

  • $1.3 million in 2013
  • $3.2 million in 2014
  • $6.9 million in 2015

Interestingly, the company’s strategy is to introduce the game to children and offer them opportunities to continue playing as they grow:

  • Spikeball equipment is in over 3,000 secondary schools nationwide where children participate during physical education classes
  • Roundnet is now a recognized club or recreational sport on 150-college campuses nationwide

“We want to teach them how to play in grade school, offer them a chance to compete in college, and maybe one day beyond that,” Palmer says. More on what “beyond” means in just a moment. But first, remember how Palmer intelligently split port shipments to avoid ever running out of inventory again? It’d prove meaningless unless Spikeball could keep cyber jerks from bringing down its popular website.

A Differentiator: On-Demand Delivery

Initially, Spikeball had a hybrid site…

A primary WordPress-Shopify combination accompanied by several satellite sites used to sell directly to specific channels like middle schools interested in incorporating Roundnet into their P.E. classes. “When we were attacked, the WordPress portion of our site went down but the Shopify portion was still standing,” Palmer recalls.

It’s one reason, along with a desire for a platform that could scale on demand and keep up with the growth it was experiencing, that Spikeball migrated its digital properties and upgraded to Shopify Plus, an enterprise-level ecommerce solution for high volume merchants. “We love Shopify and the people who work there,” Palmer says. “We’re marketers, not developers, and Shopify Plus saves us both time and money by allowing us to focus on what we do best rather than worrying about technology.”

In addition to the easy-to-integrate applications that position Spikeball to better manage inventory and upsell, Palmer notes Shopify Plus also allows Spikeball to differentiate itself by leveraging on-demand delivery services like UberRUSH. “We were one of the first companies to launch with UberRUSH,” Palmer says proudly.

UberRUSH, which allows merchants to offer same-day delivery in select cities, positioned Spikeball to offer last-minute holiday shoppers in Chicago, where it’s headquartered, a valuable service. “Typically customers would need to order six to seven days prior to Christmas to ensure packages arrived in time,” Palmer notes. “But with UberRUSH customers could order all the way up through Christmas Eve and still get their Spikeball kits in time.”

Here’s exactly how it worked during the 2015 holiday shopping season:

  • Spikeball selected the products eligible for UberRUSH delivery and kept the inventory on hand at its Chicago headquarters
  • Customers entering their zip codes during the checkout process who were in the pre-selected delivery zone were given the option for same-day delivery

Palmer was on hand as the first several UberRUSH orders rolled in. “The doorbell rang, and it was the UberRUSH delivery person,” Palmer recalls. “It was so cool the guy actually showed up after the order was placed.”

Shortly after that, Palmer and the Spikeball team reached out to the customers ordering with UberRUSH to confirm receipt. “They got it the same day- it really happened,” Palmer says excitedly. “Listen, it’s not like it allows us to compete with Amazon in terms of delivery, but it made us feel like a big important company adding real value for our customers who are in a hurry.”

On-demand delivery isn’t just for holidays. Spikeball offers UberRUSH year-round and one day, if all goes according to plan, possibly well beyond Chicago.

#1 Marketing Expense: Free Replacement Parts

It’s nowhere to be found on Spikeball’s site.

And it’s not something for which Palmer and his team market or actively seek credit.

But Spikeball’s secret sauce is this; surprise and delight customers. It’s something you may have heard others promise but here’s how Spikeball actually delivers and why Palmer suggests customers love it:

“We replace parts for free for life. People will actually call and ask if they can purchase a replacement part because something has broken. Our answer is no- we will NOT sell you a replacement part. What we will do though is give you the part you need absolutely free. Customers are amazed by this which is the point- we love surprising and delighting them. We care about facilitating the playing of the game and people can’t play unless they have equipment that functions. We do this no questions asked and we cover the shipping which really resonates with customers. So it turns out, free replacement parts are our number one marketing expense.”

The customer trust that’s earned, especially when combined with Spikeball’s strategy of introducing the sport to children and nurturing love of the game through college, may one day bear fruit on much larger stages; Spikeball is actively working on making Roundnet:

  • An Olympic sport
  • An NCAA sport
  • A professional sport

“Eventually we want to have global rankings like other major professional sports,” Palmer says. “We’re having conversations with organizations like the United States Olympic Committee and are doing everything we can to grow this sport.” Lofty goals for sure...

But obviously, no match for a Spikeball team that routinely conquers ports closed due to worker strikes, achieves seemingly impossible sales goals, and offers on-demand shipping that’s surprising and delighting the Roundnet world.

“We’re introducing people to the sport every day,” Palmer says. “We’re really proud of what we’ve accomplished, the community we’re building, and a future in which Roundnet is as mainstream as any of America’s great sports.”

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How to Block the Ad Blockers & Whether You Should

How to Block the Ad Blockers & Whether You Should


Hey there, 

What happens when a large portion of your target audience is blocking the ads you wish to serve them?

Tools now exist that allow you to circumvent ad blocking technology and serve your ads anyway, but should you do it?

The choice you're faced with is a tricky one.

  • Respect the wishes of those determined to block your ads or
  • Punch through the ad blockers and advertise as you always have...

This article takes an in-depth look at the topic and will help you determine a way forward that's beneficial for you and your target audience. 

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How to Master Cross-Device Ad Targeting

How to Master Cross-Device Ad Targeting

Your advertising must touch prospects and customers across devices and applications if you want to increase conversions and reduce acquisition costs.

Cross-device targeting is a must despite the technical hurdles you'll need to navigate to track and target users with precision.

Combine these obstacles with evolution in the path to purchase and the dying cookie, and successful cross-device targeting may seem next to impossible. 

Or  is it? 

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How to Save Time Automating Major Sales Events, Campaigns & Product Releases with Launchpad

How to Save Time Automating Major Sales Events, Campaigns & Product Releases with Launchpad

How to Save Time Automating Major Sales Events, Campaigns & Product Releases with Launchpad

Just flip a switch … and start minting money.  

Isn't that the dream of every merchant preparing for a flash sale, product drop, or major sale? 

Unfortunately, the laborious and manual backend processes necessary to successfully execute events can take weeks of preparation. In fact, your pre-launch to do list can often distract you from your day to day duties and even require you to take your store offline while planning and manually implementing the mechanics of your event. 

What if none of that was necessary? 

We feel your pain and it's why we're excited to offer Launchpad, a tool that can help you plan and automate all of the activities necessary to execute your next flash sale or major sales campaign ... 

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