Terran expands its eCommerce portfolio

Now that the transaction is officially completed, I’m excited to announce that Terran has purchased IceWraps.com and IceWraps.net. This was an existing business that started off about 10 years ago as the .net site and later expanded to the .com; our plan is to merge them into one site at IceWraps.com. This purchase fits our strategy of strategically expanding our eCommerce portfolio.

Why eCommerce?

When I founded Terran Marketing (now Terran.com) back in 2010 the goal was to focus on keyword domains and affiliate marketing. However, by 2012 it became clear my cheese had moved; it was time to start looking at other areas away from affiliate marketing. Don’t get me wrong, I still prefer affiliate marketing as a business model, but Google clearly feels differently. There are plenty of niche areas affiliates can do really well in, but they are away from keyword domains such as treadmill.com. In 2012 we made concerted effort to convert all our sites from an affiliate model to a site that sells something directly to consumers. For instance, we converted WPHUB.com from an affiliate based themes directory into a themes marketplace where customers can buy themes and other services directly. We also developed a couple of our eCommerce domain names such as treadmill.com and cuttingboard.com into online stores. Since launching our first online store in 2013, things have gone really well and the time has come to leverage our knowledge and expand our portfolio.

Why IceWraps?

In the next few weeks I will be posting detailed information about some valuable lessons I’ve learned in the eCommerce space. Until then, I’ll briefly comment that ice wraps fit all the criteria I look for (now) in an eCommerce business: no significant shelf life, fairly light products, fairly small products, easy to ship, hard to damage, don’t become obsolete, model numbers don’t change often, above a $25 price point, and good profit margins. In addition to these items, IceWraps fits another important niche for me: buying a site that’s already proven the business model, but is suffering because of other reasons, mainly technology. IceWraps fits this perfectly. IceWraps.net used to sell a shocking number of ice wraps each year, and even after a rankings drop it still manages to sell a lot of product. The old owner knew technology was a problem, so he set out to launch a Shopify store at IceWraps.com, in hopes of turning things around. Unfortunately for him, he ended up with a bad technology partner and the project crashed and burned. After that he went with a WooCommerce site, but was already frustrated with the business by that point. The current IceWraps.net site is built on Yahoo Stores and I’ve read several articles about how Google is pushing those sites down in the rankings now because it’s such a horrible platform.

Game Plan

After traveling to MI last week to get some training on the business, this is my general game plan over the next couple of months:

– Get setup with all the manufactures as a vendor and place an initial order. I have ton of old sales data and can place a fairly educated bet on what items to get in.

– Launch a new BigCommerce based store at IceWraps.com. This will be a pretty big undertaking since I’ll want to use new photos and descriptions where I can. I expect this to take about 6-10 weeks in total. I already have a test site setup for this and will start loading products into the new store as soon as inventory starts arriving.

– 301 redirect the old IceWraps.net site over to IceWraps.com and hold my breath. My hope is that the current rankings will transfer over with no problem. Then, over the next several months I’m expecting Google will give some love to the better technology with better rankings.

I’ll do my best to document the transition here on the blog as I progress.

2 Comments

  1. Hey Mike,

    thanks for this update. This is certainly an interesting niche and it doesn’t seem to be very seasonal… or is it? If you do the 301 correctly there shouldn’t be any problems with the rankings but you never know. I’m still in the affiliate game but I’m also looking to expand into selling products and services. But the transition in not easy.

    Looking forward to reading your progress in the e-commerce space to blatantly plagiarize some ideas :)

    Thanks!
    Mauricio

    Reply
    • Mauicio,

      It’s actually seasonal in the warmer months. People are playing little league and such in the spring. In the summer months people are more active in general and that really helps this business. It’s good to have a business with a season that isn’t crazy around Christmas time to help balance out our year.

      I’ve done a lot of 301 redirect stuff in the past with great success, but anytime I do anything on that large of a scale I still worry.

      Mike

      Reply

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