Ananda Perwira explains how selling one unique Southeast Asian fruit helped his ucokdurian.id make $170K a month.
Can you introduce yourself? And what is the story behind Ucokdurian.id?
Horas! I’m Ananda Perwira from Medan, Indonesia. I loved technology since senior high school (at that time, I was crazy about video games, the Internet, and photoshop).
Before I built my own online shop, I did different jobs such as wedding photo editor, concrete factory worker, worked in wood / plantation industry, also as a freelance blogger, customer support, then I was trusted as marketing manager of Niagahoster – one of the fastest growing web hosting companies in Indonesia. Life is tough, right?
In 2016, I built a website ucokdurian.id where I sell durian online (a fruit mostly found in southeast Asia) from Medan to all Indonesia.
What inspired you to start? And why durians?
The idea came up when it was hard for me to find good durians in another city while working at Niagahoster.
Meanwhile, my hometown Medan – Sumatera Utara, is the largest durian producing state in Indonesia. I loved durian, so why not? To sell durian from Medan (smiles).
Was that the original idea from the start?
With simple research by using Google Keyword Planner, I saw a great opportunity for this favorite local fruit but no one was interested in growing this kind a business. They may say it’s too local or traditional. However, I saw Gojek, the fastest growing tech company in Indonesia, and I came up with a simple idea: to provide tasty durians to all people in Indonesia.
How did you start? How did you get your first users?
To start this business, I didn’t have to build something sophisticated or apps like what Facebook or Google does. The internet provided all tools I needed. To get my first users, I only needed to build a simple website with nice content. Almost everything is free. But I needed to read, try and learn a lot.
What were you learning when you grew your project?
First of all, I learned English. This is an important part since the beginning. Internet provides a plethora of information, and the majority is in English. So I learn it independently from a dictionary and grammar books.
The second part was to learn about hosting and WordPress. I was 000webhost.com (hosting provider) free user since high school. I learned about web hosting and WordPress. It’s something that my school or college didn’t teach me. I did it as a hobby, I wrote a lot of articles, became paid blogger, and then I was hired as technical support. This experience gave me the knowledge I needed to build the website in a simple way.
And how did you build your website?
No secret here, what I needed were:
- Domain. I registered Indonesian domain name ucokdurian.id.
- Web hosting. I used free Hostinger, then moved to premium Niagahoster.
- Web platform. I installed self-hosted WordPress (the best free CMS so far).
- Web design. I installed free WordPress theme Greenigma.
- Plugins. I installed free WordPress plugins such as W3 Total Cache, Yoast SEO, WP Canvas Shortcodes, WP SVG Icons, Ninja Forms, AddtoAny Share Buttons, etc.
What was the most important? What have you done to grow your revenue since the start? How do you build traffic to your site?
Content is king. Good content is the way I convince visitors to buy my products. Good content is about good copywriting, good images, good icons, visible business address and contact. Where did I learn this? I love to read Hubspot, ConversionXL, Optimizely, QuickSprout.
Was creating content enough to attract customer?
No, I did web marketing. Growing your business online is not something you can do overnight. It’s about consistency in web marketing.
I learned about search engine optimization (SEO). Content is king. But SEO is queen. SEO is the way to maximize the impact of my content. It’s about optimizing web structures, content structures, keywords, meta titles, meta descriptions, internal links, external links, page URLs, web page speed, backlinks, social shares, google my business, and so on. SEO is always changing so I need to stay up to date with the latest technology. Some good resources I read is Moz, SearchEngineLand, Yoast and KissMetrics.
Were you active on social media? Did you buy some ads in Google, Facebook, specialized channels?
Indonesian is mainly active on Facebook, so I took the opportunity. We regularly post nice pictures, promo and price updates on @ucokdurian.id fan page. We always try to reply all comments as soon as possible and buy some ads to boost the posts. Currently, we managed to reach more than 10M people, get more than 23K fans and 32K shares.
What were the challenges?
To convince people. Online transaction is about trust. However, many websites or online shops in Indonesia are just a scam. To convince people, we always provide real photos via facebook, WhatsApp, or BBM. We also registered and verified our address to Google Map or Google My Business.
What are your biggest sources of traffic? Where do you see your biggest potential?
The biggest sources come from Google organic search and social (Facebook). However, I needed to maximize all channels to convert web visitors into real customers. We used responsive and persuasive customer support via Whatsapp, retargeting Facebook, and Instagram ads.
The word of mouth also helped us a lot.
If you would start over, would you do everything the same?
Yes, but I would do it sooner. I doubted the idea of this business at the first time. I have been thinking about it since 2015 but took action in 2016. Why? Because I was afraid to fail. However, if I didn’t try, I ensured my failure. So here are some tips for you who are just starting to learn how to sell online.
- Help people. Don’t start your business for money. Do it because you want to provide solution for people. Make it easier for people to get products / services they need.
- Think global, act local. To start your business, you don’t have to build rocket like Elon Musk does. See something simple but potential around you.
- Read. I never attend any marketing schools. However, I consider myself digital marketing geek. The Internet provides everything you need, so read it.
- Continuous improvements. You stop, you die. Try to improve something every day, even if it’s just 1% better than yesterday.
- Be grateful. Don’t be cocky with what you have (intelligence, experiences, wealth…). See how many people lost everything overnight. Your success is temporary.