Product Name: Fresh Store Builder
Free Trial: Yes
Guided Tour: Yes
Support: Forum + Facebook Group
Fresh Store Builder is designed to build online storefronts for anyone who wants to promote Amazon products as an affiliate. I have done similar projects before that failed, so I cannot personally recommend this kind of setup for an affiliate business. It's a little different than other ecommerce platforms that I've reviewed since it uses affiliate marketing as the business model rather than selling your own inventory.
What I Liked
I started out pretty negative about this product, but after some conversations with the owner Carey Biard (see below), I've softened some of my critiques and found more things to like about the product.
Fresh Store Builder allows you to use their product on as many websites as you want. Typically, products like this only allow use for one website, and then charge you extra for individual licenses.
Add Content Easily
Adding content to your “Fresh Store” is easier than most other stores builders. Since content is a major contributing factor to successful marketing campaigns online, this is an important feature to have.
The ability to add pages, posts and images can be done from right within the Fresh Store dashboard. It has a full editor and even offers some options for basic SEO (search engine optimization).
Fits a Well-Known “Niche Store” Idea
When a lot of people get into niche marketing, they want to build an e-store. They want something where people can come and shop online, and buy stuff from their store. But they don't want to purchase inventory, so they want to do affiliate marketing, where you sell products from other websites and make a commission.
This store fulfills both of those expectations. You get an ecommerce store experience, but you get to promote products from other companies (only from Amazon in this case). Although I personally have not had good luck doing this exact model (I used a plugin on a WordPress site), I can see the appeal.
The Owner Is Getting Connected
This review sat for almost an entire year on Page 1 of Google results for Fresh Store Builder and I didn't hear anything. Recently however, the owner has been in contact with me. Like a pro, he's brought up some critiques of my review, but did not ask me to take it down. We've been having some discussions in the comments below that you can look at.
I do appreciate him taking the time to do this. On occasion, I receive threatening messages from product owners that want to attack my website or sue me from negative reviews, and I always tell them that they can leave a comment to open up the discussion or refute any of my points. They almost never do.
What I Didn't Like
Part of what makes Fresh Store Builder appealing to some, is that it makes some things easier. But everything it does, you can do on your own as long as you don’t mind putting in the work. It’s a shortcut that can cost you in many ways in my opinion.
Fresh Store Builder encourages the use of “spinning”. If you’re not familiar with the term, spinning is something that spammy marketers do to keep from writing original content each time they make a post. What they do is write one article then they ‘spin’ it, by replacing certain words with their synonyms.
This makes for terrible, often unreadable content.
Not only is it lazy, but it shows a lack of respect for your customers and it can cause you lots of problems with search engines like Google. Spinning an article can get your store removed from search results which means search engines will no longer provide you with the traffic needed to make sales.
Lack of Templates
Fresh Store Builder only offers six templates for you to choose (they are working on more). Other templates are available from $12 to $120, but most of them are very similar looking. If you have some coding skills you can tweak certain areas of your design but not many.
If you don’t have these skills hiring someone is very expensive. This means you’ll have a hard time designing a unique store and customer experience, which will result in low sales.
Recreating An Amazon Store
One mistake I see a lot of people making is that they want to essentially re-create an Amazon store and drive traffic to it. In my experience, that simply doesn't work. People come to your website for information, not to do online shopping. If they wanted to go shopping, they'd go to Amazon.
I suppose folks are looking for a ‘magic bullet' that allowed them to monetize a website instantly. They want auto-content builders, auto-store creators, and so on. To be honest though, most of my successful websites have been based around promoting a few core products, and driving traffic to review pages, with in depth information and comparison.
Last year I attempted to create an “ecommerce” affiliate site with my beer website. I started with an Amazon API setup, that grabbed products from Amazon listings, and included star reviews, comments, etc taken from Amazon. I tweaked it to write my own custom descriptions, and then set about 200 of them to be posted of the next few months. It products exactly zero sales, and I was also blogging with 100% original content on a weekly basis.
So then I ditched that plugin, and started uploading my own products with mini descriptions, also blogging (but just general information about homebrewing). I got traffic to the blog, but made about 2 sales in six months. I've since taken down the plugin and gone to straight blogging with product reviews and keyword research. I made about $50 in the following weeks of starting this process.
I haven't kept up on the beer site, so no earnings since then, but for it was clear – I'm sticking to what's worked for me in the past.
In my opinion, any kind of Amazon auto builder is NOT worth pursuing for building a long term business.
Fresh Store Builder is an Amazon only. Which means you won’t ever be able to sell products from any other company if you just rely on their setup. This is really limiting your potential online. Amazon has a lot of products and they're very well-trusted but their commissions are the lowest. You never want to limit yourself this way.
Of course you have the option to do things outside the builder, but then, why do you need it in the first place?
In my opinion, ecommerce is good for your own products. If you are promoting Amazon stuff, you should be writing original content, and doing focused promotions rather than list as many products as you can.
I've had extensive conversations via email and in the comments with the owner. I've changed some of my original opinions, and kept some others. One thing that remains undecided is what level of support is provided. As someone that hasn't used the service extensively (just peeked in for a review), I can't say for sure.
There are some vocal complainers, for sure, but aren't there always? At the same time Cairey has been on the ball in the comment section here on my blog. Then, while doing some maintenance updates to the post, I came across this on their website:
Literally on the homepage (or sales page, I can't remember), people asking for support and not getting it. So much so, they thought it was a “dead site”. These comments were from Sept 2015, just a few weeks ago.
But now you can find very positive comments on the home page, albeit many from a few months ago (most recent one was Oct 2015).
So I'm not going to make a final decision on support here, but take a look at what I've found, and make your own decision.
What Makes Fresh Store Builder Different?
Part of the appeal is that Fresh Store Builder simplifies the process of adding products to your store from Amazon. Instead of manually creating images, writing descriptions and linking to the product, Fresh Store Builder manages all that for you.
Who Is Fresh Store Builder For?
This is a product built for people that want to build an ecommerce style store by engage in affiliate marketing. It's a pretty interesting concept. I have tested it somewhat myself and it didn't work out, but apparently some folks are making money with it. Just keep in mind that if you are running an actual ecommerce business, this is NOT for you. Instead, check out my other reviews.
This ecommerce platform didn't score too well, but there are other amazing ones out there that I've reviewed. My favorites so far are Big Commerce (92/100), Shopify (91/100), and Volusion (90/100). They all have different features, so check them out and see which one fits your goals best.
I may do some more testing with smaller niche sites using FSB in the future, but for now, I'm going to stick with what has worked for me in the past.
Fresh Store Builder Versus How I Earn Money
How I earn money online may not have been 100% clear from this review, so let me lay it out for you.
I do not recreate the ecommerce experience on my websites. I write informational blog posts, and link those posts to product reviews. For example, on my beer site, I would do a review of a beer recipe I purchased online. Then a week later I'll write a blog post about how to make stouts at home. In that post, I'll link back to my review of the stout recipe I purchased and made last week.
The informational posts drives traffic to the money pages. Money pages can also get their own traffic. I just repeat this process into infinity, and grow traffic and sales over time. My websites provides insight into the niche I've chosen. People come for information, and purchase a product based on my recommendation.
It's not the ecommerce affiliate store that lot of people have in their imagination when they are getting started online, but it works for me, and it provides me with a full time income. You can see how I do what I do in my 5 Day Email Course on Affiliate Marketing.