Awarded as “one of the most knowledgeable eCommerce experts in the industry”, Alaa has been leading digital growth for both online and retail brands for over 18 years. Currently, he is the Vice President of eCommerce at tillit (https://www.tillitcorp.com/), a wellness & technology company. Prior to joining tillit, he was the Director of Digital Marketing at one of Canada's leading home retailers, Linen Chest. While at Beyond The Rack, he helped expand their product offering into marketplaces such as Amazon & eBay in order to acquire new customers. One of his largest accomplishments to date was leading all eCommerce efforts at iNetVideo.com, growing their online sales from $1m to $19.5 million a year and having the privilege of being included on both the Internet Retailer Top 500 and Inc. 5000 lists of leading companies. He’s also the founder of eCommerceTrainingAcademy.com, a foodie and a Porsche enthusiast.
I've asked myself the same question and here's what I found out after asking many of them as well as working with some
1) Lack of technical knowledge & skilled employees
2) No inventory system or unable to connect system to online website with ease
3) No money to implement
The best way to start is to launch them on Shopify with a small subset of their inventory only to get them started. Let them get a tasted of the sales and then it will motivate them to invest more.
I recently helped my wife launch her own online jewelry store.
It really depends on budgets but in her case, she didn't have a huge one. Here's what I told her to do:
1) make sure to build an email list from day 1
2) Use instagram to engage with your target clients (don't sell, but inspire)
3) Start promoting your store with friends on Facebook and have them like your page. Then create facebook ads targeting friends of friends who like your page with your picture on the ad since they're familiar with you.
4) Consider adding your products to marketplaces to generate income faster (Etsy, Amazon, ebay)
That's what she started doing and slowly implementing things.
1) You need a multi-channel strategy. Selling on your website is not the only way to sell your product online.
2) Focus more on top of the funnel initiatives (inbound marketing). Amazon rules the bottom of the funnel which is when the customer knows exactly what she's looking for and price is what matters to her.
3) Focus on Conversion Optimization across all channels since it is one of the best ways to have an impact on your bottom line without increasing marketing budgets.
4) Training & Network. Things change fast, keep up to date. Attend conferences and network.
5) Constantly monitor your eCommerce eco-system. Technology changes & new suppliers join the market. Evaluating established processes can help tremendously.
Their phone system works really and simply delivers what is expected.
I think having an availability time calendar would be very beneficial so that scheduling matches our availability.
Being able to record calls and charge clients an additional fee for that would be great.
Also, screen sharing would be good too.
Focusing on building an engaged community of raving fans will certainly grab the attention. Focus on a specific audience and milk it! Show competitors that you have a segment of customers that love what you have to offer and can potentially be used to purchase other items.
Hope that helps.
I always tell clients that if they can't afford the basic package by Shopify, you are not ready for eCommerce.
Free carts are great unless your time is valuable.
If you only have 10 products and you simply want to test the waters, you can certainly take a look at building add to cart buttons using Paypal. Another alternative is to use Squarespace.com which is only $20/month.
I've used Shopify, Bigcommerce, Magento community/Enterprise and many others for my own eCommerce business. Start small. You don't need a very expensive cart to sell online. You just need to know your exact needs.
Let me know if that helps or if you have other questions.
I recommend you do the following:
1) Live chat using Olark.com (use an app on your phone as well). Free or starts at $17/month.
2) VOIP toll free number that forwards to your cell or even converts voice mails into mp3 and forwards it to your email. It's very professional. Use Grasshopper.com starts at $12/month
3) As for emails, I would recommend using Zendesk.com. Easy to use, app included as well. Starts at $2/month per box
Those 3 solutions will make you look like a big brand with minimal cost.
All you have to do now is answer customer inquiries on time :)
Hope this helps.
Either find a partner with money to help you out or use services like Kickstarter.com
If it was me, I would first learn everything I need to know about launching a transactional website (if you are able to sell your product online and ship it ). Websites like Shopify.com make it possible for anyone to get their product online.
From there, if you do not have any money for ad spending, start using social media and other sites where your target clients hang out. Get involved in those communities. This will help you get discovered.
I would try my best in selling the product within my network first so that when I decide to raise money for marketing, I actually have some numbers to show for it.
Hope this helps.