As we approach the end of the 31 days of Blog Awesomeness I am filled with mixed emotions. This has been a good exercise for me and a couple people have shared that some posts have helped them. At the same time I have realized that it is hard to produce a high quality post every single day. Today’s post is one that I really wanted to spend a lot of time on. I wanted to actually walk somebody through the process and share the experience. That didn’t happen. But we’re still here and this post is still going to be great.
Back at the beginning of the 31 DoBA Sandy asked: How to take my new business to the next level (How to set up an online store and get into specialty retail stores)
These are two very different questions so I’ll tackle the one I have more experience with first. How can you set up an online store.
Sandy already has an Etsy shop for her cool no slip head bands at www.bicbands.com. She was very smart to use her own URL and point it to Etsy so she can change it later without losing traffic. Etsy isn’t a bad service, but in my opinion it’s limited and since you don’t have full control it can potentially keep your product looking small instead of professional.
Option 1. Shopify. Shopify is a great site that a lot of big companies use like PIXAR and Tesla Motors. It is very user friendly and works as a website, shopping cart and payment processor all in one. There is a monthly fee starting at $29 per month and a per transaction fee as well. If you’re not selling at least a couple hundred dollars of product a month this may be cost prohibitive.
Option 2. WP e-Commerce Plugin by GetShopped.org. If you’ve followed my steps on how to set up a website then you can just install this plugin to your wordpress site and add your paypal email and in a matter of minutes have a fully functioning e-commerce site. I’ve used this for a lot of test sites since it’s so easy to set up.
Option 3. Outsource the design and have them use a shopping cart like phppurchase. If you don’t have much technical know how this may be your best bet. But if you are a bit tech savvy and budget conscience then go with option 2.
The second part of Sandy’s question is something I’ve only done a very little of. If you’re looking to get into retail stores there are a couple of routes. You can hire a broker or network yourself. I recommend starting with some boutique stores where you can meet the owner. Many of them will allow consignment so that they don’t have to buy inventory but you still get your product in. This is a great opportunity to test retail price and get feedback from customers before trying to go big and get into a large retailer.
How is your company doing today? Where do you want it to be? As a friend of mine said to me this weekend. ‘Show me the money. Now, show me more money.’ Think big and then lay out the steps to get there.