Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
We had a pre-existing site in this niche, but needed to upgrade and modernize site to a responsive design for our increasing mobile/tablet base of customers. I was recommended to Shopify by a colleague in ecommerce. We patented and have parts manufactured in USA, which are then sent to us for final assembly. Some parts are purchased overseas for our kits. We use MFG.com regularly to get manufacturing quotes for our parts. We source our products AliBaba and EBay (for other kit accessories).
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Email list, Google Adwords and SEO work. Email is most effective for us after generating leads via Google. We offer a free 8-day course used to educate potential clients, with calls to action toward the final days, and links to product pages. Of all those, follow up email marketing is the most critical to our success, running monthly sales, and establishing email relationship with our customers creates a great loyalty.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
We use Aweber for email capture and emailing our lists, and Adroll for retargeting, which is money well spent. Many first time visitors start seeing our banner ads after coming to site, and assume we are spending huge ad dollars, but we are not. Shipping and fulfillment is handled internally via our own packaging/shipping line.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
From day one, have an email capture/sales funnel in place. You will only convert a portion of the visitors to your site initially, but following up with sales promotions, introductory sales, and just relationship building with customers creates a very loyal fan base. Very few companies do this and customers appreciate the personal level of attention. Do not spam or over mail the list. Create a free download that gives them incentive to give you their email address, and then respect it when they give it to you. Also, dont always ask for money in every email — give them lots of free information and when you do have a sale, you will get responses.