This week we’ve decided to take a back seat and let our members lead the discussion. Starting an eCommerce store is no easy task, so we want to hear from the experts on how they faced the challenges that so many of our retailers are facing today.
We reached out to some of our most successful retailers to ask them a set of questions to help explore all the different strategies they’ve employed and more importantly, which ones are working.
First, a quick introduction.
Wild Dill is a kids online store that specializes in eco-friendly, fair trade products. They are known for carrying top quality, adorable clothes and accessories.
Maison Du Roi is an ecommerce site selling beautiful womenswear, accessories and handbags from emerging labels.
Style & Pose is a site with curated emerging designers. They have a particularly great selection of bridesmaid dresses as well.
StyleInvyte is a trendy online boutique offering cutting edge brands from all over the world. With a background in brick and mortar stores, the owners are bringing the boutique experience online.
What is the biggest challenge your business is facing right now?
Will Dill: Figuring out where to spend marketing dollars. I’m testing Facebook ads right now and there is a huge learning curve. I’ve found the ‘experts’ all disagree on what the best approach is on Facebook ads so really I just need to keep testing and hope I find the sweet spot that brings me the right kind of customers.
Maison Du Roi: Our current biggest challenge is to drive earned traffic from social channels.
Style & Pose: Accounting. I have found that it is quite difficult to accurately account for all of the different charges and costs in the sales process. For instance, I am trying to track Cost of Goods sold, but in a dropshipping environment, how many of the individual costs and fees should go to COGs? There is the cost of the product, but then there is also the dropshipping service fee and a shipping fee. Then there is also the transaction cost of processing the payment. If you have a store like mine, that means different processing costs on Paypal and Amazon payments vs a Shopify direct transaction. Unfortunately, Modalyst doesn’t track all of these costs for each transaction and attribute those fees into the invoicing. Ideally, there would be a monthly report I could pull from Modalyst that did this for me.
StyleIvyte: I think the biggest challenge is around building our brand as an eCommerce retailer. We launched in our current form less than a year ago, so not everyone recognizes us. With brand recognition comes credibility and trust, and people need to feel comfortable that they are buying from a trusted brand. Then there is the whole loyalty aspect of things once a customer connects with a brand that resonates for them.
What has been your most effective strategy for getting people to your site?
Wild Dill: My best traffic sources are Google Search, Pinterest and my mailing list.
What are some ways you convert that traffic into sales?
Wild Dill: Customers are happy when they find my site because I offer products that can’t be found on Amazon or other generic websites. I really focus on making fun themed collections and feature truly unique, top quality products that meet my criteria of being fairly made and eco-friendly. Beyond product assortment, I think having a nicely designed site builds trust and sales. That includes an honest focus on customer service, free shipping and a strong brand story.
Maison Du Roi: If some traffic didn’t convert on first visit, re-targeting is my next step to get them to come back. I work with my agency bangpixels.com to run display & Facebook re-targeting to boost sales.
– Maison Du Roi
Style & Pose: That is always the struggle with an ecommerce site, optimizing conversion rates. I try to focus on the products that have the best product photography for one, and put those at the forefront. Secondly I do what I can to get product reviews.
StyleInvyte: The key to that is alignment between the visitors’ needs / interests / tastes, and the page they are presented with when they land on our site. Of course, making sure that product pages are clean and straightforward, and do a good job with overall product presentation, is important too.
What is your favorite Modalyst feature?
Wild Dill: Add to Shopify! I love that I can easily add products when I’m launching a new themed collection without having to download images and product descriptions. The auto inventory sync is also a life saver so I can always be sure the products will be available when an order comes in.