We can help you launch and grow your business online!
About our consultant:
I have been dreaming about my own business all my life. Staring very young, I have created multiple websites, which I called as projects and I am to confess that they all failed. Whilst some may say I am such a crappy entrepreneur, I’ve decided to simply take the most valuable learnings and move on. After all, many people say that you need to focus on the things you are strong at and what drives you the most, and those are new businesses, startups, and wine. Naughty me.
I have spent quite some time studying and even though my two Master degrees (one on Computer Science and second in Marketing Management), one Chartered Institute of Marketing Diploma and my recently achieved Wines and Spirits Diploma may sound like a heck of a job, I sometimes think of some parts of it as a waste of time. Yet I do value education and also think most of our current issues, be it Brexit or Trump are because of major lack of education. Yet it is a separate story.
You will ask now what makes me a credible new business consultant and I am happy to report on my success (finally, isn’t it?) with my first real business - I have opened a wine retail, both brick-and-mortar and online.
Wine has been my passion for a long while yet it is such a difficult business - the margins are low, barriers of entry are higher than usual (regulatory and tough competition) -, so it has taken me a while to figure out what would be be exactly. You can see it online at organicwinecub.co.uk
After the most tough 6 months of my life (yet also full of achievements), the business is now profitable and ready to move on from a startup to a growth phase. It got me equipped with first hand knowledge about how to set up your store (be it selling digital products or physical), avoid pitfalls, focus on priorities and more. It also got me wondering a lot, how all those store owners with just brick-and-mortar stores survive? OK, if you are lucky enough to have enough funding to secure a Central London high footfall location, you may be alright and not particularly bothered with online, but if you are in a smaller town or suburbia, I do not know.
That is why I decided to tailor my proposition for new businesses which are just starting up (or considering to start but need some guidance) or existing small and medium businesses, which are in need to add online channel to their existing high street store or similar.
Yet I appreciate that there is no one-fits-all approach, so you will need to make tweaks and changes, so if you’d feel stuck at any point, just book my time and I will be happy to offer a consultation over the phone, Skype or if I am around even face-to-face.
Stop dreaming, start doing. You can do it with minimal investments, lesser headaches and maximise your returns. I have got proven techniques, an amazing platform to introduce to you and happily provide additional guidance.
How can you start selling online?
We can help you to sell digital products or physical with minimal investment requirements.
If you are already selling and looking to expand online quite a few bits here would be as a recap only, but hopefully even they can get your brains working and you may brainstorm some fantastic idea how to develop your business even further.
What do you need to start selling online? Well, first of all it is your product. Depending what it is, it will shape your store and strategy considerably. Second thing, and it is THE most important thing to figure out (or at least start figuring out) is WHO is your product for? Is it for single moms or teens, is it for more mature audience or for travel buffs? You do not need to get it fully set in stone, but it will greatly influence the look and feel of your site.
I will give you an example. Organic wine is a product that is mostly consumed by a bit older people and there is no specific indication of sex. Only just these two factors already influence a lot of your decisions: your website should be unisex with no major masculinity or ‘pinkness’ and at the same time appeal to more mature demographics, so maybe a bit more serious, less glitter and more restrained. Some people will say it is generalisations, but unfortunately this is what marketing is based on. We all strive for personalisation and creating truly exclusive experiences, but you need a starting point.
So you’ve got a product and target market. You will need to agree on pricing (or set up same pricing as you current products in-store). Online will become your distribution, regardless if it the only channel or you sell your products in-store too.
Online will encompass many more sub-channels, namely Social Media, E-Mail marketing, SEO, Affiliates, Search, Media and Content to name the main ones. It can sound quite enormous, and it probably is, but if you can sell online, you simply should. You do not need to know a lot o these sub-channels, first of all not all of them necessarily would be applicable to your business and secondly, you can always effectively outsource.
All this complexity though will require you to choose a platform. You can of course go and set up a simple store in one of the marketplaces, i.e. Amazon. You will get the sales in, but you will not own it, so it is a big downside and I will advise you to establish your own presence. It doesn’t need to be a huge investment and you can also do it as a test. Yet if it is successful, and it to become successful you’ve probably spend countless days to make it so, you are building your own company from scratch and will benefit from it fully.
Think of a name and register a domain.
Back to a platform, you need software to build your commerce on. Of course you have options! You can build one from scratch (crazy idea these days, it will be expensive, time consuming and not necessarily better), you can use one off-shelf solution that is tested and proven to be successful. One of the latter is Shopify. I highly recommend you build your commerce on it simply because it is cost effective, adaptable to certain degree, can be enhanced with many applications and doesn’t require technical knowledge in many cases
What platform you are going to build it on?
I have touched upon a topic of the platform in my previous post and has even suggested Shopify as my preferred solution. So what else is there? You can use Magento - it was quite a dominant player on the market (still is to some extent), but its complexity and quite an extensive price tag made it look quite unattractive to me when I was choosing the platform for myself. It is also quite technical, so you will need to hire a freelancer or better so an employee to actually make it work for you. Thousands of pounds down your budget.
Another set of software providers, i.e. ekm software, are cost-effective like Shopify, but they provide only software bit, you will still need to connect payment processing to it and in my experience as many external integrations you make, as many potential problems, errors and customer inconvenience possible. Why to bother?
As you can see, it is rather simple and you can do it all yourself. If you are stuck at any point, just let me know. I will be happy to help.
Wine Treats Limited