Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
My family has owned our business, Angelus Shoe Polish, for 108 years. They weren't taking advantage of the internet, so I (the grandson) came in with the strange idea to bring the business online.
Using social media, Google Adwords, Shopify, and a few apps I increased sales significantly. Here I am two years later selling over 10,000 orders a month just in my own business without even accounting for my families which has doubled. They gave me an incredible foundation and I ran with it.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
I remember starting our site on another platform - it was an awful experience. It looked terrible and received very few orders. I remember being disheartened because the platform was not very friendly with their customer support and everything required some level of coding. Then I found Shopify, which opened our world completely. Their robust platform makes it easy to pick and choose and make new decisions you would be terrified doing in another platform.
As for advertising, we went for artists on Instagram and Youtube then sponsored them to show off our product. They get our product for a great price in exchange for shout outs and general help. Social media is definitely what helped us generate our first sales and to bring in a majority of visitor traffic.
We then started to do Youtube videos, which were horrible, but people actually loved watching because it taught them about a new hobby they may have never known about. We have since obtained a video team who can make sure we work harder at striving for professionalism in videos. Youtube is huge for sales in the arts and crafts world because people are scared to try new things nowadays without being shown how to do it first.
Then we got a Google AdWords analyst who changed everything for us. We were doing great but he really took us to another level. He continues to wow us every day. We also hired an SEO Manager and tech team to handle all of our website development. We have been very fortunate (thanks to Shopify) to be able to connect with such heavy hitting amazing companies that have been able to push our company to the front.
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?
I use numerous applications to keep my business running. Shopify can really be a powerhouse if you know what you're doing.
I was recently featured on Coupon Pop in a study because one of their applications helped us so much; we receive over 500 followers on Facebook and Instagram every week thanks to them! I would easily say it's one of the most valuable apps we use.
Once we could actually afford to take some leaps we started using Yotpo’s premium service which is just ridiculously useful. Not only do we get reviews on our site but we show up on Google and Ads with 1000+ 5 star reviews to get customers to come to us. We were also able to help customers that left bad reviews of our products, demonstrating that we actually care about them. We know our products work great so if anyone ever has an issue we try to make sure it gets addressed.
For communication we have phone, email, and chat software. We do not know any other arts business that is as in depth with their customer service as we are. We have actual artists who are on our customer service team to help our customers with any array of issues they may have. Isn’t it the worst when you call a place for help and they just know the directions on the back of the bottle? We employ real people in our demographic to help with customer support so they know what they are talking about.
Now we use MailChimp, Zopim Chat, Referral Candy, Adroll, Yotpo, Shipstation, SEO Meta Manager, Shopify Bulk Discounts, Order Look Up, Shipping Calculator, Product Customizer, Fraud Alert, Email Template Editor, Coupon Pop, and Persistent Cart. They all work together to make my website quite the machine.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Use social media and take advantage before it's too late. We have over 125k followers on Instagram, 34k on Facebook, and 35k on YouTube. They are a revolving door of sales. We show potential customers examples of what they can achieve using our products and we love to display artists and fans on our page for support. People love to be involved and having an active company to believe in helps the community grow greatly.
Don't try to take on too much at once. All those apps took me months to get running. Now the site practically runs itself! I went from one package through USPS to over 2500 a week. If it can happen to me, it can happen to you.