ARTISURN is an online marketplace of handcrafted cremation urns, jewelry and keepsakes. I have founded it on the premise that everyone deserves a lovingly handmade memorial vessel. People can celebrate the life of a loved one or beloved pet by finding a unique memorial piece that they can proudly display in their homes or wear close to their heart.
I was inspired to start ARTISURN after I had lost my close friend and couldn't find an urn for her ashes. I have partnered with over 20 US talented artisans to offer one of a kind pieces. I love each and every one of them for their meaning and beauty. Artisurn.com is the only site that offers handcrafted memorial pieces exclusively.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
ARTISURN is a truly online venture. Being an outlier in the memorial industry means not having any brochures, guides or any other printed materials that the industry is known for. ARTISURN has an active social media presence. ARTISURN's brochure is Boards on Pinterest. Shopify makes it so easy to Share and Pin and it has been great in spreading the word.
My first sales came from people finding ARTISURN through Google searches. Shopify is so SEO friendly that I had my first sale in my second month of being launched online.
Being listed in Resources on relevant sites and guest blogging have been instrumental in reaching ARTISURN's target audiences. Direct searches are still the number one channel for generating sales thanks to the optimized website. Organic searches even beat AdWords searches.
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 took my time to research Shopify's Themes and picked the one that I felt was a perfect fit for my business. Shopify has so many great apps that it is a requirement to leverage them to be successful.
I use Ordoro for my shipping logistics, AdRoll for my retargeting campaigns, AbondonApp for bringing back customers who abandoned their carts and Chimpify for maintaining my e-mail list. Shopify makes my life so much easier by anticipating my business needs. I love it! I've just shared my love for Shopify with Jennifer Schiff at CIO who was looking for the best e-commerce platforms for small businesses.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
To be successful, pick a niche. Laser focus on something you feel passionate about and has a business potential.
Pick a great e-commerce platform like Shopify to increase your chances of success and leverage apps that comes as part of its offerings.
Don't let lulls in sales slow you down. That is the prime time to hustle and reach out to your target audience by creating great content on your blog (and yes, Shopify lets you easily create a blog as part of your e-commerce site), post updates on your Facebook page, tweet a few fun facts out, Pin a few of your offerings on Pinterest Boards. Just keep going and it will pay off.
Provide great customer service. Take your time to follow up with customers to make sure they're happy with their purchase and experience with your online store. Nothing beats word-of-mouth referrals.
Keep learning about latest social media and e-commerce developments to stay ahead of the pack and be an outlier.