Smiley Honey was started in 1989 by Donald Smiley. I purchased the business in late 2012. Donald had an established website, with strong Google rankings for key search terms, but the site was dated and not very user friendly for both customers and me.
I looked into a new, customized website but was shocked by the price and time estimates from some local web design firms. Someone recommended that I try Shopify. Once I checked out the many fresh and exciting themes, I was sold. I used a great Shopify Expert (Trevor Carlow) who got me up and running in no time. My Shopify site went live in late June 2013.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
I have been working to migrate existing customers from the old site to my new Shopify site, using MailChimp campaigns, new product labels and local print advertising showing my new URL. I recently passed the hump - meaning that I now get more orders through Shopify than through my old website.
Some Google keyword searches are resulting in first page organic placement; others searches are still not getting my Shopify site on page one. I will need another 6 to 12 months before I can shut down the old site and rely on Shopify alone for my internet sales.
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 Shopify for credit card processing, which is very easy. I also have a Shopify card reader, which is great when I sell my products off site.
I use MailChimp to collect e-mail address from orders, and then to send out marketing offers. I am considering Shopify POS, but need a bit more sales volume before I can justify the expense.
I rely on the standard Shopify reports for key information about website traffic and sales.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
For business owners with a new Shopify site, I advise patience (it takes time to climb the Google rankings), consistent attention to detail, passion for what you make and sell, and regular updates to your site/blog to add interesting and useful content.
The world of e-commerce is very crowded and competitive. But Shopify offers a superior product, with strong support and tools, to help you succeed.