Along with my partner Simon Mandel, we came to open our online business in February of 2013 to fulfill the need of families worldwide who are looking for a unique way to create heirlooms of their favorite photographs and digital images.
My background is in photographic restoration, and wet plate collodion photography. I wanted to create a way for anyone in the world to upload a photograph and receive an authentic, wet plate collodion tintype of that uploaded photograph. After a year of perfecting the process for digital upload, I was ready to launch my website.
Shopify provided the perfect platform to immediately connect and engage with customers internationally. After a year in business we were thrilled to be able to launch a new product line of digital ambrotypes, photographs on red, blue, and black glass. Our online storefront with Shopify has allowed us to connect with customers in Australia, Japan, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, and China to name a few! Because of our online store we have been able to bring our service of preserving family photographic histories to clients around the world!
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Our first sales came from two main places. Highly selective paid key words through google keywords and paid facebook advertising.
Our biggest gains in traffic have been from connecting with individual blogs who have published press releases about our products. Connecting with our clients through mail letters and blog posts has resulted in returning clients.
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?
We use retention grid to identify new and returning customers and to see how we can reach out to each group to reconnect.
Justuno is our discount coupon provider for pop up tabs on the mainpage.
We use Yotpo to connect testimonials and reviews with our products.
Chimpified is what we use to connect our email list with new sign ups.
We use shipping easy to provide printed labels and fulfill shipping.
We use sum all as an analytics tool and have just installed the new facebook shop.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
If you are opening an online store, think about it as your virtual brick and mortar. I would encourage a new shop owner to engage with their clients through social media and connect those social media sites with their storefront.
Maintain an active blog that is both text and image driven and tag your images with seo keywords to both drive your google ranking up but also to improve search.
Engage with your customers by asking to share their stories about their experiences with your products.
Ask your clients for feedback about your online experience! Write your own press releases and reach out to blogs that are interested in your field.
Use the Shopify team and resources to enrich your store and user experiences.