In 2011 I embarked on a mission to design fully custom, very collectible, limited-edition poker playing cards. Using the Kickstarter platform to jump start my first release, I have been able to reproduce that first success and sell over 15,000 decks of cards to collectors around the world. >
Shopify makes it possible for a single person to reach a worldwide audience and bring their products to the people that want them most.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
My very first sales were generated from my Kickstarter campaigns. Those sales provided the funds to have my decks produced, but I had several thousand items left over that I needed to sell direct to customers.
I knew that a independent website would present the best brand image and I worked to create a solid and professional presence online. My first real attempt made use of the open source Magento platform, but the incredible amount of technical work to get it running combined with the panic-inducing terror of trying to keep up with updates quickly made it too much to handle. Moving to Shopify was the best decision I've made and the rock solid performance and ease of use given by Shopify has made my life dramatically easier. Right now, my personal email list, Facebook and Twitter followers provide me thousands of dedicated fans that I can drive to my store for each new release.
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 the entry level Shopify system, handling payment via PayPal and the built in Shopify Payments. Providing both options has been a boon and so far I have had zero issues collecting payments from my users, a full 33% of which are outside North America. I have also had no issues at all handling a "rush" in which I processed multiple orders per minute. Shopify has been totally solid. ShipRobot and my USPS Endicia account has worked very well for my fulfillment need. I hand pack all of my orders myself to maintain exacting levels of care, so the seamless integration to generate labels has been a real time saver. As orders come in, I can review in Shopify, generate the label immediately in ShipRobot, print it on my Dymo thermal printers, and have the item ready to go in minutes. I have also used MailChimp for years, so the integration there allows my list to be managed easily as users in my store update their preferences.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
Shopify offers extreme ease of use and a great interface. Adding products, managing the site look and feel and integrating with other services has proven very easy. I have had questions, as you would expect with any large system, but the help documentation and forums have always provided the exact answers I needed. For such a reasonable cost per month, I think that trying Shopify is an easy decision to make. Your store will be professional, solid, extendible and your customers will find the purchase process easy and convenient. Shopify is a sure bet in my book.