Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
I have been selling my photography since 1990. I have used many different online ecommerce platforms over the years - none of which have ever reached the success my Shopify store has achieved. I sell both online and at art festivals using the Shopify POS app on my iPad, selling photo prints & photo workshops. My prints are printed by professional photo labs I closely work with. Once I receive an order from Shopify, I upload the digital file to my photo lab, and they handle the printing and shipping for me.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
I already had an established website and newsletter list as well as social media, so my first sales were the result of being in business for so long and using the marketing platforms I already had in place. The most sales are generated from my email newsletter list, followed by in-person sales at art festivals, then followed by social media. As I mentioned, I have been using newsletters for years and have built a good following of interested people - both customers and prospects - and I market to that list regularly.
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?
Product Discount from Bold apps is used each month for monthly Photo of the Month Specials I have, in addition to various sales I have throughout the year especially during the holidays - love that app. Zapier is used to send Shopify data to my CRM Hatchbuck. Pipemonk (formerly Zapstich) is used to sync my Shopify sales & products with Quickbooks Online. And the Shopify POS app is used for in-person sales with my iPad. I receive the Shopify order then I upload a digital file to my photo lab. They do the printing and shipping for me. Once the print ships out, I email the customer with tracking info.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
I absolutely love Shopify and my online sales and productivity have increased tremendously since I started using it. I recommend new store owners to start simple with a simple store, then as they get to know the platform better start experimenting with themes and especially with apps. With the app platform it is amazing what can be done with your online store. It is so easy to share Shopify products with social media so new store owners should definitely take advantage of that. And new store owners should remember that they need to always market their store - via newsletters, social media, etc. - to achieve the best success. The shopping cart is so simple for customers which is key in completing a sale. You even get notice of abandoned carts with options to auto email a reminder which has led to extra sales for me.