We often had requests from friends, families, and colleagues to bring them unique American-made items when we would visit Europe. It didn't take long to realize that there was an opportunity and we launched the first site to exclusively feature American-made goods in the UK & Europe.
We created a business that blends export management for small/medium American manufacturers and European ecommerce with local fulfillment. European consumers are now able to easily purchase products from over 100 American manufacturers at reasonable prices. Likewise, those manufacturers have been able to grow their markets internationally
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Our first sale came before we could even test our site! A manufacturer announced availability of their products in Europe through WishBox and the orders started rolling in. There is a pent up demand for a lot of American products in Europe and social media has become our primary source of traffic.
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 have partnered with a 3rd party fulfillment center in the UK, which manages our warehousing and order fulfillment. We integrated Shopify with their business systems and it works beautifully!
We were smartly advised to not overwhelm our customers (or ourselves) with too many apps. But, our favourites include:
'Back in Stock' app - Managing a supply chain that includes ocean freight and customs can be a challenge, so this app has been key to our success.
'Gleam Competitions' has helped us grow and engage with our social following.
'Retention Grid' has proven the easiest and most effective way for us to learn about our customer behaviour.
Zopim, Chimpified, Yotpo, Bold Apps suite -- each app offers a unique way to engage with customers and grow our business.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
1. Build a strong and simple foundation - a Shopify website and fulfillment system that works and is intuitive for customers.
2. Then focus everything on marketing and customer service.
3. From there add some apps that simplify your life.
4. Great product photography and descriptions are key