Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
We have been in the industry for 31 years, always trying to use the latest marketing and selling tools. We decided that even though our products are more B2B, and there are few online stores that sell store fixtures, starting our own would be a great way to get to new customers and help them find what they're looking for without leaving their stores and offices.
We are mainly an importer company, but we also manufacture some of our products. We are the official representer in Mexico of Unarco Industries LLC with shopping carts, and we distribute other products from Europe and USA. The accessories of Catalogue 1 and 2 are manufactured in China and Taiwan.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Our first sales were kind of hard because we had to convince and teach our sales team that it was a new way of selling and that they should start promoting it. It was difficult because they were not happy with the change and they saw it as competition. Also the logistics had to be faster and we had to work a lot on it during the first weeks. After the first month we started discount campaigns if customers closed their sales online, so we kind of forced clients and our sales team to go online and use the new store. That strategy worked great! Because now all our discounts go through the online store and our customers now know they only have to go online to get what they need, and its easier and faster for them.
We noticed an increase in sales during weekends. Also, we have been working with Google Adwords and about 40% of our store customers are new! So we were right! People want to buy store fixtures online, and now they can find them with just a Google search. Since we've been in the market for 31 years, a lot of clients find us directly by typing our name into Google.
Google Adwords is also our top tool, we have been studying the words people use to find our products and it's been working to attract more traffic. We are also working on our social network marketing, especially in Facebook where we have the most followers. Campaigns through email have also been very useful to inform customers about our new store.
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?
Since we mainly sell B2B, we had to work with volume prices, so we use Quantity Breaks from Bold Apps. For payments we use Conekta, which has been very easy to use and helpful to process secure payments. Receiptful is also a great tool to invite clients to shop again by offering a discount on their next purchase. We are still working on it but we've had some extra sales with this app.
Product discount from Bold Apps was very useful for an online campaign we had in June. Our products have different sizes and volume, so we have to choose a freight company depending on the product. For small boxes we use Fedex for faster delivery, local deliveries within the city we handle in-house, and we have the option for people to pick up either in our warehouse or our store. For heavy deliveries we use local carriers to try to find the cheaper and faster shipping options. This year, our shipping rates have been kind of low for some cities and too expensive for local deliveries; still, we want to finish the year and maybe include the shipping rate in the price so all sales will be free shipping and customers will be more confident and happy to buy with us.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Don't be afraid to start an online store. It's a great way to sell, and people are now more likely to buy online than they were years before. It took us some years to make the decision to have an outside online store because they were not compatible with our ERP. We tried different tools and stores and finally, in March 2015 we chose Shopify and it was the best decision for our business. Managing our store is really easy and it has helped us a lot in organising, fixing prices, and moving all inventory. We still have a lot to learn and apply to our store but we are sure we made the right decision with Shopify.