If you are dreaming of having an online store but you are not sure where to start, you are in the right place. This month I am going to have a series of articles on how to start and run E-commerce. The first interview will focus on creating an online store.
Krissy Crawford is the founder of Uncommon Ground, an online shoe store for women’s larger size shoes. As a size 11 shoe herself, she decided to turn her shoe shopping frustrations into a business she is passionate about (and an ever expanding shoe wardrobe). She was a finalist in the Nokia In Hindsight small business competition. Krissy summarised the lessons she learned while setting up Uncommon Ground.
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Spend time creating a solid business plan. As well as proving that the business idea was viable (not only to myself, but to friends and family that lent me the start up funds) the business plan meant that I already had a very clear step by step process that I could follow and made sure that nothing was missed out on.
Check and double check the name you’ll be using against websites, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and any other online social media you’ll be using. And if you’re planning on going international make sure you can get hold of a .com address. I only purchased the .com.au address but was able to buy a .net address a few months later for quite a lot of money.
When it comes to the design & functionality of the website work out EXACTLY what you want. Research every site that is doing something similar to you and create a design brief of what you like and what you don’t think works. Web designers and developers aren’t mind readers so the clearer you make your vision; the easier (and cheaper) it’ll be for them to create it. I created a very in-depth brief for my designer who then went away and created almost the perfect design first time (the only changes we needed to make were the things I forgot to add!)
Have the website functional before you purchase your stock, especially if they’re seasonal fashions. Obviously the most exciting part of having an e-commerce store is buying all the amazing items that you’re going to be selling. Unfortunately the building of Uncommon Ground as well as the approval of the SecurePay account and merchant bank account took far longer than I expected. Because my stock is seasonal it meant that I had summer stock on hand that I couldn’t start selling until the season was half over. On the flip side it did mean that I was forced to make everything happen as quickly as possible!
While the website is being built make sure you create your social media pages and start communicating with your audience. This also includes a website holding page with links to your social media pages and an ability to collect email addresses. Mailchimp is a fantastic email marketing service. It makes it easy to create great looking emails and integrates really nicely with websites and social media.
Interviewed: Krissy Crawford, founder of www.UncommonGround.com.au
If you have any questions to Krissy or would like to suggest new topics please drop us your thoughts below.