Online everyone wants to hangout with the cool kids, but does it really work? Take the latest Instagram by Shaq or should I say DR. SHAQUILLE O’NEAL Ed.D. Shaq has over 5 million followers and his latest post about his new F650 has over 400K views and 1000+ comments. Who knows if this a paid or a friendly node to his local Ford dealer but I bet Wade from @wadefordatlanta was hoping to get a bit of more traction from his superstar customers post, looks like he even open an account just for it.
We have been selling our product Quad Lock (iPhone mounting system) since 2012 by running a single Shopify store and selling globally in USD. This was fine for the first couple of years but as we grew we started selling through retail and with the fluctuations in currencies we had no option but to setup in multiple currencies to keep pricing consistent within our core markets.
After much consideration we decided to split our stores into region based stand alone stores selling in localised currencies with a smart IP redirect between all stores pushing the visitors to their region specific store. This was important because we knew our original .com store’s organic SEO was fairly strong worldwide and it could be years before the new localised stores outrank the .com in their intended regions. This would mean that many customers will still find the original .com store first and need to be pushed between stores to their correct regions site.
We launched our current Startup (Quad Lock) at the end of 2011 when we first heard of crowdfunding through Kickstarted. For us the end of 2011 was the perfect time to launch and the good news is, now’s still just as perfect! In my opinion now’s always the perfect time, no matter when you’re reading this now’s the time.
I also truly believe that never has there been as much opportunity for Startups to bootstrap their existence and growth through access to people, access to funds, ability to transact and the ability to go global from day one.
25 years ago it would have almost been impossible to bootstrap a small Melbourne based startup like ours into a multimillion dollar business with product selling in over 100 countries. Today this is now almost common place with many small bootstrapped startup companies leveraging the internet to build self sustaining businesses while reaching a worldwide audience.
Below I’ll cover some of the reasons I think this is now possible, and the best thing is everyone that has access to the internet has access to them all. I realise most of these aren’t new ideas but I wanted to make a comparison between the past and the present.
I talk with lots of people from the startup/freelance/sme scene here in Melbourne and many people are moving from having a “on the side business” to more of a “serious” business, be it part time or full time. Many of these people have started with a WordPress blog and then ad in e-commerce latter on. This makes sense as they have grown their website and traffic over time, but the ecommerce option are limited compared to a platform like Shopify thats super easy to use and update.
This is why the new Shopify Buy Button is so cool as it can be added to an existing WordPress blog/website buy simply copying and pasting an embed code. The cool thing here is that you get to use your WordPress site to do what it does best while letting Shopify handle the ecommerce side of things.
Facebook recently reached out to Quad Lock and offered us the opportunity to tell our story. The video touches on how we started the Quad Lock business and how we’ve used Facebook Ads to bootstrap our startup from an idea into a multi million dollar business with products now sold in over 100 countries.
See the full case study here: https://www.facebook.com/business/success/quad-lock
Note: I wrote this article back in 2012 but only just found it in my draft post of my WP blog so I figured I should publish it anyway…. Opps!
November and December are some of the most important sales months on the calendar, they are also the two main months where the Shopify Build a Business competition is either won or lost. For this reason it’s important that you get it right!
Based on our experience last year on www.openacase.com we’d like to give other online retailers and Shopify Build a Business competitors our top five recommendations for selling during the “Silly Season”.
If your product makes for a great gift anticipate that sales are going to at least double and have more stock than you need. The worst thing that can happen is that you run out of stock during this period so plan for success and be ready to sell more than ever before.
Spread the word that your products makes a great gift, don’t presume that your potential customer will make the connection. You have to tell them! This is true because often when potential gift buying customers see your advert or product they may not be personally interested, but once you remind them that have others to buy for they will see your products as a solution to their problem.
Keep in mind that the majority of products purchased during this period will be gifts so a change in marketing strategies may be necessary.
WARNING: the following information is not guaranteed to work, nor is it financial advice. This post is just a few tips based on my own personal experience.
Since successfully funding our first project the Opena Case on Kickstarter I have been asked over and over again “how’d you get on Kickstarter if you’re Australian” or “how’d you get an Amazon Payments account as an Australian”. Well as I explained in my previous post How to run a Kickstarter project if you’re not a US citizen? the first time we ran a project on Kickstarter we used my sisters detail who lives in the US, but I do now know how to run a Kickstarter project which relies on having an Amazon Payments account hooked up to an American bank account. Before we start I must mention that the process will cost you, but if you have an idea worth Kickstarting then I think it’s worth it.
Shopify have announced the winners of the 2011 Build-a-Business Competiton. The competition was entered by over 3,000 entrepreneurs who created brand new online stores and sold over $12 million during the competition period. The grand prize is $100,000 cash, along with VIP trips to New York City and San Francisco to meet with Timothy Ferriss, Seth Godin, and Gary Vaynerchuk.
Congratulations to the overall winner Coffee Joulies – www.joulies.com
Dave Jackson and Dave Petrillo are two mechanical engineers from New Jersey. Similarly to us they crowd funded the capital on Kickstarter to fund the creation of Coffee Joulies. They’re one of Kickstarters most successful projects, and now one of Shopify’s fastest growing online stores. I’m now personally looking forward to meeting “The Dave’s” in New York along with all the other category winners.
We (www.openacase.com) were lucky enough to also win our category along with 5 other awesome category winners as seen in the infographic on the left, click the image for a larger view of the whole thing. Chris and I are both super stoked to have taken out the category prize for the “Other” section of the competition. The category prize is pretty awesome too with $25,000 in cash, a VIP trip to New York, a power session to Seth Godin and $7500 worth of Google AdWords credit.
It’s also worth noting that 3 out of the 8 winners were funded on Kickstarter which shows jus how may great Sartups are emerging from Kickstarter. We also love the fact that only 8% of the entrepreneurs who entered the competition were from Australia, but that 38% of the winners are Australian including Flock-stocks, My Footy Boots and us (Opena Case). Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!!!
Melbourne Geek’s Article on our success in the Shopify Comp. Melbourne Blog
Thought I’d throw together a few pointers to help others wanting to start up their own online business. The information you’ll find below is based on my experience, over the last 6 months, using these simple strategies and online tools we were able to sell 1000’s of units all over the globe in a matter of months. Both my business partner, Chris Peters,and I have now quit our day jobs and are currently launching other online stores.
UPDATE 1/03/2011 – With these strategies we were also able to win our category in the Shopify Build-a-Business Competition for 2011 with a $25,000 cash prize, all expenses trip paid to NY, power session with Seth Godin and $7,500.00 of Google AdWords credit.
I don’t want to go into details about products or business ideas, but rather the mechanics of setting up an online business and the awesome tools available to entrepreneurs today. It’s never been easier to setup an online business and start making money straight away.