SOREDI

Launch | Talk: 
Successful

e-Commerce 101
Q & A

On April 10th, our CEO and founder, Brandon Kirkland, had the honor of participating in a local discussion forum titled “Launch | Talk: Successful e-Commerce 101”.  Here are some of the most valuable questions and answers that we came away with.

Is eCommerce as easy as it sounds? 
Business is never “easy”. Whether you’re investing in a brick and mortar business, or a solely online store, business will always take time and dedication. The secret sauce of any business will always be marketing. Knowing your clientele, finding out which platform works best for them, and reaching them with your product.

How do you manage an eCommerce platform?
With the rise of new tools and resources, it’s easy to experiment and try different approaches with eCommerce. You may even be able to try several methods with very little cost to you. That being said, it is not always easy to create a lucrative, long-term enterprise. The main principles of eCommerce and a brick and mortar store are the same: you need traffic, a positive customer experience, and a good conversion rate. However, if you are running a brick and mortar store as well as a website, it is helpful to think of them as two separate enterprises. When entering into either arena, it is wise to take your time. Come up with a financial business plan, both short term and long term. Create a marketing plan. And know that getting your business started will take dedication and time.

What is one of the hardest parts of having a brick and mortar store and a corresponding eCommerce site?

Having a website that meets your customer expectations. If you have a business that has thrived locally, it may feel like an online presence is an easy add-on. But if your website does not accurately and positively reflect the service or product you offer, it could damage your eCommerce business. It is important to make sure your digital experience meets your customer’s expectations, which could be as simple as having an easy-to-use website, visually pleasing product photography, and good response time for your customer service department. Depending on the complexity of your business, your customer expectations will vary, but it always remains that the most important part of any business is making sure your customers walk away happy.

What eCommerce platform is best?

It’s difficult to give one answer for this question. There are many different platforms that have various pros and cons. The most important question to ask yourself is what are your needs? How big is your business? How big will your business be in the future? One platform that offers great services to many small business owners, as well as a positive user experience is BigCommerce.

Do you recommend selling on Amazon?
When contemplating using an in-between company, such as Amazon, Ebay or Etsy, it is helpful to, again, think of your customer. Is your reach significantly expanded by using a bigger seller like Amazon? Do you provide a product best distributed to a niche market? It’s also wise to think about your platform before you choose a provider. For instance, if you’re using a WordPress site, will it sync with your Amazon sales? Choosing a cohesive platform and provider will make your life much easier in the long run. The last thing to consider when looking at selling through a larger eCommerce seller, is the percentage that will be taken from your own revenue. Depending on your volume, it may not make sense for you to be forfeiting 60% of your proceeds as overhead. Ultimately, before you choose to sell on a larger eCommerce website, make sure you do your research!

What are some questions you ask before marketing?

There are a lot of steps to take and questions to ask before you begin marketing your business. The first step is to carve out a marketing budget. How much of your revenue can you afford to put into advertising? Two important elements of marketing are knowing your customer and knowing your product. Decide what your focus is; do you build technology, or do you offer a service? Know who your demographic is, where you can find them, and which platform works best to sell to them. And finally, test, test, test. If one platform proves unsuccessful, try another! Ask for customer feedback! Don’t be afraid to change it up if you find one method isn’t working for you and your business needs.

What are some of your “go to” tools for eCommerce?
There are thousands of incredible tools and resources for the eCommerce world, but these were a few tools, plugins, and apps that have proved helpful:

Google Analytics
: a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic, currently as a platform inside the Google Marketing Platform brand.

HotJar
: A tool that reveals the online behavior and voice of your users. By combining both Analysis and Feedback tools, Hotjar gives you the ‘big picture’ of how to improve your site’s user experience and performance/conversion rates.

 

Slack: a cloud-based set of proprietary team collaboration tools and services. Communication in Slack happens in channels, organized by project, topic, team, or whatever makes sense for you. Conversations in Slack are searchable by everyone, so you can tap into company knowledge and find information when you need it.

Zendesk: a suite of support apps that helps transform your customer service into agents for customer retention and lead source.

How can we keep local business thriving?

We love local and small business! So here are a few ways you can make a different to small business owners everywhere.

Shop “small”, even online! And encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Invest in and attend educational programs in your community.

Build personal community. An easy way to build small business community is by making use of local co-working spaces, or find organizations in your community that value small businesses, such as SOREDI. Or, if there isn’t a local organization, start one! It’s so valuable to have meet-ups in the community where small business owners can network, mingle, and support one another.

I really got to thank you and Brandon. You did an EXCELLENT job! Along with the videos - that really helps.
Texas Cyclesport
Texas Cyclesport
16:26 28 Jul 17
If I could I would give EpicShops more than 5 Stars. They have great customer service and do all they can to help put our business needs first while delivering a top notch product.
Matt Rathbone
Matt Rathbone
18:58 26 Jul 17
Can't recommend this company enough, Brandon especially. Great service and very knowledgeable!
Lee Watkinson
Lee Watkinson
08:34 06 Oct 17
I've been very happy with my Web site from Epic. The customer service is excellent also and they are always thinking of new ways to improve my experience. I don't hesitate to recommend Epic if you are a florist looking for a great website.
Helen Halloran
Helen Halloran
00:08 26 May 17
epicShops has helped me grow my online business 48% over the last year. They are sincerely dedicated to my success.
Terri Rb
Terri Rb
21:22 30 May 17
Awesome websites and customer service, I have 2 websites with them and they both do exceptionally well!
brian joseph
brian joseph
18:53 08 Nov 17
AWESOME!!! Can't say enough about the experience with Epic. Customer service is KING with this team. They are very responsive and get you results right away. They can help you top to bottom with all your web, social and ecommerce needs.
Scott Wam
Scott Wam
18:52 09 Nov 17
Simply, Brandon and his team at Epic provide the finest service in existence for floral websites. Their expertise, creativity, and knowledge of what attracts customers and converts sales is second to none. If you run a florist, don't use a lame wire service cookie-cutter site! Brandon will make you more money!! I've used Epic for several years now and wouldn't consider any other option.
Joshua Aaron
Joshua Aaron
23:59 05 Dec 17
I’m very impressed with this company. They truly care about helping people with their website needs. Great advise and support. Delightful to work with. I highly recommend having a consultation. You won’t be disappointed.
Suzanne L. Anderson
Suzanne L. Anderson
06:28 19 Jan 18
Brandon, at Epic Flowers, is awesome to work with! His creativity and expertise in manipulating the world of technology took my ideas to the next level. Receiving my initial inspiration, then adding his own creative fertilizer, allowing it to Blossom on the pages.Todd Bjornson ~ Sedona AZ"In The Flow" therapeutic massageZorba's & Zuli's Chocolates
Todd Bjornson
Todd Bjornson
18:32 19 Feb 18
Brandon has done a very good job with our website. Orders are up and it is easy to use and for us to navigate. They respond quickly to any questions you may have. I highly recommend them!
Kristin Eaton
Kristin Eaton
18:59 06 Sep 18
Epic Websites are awesome! Brandon and his team are great to work with..
Barbara Wilson
Barbara Wilson
16:26 15 Sep 18
epicShops has helped us take our website to the next level. They have taken the time to help us solve some very unique situations that others simply could not. Their communication and creativity make them the best out there. We will continue to use them for all of our web development needs. Thanks guys!
Fiddler's Green Golf Center
Fiddler's Green Golf Center
17:34 20 Sep 18
HI Rachel! First of all, as we all get busy and don’t always take the time to say THANKS, we wanted to tell you that we are very pleased with the work you are doing and we are noticing that we are getting more traffic! Just yesterday, we added two new customers who came through our website! This week we had 6 calls from prospective customers that found us via Google and currently in discussions with the other 4 companies to quote their business! Last week we gained another large account so everything is working! We are so happy we chose you guys as a partner and excited to see where the future takes us!Sincerely, Jason and Carolyn Anderson- Anderson Pallet and Crate, Sedalia, CO
Carolyn Anderson
Carolyn Anderson
19:51 19 Oct 18
I chose Epic for their experience in the Floral industry. I wanted a custom site that continued our existing look but brought in the many backend features of Big Commerce. The four month process ended up taking eight but I spent a lot of time testing and getting any issues resolved before we went live. Epic worked closely with me and communicated well on fixes and time frames for everything. Only been two weeks but we have experience a significant increase in average order and Brandon has worked closely with MAS to integrate our site seamlessly. Orders come in quicker, enabling us spend less time cleaning up incoming orders.My experience was coming from Yahoo Store hosting to Big Commerce. I highly recommend you give Epic a shot but ultimately, be prepared to spend time testing your site before you go live. This extra four months allowed us to go live with very minor issues.Greg
Greg Turner
Greg Turner
14:27 15 Mar 19
Brandon and his team have been fantastic to work with. We were looking for a website for our floral company that could take us to the next level, and Epic has. The increased functionality, user friendly experience, and data tracking that an Epic website offers is incredible. Thanks again to Brandon and his team for a job well done!
Jason Gidas
Jason Gidas
14:13 16 Mar 19
Fantastic webdesign! They really work hard to learn your business and are super-fast at responding to email and phone calls. I HIGHLY recommend this team.
Darin
Darin
17:09 18 Mar 19

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