Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
As the popularity of tea started skyrocketing here in America, I realized that easily-accessible and good quality tea was hard to find. More importantly, the barrier of entry for people who were interested in becoming tea drinkers was high.
There's an overwhelming amount of different tea — all with different benefits and tastes — and these choices scare away many would-be converts.
Since I grew up drinking tea and had a professional background in online acquisition marketing, I thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to create an eCommerce store to fill in this void.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Right from the beginning, our customer acquisition strategy was going to rely heavily on online performance marketing with strong direct response campaigns.
The key to good online marketing is to continually test new opportunities and different campaigns until you can find ones that generate a positive ROAS (return on ad spend) and to optimize and scale on those winners. We tested a multitude of platforms early on, including the big ones like Google' Display Network, Google Search, Facebook, and Twitter, and ultimately found success on Google' Display Network and Facebook.
We’ve also started testing deal sites such as Groupon and have seen good preliminary results. We’ll continue to test any and all opportunities that makes sense to us and to continue scaling what works.
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 my experience is primarily in online marketing, managing the logistics of the business was a whole new learning experience. Fortunately, Shopify makes the whole process easy and efficient.
Everything works seamlessly, and more importantly, they have apps for everything. The biggest game changer for us was the ShippingEasy app - all our order details automatically sync with the app, so all we have to do is press one button whenever we need to package and ship things out. This makes our whole fulfillment process extremely easy and takes very little time, so I can focus more of my day on my marketing campaigns.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
My biggest recommendation for new store owners is to figure out how they're going to acquire customers before jumping in and setting up every aspect of their business.
There are many new store owners that invest thousands of dollars in product and logistics before figuring out where to acquire customers, and eventually end up frantically spamming blogs in the hopes that someone will land on their site and make a purchase. Set aside some budget for marketing and learn how to acquire customers profitably, whether it is through direct response online campaigns, SEO, content marketing, or however else.