Awards & Engraving

2016 Custom Gift Annual

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Page 64 of 68

62 • A&E MID-JUNE 2016 STARTING OUT "BACK IN THE DAY" We can all agree that when you started your business, it wasn't as easy as opening the doors of your shop and taking wads of cash from the long line of customers wait- ing in line. You had a process, and if you were successful, you probably worked re- ally hard at it. First, you probably developed a business plan. A big portion of a business plan is defining a Market Analysis. In the Market Analysis, you identified a line of products for which there was a demand, and you identified a target market that requested and maybe demanded those products. Next, you determined pricing for your products and your profit margin to make sure your business could be profitable. Af- ter all, if you aren't profitable, you won't stick around long whether in brick and mortar or on the web. You had to identify your competitors— who they were, what part of the mar- ket they held, and their weaknesses and strengths. You probably "secret shopped" those competitors so that you could get a real feel for what they were doing. If you were smart, you learned from what they did well, and maybe even more impor- tantly, you learned from what they didn't do well. You also defined a Marketing Plan—how you could reach out to po- tential customers and let them know you existed and show them you had products that fulfilled their needs. Once you researched and defined all of that, it was time to actually set up your brick and mortar store. You developed a pleasing layout that showed off your products in the best possible way, and you created great-looking product samples to show your potential customers. Once you opened the doors, you created an atmosphere of great customer service, which in turn drove word of mouth sales to new customers and also kept the cus- tomers returning again and again through the years. STARTING OUT ON THE WEB Ok, here is the great part. To open an e- commerce store on a site such as Etsy, the process is really not different than when you started out in your brick and mortar store. With Etsy, for instance, they have a lot of tools and resources to help you not only set up your store, but to also market and get the word out to potential custom- An Introduction to E-COMMERCE continued on page 64 Have a good selection of products at multiple price points for your customers to select from on your website or on sites such as Etsy. (Image courtesy Kevin Lumberg)

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