How we set up our online store, part 1
Over the past six months I’ve been helping my lovely and talented wife, and her business partner Laura Burch, with their new online business, lullubee. Their company designs and sells kits for creating all kinds of crafts, from jewelry to costumes to toys and more. In order to help out, and as an opportunity to learn about ecommerce, I volunteered to handle the technology side of the company.
Over the next series of posts I’ll discuss the various decisions that we made to set up and market the store, and hopefully help others that are considering going into business online.
Here are some of the many decisions we had to make, in chronological order, each of which is deserving of its own blog post:
- What e-commerce platform
- Domain & email & phone
- What payment system
- Shipping (Phase 1)
- Establishing a company
- Bank accounts
- Getting wholesale pricing
- Keeping track of sales
- Selling your product on multiple platforms
- Aggregating data from multiple platforms
- Shipping (Phase 2)
My philosophy going into this project, as it is a new business in a relatively new product category, was for this to be a lean startup as much as possible. We would try to put up a simple site, create several kits, see if we could get customers, get feedback and iterate. I have always been impressed by the now classic tale of how Bill Gross at Idealabs tested the Carsdirect model, and thought that we should do the same:
We put a site up on a Wednesday night; by Thursday morning, we had four orders. We quickly shut the site down (we’d have to buy four cars at retail and deliver them to these four customers at a loss) but proved the thesis. Only then did we start building the real site and company.
Read more: Business Insider
As we were going to be testing the business and the product while setting up the company, this meant that we would have to be able to experiment and iterate quickly, that we would want to take advantage of existing platforms and technologies as much as possible, to do things in a cost effective manner, and to not overbuild, as there is no point in building a powerful, scalable platform before you know your business.
In my next post, I’ll talk about how we picked our e-commerce platform.