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Posts Tagged ‘selling online’

SmallBiz Interview with Margaret Chan of Cherry's Brandname Gallery

Friday, April 30th, 2010

We here at KikScore came across Margaret Chan and Cherry’s Brandname Gallery on Twitter a few months back.  In 2008, Margaret launched an online shopping boutique for luxury goods, high-end skin care products and sleek fashion accessories.  She has a great small business story and some great thoughts for the community on selling online.

1. Tell us about Cherry’s Brandname Gallery and who you focuses on serving?

Cherry’s Brandname Gallery is a specialty store, offering an assortment of designer brands, such as Bottega Veneta, Christian Dior, Bvlgari, Juicy Couture, La Prairie and Tiffany, to our customers around the world. Throughout its stores in various URLs, Cherry’s Brandname Gallery presents its unique edit of the best in Jewelery, Cosmetics, Skin Care, Shoes & Accessories, and Home & Lifestyle from around the world. Founded in 2008, we now have stores strategically placed in various web locations operated by some of the most popular online commerce providers, including Bonanzle, eCrater, Atomic Mall, HighWire, Blujay, CQOut (UK) & Bidorbuy (South Africa).

Cherry’s Brandname Gallery is in the business of anticipating its customer needs and providing them with merchandise they cannot get elsewhere as well as the hottest products that are always sold out elsewhere. While most of the merchandise are brand new, a smaller portion of them is gently used because we found that around 20% of our customers are looking for this type of products due to the fact that the price is, to a greater extent, much lower and more affordable.

2. How did you get your started selling online?

With some successful selling experience at eBay around three years ago, I was encouraged to set up my own online stores, selling only authenticated designer products at the most competitive price I can offer. When I was selling at eBay, I found that a lot of people visited eBay because they wanted to find the best deals – the lowest-priced designer merchandise, for instance, Apple iPod, Gucci handbags and Tiffany jewelry - that they would love to buy. Although some of those products were really low in price, more and more buyers these days complained to eBay that they doubted some particular products they received were not authentic as described by the sellers. With this knowledge in mind, I believed that opening an online store selling authenticated designer products should be a good idea.

3. Where will Cherry’s Brandname Gallery
focus most of its energy in 2010?

In 2010, our main focus is on promoting our Jewelery section, particularly on Juicy Couture jewelry, in the hope that our customers discover a few of the many limited edition and hard-to-find collectibles we have scoured the Earth to find for them. From the limited edition charms and the latest designed necklaces, to the pre-release jewelry items and the retired bracelets, we hope all our customers find the year of 2010 as inspiring as we do. In order to make sure our marketing campaign is successful, we will make good use of various online advertising channels, such as Google Adwords, Yahoo Advertising and Twitter, to help us achieve our goal.

4. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

First of all, it is easy to start your online selling business, but to keep it running with optimal performance at all time is another matter. Similar to running your business with a physical store, good sales and marketing strategies are key to success.

Apart from that, customer’s satisfaction is also of utmost importance to online business. Exceptional customer service results in greater customer retention, which in turn results in higher profitability. We therefore strongly believe that customer loyalty is one of the most crucial and major contributors to sustainable profit growth. Over 60% of our profits are from customers who came back and made their purchases more than once within the 3-month period.

5. What do you see as 2 new trends in your business this year?

As the cost of running business with a physical store or office is comparatively high due to the monthly rental fee as well as the consumption of electricity and the hiring of manpower, more and more businesses like us tend to create their presence on the Internet. Some of them even stopped running their physical stores in order to focus mainly on their online selling business. Without a significant competitive advantage, a retailer will be forced to raise a white flag in this cruel and heartless battlefield.

To face this challenge, an increasing number of retailers have to offer discounts to attract their customers. In other words, buyers can find their best deals online much more easier because they are able to compare prices with other stores selling the same products on the Internet. However, I can see that the price of high-profile designer merchandise will not fluctuate too much as usual.

As we hold true to the ethos – quality, innovation and integrity, we try to make ourselves more competitive in the market by sourcing merchandise that is not commonly offered by our competitors instead. Most of our products are only available in 1-2 pieces per style because the supply of these pre-release and hard-to-find, retired items from our sources is very limited, to beginning with. Besides, we will ensure all the products sold to our customers are of the best quality. Last but not least, all products will be securely wrapped and packed so that they can arrive at our customers’ hands without damage after the long delivery process.

6. If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

I think Barbie is one of the best choices because she is a character who is very much aware of how she looks. In other words, she is a very fashion-conscious doll and cartoon character. Her wardrobe is full of all kinds of clothing, handbags and shoes. Her jewelry box contains a full range of luxurious jewelry. People just can’t imagine Barbie could afford wearing something with bad taste.

7. If Cherry’s Brandname Gallery could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

For Cherry’s Brandname Gallery it would have to be Anne Hathaway because I believe she fits for the position very well. Many movie directors love to choose her to play the roles which require her to wear a lot of designer clothing and/or costumes of the most elegant styles. For instance, in her most recent role in the movie “Alice in Wonderland” in which she is the White Queen, we can see how lovely she appears to be in those gorgeous gowns and jewelry.

8. How do the folks at Cherry’s Brandname Gallery let loose after a busy day working?

All of us love fashion so going out for a drink and having a dinner together in order to share the hottest fashion tidbits we have ever known with each other are what we always do after a busy day working.

9. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?


Small business community should consider making good use of the Internet to promote and run their business because the operating cost online is low when compared to the traditional business model. Besides, traffic flow on the Internet is definitely higher. Your business can reach thousands of millions of people who have Internet connection from around the world. If you know how to utilize those search engine optimization tools to promote your business, it will undoubtedly help you save a lot of money required to be spent on online advertisement.

We would like to thank Margaret for sitting down with KikScore.  If you have questions for Margaret, please leave them in the comments below.

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Posts Tagged ‘selling online’

4 Reasons to Start Using KikScore Right Now to Demonstrate Trust & Increase Sales

Monday, April 19th, 2010

So many times we have friends, family and now potential customers and small businesses that ask us why should I use KikScore.  So I am going to give you 4 quick reasons (there are more than 4 but 4 seemed like a good quick number) for why small businesses should start using KikScore. The unique thing about this post is I am actually going to use some of our old blog posts to explain why and to give you the reasons:

1) In at least 7 different ways, Kikscore helps small businesses and online merchants demonstrate trust to shoppers and visitors to your website. KikScore actually helps a small business with each of these 7 Steps to Increased Trust for More Online Sales.

2. You can Solicit and Listen to Customer Feedback. The KikScore seal and KikReport gives your small business a dynamic feedback platform to interact with your customers.  By using KikScore, you can listen, manage and respond to comments and also display customer feedback as testimonials for your business.  Tell your customers to skip Yelp and those other review sites and have those comments posted on your site instead of third party sites!

3. Your small business can use KikScore to introduce itself to the world through a video introduction.  Small Business are increasing Using Videos to Help Your Small Business and if you use the KikScore service you will be able to use our video platform on the KikReport to not only introduce yourself, but also as a product, educational and thought leadership video.

4.  It works!  Small businesses that have signed up for KikScore and placed the seal and KikReport on their sites, have seen an increase in their sales because they are giving their customers more information about their business.  These small businesses are also being more transparent to shoppers.  The success actually goes back to our very first customers that signed up late last year when we launched.  Here is just one of the testimonials that we have received about KikScore heping demonstrate trust for a small business and increasing the small businesses’ sales.

So please try KikScore out!  Or if you have questions about our service, please either call 1-877-KikScore or email us at support@kikscore.com.

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Posts Tagged ‘selling online’

Kikscore Interviews World of Toy Car's Mike Miller on Selling Online

Monday, March 15th, 2010

I came across Mike Miller from the World of Toy Cars on Twitter a few months ago. The World of Toys Cars (WOTC) is an online store that focuses on diecast vehicles and vintage toys.  Its a car and toy collector’s paradise and Mike has some really amazing models including NASCAR, motorcyclesHot Wheels and aircraft just to name a few.  In this post,  KikScore sits down with Mike so that he can tell our community his small business story and more about his very cool website.

1. Tell us about WOTC and who you focuses on serving?

World of Toy Cars was created in such a fashion that collectors can easily find specific toy cars. Most collectors are always looking for specific models, either Volkswagons, Corvettes, trucks or maybe just Police Cars…but each collector is defined by something they like. There are always collectors that just collect Matchbox,..or just Hot Wheels,..but again, the ones they cant find in stores, they have to revert to the second market like eBay or sites such World of Toy Cars.

2. How did you get your started selling online?

I started selling online back in 1998, when eBay was just getting started. I was listing items with no pictures, and selling usually all the time. The client base was new and wanting items. I soon learned the art of pictures, uploading, taught myself HTLM, and created eye catching auctions which drastically improved my results.

3. Where will WOTC focus most of its energy in 2010?

WOTC will continue bringing new and exciting models to the online community. The task of documenting each item, photographing, and creating each listing individually is exhausting. Its also something that can only be done by myself, as condition of the card or package, the item itself, are there variations, year, where it was made, and the rarity (value) of the complete item is Critical.

4. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

Two very simple things that MUST be done if you want to sell online. You must spell correctly! And you must have perfect pictures. Both those things tell everything about a seller, and yet the buyer has hardly seen your stuff. Once a buyer detects bad spelling, or blurry pictures, they are GONE.

5. As 2010 starts, what do you see as 2 new trends in your business this year?

The ever changing search engine optimization. This is critical again in the online world, and Google who basically controls the strings here, is always updating…so you as a seller must update also. The second is not really a trend, but its opening up, is worldwide shipping. People must get onboard with shipping globally if they want to be successful. More and more information is available now about different countries and their guidelines. People must educate themselves and grab those open markets.

6. If WOTC could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

It would have to be someone with a sense of humor, people relate and remember when they are made to laugh!

7. How do the folks at WOTC let loose after a busy day working?

Usually a good meal, and then out to check stores to find new and fun toys!!

8. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

If you want to succeed on the WWW, you must learn to ship worldwide. You have the whole world at your doorstep, looking at your items, and your telling most of them to go away because you dont like where they live. Imagine if stores or restaurants did that!! I have been shipping all over the world for 12 years now, I communicate to everybody in their own language with Google translate, and international sales account fo over 50% of my business.

The other thing I have noticed is many sellers have tons of rules to deter business. I have had people refuse to sell to me simply because they dont want to go to the USPS, or the forms are too lengthy to fill out, so they cancel my purchase. Why are you even selling things? That baffles me…you want to sell…make it easy to buy…it happens, it works…so do it!

KikScore would like to thank Mike for this interview. If you have questions for Mike, leave them in the comments section below and we will make sure they get answered.

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Posts Tagged ‘selling online’

Small Business Interview with History In Action Toy's Sterling Ashby

Monday, March 8th, 2010

We met Sterling Ashby at the KikScore sponsored Social Commerce Camp DC and he has a very intriguing story that any small business would be interested in hearing.  Sterling is a lawyer by trade (like a couple of us at KikScore), but his real passion is his business that sells children’s toys that are based on real-life American heroes. Using real heroes from history, Sterling has created a series of action figures for children that are fun, can be positive role models, and whose real-life stories awaken both a child’s imagination and appeal to the kid within us all. History in Action Toys was born from this.  He now sells these highly popular action figures online at www.hiatoys.com. I can tell you when my two month old gets a little bigger, I am buying some action figures from Sterling’s site!

In this 5 minute small business video interview of Sterling, we cover a wide range of issues including:

1) the challenges of having a business online;

2) crowdsourcing  marketing and ideas;

3) building buzz on Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels for your  online store and business;

4) a few of the tips that Sterling learned from Social Commerce Camp; and

5) a few examples of real life heroes that Sterling now offers as action figures at HIA Toys that the community should check out.

Please tell us your thoughts on this interview in the comments section below.

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Posts Tagged ‘selling online’

KikScore interviews Virna Lisa, creator of RedBud Body Care

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Virna Lisa , shares with KikScore the history of RedBud Body Care and her unique approach to small business. Virna is truly an inspiration not only to women in business but more importantly to the inner strength of women overall!

Redbud Body Care was named after the Eastern Redbud Tree found in North America. The uniqueness of this Tree is how the flower buds shoot directly from the bark. The flowers are also edible and contain health enriching anti-oxidants.

1. Tell us about RedBud Beauty and who you focus on serving?

Our philosophy is based on the Ayurvedic principle that whatever we put on our skin should be good enough to eat. In addition to the freshness of the product we take into account that every one’s constitutions and predispositions are drawn towards particular scents and textures. RedBud Body Care respects the truth that nature provides us with all that we need to stay in healthy rhythms with ourselves and the world around us.
In support of eco awareness and upholding standards that sustain our planet, we use organic ingredients, glass containers, recycle and compost our soil enriching ingredients.
This product is good for everyone. Take into account that some people have allergies to certain flowers and herbs.  First do a test patch on the inside of your wrist before using.

2. How did you get started selling RedBud Beauty products online?

The business was first introduced on Shustir.com and then posted on a partnering website that sells products to Yoga Studios, Spas and Yogi’s & Yogini’s.  We are already selling our products in a few venues right now that were generated through Redbud Body Care directly.

3. Where will RedBud Beauty focus most of its energy in 2010?

Our focus is getting the name Redbud Body Care out to the public via the internet since so many folks do their shopping online.  We would like to have the product out regionally and then move to a national market.  Redbud Body Care is also working with Eco Yoga (TM) which is another business I own.  Yoga & Ayurveda are sister sciences so the businesses dovetail nicely.

4. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

Being in business for yourself can get daunting, I always try to remember to do nice things for myself, like walks out in nature, warm baths with yummy herbal infused oils (that RB sells) and spending time with people that believe in your mission.  Support in a new venture takes a lot of support.  Take advice from people that have been there before you and have something of value to add to the company.

5. As 2010 begins, what do you see as 2 new trends in your business this year?

The small business market has an incredible opportunity to make a mark for itself in this market.  Big business is struggling with their big budgets.  Creating handcrafted products that are of great value to the customer as well as the public at large is in demand.  People want to feel like they are getting their money’s worth.  I also think that the Green movement is finally to take the market by storm.  We have to take into consideration how we spend our money in the business so that it supports the market as well as the planet.

6. If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

This one is tricky since it’s still in its infancy stage.  I was once told by Horst Rechelbacher that a business is like a baby that needs to be nourished.  I am not sure what it is going to grow up and be.  I would want RB to grow up to be an inspiration for others a source of wisdom and leadership.  I’ll have to work on this vision and get back to you when it gets into the teen age.

7. If RedBud Beauty could have a token spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

I would love to have Oprah be it’s spokesperson because she is a beacon of hope in my eyes.  She has overcome so many obstacles and has risen to incredible heights.  If I ever meet her I’d thank her for her leadership and tenacity.

8. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

To quote Hillel “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, than what I am? If not now, when?” We must believe in ourselves, love ourselves and try our best to live the dream we embody. Having said that I believe it’s important to have some kind of spiritual grounding that creates community as opposed to separating us.

Thanks again Virna and best of luck to RedBud Beauty!

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Posts Tagged ‘selling online’

Why you need to Build the Right Team for small business success

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

On Sundays, my husband and I usually try to plan out our week… which in turn yields discussions of when I have KikScore conference calls to when he can go have some beers with his buds, while juggling our 2-year old daughter’s bedtime schedule.   The KikScore conference calls change in frequency week to week, depending on the next big item we are working to push through or brainstorm on.  And I realized that having a key team and truly enjoying the people you do business with is crucial to not only its success, but your own sanity.  I was reading in Business Week about Hunch, and Caterina Fake brings up a very critical component of small business success — Building the Right Team.

Anyone can come up with a business idea, but taking that idea and making it a viable venture that can grow and prosper requires more brain power than one can share.  Creating a team of that nature isn’t easy by any means.  When I explain the KikScore story (at least since my involvement) to family and friends… it’s best summarized as: KikScore is the side-business I’ve been working on with a group of talented friends – ranging from development, project management, business development and lawyers… a few from previous jobs/lives and combination thereof.  The thing is, I wasn’t the one with the big idea, but when the core founders Mike, Raj and Joel approached me to jump in and help streamline the KikScore scoring algorithm,  I was honored and ecstatic to be part of an entrepreneurial journey.

The team continued to build from there as we quickly found that off-shoring all of our development was not only costly and time-consuming, but left us with little control over the integrity of the code.  So we searched (again from previous jobs/lives) to find an in-house development resource that could oversee the coding efforts and allow us to piecemeal items off-shore as needed, but not as a 100% solution.

Since we are still a night/weekend business, we have many conference calls and e-mails flying about daily.  Another key component to a strong team is keeping the communication open and being able to speak your mind — we argue, which in turn generates new ideas and challenges each of us to listen with respect.  This re-iterates the need for a strong team focus.  Each member has their primary role (albeit marketing, development, design, etc) but we all wear multiple hats when it comes to driving the KikScore business forward and setting priorities. In a start-up environment, flexibility is vital – what was a hot priority last week, can take a complete 180 turn the following week based upon customer feedback or some unforeseen influence.  The team needs to be able to react, respond and regroup –  effectively.

If you are working on a new business idea, who will you pull into your inner circle to make it happen?  Be selective… you’ll be spending way more time (on late night conference calls, etc.) with them, than with your family.

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Posts Tagged ‘selling online’

Small Business Interview with CardSauce.com owner Kevin Hoyle

Monday, February 15th, 2010

sauceIt’s February 15th… How did you celebrate the weekend with your Special Valentine?   Chances are high you sent or gave a card.  So, how long did you stand there in the card aisle, climbing over other sentiment seekers, trying to find the perfect one?  Our KikScore interview today is with a unique online card company that not only offers one of a kind designs and sentiments, but will also print and mail it for you! CardSauce has surely spiced up the greeting card industry and we are excited that owner Kevin Hoyle took the time to share his story.

1. Tell us about CardSauce.com and who you focus on serving?
CardSauce.com.comis a new online hub for quality, physical greeting cards and we’re here to spice-up the industry by offering a unique, user-driven experience! At CardSauce.com, we cater to…
- Buyers: When a customer places an order, we print the card(s) and mail it to the recipient(s) for them.
- Sellers: Artists (or graphic designer, photographer, etc) have the opportunity to upload original sauces (greeting cards) and sell them. Each time an artist’s design is purchased, he/she makes $1. It’s a true user-driven experience. While we do feature some original CardSauce.com designs, the cards featured are mainly “by the people, for the people”.
 

2. How did you get started selling online?
When the amount of times I found myself staring at unoriginal, unexciting cards at traditional stores and reseller outlets began to add up. I realized I was spending more time looking for an appealing card than I was on celebrating the actual event that the card was intended for. So I thought, why not move the future of greeting cards away from the mainstream corporations and place it into the hands of everyday people like you and me? Whether physical greeting cards are given to remind of an old memory shared, create a new memory, serve as inspiration, or spark a laugh, they all serve a common purpose: to relate or connect in some way to the recipient. So by allowing everyone and anyone the opportunity to create and sell original designs – not only does it generate creative cards for buyers to choose from – but it adds a level of authenticity to the industry as well. Sellers from various backgrounds, cultures, religions, etc can put a little piece of their life into their designs – building a portfolio of cards that offers something for everyone.

Why is CardSauce.com physically online, you may ask?  Well, in addition to it being more cost-effective to start (I’m a “one-man-band” with limited funding), it adds convenience for buyers and sellers.  Buyers can quickly browse the database of designs by category or key word, and can purchase and send cards from the comfort of their own home (plus let’s face it… gas money and stamps add up).  Meanwhile, sellers can pursue a hobby they may not have otherwise had the opportunity to pursue – all while making a profit, or royalties, on each sale.
 

3. Where will CardSauce.com focus most of its energy in 2010?
In 2008 we focused our resources on web development and software.  Once CardSauce.com went live to the public in 2009, we realized we were not yet where we wanted to be and continued our focus on site enhancements.  Now that we feel comfortable with our offering from a web standpoint, we’ll focus our energy toward generating awareness and site traffic in 2010 – while continuing to enhance our core offerings.

 

4. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?
My two lessons would be more about business start-up than CardSauce.com.  First and foremost, technology – computers and the web in particular – is not as accommodating as people may assume. Sure, technology continues to advance at an incredibly fast rate and there are gadgets and software that exist today that people never assumed possible.   But that doesn’t mean you can “do whatever you want” with a website (remember, I’m not the IT guy here).

When I was first scoping out my idea to potential web developers, I lost count of the amount of times I heard “that’s not doable”, “there’s no way to build that”, or “we can do that, but it’s going to be incredibly time-consuming and will cost you thousands of dollars”. I essentially had to change the blueprints of the website throughout the process and it was very educational.  Things seemingly as simple as having PayPal split a single payment to two recipients is not doable, and that altered the entire make-up of the CardSauce.com checkout process.  It’s really incredible – though sometimes it causes some road bumps.

The second lesson I learned is don’t rush it, no matter what “it” is!  For example: Card Sauce, Inc. was incorporated in the fall of 2007 based on expectations set by my original web developer that the site would go live to the public within the next four months.  The site didn’t go live to the public until the summer of 2009! That’s two years of paying federal and state taxes without any source of revenue… NOT cool! 

Another example is when CardSauce.com.com finally did go live in June of 2009, it was not ready from a visual standpoint or a functional standpoint.  I was forced to hire on a new web developer and start from the ground up behind the scenes, while the original site just kind of took up real-estate on the web. With first impressions being so powerful, it’s important to capitalize on potential customers (buyers and sellers) immediately and we were unable to do that. There’s no telling how much business we lost in those early months.

 

5. As 2010 begins, what do you see as 2 new trends in your business this year?
Growth and revenue. With ’08 and ’09 being all about web development and 2010 being all about generating awareness and site traffic, it’s difficult to imagine any other trend(s) taking over one of the top two spots.

6. If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?
Great question; I think I’ll go with Finding Nemo.  With industry powerhouses like Hallmark and American Greeting Corp. around, CardSauce.com is a classic “little fish trying to make it in a big pond” scenario – but in the end I think we’ll be able to pull it off.

7. If CardSauce.com could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?
Not really sure; greeting cards aren’t exactly the type of product or gift that fall into the “seeking celebrity endorsements” category. I’d imagine we’d probably work the humor angle and find someone witty and original to exemplify the user-generated designs available for purchase.

8. How do the folks at CardSauce.com let loose after a busy day working?
Well, I’m currently operating a “one-man-band” that is only just beginning to focus on generating awareness and site traffic (revenue), remember? So, until CardSauce.com starts to pick up, it is my “after hours” gig. I currently work full-time during the day and spend many a late nights trying to perfect the sauce. When I’m not working, I enjoy letting loose in a variety of ways – whether it be dabbling in some physical activity (the gym, ice hockey, etc) or a frosty beverage with friends/family. Now that it’s ski/snowboard season here in Boston, I hope to be able to make a few treks north as well.

9. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?
Only to support the CardSauce.com revolution and buy your quality, physical greeting cards online, of course!

So, get out the calendar, outline your greeting card list this year and surprise someone with a unique CardSauce.com design! And, share your spokesperson ideas with Kevin and CardSauce.

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Posts Tagged ‘selling online’

Small Biz interview with Little Duck Organics owner Zak Normandin

Monday, January 25th, 2010

LDO LogoToday’s KikScore interview is with Zak Normandin, owner of Little Duck Organicsa unique and tasty organic snack food for infants and toddlers – and adults too!  We came across Zak and Little Duck Organics on Twitter where Zak and team are actively promoting their yummy organic treats.  Little Duck Organics is relatively new to the online community and shares a passion for the world of small business and bringing a much needed product to the organic conscious community.  I had the pleasure of talking for awhile with Zak and sharing startup ideas and promotional concepts.  Thanks for your insight Zak and for being a KikScore customer!

1. Tell us about Little Duck Organics and who you focus on serving?

Little Duck Organics is a business that I started developing in February of 2009. My wife and I have always been a fan of all natural/organic/locally produced products, and when we went food shopping for our daughters we really didn’t see anything like that available in the baby aisle. Most of the products that were available contained added sugars, artificial flavors, and preservatives which we preferred not to feed to our kids. When we talked to other parents, they agreed that there was definitely a lack of wholesome, nutritious products available for babies. At the time, I was looking for a new venture to invest in, so I started researching what it would take to bring an organic line of baby products to market. It took me about 10 months to design our first line of products and arrange to have it manufactured and packaged. In December of 2009, we formally launched on Amazon.com and at independent grocery stores in New Hampshire.

2. How did you get started with selling online?

One of our first customers was Amazon.com. They started buying products from us in December to sell through their online grocery division. This was the first experience that we had with selling products online. At the beginning of this month (January), we set up our own online store to begin selling Little Duck snacks directly to customers through our website. This allowed us to have a little bit more control over product placement, descriptions, Etc. Overall, the experience has been great. We’re focusing now on increasing our conversion rate and finding new ways to advertise to potential customers.

3. Where will Little Duck Organics focus most of its energy in 2010?

In 2010, our goals will be to expand our retail and online distribution channels and develop the Little Duck Organics brand. One of our main focuses will be to build customer loyalty and awareness within the baby products niche. We will be working closely with the blogging community, and plan to do a lot of traveling to sample our products at retail stores. In addition, we’re planning on introducing two new products later this year that will compliment our current line of products.

4. If you had 1 lesson that you learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what would it be?

The biggest lesson that I have learned so far since we set up our online store is that you need to be very aware and organized with all of the external costs associated with selling a product through a website. Credit card fees, boxes, packing materials & shipping costs all add up with you are selling a product with a low retail price. You need to keep these things in mind and adjust your prices accordingly so that what you are offering to customers is still attractively priced.

5. As 2010 begins, what trends do you see in your business this year?

As far as trending goes in the organic baby sector, I think that there will be more of a shift from the conventional baby food companies to upgrade their product lines to incorporate more natural/organic options. Fortunately for us, Gerber will always be Gerber and Beech-Nut will always be Beech-Nut. No matter how they market their products, they will always have the same brand-association in the mind of most consumers. Our advantage is that we were able to start from ground zero and build a brand around a mindset (Creating delicious organic baby snacks with no preservatives or additives).

6. If your business could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

I’ve always loved the movie “Click” with Adam Sandler. I really relate to his character, and although the movie does not directly relate to Little Duck Organics, I can see a lot of similarities between the story-line and our business. For anyone who has not seen the film, the main character is an architect who has the ability to fast forward his life to critical points of success. Basically, he does not want to have to go through the mundane and only wants to experience the promotions, bonuses, success Etc. I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone who has not seen it, but at the end Sandler learns to appreciate his family, friends, and the journey of life more than he previously had. I’m making a big effort to do the same in my life and at Little Duck Organics this year. I need to enjoy the process of building the business and everything that comes along with it. We’re doing something that most people only dream of , and that in itself should be viewed as an accomplishment.

7. If Little Duck Organics could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

I can’t think of anyone specific off the top of my head, but it would have to be a celebrity or someone famous who has the same mindset as our company. I would prefer a mom who understands the value in feeding wholesome organic foods to their children.

8. How do the folks at Little Duck Organics let loose after a busy day working?

Although most of my time is spent building the business, It is nice to wind down after a long day at work. At home, I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughters. We love trying out new foods and traveling. In the summer, we usually go for a walk every night with our dog. My older daughter loves helping me cook, so I try to do that with her whenever I can. At three years old, she can already make a mean Alfredo sauce :-)

9. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

Know your competition, Work your butt off, Pray for luck.  Cheers!

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Posts Tagged ‘selling online’

Small Business Interview with Sitemakers's Geoff Jackson

Monday, January 18th, 2010

sitemakers logo

Geoff Jackson is the Social Media Strategist & Web Marketer for the UK based ecommerce solutions provider, Sitemakers.  We came across Geoff and Sitemakers on Twitter in mid-December.  Geoff and Sitemakers can bring small businesses and the Kikscore community a unique and more global perspective on ecommerce and online business trends.

1. Tell us about Sitemakers and who it focuses on serving?

Sitemakers is a UK based company specializing in ecommerce services. We work with independent retailers to help them to become successful online retailers. We have our own ecommerce platform, LiquidShop, and we provide our clients with a full service including the software they need to run their website, a full design service, ongoing support and marketing services.

2. Where will Sitemakers focus most of its energy in 2010?

We will be dividing our energy between making sure our existing clients continue to grow their businesses and seeking out new clients who can benefit from our services. Existing website owners who move to LiquidShop invariably see an increase in their online sales and we want to help more retailers enjoy this growth during these difficult trading conditions.

3. If you had one key lesson learned from your online selling experience that you could pass on to others, what is that?

Something we notice regularly is that it is existing retailers who often do best when they branch out into selling online. They know their business, they know their market and have existing relationships with suppliers. We bring the technical knowledge and the specific retailing knowledge that relates to the internet and it is this partnership that lead to a successful online shop.

4.  As the new decade begins, what do you see as main new trend in 2010?

New technology that has really caught consumers’ imagination is the smartphone. Led by the iPhone, and now followed by Google’s own Nexus, these devices have changed the way that users think of the internet and their relationship with it. An easy-to-use device with intuitive applications, large clear screen and instant on-all-the-time internet connection all lead to the expectation that information is available whenever and wherever you want it. Barcode scanning apps such as Shop Savvy mean that consumers can do their price comparison in-store just by scanning a barcode and looking up competitive prices there and then. The number of people who have bought something using these devices has started to grow, and it is expected that more than half of users will have bought something using their smartphone by the end of this year. It’s been dubbed ‘m-commerce’ – but whatever it’s called it’s coming fast in 2010.

5. Do you have any parting thoughts?

Yes. Retailers who don’t have an online strategy in place are being left behind. Christmas sales show again that it is the multichannel retailers who did best. All retailers need to adopt a strategy that lets consumers decide when, how and where they will do business with them. This may mean starting a transaction in-store and completing online, or researching online and buying instore or even on the phone. Give consumers the options they want and they will stay loyal to you.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below on this interview.

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Posts Tagged ‘selling online’

Small Business Interview with Simply Astro Founder Shiv Verma

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Simply Astro

Today’s KikScore Small Business interview is with Shiv Verma, the  founder of SimplyAstro.com. Shiv is a serious entrepreneur and runs multiple websites including the SimplayAstro.com website.  He is also a nights and weekend entpreneur so KikScore has a special bond with Shiv because we know the long hours that he pulls on a regular basis.  Shiv has just recently launched a very cool iPhone app and has received a lot of media coverage about that.

Tell us about “SimplyAstro.com – Your AstroSwami” and who you focuses on serving?

AstroSwami is the Brand Identity of SimplyAstro.com. AstroSwami Pro & AstroSwami Lite are the first every iPhone App bringing your personalized horoscope predictions AND remedies at just a click away! Merging today’s most popular technology and the ancient, scientific knowledge of Vedic Astrology, a pioneering concept “ASTROSWAMI PRO” offers solutions to your life’s problems on your iPhone. SimplyAstro.com is an online portal for astrological services providing the widest range of astrological and divination services in India and in western countries. SimplyAstro.com provides services to the people who believe in astrology as the science that may guide their path in life. All products and services offered by SimplyAstro.com reflect the philosophy that the purpose of Astrology is to stimulate the personal growth of individuals and create inter-personal harmony. Our services include online consultations and counseling built around Western Astrology, Vedic Astrology, Tarot, Numerology, Chinese Astrology, Vastu, Feng Shui, etc. backed by an internationally renowned panel of astrologers from across the world. SimplyAstro.com is a full fledged online astrology service provider and a platform for astrologers to export their services to Indians as well as Western people and all other people worldwide who believe in astrology as the science that may guide their path in life.

How did you get your started selling online?

The objective of the flagship company Vital Acts Inc., is to provide an easy, simple and user-centric online service that touches people’s Vital Acts of life! Keeping that in mind, SimplyAstro.com was started with our valuable and vital set of online services that is driving to create a community in itself. Vital Acts Inc. is growing to become the leader in service oriented online services catering to the needs of people through Internet and mobile. Our Series of website services ensures that an average individual is able to use the internet in the most effective, affordable and easy way! What we mean by that is well demonstrated by our website product services, product quality, customer service and one of the key items that are most affordable and beating the competition in regards to pricing that we have to offer or the amount of FREE services we have to offer!

Where will “SimplyAstro.com – Your AstroSwami” focus most of its energy in 2010?

SimplyAstro.com is growing to become the leader in service oriented online products & consulting catering to the needs of people through Internet and mobile.

If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

  1. Get clear understanding of what market segment you want to focus  on and determine if  you want to start by having a local or global focus.
  2. Have a marketing game plan lined-up to test the market via at-least five different marketing strategies. Don’t spend put all your resources in 1 marketing strategy. Instead divide your resources between the 5 strategies and have a way to track the effectiveness of each.

As 2009 closes, what do you see as 2 new trends in your business this year?

  1. Like any other business, more players are entering the market although they may not be mature businesses and also do not deliver the same value!
  2. People have become more and more price sensitive due to the economy and needless to say no other site providing similar values can beat our pricing!

If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

Can I pick 2 here? Star Wars & Star Track (Trek), well for one simple reason, SimplyAstro.com – Your AstroSwami, guides your path in life towards success by means of predictions and remedial suggestions using the ancient science of Vedic Astrology, Western Astrology, Numerology & lot more! As you can see Astrology is all about Tracking the Stars (Star Track!) and giving solutions to the problems of your life by means of remedial measures which is like fighting the Star Wars!  And yes, both these movies have been very popular and highly successful, so you can see where I am going with this!

If “SimplyAstro.com – Your AstroSwami” could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

Our own customers & community, because their word of mouth is what creates the difference!

Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

Absolutely, pursuing your hobby or passion in the form of a business is the best thing one can do in life and make a difference, so go for it! But always keep a good check on your budget and always apply a formula of multiply by 4 for any initially estimates when it comes to budgeting and time required for an activity/initiative. And yes, hurdles are part of the game, learn and adopt to get passed them and even if you hit couple of them, it’s ok, don’t stop or give up! Believing is achieving half the goal!

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