And the technology that has helped along the way!
As my company, like many others adjusted to the worldwide pandemic we were forced to focus, more than ever on online sales. So today I wanted to talk about gaining subscribers and the tools we used to do this.
We have managed to hit our December targets in sales by June 1st. This is, in part, to conservative forecasting. But we should also give credit to our new surprise revenue stream, coffee subscriptions.
I have made a wee list of tools that you may find useful when growing your own e-commerce businesses, ESPECIALLY if you are using a subscription model. This is by no means exhaustive and I've even avoided a lot of the marketing tools as there already so many guides around these.
By all means use these for your own projects, even coffee! Though be aware that above all else, what drives sales is good product. Our coffee is the best, and we truly believe that. So picking a random product from eBay and remarketing using these tools may not yeild the same results:
Subbly- This is a platform for managing subscriptions and really the main thing I'd recommend. Whe team at Subbly appear to have built a platform that addresses every concern when managing recurring subscribers and the customer service we received when getting set up made it an easy part of the budget. Subbly also offers a website builder and stand alone ecommerce however we are sticking with Wix for website until they integrate Paypal. I didn't get paid to write this recommendation, I just really love the product.
Shipstation - Again, this comes down to convenience for us. We have 3 different sources for orders and Shipstation brings them together and makes picking/packing easier. If saving an hour every day is worth the monthly fee for you then get this product. We will be linking it to our shipper in the coming weeks too so it's even further automated.
Printify- Print on demand merch. We offered a free t-shirt with subscriptions as an incentive. Printify made it easy for our designer to get examples out there for sale. We did find that shipping was often delayed and the cost was quite high so although we now hold stock of our free merch, i'd still recommend Printify for testing your market and getting started out.
FB ads Manager - Specifically the Android App. Currently we are running broad audience ads based on geography and pay per click as we prefer to let our email campaigns and website make the actual conversions. You will no doubt have your own strategy but having the app makes it easy to check how your adsets are performing and kill any non-profit makers.
Forums - Reddit and Youtube specifically - People will give you their opinion for free if you just ask nicely, what better way to test the water. We make a list of feedback on every Reddit post then decide in a meeting which of the feedback is qualified and what changes we can make for the better. (Thanks again btw). Same goes for Youtube, almost every tech start-up has a half hour tutorial you can use for research and almost every user of these new services has encountered issues the same as you, so use the resource.
Checklist App - This is my personal most used tool. It's a simple todo list but it's ideal to regain work/life balance if your subscription site blows up. I simply add things in date order and score them off as they are done starting from the bottom. The list organises itself into importance that way. e.g "Find out where order 60099 is" will be urgent having been added late last night but "Fix the plug in the living room" is at the top as it can wait (Sorry Mrs BigSparra).
Some honourable mentions go to; IFTT app for automating small tasks, ClicknCollect shipping app from Royal Mail, Social Media poster Layout, Inshot & Repost.
In the coming weeks we'll be experimenting with some new less than usual marketing channels such as; influencers, alternative marketplaces and guerilla advertising so will hopefully give you an update on those should there be any interest.
Please let me know what tools are proving useful to you in the comments!
Thanks, Robert - Pureroasters
TL;DR - Life is difficult enough, use the right tools