Here’s a recap of the W.O.W event held on April 13 2017. We had two great speakers, Erin Little from Marche Elm and Mariella Katz from Frenzr who shared with us some great insights about their businesses
Erin Little, creator of Marche Elm had some great points to share with us, including her reasons to get into an ecommerce business, where she started, what platform to chose from and much more. Having worked in sales, she had gathered ample experience on customer interactions and customer relationship skills that she felt confident about stepping out and exploring her own venture i.e. Marche Elm.
When talking about advantages and disadvantages of ecommerce, Erin mentions that there are two sides to every point. She chose to stick to an online based business as it allowed her flexibility in her schedule. It also allows her flexibility to be remote and work from wherever she wanted. However, her main disadvantage, as she put it, is the fact that her customers cannot touch and sample the products she carries. Unlike a regular store, she misses out on the store experience but she has great advice to over come that.
Even though there might be a significant disadvantage, Erin doesn’t let this hinder her progress. She recommends utilizing “pop up shops” in your city if you do feel like you face a challenge. Erin works closely with various retailers and hosts many pop up shops around Montreal, her most recent one being with West Elm.
“You’ll be surprised how many stores are willing to collaborate and encourage local businesses” Erin told us at the seminar.
We had asked Erin to go over her set up process and she was very willing to share, so listen up. Erin suggests using Shopify for your platform, it is a great ecommerce tool that allows you to choose from multiple options. She also recommended using Themeforest to select a suitable theme. In terms of other tools that help you run the business smoothly, Erin suggests Langify for language translations (for those looking to offer in Quebec), and Receiptful for order confirmation automated emails among many others(see below for complete list).
Next, Erin touched on the topic of engaging your customers. This is very important as if you lose the momentum of connecting with them, you may have lost your customer. So it is important to interact with them at a steady pace. She recommends using Instagram to your benefit as much as you can, Canva and Pixlr and two easy to use tools that help you make pro quality photos. On the topic of interactions, Erin also touched on newsletters. She says It is important to maintain a steady newsletter flow as that not only offers customers the latest from you, but also gives you a chance to see how your emails are doing out there in the real world. Online tools such as MailChimp offer lots of data analytics for your campaigns, these analytics can then be used to see which campaigns did well and which ones need some more help generating a buzz. Erin also suggests utilizing blogs, whether written in house or collaborating with influencers in the industry.
Lastly, since we ran out of time at this point, Erin touched on SEO. Search Engine Optimization. She recommends taking a course that allows you to become familiar with how to optimize your website so it shows up first on google when searched. There’s many points and she could go on forever but since her domain is ecommerce, she recommends taking a course with an expert to understand SEO and how to best optimize your website.
When asked how she deals with negative reviews or negative comments about her business, Erin recommends its best to address them and see where the problem lies. If the customer is unsatisfied, then we offer to return or exchanges or understand and implement their recommendations where possible.
Here are all the links that Erin shared with us
Shopify Affiliate link here
When Mariella takes the stage, she is confident in her knowledge of her customers and her market. We started the discussion with how Mariella had the idea to create Frenzr. She explains that while she was working in a marketing agency, there were constantly requests from small to medium businesses to work with them however larger marketing agencies were not willing to take up such work. This is where Mariella saw her opportunity and dove in.
When starting out Frenzr, it wasn’t all happy. Mariella had to go through some rigorous challenges, especially when starting as a young entrepreneur. One of them being people undermining her ability due to her age. She shared a specific incident with the audience, where the client she was working with would not take her seriously. If you are caught in a situation like this, Mariella recommends to never lose faith. She walked away from the opportunity and recommended that its best if the two parties don’t work together. Mariella recalls that it was her bold move and her firm stance that made the client realize her determination and she eventually got a call back. After some negotiation, they agreed to work with her, giving her the respect she earned.
She addressed points such as why is digital strategy important? Mariella says it is of course very important because it not only allows you to have a face / a persona to your brand but also gauge how and when your audience is reacting to it. Speaking of personas, Mariella shares that it is important to present your brand as a point of connection, it is important that the brand talks to the people directly instead of a sales pitch. On the note of making your brand presentable and something people can relate to, Mariella swears by using Square Space as a website builder. She is definitely a fan and also offers workshops in Square Space usability.
These days, it is essential to talk to customers as with a human touch. Mariella recommends posting frequently and with posts that connect to the audience. This also in turn helps to create a strong brand recognition and following. Creating a brand following is essential on its own. Of course no brand caters to all markets so creating a following in the niche of your product is important in today’s branding. As you create a following, you create your loyal customers that will in turn bring you repeat activity.
When asked what Mariella likes about her work, she tells us that she loves meeting new people and working with clients to find creative ways to display their brand and shine their persona through various social media outlets.
You can visit both the speakers’ pages and contact them through their websites below