I’m Jaydent owning an online dried flower shop. My start-up began 5 years ago when I had graduated and hardy had any business experiences.
My friends and some online experts suggested I shouldn’t ignore an online store since it is trendy. However with not too much budget, I decided that my offline shop was most important and just chose quickly one shopping cart platform for online one. Through consultant from some web developers, I made decision to build my online store on osCommerce platform. It is not too difficult to install but I needed help from developers to make it optimized and good looking.
Gradually, although more investment in real shop, I realized that customers seemed to prefer my online one which bring 70% order. Hence, I changed my plans and focused much more on online channel. I tried to show all of the products with detailed description for customers to find out and choose the most suitable ones. Dried flowers are so delicated with colors, perfumes, sizes, etc. that it is necessary for buyers to be carefully to look for and choose. Nevertheless, my problem was in limited attribute website where I couldn’t find enough attributes to add more needed information for my products. Customization for my online store was also not simple, because it required support from professionals (and once again, I had to spend one part of money for it). Another drawbacks of osCommerce is not good search engine optimization, so my website couldn’t reach the ranking as expectation. That was not all. Unfortunately, the main reason which made my business dangerous happened after couple of months. Within one week in 2011 millions of customers accessing osCommerce website became victims of hackers. And as a consequence, like all of other osCommerce shop owners, I had to rebuild my store from the ground up. Of course I couldn’t put more my belief on this platform and it was time to choose another one to replace.
At the same time, WordPress had released a plugin called WooCommerce – the shopping cart I am running now. Inspire of definitely brand new, it is not difficult for me to discover and use. Like osCommerce, WooCommerce is open source e-commerce software, so it didn’t cost me any single dollar. And the first thing satisfied me was the large community where I can feel free to ask and get advice from other e-commerce Merchants and web experts. WooCommerce’s flexibility allows me to customize my store easily. There are lots of free extensions and plugins allowing creating my own dreamed shop. I still need some little helps from developers but it was free because I nearly could do it myself. The most importance is I could ensure that my customers’ personal information always are kept independent from any third party software platform. Plus, WooCommerce is audited by Sucuri, the industry leader in plugin security, to ensure that it adheres to WordPress best practices and coding standards, and is kept secure and up-to-date. So, it is difficult to happen a break-down like osCommerce!
Another problem is data migration. Because I know little about tech knowledge and skill, I had intention of hiring develop teams to convert osCommerce to WooCommerce. But they told me that I only would receive my new website after 3 months since they need time for researching and coding. How awful I feel! Luckily, I found a osCommerce to WooCommerce migration tool provided by LitExtension when searching on Google. After demoing, I decided to moving database immediately in order that my business was going on. It took about 5 hours for all entities migrated, even, suprisedly, customer password can be converted successfully. My new WooCommerce store is extremely awesome! So I think, the first one you should do with your start up is choosing a right platform for it. If wrong, please change.
Till now, I feel satisfy a lot with my online business. By the way, I have closed my offline shop because I want to spend all my resource on online. I’m still on the way to success and I believe it’s not too far. Today I would like to show my case study as I know many start-up younger also face to situation like me. My 5 year experience is not enough but sharing is the way we can exchange and help ourselves and others better. Hope to see more sharing from all of you, which brings more business lessons for me.