Creating a (very) profitable online store.

Di came to me a couple of years ago when she had an idea for a business – wine art parties. Obviously she came to me because she wanted a website to promote this idea.

Fast forward a couple of years and her original idea has changed slightly. She no longer does wine art parties, she teaches people to make epoxy resin creations (see photos for an idea of what this means).

The workshops she runs have been a runaway success, so much so that she’s been able to walk away from her job and work for herself from home. It’s a dream many of us have – to work for yourself, doing something you love. Unfortunately, very few of us achieve it.

Di came back to me recently because her business was encountering growing pains. In addition to running her very popular and successful workshops, Di sell epoxy resin and colours so that people who have been to her workshops can purchase them and make their own resin creations at home.

Problem is that Di was getting frustrated with the time it took to manually take and process orders. She was feeling a bit snowed under. She wanted to put the products she was selling online and use an online shop to streamline her operations.

Since we had built her site in WordPress, this was relatively easy to do. The obvious choice for ecommerce platform was woocommerce. It’s what I always use when creating an online store.

The main reason I use it is because it is so well supported and has hundreds of additional plugins (some free and some paid) to extend its’ utility.

Di had a Paypal account, so we chose to use the paypal payment gateway. This worked really well for Di. Before she knew it, people were ordering her products and the money was in her paypal account.

I added an Australia post plugin that automatically calculated the shipping associated with the order. All Di had to do now was print out the shipping labels and take the products to the post office for shipping.

Next thing to be done was streamline the booking of Di’s workshops. She called me frustrated one day saying this had to happen as soon as possible, because she had spent 3 hours the day before manually managing booking.

The way Di runs her business presented some challenges, since the workshops have a variable price, depending on which creation the customer wanted to create at the workshops. However, despite the challenges, we managed to create a workable solution and once again Di’s business reaped the benefits of her being able to have customers automatically book and pay for workshops online. No more three hours taking bookings manually.

In Di’s own words “How good is this hey, I just sit here and everyone else does the work, I just add it into my diary and my job is done”. So if you want to be like Di and take hours of admin work out of your day, it’s time to implement a system like Di’s

Retail in Australia is struggling, and one of the reasons it is struggling is the rise of the online store. Di’s business has reaped the benefit of automating her processes and opening her online shop. I think all businesses with an eye to the future should do likewise.

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