In episode #43, Elizabeth Larkin and Gene Marks answer this question:
“How do I setup an eCommerce website for my yoga studio? I want to start selling yoga videos and expand my income sources. Can you guys give me like the quick start beginners guide to this sort of thing?”
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Elizabeth: Welcome back to the Small Biz Ahead. I’m Elizabeth Larkin. I’m here with Gene Marks. Today we are going to be talking about setting up an eCommerce website. Do you sell stuff on your website Gene?
Gene: I don’t, although I just wrote recently, and I’ve been doing a lot of work with some clients that do. There’s a lot of different options that you have when you’re selling stuff online. I’ve becoming more and more Elizabeth, as I learn more about it, I become more and more of a person saying, “You’re probably going to have to find a marketplace to really devote yourself to.”
Gene: It’s find to have, to sell stuff off your website, but it’s almost like nowadays Amazon dominates, eBay, Alibaba. One of those big marketplaces is what I’m seeing a lot of my clients doing because everything’s setup for you to do. There’s much more of an audience.
Elizabeth: We’re going to talk about this topic after we hear a word from our sponsor.
QUESTION: Setting Up an eCommerce Website for a Yoga Studio
Elizabeth: We’re back with our question and it is from Cindy. She doesn’t tell us where she’s from, but she owns a yoga studio and here’s her question. Cindy writes, “Blah, blah, blah, passive income, blah, blah, blah.” I like this already.
“How do I setup an ecommerce website for my yoga studio? I want to start selling yoga videos and expand my income sources. Can you guys give me like the quick start beginners guide to this sort of thing?”
Gene: I do. I can, oh man, I’ve got a lot I could actually show …
Elizabeth: I’ve got a lot too.
Gene: Okay good, so Cindy, a couple different things. You want to get up and running. You want to be selling these videos. First of all, I’m going to bet that you’ve got these videos and these products that are also in your yoga studio as well. You’ve got sort of a brick and mortar outlet, and then you also want to sell these things online. Here’s what you want to do. You want to go and sign up for Shopify.
Elizabeth: That’s exactly what I was going to say.
Gene: Big Commerce is another one. Magento is another one, so it’s Shopify, Big Commerce, Magento. By the way, I don’t want to be unfair to all the other platforms that are out there that do very similar stuff. Those applications, and I mention Shopify because I do have a lot of clients that are going to it. It’s a really great little company. They combine … It’s a whole new wave of eCommerce applications that they merge in store with web. It’s like you setup one system, you have your own point of sale system with Shopify. You’re buying and you’re selling over the counter, you’re ringing up the sales, you’re making payments, you’re keeping your inventory on the shop. If I own your store and boom, it’s also your website as well.
When people go to buy stuff there’s a template. You set it up for yourself. Shopify has very easy ways to do that. They also use the same payment methods. It’s driving off your same inventory and it’s integrating with your accounting system all in one place. If you sell a video in your store and now you only have nine videos, when somebody online goes to your website there’s only nine videos available. You know what I’m saying? It’s an integrated system and I think it’s a great application to use.
Elizabeth: This is so great because Gene and I look at the questions for this podcast separately before him, but we do not discuss them. My notes said, “Shopify.” Currently $29 a month, so that’s for a very basic program. You can do everything via Shopify. It’s crazy because I will see a beautiful blog that I read a log of blogs, and I won’t even realize it’s a Shopify blog. It really does, it gives you a website and a blog. The shopping is just a certain part of it. Through Shopify you can do everything from print your shipping labels, you can track orders, you can give discount codes, and it has the added benefit that you can also have a website or a blog. You can actually have your yoga studio’s entire website via Shopify. The shopping section is just a part of that.
Elizabeth: They also have something called, this is new, called Shopify Lite, which is really inexpensive. I think it’s about $5 a month. That allows you to sell via Facebook and you can accept credit cards.
Gene: Shopify integrates with Facebook and they also have an Amazon.com integration as well so they will automatically transfer your inventory information, your sales information, directly to your Amazon storefront that you have there. Cindy, I recommend you do that too because you should have … Again, when I talk to business owners and I see business owners that are succeeding selling online. They do go through different channels. They sell to their own website, they sell in their store, they might have distributors selling stuff for them, and then they sell on Amazon. They sell on eBay. You want to have the widest audience possible.
You mentioned Shopify Elizabeth, Magento is also very good. That’s free, Magento, by the way.
Elizabeth: I’m going to add that to the show notes.
Gene: It’s just that Magento is an open source application. You’ve got to be a little bit more technical, but you can really create and customize an awesome site if you’re open to doing that.
My final advice, depending on your volume, Cindy, the most successful business owners I know who are succeeding online are, they have somebody doing it for them. They’ve got a part-timer, they’ve got … It’s a big job and to be an expert at Shopify, to be an expert at Amazon, an expert at eBay, that’s a commitment. It sounds like you’re a yoga person and you’re running your own business and that’s what you do well, so you really do want to budget to have somebody for a day, a week, or maybe more, who’s going to own your Shopify, Magento, Big Commerce, Amazon, eBay system, whatever platform you’re using.
Elizabeth: That’s great advice because I know with Shopify that’s the only one I’ve used so I can only speak to that as they make it so easy for a business owner who doesn’t specialize in that. You might think, “I can just do this. It’ll just be a couple hours a week.” If you really want to be good at it you do need to really have someone in there who specializes in this.
My piece of advice is for any kind of passive income like this you do need to create your own market. You do need to also up your game in email marketing. You want to make sure you have Mail Chimp. What do you use?
Gene: Constant Contact.
Elizabeth: Constant Contact.
Gene: JangoMail, AWeber does a great email marketing service too.
Elizabeth: You need to be building your email list because if you want to sell things online you need to have people who you have a relationship with online. We will link to some articles on … Actually Gene, you just wrote one about how your company badly uses email.
Gene: Email, yeah that’s correct.
Elizabeth: He talked about all the mistakes his company made, and then what they did differently going forward that started to work for them. That’s really exciting, Cindy. I hope this is successful for you.
Gene: Good job, and I think we crushed that answer, Elizabeth. Good job. We knew our stuff on that one.
Elizabeth: We’re high fiving.
Gene: Usually we’re just making stuff up along the way, but this one we actually knew what we were talking about.
Elizabeth: We’ll be right back with our Word of Brilliance.
WORD OF BRILLIANCE: Calm App
Elizabeth: We’re back with the Word of Brilliance. This week I’m actually going to do the Word of Brilliance. I’m giving Gene a break.
Gene: Bring it on.
Elizabeth: We have, as we’ve talked about before, and you’re probably hearing the ads, Small Biz Ahead just produced, and I edited, a bunch of eBooks that you can download. They’re on all different topics, but the one that has been most successful for us, actually I’m going to have Gene guess it. We have one on data breach, one of business credit cards, one on keeping customers happy, and one on productivity and getting stuff done. Which one do you think has gotten the most downloads?
Gene: Out of all of those?
Gene: I had a feeling, had a feeling.
Elizabeth: Because when we publish articles, the most popular ones are always about stress and sleep and how to get more done. Gene, you know, that’s because small business owners work 24 hours a day.
Elizabeth: They’re always working.
Elizabeth: We keep finding more and more research about how getting a good night’s sleep is the best thing you can do for your productivity. My new favorite thing, I’m obsessed with it, is an app called the Calm App which I already had on my phone.
It has three sections. One is for meditation, one is for breathing for people that need help breathing, which there are people out there apparently. It has a new section called sleep stories. What this is is you click on a story, you can choose from about 15 of them, I think three or four of them are free, and someone reads you a book as you fall asleep.
Gene: No way.
Elizabeth: It is the most calming thing ever. I have been listening to one about a waterfall. It just has this beautiful calming sounds in the background. The one I just started listening to this week is about the Trans-Siberian Railroad.
Gene: These are sounds you’re listening to?
Elizabeth: It’s someone reading a book about the Trans-Siberian Railroad, but the Calm App has put in the sound of a train off in the distance in the background. I’m out in two minutes. It’s so great.
Gene: I tried that too and I was listening to some books from Stephen King. Didn’t work at all. I was up all night freaking out.
Elizabeth: A clown was hiding under your bed. Check that out. I’m going to put it in the show notes. It’s called the Calm App. That is for any small business owner that just wants to fall asleep immediately. You could probably use it on a plane too. It would probably work there. I will put that in the show notes and definitely check out the Trans-Siberian Railroad one because it’s so soothing.
Gene: Dig it. Good one.
Elizabeth: We’ll be back next week.