By Jamie Bartle
Jukes Street is an online jewellery business based in Perth, co-founded by Amanda Nogueira and Jamie Bartle in May of this year. With backgrounds in visual merchandising and design, combined with a shared passion for all things fashion, Amanda and Jamie took the ultimate leap, and started their own online store. New to the business world, they attended lectures and seminars, completed online courses and read endless books on starting an online business.
After the highly successful launch of their online store, and continued business growth, the girls share their experience and top 10 tips for launching an online store.
- Talk to an expert
The number one most valuable piece of advice we can give anyone, before starting their online store, is to talk to an expert.
The local government runs a small business advisory service, which provides free advice for small businesses in WA. They run a start up workshop that provides invaluable information on starting your business, planning, financial management, feasibility studies, leads on mentors and a useful checklist that we have referred back to more times than we can remember.
- Set up your business
In the early stages of developing your business, make sure you set up your business properly. Register your company, apply for an ABN, open a business bank account, the list goes on – you can refer to the small business advisory service guide for a full checklist. It’s also a good idea to register a domain name and an email and start using that email from the beginning; it will make life easier in the long run.
- Define your target audience
This is a great idea to do early on, as it will help guide so many other decisions down the road. Get to know and define your target audience by creating a customer avatar; this is the person you are selling to (there is a lot of information online to help you with this). Once you understand and know your avatar you’ll be able to create a more successful and well-targeted brand.
Now the fun begins…
- Develop your brand
Use your customer avatar to help guide you to develop your brand – create a logo, colour schemes, business cards, letter heads, profile graphics, unique typography, the list of what you can create is open to your (or your designers) imagination. If you are hiring a graphic designer to develop your brand, it is so important that they understand what you want – make sure you give them a clear idea of your product and your customer avatar and any ideas you may have.
- Start Hustling
It is never too early to start getting your name out there. Create your social media accounts, email marketing campaigns, web hosting, basically every platform you want your company to be on – get on it and start showing your audience what you’re about. Make them excited about your new ‘up-and-coming’ business, the more followers, hype and buzz around your business, the more potential customers you could reach.
- Content, content, content.
It is insane the amount of content required for social media. We post 3 times daily on Instagram, and 1-2 times on Facebook. We ensure both platforms are unique and always fresh to keep our customer avatar engaged. We recommend doing a few different photo shoots prior to launching, that way you have enough content to use for a few weeks to populate your website and social media. We also do a weekly Instagram planning session with the app Later. This allows you to plan your posts as far ahead as you need. It’s better to post organically, but pre-planning is great for when you’re on the run or just don’t have time to think about it.
- Create a website and landing page
Create a website that is in keeping with your brand and a ‘coming soon’ landing page. The landing page will help gather potential customers emails. Try to give them some incentive to sign up like offering them discount codes, VIP deals or never before seen previews of your product, make them excited about your business and want to join.
- Create a launch campaign
Generate anticipation and hype around your launch through social media, emails and ad campaigns. This is where starting your social media presence early now pays off.
Try to make the launch campaign as fun and engaging as possible, the greater the momentum and hype, the better! Think about a deal your launch could offer, like a discount or bonus for early buyers and try to lead them to your landing page to gather more emails. Don’t forget to publish the time and date of the launch in advance and ask your friends to help by sharing posts and spreading the word.
- Get blogging
Blogs are a great way of getting information or your ideas across to customers. Save yourself some time and create a few blogs prior to launching. It will save you having to try writing some content while you’re in your first few days of launching. Blogs are also important for Google SEO, and will help drive traffic to your website and generate more potential customers.
- Practice tests
Before launch day, do a practice run through of your website – test every step of checkout again and again! We did test sales through paypal, afterpay and credit card and we did them on multiple devices and different browsers. We also got our friends and family who had never seen the website to do dummy buys and our poor boyfriends were guinea pig customers the whole week before launch. It’s better to find problems now, then after you have launched and potentially lose customers.
Our last piece of advice before launching your online store is to have fun and enjoy yourself. It is such a rewarding, scary, daunting, enjoyable, crazy experience; so don’t forget to enjoy the process!