Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
We've been growing salmon in the pristine waters of Tasmania for almost 30 years, but we've always focused on selling whole fish to the domestic market via wholesalers. We saw the online space as an opportunity to create a unique value-added product line that would satisfy Australian salmon consumers thirst for new gourmet entertaining offerings. We grow all of our own salmon and then cure, cold and hot smoke them to produce our Reserve Selection range. We also source salmon roe from our hatcheries in the north of Tasmania and from salmon grown in the Southern Ocean to produce our unique Tasmania Salmon Caviar.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
As with most small start ups (which is what we see our online store as) our first sales were through friends of the business and word of mouth in the real world and on social media. The excitement of seeing orders come through is still as thrilling for us now as it was when we launched. We have an email database of dedicated followers called the Huon Salmon Club and they are by far our most successful ongoing source of sales. Having said that social media follows closely behind as well as direct traffic from people that have heard about us at trade shows etc.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
We incorporate Shopify as part of our larger website but have found the Shopify iPhone app extremely handy to be able to manage orders on the run. As you can imagine, shipping a perishable product is always tricky. The last thing we want is for Reserve Selection products to turn up on someone's doorstep only to find they've gone off. We ship door-to-door overnight using quality Australian freight suppliers that we've built strong relationships with. Our customer service and production teams work on the backend of Shopify to note fulfilment or handle any order changes and this works extremely well for us given we operate these teams from different locations.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Online has been a new experience for us but it's one that we are continually learning new things about. We see it as a great way to get continual feedback about our seriously special salmon products and we feed this back into our wider value-added business. We're excited for what the next few years will bring as we continue to build awareness of the fact that you can buy premium, fresh salmon products online to be delivered direct to your door anywhere in Australia!