Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
We bought a 3D printer in 2013 to play around with because, like everyone else, we were curious about the technology. Then we put an ad on some local classified sites to see if there was any interest, and we soon began receiving custom orders. With more and more orders coming in, and requests to see the 3D printer in action, we decided to open a retail store.
We are now the first 3D print shop in Canada and have over thirty 3D printers to serve our clients.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Our first sales came in via local classified sites. But having a background in e-commerce, I knew the first thing we needed was a website. I had heard about Shopify, and after seeing their clean and beautiful themes, decided to give it a try. I really enjoyed the fact that they allow any company to get online quickly with one of their free themes. I wanted to test out a few things: how helpful customer support would be, and how the back-end and SEO would fair. I was — and continue to be — very impressed.
Being a company with the latest 3D printing technology, we wanted a POS that could be just as high-tech. We love our clients' reactions when they see Shopify's POS or have to sign their name on the iPad. They usually say: "Wow! This is the latest thing!" That's the kind of experience we want our clients to have in our store. We want to "wow" them. Now, most of clients find us online organically because of our Shopify website.
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 use the Facebook Store app by Shopify to help get our products and services to our community. We use MailMunch which conveniently integrates with MailChimp so we can grow our email subscribers. We also use Follow Up Email by AheadWorks to automatically send our clients an email after making a purchase to ask for a review on our Facebook and Google+ pages.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
We have a few stores in our mall that don't have websites, and I always tell their owners about the importance of being online. I tell them that they can easily start with one of Shopify's free themes, and that the built-in SEO is great.
Then I tell them about the POS, that the rates are great, that it's mobile-friendly and people love the experience.
Plus, we always tell them that Shopify is Canadian. We love supporting fellow Canadian companies!