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E-commerce Success Story : Family-run online shop sales grow 800% in one year
Meet Silly Milly Moo, an adorable PrestaShop powered online store selling children’s gifts and accessories based in the state of Victoria in Australia. The e-shop is run from the cozy home of husband and wife, Emily and Liam, giving them the opportunity to run a profitable business and keep up with their active on-the-go life raising three young girls, ages 10, 7 and 5.
Even with the girls’ school, ballet, drum and swimming lessons, Emily and Liam are able to manage their shop, fulfill and personalize orders and provide their customers with delightful service. I had the pleasure of speaking with Liam to learn more about their experience with PrestaShop and what they have done to make Silly Milly Moo the e-commerce success story that it is.
How did you get started in e-commerce?
As parents of young children we were looking for a business that could initially be run from home, providing us with an extra income whilst allowing us to spend time together as a family. Having three young children ourselves we already knew a lot about the products available for children. With Emily’s familiarity with the products and my IT background, an e-commerce site selling children’s products made perfect sense.
Did you have an e-shop before using PrestaShop?
Yes, we previously ran another site selling handmade children’s clothes and hair accessories. We had an ‘in-house’ custom written shopping cart. We switched away as it became clear that PrestaShop offered a lot more options than our cart system and was regularly updated with new fixes and features.
Share what you’ve experienced since switching to PrestaShop
We switched over to PrestaShop around November 2011. This was at the same time as we expanded our range and changed business name to Silly Milly Moo. The traffic has grown steadily since we started, but there have been a few peaks along the way with PrestaShop related changes that have helped us.
For example our conversion rates increased noticeably when we switched to the one-page-checkout. We had another ‘jump’ in sales when we moved to version 1.5 and implemented a newer theme that was easier and ‘cleaner’ for our customers to use.
I can say that our business continues to grow, with total sales in August 2013 being almost 8 times larger than total sales in August 2012.
Which PrestaShop modules or features would you recommend to other users?
I would recommend the multi-site feature PrestaShop offers. We have used the multi-site options to run an additional ‘micro site’ for a category of products from our other [PrestaShop] site, www.teethingjewellery.com.au. This has allowed us to run a site targeting a niche area of our products without having to manage two separate inventories. This in turn allows us to keep lower inventory levels of these products.
I would also recommend the Mailchimp Integration Module – we use this to run the newsletter for our website. See example:
What measures do you take to convert a visitor into a customer?
We offer a 10% discount voucher for any visitors who join our newsletter. We also offer reasonable flat rate shipping within Australia and free shipping on orders over $120. We aim to have a good selection of products so that visitors are always able to find the item they are looking for.
What do you do to make your customers return?
We use our Facebook page and email Newsletter to publicize discounts and special offers to our customers. We run product giveaways on our Facebook page to encourage people to ‘Like’ our page, thus allowing us to keep them informed of new products and special offers.
We believe that offering a superior shopping experience to our customers will encourage them to return time and time again. To this end we put an ‘over the top’ amount of effort in to ensuring every customer is happy with their purchase. We make sure that their orders are dispatched faster than they expect and that all products are of outstanding quality. We inspect every product received from our suppliers to ensure that it is ourselves who find any defects, rather than our customers.
What are your plans to boost Holiday Sales?
We will run a Boxing Day sale just after Christmas and will run some sales and special discounts through January for the ‘Back to School’ season (the school year runs from Feb to Dec here in Australia). Speedy shipping is something we promote heavily during the last few weeks before Xmas. We run a $6.95 flat rate shipping offer all year round.
What are your future plans for your online shop?
To continue to expand the range of products we stock. We will also experiment with other marketing types, including traditional channels such as magazines and radio to increase the number of visitors to our shop. We will work on improving our store theme, product descriptions and product photographs so we can continue to offer an outstanding shopping experience to our customers.
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