Do you want to create your own online store?

After creating a Youtube show featuring how-to make cocktails I found making money on youtube was quite challenging. Aside from advertising pre-roll it became clear a secondary income was needed.

We tried affiliation with a few stores like amazon and a little online store called "AwesomeDrinks." As our Youtube channel grew 20,000 viewers I decided affiliations were not for us, we had to own it. So, we purchased AwesomeDrinks and within the first month had 4x the sales the business was used to receiving because our fans supported us and made purchases in the new store.

How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?

We earned our first sale through fans of our cocktail youtube show, Common Man Cocktails. To date, the biggest sales we've received from lifetime shoppers are from our biggest fans.

Today, we service the world in bar tools, syrups, bitters and glassware but our largest orders still come through our loyal fans as they show their support for our show, and now, retail store.

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?

While the front-end is purely shopify and a theme, the back-end heavy lifting is done through OrderCup for order fulfillment which helps tremendously on our International orders along with the volume of orders we receive.

QuantityBreaks add-on was used to allow people to gain additional value from larger glass orders.

To handle our youtube video embeds on product pages along with some of the other neat features we have, I utilize MetaFields 2.0 add-on because it allows me, as an experienced programmer to build additional options without having to look for more add-ons.

Some bitters are restricted to the United States, so we use Metafields 2.0 to "flag" those products and then geolocation javascript embeds to track countries and then I wrote some client-side "US Only" messaging and disable order buttons for people outside the United States. That's just one example of using metadata to extend the store processing.

I believe Yotpo reviews is one of our biggest and most important add-ons to Shopify. It allows customers to see our 500+ reviews to justify purchasing at our store and buying products most fit for their needs.

We also use Olark for our live chat option, which has converted some of our long-shot deals where customers were not sure if our shipping was as fast as we say, or needed assistance picking a cocktail bitter flavor for a specific style of cocktail.

The biggest back-end feature is customer service. Every customer is a relationship that needs to be fostered and built. Sometimes that means giving customer refunds on extended sales times or calling a customer to let them know the shipper broke a package, offering discounts and refunds for customers that found a product outside their needs, etc.

We also ship packages within 24 hours of an order coming through our system. That means no wait time for those that purchase.

What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?

Count every customer as a human and not as a transaction. This sometimes means giving a customer more than the value of the product or using your own money to expedite a delivery that the customer needs sooner--loyal customers are paying customers. You may need to lose money on a deal in order to make more money on a bigger deal from that customer later.

Relationships sell products not just pretty themed front-end stores. Make sure you can build a relationship with your potential customer, offering them the ability to leave reviews, write questions, chat live and watch your product via high resolution photos and a dedicated store youtube channel to embed additional product information via media.

Prepare to realize media will be part of your job. Selling a product that's complicated to describe in text? Create a youtube video and put it on the product page so you can get that viewer additional information and see you, the owner, so they can relate to you as a human and not just a store.

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