Jesus' Economy creates jobs and churches in the developing world. To raise funds for our efforts, we sell fair trade products handmade by developing world artisans. We purchase these products directly, through cooperatives, or other non-profits.
We currently feature products from Rwanda, Uganda, Haiti, Zambia, and Kenya.
We also fund projects directly through donations, such as our Renew Bihar, India project.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
We earned our first sale, like most people, through a family member and the next one through a friend. Today, the majority of our sales are from people we meet in person at events who then choose to buy online. But we also have many customers who found us through searching or one of our social media channels.
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?
As a non-profit, we have a lot of custom code to make the donation side of our website work. We also deployed custom code to make several other components work. But we began by adapting the Mobilia theme in the Milan style--which we love!
Since we send every dollar someone donates exactly where they designate, we have an upsell feature at checkout--which is deployed via Bold App's Upsell app--where we prompt people to give towards our overhead costs. This is very effective in helping us cover our day-to-day costs.
We also use Shopify to manage customer account information in general, handling all of our customer interface from the back end of the application.
There are other apps we use as well, such as Shopify's review app (to get customer reviews of products), Beetailer's social integration for blog post comments, and MailChimp.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
Get out there in person. It's an expensive game to market like the big companies, and likely one you can't afford. Meeting people in person is also the best way to build a long-term relationship. So be a vendor in person--Shopify's POS abilities will help you take care of connecting customers online.
And you probably already know this, if you're reading my thoughts, but use Shopify. One of my biggest regrets is trying several things before Shopify that wasted my time and money. I love Shopify, and all the apps you can get for it--not to mention the incredible Out of the Sandbox themes. I just wish I would have gone with Shopify sooner!