First of all, the content and then the goods - how to enchant your buyers
Katrīna believes that the main golden truths when starting a new e-business are diversity and endless energy. In a conversation, Katrīna reveals the basic principles of "Mācētprieks" and gives various practical suggestions on how to set up your own e-store with a very small budget.
What is the "Mācētprieks" story - how did the idea, name and first product come about?
The idea of creating an online store was very natural - more and more potential customers contacted me to buy Montessori pedagogical materials, which I made on a small scale. I understood that there is a need for a unified platform - a shop where orders are easy to handle and it is also easier for me to process orders. When I started to create an online store, there was an idea to communicate with other Latvian manufacturers who make quality toys for children. It came from the "Mācētprieks", which is now 1.5 years and the store has more than 30 manufacturers.
The name came from a brainstorming. The purpose of the store is to offer toys created in Latvia that are not only entertaining but also educational and useful for the child's development. The MĀCĒT (know how to) - PRIEKS (pleasure) characterizes the child's excitement, when a new skill is acquired, when the child, with pride for mom and dad, finds what he has learned. In my opinion, as we grow, any of us has the pleasure of learning a new skill.
What is your previous experience in e-commerce before macetprieks.lv?
I gained great experience in e-commerce working in the Latvian fashion brand ZIB *, where one of the duties was creating and maintaining a website.
In terms of products, how do you find local producers and make sure the quality of their products?
Most manufacturers have noticed on social networks - Facebook, Instagram. Performing manufacturer's research on the Internet - activity on social networks, the home page, photos of goods, can see if the product is excited and quality. Regular manufacturers apply themselves by writing an e-mail that they want to market their product on the "Mācētprieks" platform. Then we get to know and I evaluate whether the product belongs to the "Mācētprieks" concept.
Over a year and a half, you have collected 3.5 thousand Facebook followers, which is quite a big achievement in these latitudes. How did you manage it?
Facebook is the ultimate social networking tool that we are striving to be active. Every week there are about 1-3 posts on the current blog and new items in the store. We organize competitions and also collaborate with other blogs who talk about similar topics.
Which marketing channels have been the most effective for you so far?
I can mention three of the most effective ways we have got a lot of feedback. First of all, it's a collaboration with other blogs, moms, professionals. It may be in the form of a blog entry (both in the "Mācētprieks" blog and in one of the favourite mom blogs), which is interesting for readers, so there is a desire to share. From time to time we work with Mommy Club or Mammamuntetiem.lv. It can be a competition for competitions, offering awesome awards to readers of another blog. Also, with the merger with other manufacturers, there is an opportunity to offer a very valuable prize - for example, there has been cooperation with Helium balloons and RoboHub lego - a place of interest for children.
The second channel is a Facebook shop that allows customers to see prices, view the product without leaving the Facebook page, and also make the purchase easy.
The third channel is Google Adwords, which we have tried. This gives a large number of visitors to the page, but it also requires the greatest financial contribution, so it is necessary to evaluate at what point it is beneficial to use it.
What would be your go-to strategy for opening a new e-store for a product that nobody knows about and has a marketing budget of 50 EUR?
First of all, make sure that the created e-shop is interesting and easy to use for its visitors, with a pleasant and reliable visual image. In a single style, you can also develop the store's social networking channels with the e-shop, by inserting the first entries there. Make representative and eye-catching dating pictures.
EUR 50 would be used for a neat e-shop opening contest with an excellent prize. It is possible to collaborate with another brand or service provider whose message is consistent with the new product created. The competition entry was sponsored by Facebook and Instagram networks to reach the widest possible audience, to send their new product to multiple bloggers at once, to provide information from different channels during the opening.
I have noticed that you have come to terms with the content you publish on your website. How do you get ideas for these articles?
The opening goal of the "Mācētprieks" store was to make it not only a shopping portal but also a place where customers could find useful information. That's why a blog section was included that also works as a good marketing tool. Through blog posts, many customers find us by searching for information on Google. If we share an interesting idea in a blog or have attracted a cool guest, such an article is more shot like a new product.
The customer should be interested in more than just the goods sold in the store.
How much time is spent on creating this content and do you think it's worth it?
To create an article with, for example, a DIY (Do It Yourself) idea that comes with photo material to be processed, the text that you need to write and write - one workday is dedicated to such work. But it is definitely worth it because, in my opinion, nowadays the customer has to be interested in more than just the goods sold in the store. Customers are happy to use the ideas we share, sometimes giving the blog a free download that we've created. And who doesn't like to get something for free ?!
Do you feel the feedback from customers?
Latvians are not responsive to giving feedback, but yes, we have received "thank you" messages from customers. The greatest joy is when customers appreciate what we are deliberately working on - it's fast and high-quality customer service and delivery of goods. If it is noticed, we are very pleased.
In which direction do you plan to develop?
Next year, we are planning to launch a couple of new products that we develop. Of course, expanding the regiment of producers is regular work we do on a daily basis. We also want to think a little more about mothers, not just children, so there is a bigger project in the plan that I would like to develop, but it should remain undiscovered.
The main gold truths when starting a new e-business?
Diversity and energy. Be prepared to try and experiment with ideas that have come to mind. Try to run a new product, offer a new service, play a contest, create a partnership, offer a promotional price, send a letter, address a customer, take a picture from another angle, film it or make a GIF. Diversity in everything - without ever trying to find out whether it works or not. The internet environment must be in motion. If the movement and energy are upset, customers will not come to the store.