“Shopify helps me understand which marketing and advertising efforts work, and which don’t”
E-commerce professionals these days dream to build a business while they travel and gather rich experiences around the world. Drop-shipping seems to be the method to help them accomplish this while they run a successful e-commerce store. In this edition of Shopify customer showcases, we are happy to feature Modern Blaze – a business born and based on drop-shipping.
MODERN BLAZE was founded in 2014 by Aaron and Anastasia, a young couple passionate about urban, minimalistic design and enjoyable online shopping experience. After struggling to buy a fireplace that would fit their taste for their first home they came up with an idea to open Modern Blaze. Now, Modern Blaze is a recognized brand that provides a unique, modern and eco-friendly solution for home and business owners as well as contractors, designers, and architects. The products are perfect for anyone looking for an alternative to a traditional wood or gas fireplace in residential, commercial, or hospitality projects. Their fireplaces do not require chimneys or venting, creating endless design opportunities without expensive structural modifications. Modern Blaze’s website creates an enjoyable shopping experience by offering only great quality products at guaranteed lowest prices combined with free delivery and top quality customer service. If you are shopping for a modern fireplace – you can count on MODERN BLAZE!
An Interview with Anastasia Vankova – Founder and Co-owner Modern Blaze
Tell us about your business – your mission and what made you start this e-commerce website?
Back in 2014, I was looking for ways to escape my 9 to 5 job. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I didn’t like other people telling me what to do and I wanted to travel. I knew there was a way to make money online but I just didn’t know how until I stumbled upon an online course called Drop Ship Lifestyle founded by Anton Kraly. I bought the course and just followed the system. That was my first e-commerce experience. A month after starting the course I made my first sale and I never looked back. I gradually transitioned out of my 9 to 5 job and became a full time online entrepreneur.
Which channels are bringing most traffic to your store? Which channels do you wish to use to reach more customers this year?
Our store heavily relies on Google Shopping Ads which generate about 60% of sales, the other 40% come from organic and less than 1% from social. However, if you look at the traffic volume, social brings 38% of the visitors, they just don’t convert as well as the ones coming from the shopping ads (only 19% of all traffic). Right now we are focusing on SEO, which should get us better organic rankings and hopefully reduce the cost of customer acquisition. Other channels we focus on right now are Pinterest and Houzz because our niche is very visual and people like searching and saving ideas for their future home improvement projects on these two platforms.
What made you choose Shopify for Modern Blaze? How is it helping you accomplish your business goals?
As I mentioned earlier, I took Drop Ship Lifestyle course that taught me how to start an e-commerce store with step-by-step lessons, and Shopify was the platform they recommended over all the other ones. I’m glad I started with Shopify. They make it easy for a total beginner to build and run an e-commerce store. Plus they have a great app store where you can find a solution to pretty much anything that is not included in the basic Shopify functionality.
Related Article : 10 Crucial SEO Tips for E-commerce Entrepreneurs by Shopify blogs
What is it that Modern Blaze (as a business) wants to accomplish in 2017?
In 2017, our goal is to at least double our revenue through optimizing and ramping-up our advertising, improving our organic rankings through SEO and increasing our brand presence on social platforms, primarily Pinterest.
What tools, apps, key metrics do you track and use to understand your business’ health? What apps do you use to help you with your backend?
I don’t track as much as I should, but I always check the traffic and where it comes from. It is easy to do in Shopify and it helps me understand which marketing and advertising efforts work and which don’t. Every so often when I need a more comprehensive view of the store’s metrics such as – acquisition channels, goal funnel conversion rates, customer demographics etc., I check Google Analytics.
We love sharing more information about e-commerce best practices that we come across, with our customers. Would you have any cool trick or best practice that you recommend?
Since we are running a drop-shipping store, meaning that we don’t actually store our inventory in a warehouse, we ship each product directly from the manufacturer to the customer, it is tricky to keep track of what is in stock. This is why we don’t charge our customers right away, we only authorize their cards and charge them after we confirmed that the item is in stock. Because our products are pretty expensive, this simple change in Shopify payments‘ settings helped us eliminate a lot of customer service emails and calls and created more trust with our customers.
I also think customer service is the key in our business, which is why I highly recommend having a phone number on your e-commerce store and have somebody answer. We recently outsourced the phone answering to Specialty Answering Services and that freed up a lot of time. They answer the phone 24/7 and either handle customer issues themselves (as they have access to our FAQ’s and can place orders online) or take a detailed message that gets emailed to me and I can return the call at my convenience.
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