On the 1st October 2014, I opened the virtual door to my online shop and I haven’t looked back. Tomorrow, I celebrate my little toy shop turning 2 and what a couple of years it has been. In a sense, my shop has been my latest ‘baby’ and just like welcoming a new baby into your house, it’s hard to know what to expect and it’s been a learning curve for me. I just hope, I’m not going to be faced with the ‘terrible twos’ this year!!
For those of you who are reading this and don’t know me, I’ll let you into a secret…. I’m a bit of a techno phob and techno dinosaur. When I did my degree in business, the internet wasn’t what it is now and we had no lectures on social media or search engine optimisation (SEO). I’m so thankful for my Local Enterprise Office for making courses like these so available and affordable. When I opened my online shop, I thought it would be a matter of uploading products onto the website, people would see them, buy them and I’d dispatch them. How naive I was!
Since then, I’ve discovered that there are hundreds of people in Ireland trying to sell the same toys as me online and somehow I need to market my products so that people see them and buy from me. This takes up hours each day.
I’ve also learnt that getting people to view my products doesn’t give me an automatic sale. If you go to your supermarket to buy a jug, you see the jug, check out the price and if it’s within your price range and you like the jug, you buy it. You don’t nip into the supermarket up the road and check to see if they have the same jug and if it’s cheaper and then go to 3 or 4 more supermarkets before you make the purchase. Online shopping is different. People google for the product they are looking for and then they check 3 or 4 websites to compare prices before they decide where to buy it from. It’s also much easier to be distracted when online shopping. When you go to your supermarket, you usually don’t leave without having bought what you need to buy. With online shopping, it’s easy to loose track of time browsing and then you have to leave without buying anything as you have run out of time. For this reason, out of every 75 people who come to my website, on average, only 1 will make a purchase (This is a good percentage as the average is 1 sale per 100 visitors). Nobody explained this to me before I opened my shop.
Having said all this, I have loved every moment of running my online shop. I’ve loved learning and seeing breakthroughs and success. I’ve loved shopping for products and then sending them to satisfied customers. I have loved finding quality toys at affordable prices that have great environmental policies, like Goki Toys. And, I’ve loved that I can look after my own children while I do this on the side. It’s been a great two years. Thanks everyone who has journeyed with me. Friends and family who have supported and encouraged me. Customers who have shopped, come back, written great reviews, interacted on facebook and lots more.
Here’s to many more years of www.toysandgames.ie,
PS. If you want to support my small online toy shop but are reluctant to shop online, check out this blog post ‘12 great reasons to shop online‘