March’s success story comes from the team at Unbreakable Man. A lot of merchants will have heard about this store as it is often talked about and discussed at our MeetUps.
We asked Mario Toscano to give us some details on how it all began for him from how he decided Shopify was ‘the one’ to what his favourite elements of the platform are for him personally. This is what he had to say:
When did you start your Shopify store and what do you sell?
MT: I started my Shopify store in 2013 after searching for an easy way to sell my products online. Not being a developer of any kind I was after an easy-to-use, hosted solution that was both reliable and affordable. I looked at other platforms like WooCommerce, Magento and PrestaShop, among others. Shopify ticked all the right boxes for me and the best part was that I didn’t need any special, technical knowledge to get it all going.
How long did it take you to setup your Shopify store?
MT: I opened up two trial stores and it took me four days in total to set my store up. It was a scramble to get all the relevant logos, product images and product information together, but I just put my head down and concentrated on what I needed to get done. The first version on my Shopify store didn’t look very good initially, but customers were at least able to browse my products and checkout if they wanted to.
PayFast was also super helpful in getting my payment options sorted out. It was quite empowering being able to accept credit cards so easily.
How long after launch did you get your first sale?
MT: I got my first sale four days after I launched my store. It was a Sunday evening and I distinctly remember a sense of panic descending over me, as I hadn’t even thought of how I was going to get the order to the customer. She was based in Witbank and I ended up heading to my local grocery store to pick up a Berco courier bag to ship the order to her. She has since become a regular customer and we have reached out to her to give her some free stuff too as she was our first customer.
How do you market your store?
MT: I rely heavily on Google AdWords but I have an agency that manages it all for me simply because I’ve burnt my fingers in the past doing it myself. I also use email newsletters a lot and do some advertising on Facebook to build my brand. Shopify handles SEO really well and as a result my search engine rankings are very good; we’re usually sitting in the first or second spot of page one on Google. That’s free traffic too! Of course, we also do loads of wedding exhibitions using our Shopify POS as well. Those work really well for sales injections and brand exposure and allow me to talk to my customers in person, which I love.
We have also found that since we dedicated ourselves to customer experience and customer service that our sales have rocketed. Customers come back because of their great experience and tell their friends and colleagues about it. This is the best type of marketing for a business.
What do you find is the most useful feature on Shopify?
MT: I’m not sure what feature I find the most useful. Certainly all the localisation tools like uAfrica’s multichannel and Custom Shipping Zones app make our lives as SA merchants much easier. Overall I love that Shopify allows me to create and manage my own online store. Sure it is within the confines of the Shopify platform, but it is really useful that the store can be customised to my needs. The app store is also super useful. I have a ton of apps on my store that give me super functionality. I find the customer service tools available in the app store particularly useful.
Everything about Shopify is superb though. It’s awesome that I can guarantee my servers won’t be down and the fact that new features are rolled out while I sleep and just appear on my store when I next login.
Any other comments?
MT: If any businesses out there are looking for a platform to sell their products on, Shopify has got to be top of the list. It’s a stellar online sales platform and they are even helping businesses sell in person through their POS. The POS links up with the online admin, so you can gather customer information and keep an accurate inventory. Its super helpful and really affordable.
Had it not been for Shopify, I wouldn’t have an online business.