What influenced your decision to start your eCommerce store?**
**Much like the publication Dogs Naturally, our store was founded with the goal and hope of making natural, holistic dog health care more readily available to dog owners everywhere. Too many products are marketed as “healthy” or “natural,” when they’re anything but. We offer real, natural products that coincide perfectly with our content, giving dog owners the opportunity to avoid toxic drugs and chemicals.
Tell us about your business?
Dogs Naturally started as a magazine but we now offer more ways for dog owners to give their dogs a naturally healthy lifestyle. We offer a membership plan, an annual live event and even certifications in pet health and nutrition.
Do you currently run your store full time or part-time? Tell us about the experience
We launched our e-commerce store in late 2016 and it quickly became a major profit center. Like all Dogs Naturally products, our entire inventory is 100% safe and natural.
Which e-commerce platform do you use?
Dogs Naturally currently have a team of 13 full-time team members, along with some part-time contract workers. The store receives over 4,000 orders a month so it quickly became a full-time job for more than one person. Because our growth was pretty rapid, we struggled to figure out our inventory needs without carrying too much surplus. It took about a year to become comfortable enough to carry a 30-day inventory but we find we still have to increase our order velocity every month or two.
How did you get your first products stocked?
We tested the store out first with drop shipping but the shipping became a problem for us. Because we already had a thriving business, it wasn’t difficult to finance the inventory so we just bit the bullet and ordered and haven’t looked back.
**How do you interact with your customers?
**We’re big on behavioral marketing and like to talk to the customer based on where they are in the customer journey. We use Intercom, push notifications, chatbots, paid social, native ads and email to stay top of mind with our customers.
What are some of the challenges you’re facing now or have faced if any?
Our biggest challenge is supplying. We deal with smaller merchants and they tend to run out of stock. Right now, we’re developing our own products so we can have better control of the supply chain.
**What apps/plugins are most useful to you?
**We love Sumo for onsite targeting and ManyChat for bots. But I would have to say the number one app for us is Yotpo … it’s expensive but it delivers a lot of reviews for us and it helps us stand out from the competition and decrease product abandons.
Are there any personal business strategies you’ve developed with time? There have been many. I’d say the most profitable has been the decision to email daily. I can’t quote the author, but I once read a great reply to a question we had for years: “How often should I email our list?” The answer was “Only on the days you want to make money.” I took that to heart and our sales doubled overnight.
If there was something you could change about your e-commerce journey so far, what will that be?
If I had to change anything, I would have started our e-commerce store much sooner.
Any advice for upcoming e-commerce entrepreneurs?
Write, write, write. Our success relies on our website and the 1,000 posts we created. Our site gets 25 million organic visits a year and most of this is from posts we wrote years ago. They just sit there and make money for us. If we were to buy that traffic from Google Adwords, it would cost us nearly $1 million a year. He who can spend the least to acquire a customer will win and invest in organic traffic is one of the smartest plans for any e-commerce store today. Content and commerce are perfect partners!
About Merchant Stories
Merchant Stories is a blog series by Kudobuzz (a startup that helps you grow your business with social reviews and AI powered SEO) that highlights the stories of online merchants to give them more exposure and to serve as inspiration for upcoming merchants.
This is the first season in a long running series.
Want to get your story featured? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to visit Dogs Naturally Market. Get to know more about your dogs and offer them a healthy lifestyle. Happy Dog Happy Home. 🙂