Ever wonder why some companies choose to nix the brick and mortar? Scroll through the gallery to discover the real world council of web entrepreneurs in all industries of canned packed online clothing swap. They explained why online stores were adequate for their products and services, and who have shared valuable advice for fellow business owners, including the tools to succeed.
Founders: James Reinhart, Chris Oliver Homer & Lubin
Service: online children's clothing, books and toys for parents to exchange
Where are: San Francisco, CA
How big is the area you serve? Nationally, as well as U.S. military families stationed abroad.
Why online versus a physical store? thredUP citizen is essentially a hand-me-down network. While the consignment shops and swap parties are great local solutions, often offer a limited selection when it comes to sizes and types of baby products you need. thredUP exchange brings the nationwide, allowing families to hand items to a family grown, and in return receive the following size of another family.
How to promote your online store? Word of mouth, blogger outreach, daily deals, and public relations.
Any other advice for small businesses? If possible, try to think through a plan of renewal of commitment in advance. The mistake many small businesses that is pushing a "timer," customers, failing to follow up and loss of money in the long term. Track your new customers through your sales funnel and inject email messages addressed to possible ... When approaching an agreement to date, many companies the question, "How can we get people to buy this offer?" What you should ask is, "How do we get people in the door with this offer, then turn them into repeat customers?"
2. Paper Feet
Founder: Jimmy Tomczak
Product: Paperfeet minimalist sandals are upcycled vinyl fence durable and resistant to water that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
Where are: Ann Arbor, MI
Why online versus a physical store? Shoes barefoot is a growing niche, there is usually not enough people in a physical place - especially in Michigan - to sustain a store.
Why does your product work better online? Persons who are barefoot active in online groups like the Society of barefoot runners, The Society for Barefoot Living, and live barefoot. Then look at the website of the exact solution of the product you are looking for.
Any advice for small businesses that opt for online stores? An online business has to be convincing. If nobody knows you, nobody cares. Share the story. The impact. Start now. When paperfeet. com launched, there were people share "their favorite adventures" and explain "why paperfeet?" when the pre-sale. This really helped us to know our clients and proved to be fun, too.
3. Bella Puzzles
Founder: Lara Braithwaite
Product: Personalized Guest Books and inheritance puzzle
Where are: Portland, OR
Customer base: First U.S. customers, but a growing number of international clients
Why online versus a physical store? An online store has allowed me to start the business benefits of previous sales. As a result, I have been able to grow a business Bella Puzzles six-figure loan without any ... The personalized nature of the resources of my product to customers worldwide. A physical store greatly limit the number of potential customers.
How to promote your online store? I started with an Etsy shop. I promote the shop and my own website through Etsy, Twitter, Facebook and my blog.
4. Gobble Journal
Founder: Chen Dazhi
Service: Dining rewards program that offers members exclusive discounts (10-50% discount) in our partner restaurants.
Where are: Currently, the subway service in New York and San Francisco Bay Area.
Why online versus a physical store? Our website serves as a showcase for over 500 digital partner restaurants. It is much more sustainable driving traffic to a website that is accessible to guests anywhere on a single physical store, or even the website of a restaurant just for that matter.
Why does your sector / product work better online? Our founder, Dazhi Chen, tried to launch a similar program before the advent of smart phones and the Internet widely accessible. Without the Internet would not be able to use the model of accelerated repayment through PayPal which is fundamental to our program.
5. She hit pause Studies
Founder: Matt Schwartz
Product: Polaroid prints
Where are: Brooklyn, NY
Why online versus a physical store? I have no patience for sitting in a tent all week. For me I consider it a waste of time and overhead, and it would kill my creativity and flexible lifestyle that feels like a reward for what I do.
Why is your product, or the art industry in general, whether online? Online purchasing of work is much more relaxed than enter a gallery. Convert back and forth with customers, letting them know what they want to know about me or the work. I even tell people the temperature it was when I was making a particular photo or the cost of filling a bathtub with bubble gum (for "Girl with Gumballs on the feet"). When people buy art, they are buying a piece of me or a story I created.
What online tools used to sell / promote your artwork? Bimonthly newsletter, Etsy shop, recently hired social media / SEO manager.
Any advice for small businesses that opt for online stores? Read as many books as you can about the company. One of my favorites is "The Purple Cow" by Seth Godin. Outsource everything you can afford if anyone can do better. It is important to be in competition with yourself, unlike the people in your industry. Everything takes time.
6. U.S. Wellness Meats
Founder: John Wood
Product: 100% grass-fed meat, including beef, bison, lamb, poultry, rabbits, shellfish and dairy products
Where are: Monticello, MO
Why online versus a physical store? Monticello, MO, is the smallest county seat in the state, with 98 in the 2010 census. Our business in northeast Missouri is in a very rural and sparsely populated areas in the U.S. The economic situation is difficult, and grass-fed meats have a very limited market within 75 miles of our business address. Consequently, in line was the obvious route to take during our brainstorming sessions yellow sticky note in March and April 2000.
Why does your sector / product work better online? The quick answer is convenience, and the ability of intelligent source of protein sources are not available in the market district. We have worked hard to purchase products with a unique history, which is essential for building confidence in our product selection online. Being online, we are able to answer questions about the product immediately by telephone or email response. This window of communication is what builds trust, which is required before online shoppers will spend money.
7. McClure Pickles
Founder: Bob McClure
Where are: Brooklyn, NY
Why online versus a physical store? Costs of physical outlets to minimize the margins, increasing the burden and create a dependency on "which is effect," meaning that are at the mercy of the customer coming to your location.
What online tools used to sell / market your product? Social media marketing, our retail partners blogs / food, word of mouth, press with online presence.
Any advice for small businesses that opt for online stores? If you are trying to drive traffic to your site and you have not had any big news, connecting with others online where to buy (and Food52 Foodzie are specific foods, but they help relieve the burden of marketing all on its own ).
Founders: Cerulean Erica and Claire Mazur
Service: promote new fashion designers. We designers commission to create limited edition pieces that are only available for purchase at our site and tell their stories - where they come from, what inspires them, how they produce their work.
Where are: New York, NY
Why online versus a physical store?
Erica: We both grew up in small towns-ish - I am from Peoria, IL, and Claire is Wilmington, DE - so there was very little access to designers interesting read in magazines like Elle or Harper's Bazaar. We wanted to give people outside the big cities access to designers that we think will be the next big things. At the same time, when you're in places like New York or Los Angeles, boutiques can be intimidating, and it is very difficult to find time to discover new designers. We want to make easier the process of discovery.
Claire: I also found it much easier than opening a brick and mortar store and handle all the physical maintenance, rental and services, having to pay people to man the store - all to be able to get a very limited audience.
What online tools used to sell / market your product?
Erica: The main driver for us is that our site uses Tumblr as CMS, which means that all of our content and our product is presented in the panels of our fans, links to buy you. That has been so huge for us - especially since the fashion community is increasingly Tumblr stronger day by day.
Any advice for small businesses that opt for online stores?
Claire: I think one of the best things we did early on was to create a blog before they started the business - which is maintained while we were dealing with product supply and construction of the site. It helped us find our voice and we wanted to determine what our brand is (and not).
Founder: Dale Partridge
Product: T-shirts for charity Crowdfunded
Where are: Los Angeles, CA
Why online versus a physical store? With the power of social media and our uncanny ability to exploit the "share" (online version of word of mouth), we can create, modify and deliver a customer experience unlike any physical store. By activating the emotions through video, online challenges, photographs and detailed information that can not be found on the shelf, they are winning the race for customer satisfaction in most areas.
How to promote your online store? We take influential online, people who never heard of that have millions of followers, fans and subscribers.
Any advice for small businesses that opt for online stores? People do not buy what you do, why they buy it. Focus home page of the most profound of why you're in business in the first place. This is what creates cult-like brands.
10. Kings County jerky
Founder: Chris Woehrl
Product: mixed grass-fed beef
Where are: Brooklyn, NY
The customer base: In a macro level, I would say it is composed of two fields: fans hungry for great tasting beef jerky, and the types of foods consciously attracted to craft products with new and unique flavors made with quality ingredients as grass-fed beef. We have also a special interest and unexpected discovery: Most of our clients are women.
Why online versus a physical store? Because we make our own product, the initial investment had to go completely in the construction of our (very expensive) manufacturing facility. Knowing that we could sell our products through an online store allows us to put all of our investment in building the infrastructure and not have to worry about investing in a power brick and mortar.
When and why did you decide to take advantage of physical sales / promotions? Seize the opportunities of physical sales and promotions whenever they occur. We are passionate about our brand ambassadors, not the web platform can communicate our message and enthusiasm as we can in a face to face.
Any advice for small businesses that opt for online stores? Choose your platform shop wisely. A lot of third Webstores have terrible user interfaces, poor navigation or too complex and lousy customer service.
11. Weddington Road
Founder: Ilana Stern
Service: group purchasing online for bridal parties
Where are: San Francisco, CA
Why online versus a physical store? One of the biggest problems for brides when it comes to bridesmaid dresses is that your bridesmaids live all over the place, which means a lot of work for her to coordinate the whole world because it is difficult (if not impossible) for everyone in one physical location, next to the store and try the dresses ... We rationalize a complex shopping experience for them, which means you can have fun looking at the dresses, the exchange of views, etc, while the site and our team handles the logistics of ordering, ensuring questions are answered and track of each bridesmaid (the removal of this important "do" the board of the bride).
What online tools used by visitors? The ability to share and dresses range as well as create and save different configurations is an important part of the shopping experience in a group. Furthermore, the ability for brides to track the activity of each bridesmaid is something brides love, they can stay on top of the process, without bothering her bridesmaids (which means that the bridesmaids who love too !).
When and why did you decide to take advantage of physical sales / promotions? Brides can order samples of fabric so Weddington, which is an important part of how to put the item online / physical to our customers - send large samples so you can really get a good idea of what the web different combinations of colors appear in person. This helps to touch and feel that brides feel comfortable buying online without having to go to a brick and mortar store.