Lunch with Laurent – Victoria Chemko of http://VictoriasFoodSecrets.com
Today’s lunch was more a coffee and sandwich situation. The locale is an art gallery / coffee shop in Yaletown with Victoria Chemko who writes the Victoria’s Food Secret blog and was formerly of Elastic Path enterprise eCommerce software.
Victoria is looking to launch a new eCommerce business or looking to partner with someone who wants to sell their products online. She’s been a part of the Elastic Path team since the very beginning and she’s quite good at what she does… eCommerce site optimization for sales, online marketing and eCommerce project management.
Some questions to ask when launching a new eCommerce business – in no particular order:
1) What eCommerce platform will you use?
Are you going to build something custom? Are you going to use a SaaS solution? Or are you going to use an open source solution? We both like open source Magento for it’s power, native functionality and open source extendability.
2) What product are you going to sell?
This is the hardest part of the eCommerce equation. Many factors will affect this decision including what products you have access to, what are you passionate about, shipping,international sales, who you can partner with for shipping etc. We spent a lot of time on this subject and didn’t come to any conclusions. The search for the perfect product to build a store around continues…
3) How are you going to fulfil your orders and manage returns? How are your logistics going to run?
For Victoria’s case we are looking to partner with a warehouse that can hold the inventory, manage shipping, returns and customer service (ie a full service drop ship warehouse or drop ship manufacturer.) It’s hard to find a good drop shipper, yet it is such a key part of your business. Your shipping service can make or break your eCommerce business and you need to trust that the manufacturer or your warehouse is going to ship everything quickly and correctly. I have this set up with my online ceramic knife business Keramikos Kitchen and it’s the only way to go.
As a next step in the search for the perfect drop shipper we are making an appointment to visit a drop shipping warehouse in Vancouver next week. More to come on this…
4) Are you ready to jump out as an entrepreneur?
It obviously helps to have some savings to rely on while you launch your own business. If you don’t have that, maybe you could keep a part time job to get you by while you build? You might be able to find someone or some company to invest in you – the Government of Canada has programs to help with this, so does BCIT. Do you have the guts to make it through the tough times? Do you have a good strategy? Have you written a plan?
That’s it for the business part of the conversation. The rest was about food, Hawaii and Disneyland.
Go read Victoria’s food blog here http://victoriasfoodsecrets.com
If you have a product that you want to sell online, shoot either one of us an email or give us a call.