How This Design Firm Is Helping Small Businesses Sell Online
Written by Franco Varriano.
“Focus on simplicity for your store, listen to your market, customers want to buy your products, so you need to make it easy for them to do so.”
We’re pleased to have Genevieve Henault from Solution Intelligente in our last marketing chat of the year. Genevieve has been Shopify experts for 7 years now and worked with online stores like L&P , Wholesalemop, Oss Board Supply and Good To Save to create their online presence using the Shopify platform. Today, we would like to pick her brain on what it takes to launch an online store without the big bucks.
2. The Interview
Ned: Thank you taking part of in our expert series, can you please introduce yourself and Solution Intelligente?
Genevieve: Pleasure is all mine Ned, thanks for thinking of us! SI Business Solution is a creative and administrative strategic agency where businesses can go to get the help they need to conquer their market. Our recipe for success is:
- Offering a multitude of services for both SMEs and freelancers
- Tailor Business Solutions for each SMEs
- Keep a young and energetic team active, while maintaining realistic goals for the agency.
We try to make it simple for entrepreneurs, so they can fully concentrate on what they need to focus on to accomplish their goals! As for myself, after finishing studies as Webmaster as well as interior and graphic designer, I started out as a web consultant and ecom manager for local entrepreneurs. From there, all the experience I have acquired and situation I have encountered lead me to cofound Solution Intelligente in 2014.
I am now in charge of what we call the creative department of the company; it regroups all of our web, ecommerce, graphic design and marketing projects. It sounds very serious, but to me web and design are more like a passion then a job! I consider myself very lucky to be able to do something I love everyday. It also constitutes a great challenge since things are evolving so quickly in these fields.
Ned: You’ve been a Shopify experts for 7 years now, how is ecommerce changing?
Genevieve: The major difference I would say is how easy it is nowadays to showcase your products or services online. Not so long ago, it was very complicated and expensive for merchants to sell online. Most CSM were very basic and complicated, functions were limited and you needed a professional to set it up. If you wanted something special you had to go the custom way, which was ridiculously expensive because very few companies were providing such services.
Today, CMS like Shopify have evolved a lot and are very complete, plus there are so many apps available that you can mostly add any specials functions for cheap. It is now possible to have a beautiful and functional online shop within a few days! CMS are way more user friendly then they were, so you do not need advance coding skills to manage your store!
I think it is also important to mention that there have been significant changes in customers shopping tendencies lately; people are abandoning their laptop/desktop for their mobile phone. Some of our clients told us that mobile transaction represent as much as 50% of their online sales.
Ned: What are your best tips for entrepreneurs to bootstrap an ecommerce business?
Genevieve: If your shop is not up and running, it is impossible for you to make sales and therefore finance your improvement and growth. So my best tip would be to put all your effort and resources in opening a simple, good looking and functional store, and from there your sales will generate cash flow that will allow you to make improvement and keep growing.
Make sure to put your budget toward what is essential for opening your store. With the countless number of possibilities offered today, I have seen many entrepreneurs getting lost trying to make sure they had looked at every app possible that could help their business before they have sold their first product or burning a good chunk of their budget on something that is not essential for them to start. The longer and pricier your project gets before being able to sell your first product increase the chances that you end up abandoning the whole idea.
“Open a simple, good looking and functional store, and from there your sales will generate cash flow that will allow you to make improvements and keep growing.”
Ned: Do you have any design insights that most online stores should implement from day 1?
Genevieve: In my opinion, the product presentation is a detail web entrepreneurs often overlook. You have to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and keep in mind that they have probably never seen the product your selling.
In order for them to be confident enough to buy on your site, they need to know exactly what they’re buying. A complete description and some high quality pictures from as many angle as possible of the product are a must. A great product presentation also greatly reduce the after sales customer support as you are less likely to have product return if the client knew exactly what he was buying.
Ned: How did you start Solution Intelligente?
Genevieve: Like I mentioned earlier, prior to cofounding SI, I was working as a freelancer doing pretty much the same thing I am now but on a smaller scale.
I met my cofounder, Alexandre Fortin who was an accounting and business management consultant at the time, on a project we had to collaborate on for a client we were both helping.
We each had a great deal of experience with the problems entrepreneur often faces, and when chatting about it we quickly recognize that we could help our clients even more if we join our expertise.
Ned: In a world where Solution Intelligente achieves its mission, how is the ecommerce landscape for store owners?
Genevieve: Way easier of course! All jokes aside, most of our clients don’t know much about ecommerce no matter the size of their businesses when they first contact us.
Our mission is to deliver them turnkey online store that meet all of their needs, that are beautiful and eye catching to attract customers, functional to make it easy for anyone to make a transaction and that represent well their companies branding and culture.
Once the ecommerce website is ready, we explain our clients how to use the admin panel of their platform so they don’t feel lost. We also try to give them some tips to help them connect with their market.
Ned: What’s the design process you employ when working with online stores?
Genevieve: Since all projects are different, the first talk with the client is the most important part of the process. It is crucial to understand their expectations and identify their needs in order to to provide them with the right solution.
If that is not done right, you will end up having problems at some stage and are most likely to have to start again. Then it’s the research phase; we gather all relevant information about their products and target market. From there we begin the content creation and the design mock up.
We validate our ideas by presenting a first draft to the client and proceed with corrections if needed. Once the draft is approved, we put everything in place (design, content, pictures, logo, prices, shipping fees, taxes, policies, etc.) Since everything is about details, the final step is to make sure we have thought about everything the client have thought, as well as what he forgot in order to get the wow at end.
Ned: If you had 1 tip to give your store owners before they reach out for design, what would it be?
Genevieve: While we recognize that most of the time entrepreneur have been involve in their project since day one and that it might seems very logic that they are the best person to create the content as they have deep knowledge about the project. Unless they have great redaction experience, we recommend they let professional do the redaction. This will accelerate the process a lot!
Genevieve: One of my favorite quotes has been said by Albert Einstein: “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler”. Focus on simplicity for your store, listen to your market, customers want to buy your products, so you need to make it easy for them to do so.
If you’re an ecommerce merchant and don’t have automated email marketing campaigns setup for your store, you’re losing money. Right now.
Rare.io makes it easy to start using automated email campaigns for common challenges like: Welcome Series, Abandoned Carts, Order Follow-up emails and more! You can learn more about our powerful email marketing automation features here or go ahead and get started right away by using Rare.io for FREE.
And if you’re one of the thousands of merchants who are already using Rare’s Smart Email Marketing software and want to see how our Customer Success Team can work with your brand to grow your revenue – feel free to book a call at your convenience here.