We had an existing business selling packaging to large companies that was purely offline. Everything was going great but we wanted to make sustainable packaging accessible to everyone -- small businesses, restaurants, food trucks, caterers and even families looking for some natural, compostable trays for their kids school lunches. So we opened up shop on Shopify (no pun intended), which made it simple and almost effortless to start selling our plant fiber packaging to customers wanting to make their businesses and lives green literally overnight.
We source our materials worldwide depending on the ideal growing location of the plant used. For example anything with Bagasse (Sugar Cane pulp) is usually grown in the Caribbean. Our FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified Bamboo comes from Asia, it's natural habitat.
Be Green does all of it's own manufacturing in-house in company owned and run facilities that are heavily certified by some of the world's most respected eco-social organizations such as the Cradle to Cradle Institute, the Biodegradable Products Institute, Western Michigan University's Recycling Program, the Non-GMO Project and the USDA Biobased Products Program, among others.
The company's founders, Ron Blitzer and Robert Richman saw that the packaging market was long overdue for some sustainable, green innovation and decided to launch a company manufacturing and distributing compostable, recyclable packaging made from plant fibers. The ecommerce/Shopify arm of the business is the latest way the company is bringing eco-friendly packaging to the world.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Our first sales came from Google search traffic and from customers finding us through our company homepage, which links directly to our Shopify site on many pages.
These still remain on our dominant channels although we do get customers from Adwords here and there.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
We use Livechat to help connect with customers and get them samples of our product, which is usually the first step in building a long-term relationship.
The SEO Meta Tag apps are a must to leverage traffic from Google.
Lately we are loving the Restock app, which makes notifying customers when out of stock items are back in stock a breeze! No more keeping lists and trying to remind everyone manually.
Retailtower is also great to get your items listed on Google Shopping, Amazon and the like. Can be a great way to boost sales. And, of course, Hellobar to send messages to visitors and customers alerting them of cool things or promotions you are running.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and try to imagine what it is like for them visiting your site. Are things obvious and easy to find? You want to make their shopping experience pleasant and effortless. We found that even with a very simple site design customers still had trouble with certain things and fixing them boosted sales. Always be optimizing and improving, getting feedback from customers and testing new things. Sites like UserTesting.com are great for this!
Also, using a chatbox like Livechat is a must these days. Invaluable to be able to directly communicate with your customers and get realtime feedback. Also converts more visitors to customers as that personal touch makes all the difference. Nothing beats a human connection.
And, of course, the basics: make sure your site is properly SEO optimized! Hire someone reputable through the Shopify experts community if you don't know how to do it yourself.