10 things I’ve learnt from running my own online store in just 3 months.

I’ve been running my own online store for just over 3 months.

I should correct that: I’m running it with my wife.

And that’s an important distinction.

Not because she may read this and send a shoe flying my way.

But because she doesn’t come from a marketing background at all, but I do. So the pressure to succeed has never been higher!

My store is: littlebundles.ae (@LittleBundlesAE on Twitter and @littlebundles_uae on Instagram) and we sell personalised baby gifts in the UAE.

It’s only been 3 months but I’m learning heaps and it’s given me a whole new level of appreciation for how hard things can actually be.

Here’s 10 things I’ve learnt so far:

1. Sometimes you’ll never really know why someone abandoned their cart. And you gotta live with that.

2. Sometimes even a promo code won’t recover an abandoned cart. Sure, everyone loves a discount but sometimes it’s not even about the money.

3. Attribution is always a fun exercise – someone who visited from Instagram then revisited from organic search and finally made a sale after clicking on a shopping ad. Who really gets the credit here? – “it depends”!

4. People may expect free shipping and even same day delivery but it also depends on what they’re buying. So you don’t have to rush into free shipping and same day delivery if it’s not a dealbreaker. People are happy to wait & even pay for delivery.

5. I burnt nearly 1500 AED (±$408) on ads so far and all I got was negative ROI. I’ve since focused more on SEO and kept my ad spend tiny purely to maintain some visibility in shopping ads.

6. SEO is King. We invest the most amount of time into Instagram but it has given us just 1 sale. More than half of sales have come from SEO. And our rankings are mostly page 1 and up against larger, longer established players with far deeper pockets.

7. Influencers are a mixed bag. We’ve given out gift boxes to a handful of micro-influencers and although they’ve been amazing to work with, results have been 50/50. No regrets though – we’ve gotten more likes and traffic to the site which is always good for awareness. Would have liked a few more sales though!

8. It’s easy to get carried away with apps for Shopify but spending a bit of time on YouTube and in the Shopify forums can save you a lot of money. You don’t always need to pay to get things done, though sometimes you may just have to engage an expert.

9. Speaking of paying, I get asked why I chose Shopify over WooCommerce. It was just easier to get setup. Sure, it’s paid for but this is where it made sense to pay for something for the convenience. I still recommend WooCommerce though!

10. Some weeks we’ve been inundated with orders and scrambled to keep up but there’s been times where we’ve gone a few days without an order. The silence can be disheartening but it’s actually a blessing as it’s a great time to step back, regroup and then go at it again.

I’m grateful for this experience and the opportunity it’s given me to apply what I’ve learnt in SEO and Digital Marketing over the past 15± years.

The pressure to rank well has never been greater – seriously. But I’ve been amazed at the results!

I’m glad. Because if we weren’t ranking well, my wife would be flinging every shoe my way!

What are some of your favourite ecomm hacks? I’d love to learn more.

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