Home – New Forums Starting your journey New online store – Need help!

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  • #974009
    TheCushionSociety
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    Hi All,

    I am in the process of launching my online store – The Cushion Society. As the name suggests I will be selling cushions!

    I am currently in the process of ordering stock and looking into web design. I am hitting a bit of a brick wall with a few thoughts.

    I want to offer a range of designer cushions. I obviously tend to lean towards styles that appeal to me, which can generally be divided into two main categories – 1. Feminine, elegant, timeless pieces & 2. On trend, graphic designs.

    My questions are as follows:

    – Should I be keeping my range as open as possible to appeal to all ends of the market. So a variety of styles (also outside of the above mentioned ones), with varying price ranges etc. Or should I be sticking to a particular theme, Ie, all high end, timeless pieces etc? The only thing I do know is I don’t want to offer anything that appears ‘cheap’. Price ranges would be mid to high end and I want to promote quality of design.

    – It is easy to imagine what my web page would look like if I were to stick to a certain theme of cushions, however if I go for several styles how do I make my home page reflective of this? I want the home page to look trendy and appealing (as all of the cushions will be) without it screaming that I only stock that particular look and feel.

    Any advice/thoughts welcomed! Thankyou in advance!!

    Amy

    #1065542
    King
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    Q1 – depends of where you source from and what you can supply without ordering to much that may end up as dead stock.

    Q2 – you can show a good range. A good web designer will be able to fo it. Plus use of menues

    #1065543
    mandar@openweb
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    HI Amy,

    You can sell the cushions based on theme. For example my daughter who is 9, loves to watch movie on friday evenings. The Family becomes “Couch potato family”. We Just relax in our lounge watching movies. If i am your customer i will seek something which we as family can buy to be “couch potato” and which fits in our other furniture designs. It can be sold around themes like, cushions for newly wed couples, cushions for Christmas, Cushions for Mothers day as gift item etc. People always like good designs but having an event associated with their purchase makes entire buying process memorable. When they buy from you for one event, and when next event comes up they will look on your website for suitable designs for the next event. If My daughter gets married, i will sure look for something special, so you can have a marriage special range. probably for all these events price doesnt always matter. Emotions and price always compete with each other in buying process and mostly emotions win.

    2. I am in websites for last 10 years. Design is great but content of your online shop is a killer. If you have great online shop which nobody can see, then nobody is going to buy anyway. Think about how your site will get listed in top 10 search results even before you think about web design. search engines dont “read” website design, they read content on your website. To keep costs minimum opt for free CMS systems and Free online shopping carts. Website templates can be bought online starting as low as 100 AUD. Have a look at http://www.templatemonster.com.

    Best luck
    Regards
    Mandar@openweb
    http://www.openweb.com.au

    #1065544
    Virtual Marketing Force
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    Hi Amy,

    As a marketer we always say that you should focus on a niche to differentiate your offering from your competitors. For that reason I would recommend that you stick to the two cateogories you are thinking of and then show the depth of the range within these. This will make it easier to set up your website – to know your wording required, key words to promote etc. Then as your business grows, if you notice you are always getting requests for a particular type of product, then you can add this to your site.

    Feel free to ask me any other questions if you like!

    Good luck with it all!

    Lorraine Salvi
    Virtual Marketing Force

    #1065545
    Kathy Creaner
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    Hi Amy

    There’s a trade show in Melbourne in a few weeks that has lots of great cushion stock. As long as you have appropriate business id for registration you can come along and visit.

    http://www.decorationdesign.com.au/

    If I was you, I would pick up lots of business cards and check out the websites when you get home. You may also find yourself some great suppliers there.

    Even if you can’t get to the trade show, it would be worth looking up the list of exhibitors and checking out their websites.

    We’re exhibiting at Furnitex, which is colocated with this trade show. I wander through the design section each year, just to overdose on window shopping. If you do come along to the show, you’re welcome to come along and see us. Our stand is “The Balcony Shop” and we’re located in the Hotel & Hospitality section of the show this year,which is right beside Decoration & Design.

    Kathy

    #1065546
    tomwhite
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    I would also suggest trying to target a specific niche – its quite hard to appeal to everyone, obviously within that niche you can still target smaller sub-niches at different price ranges/styles.

    But you might target the upper end of the market for example and produce cushions at top end prices, if you also had bargain basket cushions on the site it would damage your brand image and potentially turn people off buying.

    #1065547
    TheCushionSociety
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    Thanks everyone for your input. I can really take a lot away from this.

    Lorraine your advice seems to really support my initial thoughts and I can now continue sourcing the stock that I had intended to and really focus on a particular niche which was always my original intention.

    And Tom, further to that I agree with your suggestions that I really don’t want to cheapen the brand image. I will probably even think about other options for getting rid of excess stock, ie market stalls etc to avoid having frequent sales.

    Kathy – Thankyou… I will definitely consider a trip to Melbourne (it’s a good excuse)!

    Thanks again all… really appreciate your insights.

    On a side note I have come across a web designer who’s work I am in love with – http://www.laurabaxter.com.au She offers heavily illustrated websites and I think they are very inline with my product themes. I have requested a quote and am expecting it to be on the high side so if there’s anyone reading this who can point me in the right direction of anyone who may be able to offer similar sorts of web design please let me know so I can get some comparison quotes.

    Thanks again!

    Amy

    #1065548
    nitro-it
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    I would personally advise against an illustration/graphic heavy website which is functioning purely as an online store. For one, it may slow the site down unneccessarily. Two, the graphics may overpower the images of the cushions that are for sale. Best to let the cushion images be the focal point of the site I would have thought?

    #1065549
    Beautician
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    I’m reading this thread as a fellow start up to learn rather than contribute as such.

    But I agree with Nitro.

    What Laura Baxter designs is absolutely gorgeous (thanks for the link) but it’s very graphic heavy. I visited a few of the sites she designed and, again, gorgeous colours which I lingered over but the sites were very busy, some were quite cluttered (which put me off) and very ‘full on’. The Fenton&Fenton was so large and packed in it took ages to load and didn’t fit my screen. So while the graphics are indeed very attractive they’re someone else’s style and that may cramp yours.

    Just a thought.

    #1065550
    TheCushionSociety
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    Thanks all for your input. I can definitely see where you are coming from here… I hadn’t realised that the graphics slow down the site.

    Beautician – I have been drooling over her work and as soon as I saw it new I had to have her do my site! But in saying that I do agree that the Fenton & Fenton site is far too busy as are some of the others.

    Nitro-It you make a very good point. Perhaps I am best going with a simpler store front and investing the additional money into some decent photography & styling rather than illustration.

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to give me your thoughts.

    Amy

    #1065551
    B Cooper
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    In regard to your question about designing the homepage, you can use a featured slider and show images and text that flick across the page, showing the viewer the different styles that you stock, as well as keeping them visually engaged. That’s seemed to work for me anyway :)

    #1065552
    SuperMindy
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    TheCushionSociety, post: 81287 wrote:
    Hi All,

    – It is easy to imagine what my web page would look like if I were to stick to a certain theme of cushions, however if I go for several styles how do I make my home page reflective of this? I want the home page to look trendy and appealing (as all of the cushions will be) without it screaming that I only stock that particular look and feel.

    Any advice/thoughts welcomed! Thankyou in advance!!

    Amy

    Hello Amy,

    I’m a freelance Graphic/Web Designer. I would love to help you out with your business and your website. You can check out some of my work at http://www.supermindy.com

    You can email me at [email protected] if you are interested in my help.

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