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Customers First: Episode 7 of The Complete Beginner’s Guide to eCommerce

My store was finally ready and it had been slowly getting traction too. 

It had been a nail-bitingly intense few weeks, waiting and staring at my empty email inbox – I hadn’t made a single sale just yet.

But at last, I started receiving some queries from potential customers. 

And it didn’t take me long to realize that customer service (or obsession as we like to call it at Zyro) was something that was going to make or break my business. 

How hard could talking to clients be?

After I started marketing CrewCase on Facebook and through the CrewCase blog, I saw a nice little boost in the overall website traffic my store was getting. 

At first, there was the occasional comment and like on my Facebook page (mostly from close friends and family I bribed to like my page). 

But slowly, as I kept up with my weekly blogging schedule and social posts, people (not related to me – gasp) started to find my store through Google. 

In fact, my first orders were for other small local businesses in the area.

A girl writing on a laptop on an apartment floor

I’ll never forget the initial email of my first ever client: this local coffee shop wanted to order a modest 5 units of my oH oH oH boxes to thank their staff for getting through the madness that was 2020.

But rather than placing an order upfront, they were reaching out to check on a few things: 

  • Could they add a custom-made card to the order?
  • Was it possible to get a discount on their order of 5 boxes?
  • And, could they also pick a particular delivery time?

This got me all excited – I wanted to make sure that my clients were the happiest people on earth this festive season. I needed to come up with a win-win solution for all as it was going to be my first sale, after all.

Being flexible pays off 💪

Initially, I wasn’t sure if I should allow my client to add extra items to their boxes. 

It would mean more work for me, as well as extra costs, and it would require much more of my time – I couldn’t just pack up the boxes with the standard fairy lights, candles, and fruit cakes and be done with it. 

But I also knew that I was in no place to be unaccommodating. I needed clients to get my business going and flexibility was going to be key. 

Within reason, of course.  

So I told my client that I’d happily include cards in their boxes, and also asked whether they wanted me to source the card.

Turned out that this seemingly small gesture really made my client’s day. 

They sent me a few images of cards they liked (lots of robins, snow, and pretty winter landscapes) and said they’d be willing to pay extra for my troubles. 

It didn’t take me long to put my product sourcing skills to practice and find a local crafts community that sold lovely Christmas cards.

Sheffield Makers search results for Christmas cards

I emailed my client back with a few suggestions, and they got back to me with their favorite and the message they wanted to have on the cards. 

I felt like I was truly creating some of that much sought-after Christmas magic while writing the season’s greetings in the 5 cards. 

It turned out that going that extra mile and being flexible with my client’s order didn’t just make my client happy – it also made me feel proud to be the owner of CrewCase

I felt that I could truly stand behind my brand while also be part of my customer’s joyous occasion. 

Negotiating prices for bulk orders 💵

Next, I wanted to address my client’s wishes for a bulk order discount. 

Truth be told, I had thought about potential discounts, but I got carried away with setting up my storefront and branding my business.

So rather than emailing my client back and forth, I decided to give them a ring. 

Nothing beats picking up the phone and having a real conversation, right? 

An iPhone on a dark desk next to glasses and a laptop

And after our call, I was very happy that I went the extra mile. 

I was able to learn a lot about my client’s business and how they wanted to celebrate the festive season this year. 

I ended up asking more questions and listening than pitching my own service, but it paid off. After the call, I had a better understanding of my client’s needs and, most importantly, their budget. 

My client took a day to reply to my written offer but got back to me with such heartfelt comments that I was walking on sunshine the whole afternoon. 

Turns out they had been in talks with a few corporate gifting companies but chose to go with me, even though my pricing was a little higher than the others’. 

The reason: I listened and addressed all of their needs and their budget. 

Helping with shipping matters

Finally, the only thing stopping my client from making an order through my website was the logistics. 

Lucky for me, I found out that Zyro had unveiled a brand new delivery time feature to all its online store clients. 

That made it much easier for my client to book their preferred delivery time in my diary.

Zyro delivery time picker eCommerce

And I could, in turn, avoid a second phone call to check when they’d be free in their coffee shop to receive the boxes. 

So, I took some screenshots of the checkout process, emailed them to my client, and even told them that if they were busy, I could create the order on their behalf. 

Those are the perks of being a store admin. 😉

All I needed from the client was their preferred delivery date and time. 

And, within half an hour of clicking Send, I had my very first order come in through my online store. 

Needless to say, I had to pour myself a celebratory glass of wine and have a little victory dance in my living room.

Next week: What my new day-to-day looks like 📅

We’re getting close to the end of my journey from an eCommerce business zero-to-hero. A self-made small business hero, that is.

Next week, I’ll be sharing some insights into my ‘new normal’ and how I manage to juggle running my online store with my personal life as well as my full-time job.

Spoiler alert: it’s easier than you think.

Written by

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Matleena is a seasoned eCommerce writer, with a particular interest in emerging digital marketing trends, dropshipping, and growth hacking. She’s addicted to coming up with new eCommerce business ideas and making them a reality; she deserves her nickname of ‘print on demand business mogul.' In her free time, she enjoys cups of good coffee, tends to her balcony garden, and studies Japanese.

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