After many late nights over the past 4 weeks, Oz Fair Trade is up and running. I’m glad that I made the move. Global Handmade was a great name, but it lacked clarity of what the organisation stood for. After 10 months of running Global Handmade, I have learned a lot about e-commerce, business, marketing, social media, web building, accounting, etc.; the list goes on and on. I felt that I could devote my life to the promotion of fair trade and alleviation of poverty. So the first thing I did was choosing a new brand name that better represented the mission and value of the organisation. Then the real job begins.
Here, I wish to offer my two cents worth of advice to anyone who is thinking of rebranding an e-commerce business or any small business in general. Some of these might not be applicable to your situation, but I hope you’ll find something useful here.
In summary, the steps I undertook were:
Consider pros and cons of rebranding. Make a decision. Document a rebranding strategy.
Choose a new name. Design a new logo. Purchase a new domain. Set up new emails.
Build a website.
Order new business cards and promotional materials.
Update brand information at all social media platforms, blog, external review websites etc.
Create a new Paypal account.
Create a new google analytics account.
Redirect traffic from the old website to the new website
Inform all past customers about the move
Build SEO for the new website
Spread the word!
Coming soon – How to rebrand an e-commerce store (Part II)
When I first heard of Thankyou Water sometime last year, it was a moment of “wow”. I thought, this was a social enterprise that has done everything right; this was a social enterprise that I could learn a lot from.
I was disappointed to find that Thankyou Water was not available in ACT. Then I sort of forgot about it, until I saw the familiar “thank you” on a cereal box in a supermarket. I haven’t felt this excited about trying a new product for a long time. The cereal looked a lot like Carman’s which I loved. So I gave it a go.
To give you a bit of background, Thankyou Water was born out of two discoveries by its founder, Daniel Flynn, when he was 19. One was the World Water Crisis in 2008, and the other was the fact that Australians spent a crazy $600 million annually on bottled water. A bold idea was born to join the extremes together. The result? A bottled water company that would exist for the sole purpose of funding safe water projects in developing nations.
Since then, the company has expanded into body care and food. What I love about this company is not only what they stand for, but also their total transparency. This is a company that’s leading the Australian social enterprise sector by example. I have long believed that the solution to poverty lies not with the public aid, but the private sector. I founded Oz Fair Trade out of this belief.
I still remember the shock of paying for postage when I first shopped online. At the time, not many e-commerce offered free postage, and often it was hidden until the last moment.
Today things are a lot better, and stores have learned that it is good practice to show postage cost up front. However, the postal cost in Australia is still one of the most expensive in the world. Especially when you try to send a small package which fits in a padded envelope, as soon as its depth is more than 2cm, it is considered a package and therefore, the postage cost starts from $6.95. The cost of sending overseas is even more shocking. It is almost always cheaper to send stuff home from overseas than the other way around.
For those of us who really want to offer the best customer service and offer free postage, we have elected to absorb the full postage cost. At Global Handmade, I initially offered free postage on all orders, but soon realised that it’s not feasible. The current policy is to offer free Express postage on all domestic orders above $50 and on all international orders above $150.
Now you might ask, is the postage really free, or is it built into the price? Since I started the business, I’ve gradually learned that the price of a product has little to do with its cost and a lot to do with the demand and competition. In other words, I needed to guess whether a cheaper price or free postage was more attractive to consumers. I asked my customers what they preferred, and free postage stood out as a clear favourite. I believed this was because the prices Global Handmade charged were already very competitive.
Then I did something crazy again. I decided to offer free return postage and allow 365 days for customers to change their mind. I took a risk. I saw it as a necessary risk, because I had full confidence in the quality of our products, and I wanted more people to give us a go. By providing a risk free trial, I’m essentially saying, “I bet you’ll love it”.