Could you tell us a bit about yourself, what you sell at TerraCure and how you got started?
We manufacture and sell natural creams for pain relief, that are based on Dead Sea minerals and essential oils. We have a background in sales in the health niche and we got involved in this because my husband developed a terribly painful herniated disc.
When he had “attacks” the pain was unbearable. We tried just about every cream available in Israel, where we live, and none alone did the job. We finally found something that helped and we tweaked the formula, with the help of professionals, and created a line of three products that complement each other - each one helping with a different aspect of muscle and joint discomfort.
What did it take to get your first products in stock? Has that changed since you started?
We manufactured them (outsourced) locally.
How did you get your first sale?
Our first sales were offline sales. We got excellent feedback and some of it was posted as reviews on our website. Our subsequent sales were either directly triggered by personal interactions on Facebook or Google Adwords campaigns.
What obstacles and challenges have you overcome along the way?
The company we hired to build our website on Shopify didn’t have too much experience (we think) with developing Shopify sites. They did a lousy job and dragged us out for year, without even finishing. They didn’t do any of the SEO they were supposed to. We changed over to a different company who were a bit more forthcoming but still a big disappointment. The site didn’t convert at all, even though we ran an expensive Adwords campaign.
Then, after posting my site on a Shopify forum in Facebook, I got interesting feedback from people in the forum and one of them was a gentleman who had a lot of intelligent things to say and good recommendations. We hired him to tweak our site and do SEO for us. So far it’s working out nicely.
Traffic, of course, is the biggest challenge. Without at least a few thousand visitors to the site it’s hard to determine what needs to be tweaked. Right now we are growing but still at under 1000 visitors a month. I joined a Traffic Bootcamp and we are working hard at growing our traffic via social media.
Selling online isn’t the same as selling face to face or over the phone. It has its own unique challenges. I am confident, though, that our site will take off. We have great products that we stand firmly behind and the trick is to get the message across!
What influenced your decision to use Shopify?
We looked into ecommerce platforms and were told that Shopify is, hands down, the best one.
What was the process like to get started? Is there anything you wish you had known then that you know now?
The perfect site is not important. What is important is getting the message across and understanding how a customer’s mind works. It’s important to understand the concept of a landing page and that a person doesn’t always land on the home page.
“If you build it they will come” is not a concept that works online. Traffic is the biggest challenge of all. It’s a pipe dream to think that you will build a site with great products and that the orders will come rolling in. It’s a competitive world out there.
As a person who worked in high tech for 25 years, I was disappointed in myself for choosing a company to develop my site without asking for references and without setting up a plan with the vendor. A great deal of time and money was wasted because of this.
What Shopify apps do you currently use? Which apps are most important to your business?
I don’t use many apps yet. I use the Mailchimp app to build my list and deal with abandoned carts, as well as the Facebook Messenger app, both of which are free. We use Judge.Me for product reviews and their customer support is second to none!
We also use the Storetasker app for requesting programming help from Storetasker. In the future, we want to add an affiliates app and also something for upsells and discounts.
What strategies have you used to attract more leads and grow TerraCure?
Joining relevant Facebook groups and discussing our products. We ran Google Adwords campaigns and made some sales but it wasn’t cost effective. Now we are promoting Facebook ads.
What are some of the most effective ways that you interact with your customers?
We mostly use Facebook groups.
Are there any metrics you can share in terms of order volume, monthly sales, increased revenue, growth %, etc.?
Our web traffic has grown by nearly 300% over the past 8 months and Shopify lists us in the "top 14% of sites" (traffic wise) of the stores that opened the same week. Sales have also grown tremendously, increasing almost tenfold since our initial month.
To what do you attribute those positive metrics?
I have been working very hard on bringing those eyeballs to my site. I believe the improvement in traffic is connected to that. I am also learning how to run Facebook ad campaigns and tweak them with the goal of bringing traffic. It's not necessarily traffic that converts, but once I have the visitors on my pixel I will be able to re-target them in future campaigns and hopefully sell to them.
Email marketing is something I don't do enough of, but it definitely converts that warm market more quickly than any other method. Google adwords campaigns worked to bring me sales but didn't cover the costs at all so I don't do that anymore.
Lastly, I find that the more I interact with people on Facebook, the more sales I make. We always send a free gift and keep it very personal with our customers. We follow up and check if they received the product, inquire if it’s helping and advise them on how to use the product.
What are you working towards now? Are there any blogs or other resources that have been helpful for you?
I found a great content writer on Fiverr who wrote some excellent content for our blog. I also find Neil Patel to be a great resource on SEO. The Shopify Entrepreneurs Facebook group has been an excellent resource. I have hooked up with some very knowledgeable people there.
Also, I joined Susan Bradley’s Traffic Bootcamp (Social Sales Girls), which I found through the Shopify Entrepreneur group. There are some very knowledgeable people out there and they are happy to share their knowledge.
Based on your own success, what advice would you share with others who might be just starting out with Shopify (or with eCommerce in general)?
Take it seriously. Don’t just build another store that looks the same as everyone else’s. There are so many junky sites out there that wouldn’t inspire anyone to buy. Pay attention to your “About Us” page, “Returns Policy” page, “Shipping” etc. Don’t just copy everything from other sites. Be real. Be original. Show your face. People buy from people!
Another thing - I have not made any sales by boosting posts to my business page. I think that perhaps boosting posts is a big waste of money, unless you are just building your brand.
Join a Shopify group on Facebook and read what other people are writing; ask your questions there and get started. There is a wealth of information that is FREE on Youtube. About Shopify, Facebook, advertising and just about everything. It’s hard but try to be focused.
That’s great advice. Thanks! Where can we learn more about TerraCure?
~ Dena Gottlieb, Co-Founder of TerraCure