SOS Children's Villages Canada

Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?

We wanted to present fun gifts that could help encourage the discussion about the work we do to help orphaned and abandoned children around the world. We wanted to concentrate on the items that help keep families together and prevent child abandonment. We anticipate that items with an element of "fun" sell best, and learned that furry and fuzzy drive the most interest: pigs, goats, lambs, chickens, etc. We offer a wide variety of products as an intervention with families to help them in the developing world. We tried to limit our product offerings to streamline the purchase phase. These are gifts, not something delivered in Canada.

How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?

Our first sale came from a previous donor who came to our site from organic search. This donor had not donated in a long time, so it was great to be able to retain them by offering something they wanted. Charities in Canada are lucky; Google Grants provides free Adword accounts to help drive traffic and awareness. We also switched over our remarketing to the gift catalogue for the Christmas period.

Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?

With the help of Pointer Creative Inc, we developed a custom app to create and deliver the gift cards or certificates of purchase that allows donor to send notifications to their gift recipient. Our fulfillment is the card. The custom app is key to the success of the charity gift catalogue.

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What are your top recommendations for new store owners?

Knowledge is key. Understanding your marketplace is key. Shopify's tie with Google Analytics helps to build the knowledge once your shop is up and running. Do not miss or skip over this step when setting up your shop. Traffic is also key, quality traffic is really important. Make sure you have completed all your search engine optimization work ahead of writing your product descriptions.

Understand the search terms that will drive traffic, but really know the search terms that will drive sales.

Every transaction will have an itch and a scratch. This itch is what makes the purchaser uncomfortable, drives them to an action. The scratch is the action that provides relief. in our case, purchasing the gift for someone who has everything is the itch - it is difficult. Purchasing a charity gift that you can share a laugh or discussion about it the scratch - it provides relief.

One last item, Shopify partners work. Our partner Pointer Creative helped us create a visually appealing and successful site that will help children in need for a long time.

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