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Online store, physical location or both – interview with founders of VELLA NERO

by Kasia Gospos on May 8, 2012
Business

This is the second article from the E-Commerce series (the first one is here). Today you will learn why it could be vital to your business to have both physical location and an online e-shop, what you should know before you plan your launch and what’s next.

VELLA NERO is a business founded and run by three women – three sisters to boot! It is an award-winning boutique coffee brand with a beautiful flagship retail store, café and the only on-site coffee roastery located in the heart of the Sydney CBD. The ‘one stop shop for all things coffee’ is also available for delivery nationwide through their sleek website www.vellanero.com.au.

Here are Gina, Aileen and Vicky Young’s tips:
1

A physical bricks and mortar location was an ideal way to “showcase” the range of coffee and get word of mouth activity started. The café, although reputable in its own right, also serves as a sampling mechanism for increasing retail sales.

2

The simultaneous launch of a website and e-shop is a strategic way to reach a broader audience and expand your customer base without the same investment of multiple physical locations.

3

An integrated communication strategy helps to build brand awareness and strengthen your core message. VELLA NERO’s marketing strategy includes involvement in industry and consumer events, print advertising, PR, online activity, social media… focused exposure that helps to elevate the credibility of a small start-up business.

4

“Don’t divert too much from what you already know”. The website and e-shop was a project largely managed by business partner, Aileen Young – who has a corporate background in Marketing / Brand Management for premium products including L’Oreal cosmetics and Elle Macpherson Intimates lingerie. Coffee, although a very different and unique industry can still draw parallels from the lessons learnt on managing premium fashion-driven products. Ideas such as “quality is an indicator of price” is transferable across industries.

Aileen’s advice here is “don’t divert too much from what you already know. If you are entering a new enterprise, try to focus on your strengths but in the same token you need to be flexible and open to watch and learn from industry best practices. The secret to success is a balance of both – using existing knowledge (particularly if it differentiates you) whilst having the ability to adapt to the current environment. Always be open to learning more”.

5

“Move with the times and technology“. The current website is the second version since their launch in 2007 and is an improvement on what they learnt the first time around. Aileen recalls, “It was a significant investment to relaunch the website two years in, but we discovered there was a more effective way to present the range (such as introducing sub-categories), and areas to make shopping more user friendly – conclusions from listening to customer feedback. We had to move with the times and technology and be able to provide customers with a better experience. Never be afraid of improvement – there is always room for it!”

From left Gina, Aileen and Vicky Young

The entrepreneurial sisters, Gina, Vicky and Aileen Young, pride themselves on the product range they developed together from scratch. A range of artisan roasted coffees that boast titles including “Sydney’s Best Coffee” (SMH, Good Living) and “Champion Espresso” (Sydney Royal Fine Food Show).

If you have any questions to Gina, Vicky or Aileen or would like to suggest new topics please drop us your thoughts below.

Kasia Gospos
Founder of Leaders in Heels. Passionate about using Leaders in Heels to empower and connect all women in business. Loves all 'sorts' of technology and on most days can be found happily typing away at her desk or looking up things on the web. Is a feminist at heart and loves to meet new people. Australia, Sydney
 
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