Aylin Kucukoglu runs Abiza, selling handmade jewellery on Etsy and Shopify with her husband, Altug; they share why it was important to set up their own online store after selling on Etsy and how they’ve overcome the logistical challenges of running an ecommerce business.
Why did you start your ecommerce business?
Aylin: I originally started an online clothing shop about six or seven years ago, but it grew quite quickly and became too much for me to run on my own so I closed it down. I then started researching and planning to start another online business, this time selling jewellery. We were moving countries fairly often so selling online worked well; I wanted a job that I could move anywhere.
Altug: It started out as a hobby but it was always in her mind to look for opportunities to grow it further. Having lived as expats we wanted to establish a more settled life for ourselves, selling jewellery online looked like a great opportunity for that as it grew.
Which ecommerce platforms do you sell on?
Aylin: We started out selling on Etsy, but we always believed that we needed to have our own shop. We launched our own store using Shopify last week. Etsy is really easy to start selling on - it was simple to create a listing and within the first two hours, we’d made a sale. It comes with its own traffic, whereas it's really hard to get traffic for your own shop.
Atlug: We do want to grow our brand though, and to do that you need to have your own website - it shows off your brand and encourages shoppers to return to you.
What challenges have you had to overcome selling online?
Aylin: As an online business it’s really difficult to explain your product to the buyers when they can’t see it in real life. Pictures and descriptions help, but it’s still hard. You’ll get customers that don’t read anything other than the item’s title - they expect to receive the exact product in the photo but our jewellery is handmade and no two pieces are identical.
Altug: Aylin’s done a great job with the descriptions and product images, they give the right details and expectations about each item.
The logistics of getting products to the shopper is one of the main challenges of running an online business though. If it was a physical shop, once you’ve sold the item your job is usually done. But with ecommerce you have to manage orders, package them and post them - it can be a big hassle if you aren’t organised about it.
Why do you use Zenstores?
Atlug: When we first set up Abiza we were manually posting orders at the Post Office. As the business started to grow it became impossible to manage orders that way. I did some research to find some ways to make dispatching orders easier, and came across Zenstores. It integrates with Etsy and now with our Shopify stores, which is essential for us.
Zenstores works really well and makes our life a lot easier. We don’t need to worry about addresses, all the information that we need is automatically in Zenstores.
It’s also helpful when a customer gets in touch about their order, we can search through our dispatched orders and quickly find the order details and tracking number. Before we used Zenstores, I had to keep all the slips from the Post Office, and then sort through my paper records if a customer wanted to know where their order was.
Zenstores also offers great customer service, they really listen to customers and our suggestions.