We love to salute our customers’ success, and there’s plenty of reason to celebrate NaturaleGREEN.com, an online business that offers a wide selection of natural and chemical-free products.
We chatted with founder and owner, Tamera Laschinsky, about how her business got its start and rose to great success, now serving all of North America and even worldwide audiences. Even more, Natural e GREEN recently received the prestigious 2011 Eco-Edge Award!
Wondering how you can turn your big idea into a smashing success? Check out Tamera’s inspiring story and helpful hints below.
How did you get started with your online business?
I started Natural e GREEN when I began to look for safer bath and body products for my children. I found that it was costly to purchase special products from various stores, and when other moms asked me to place orders for them as well; I realized there was a need for non-toxic products at a reasonable price.
I built a small-scale ecommerce store at first, but as the demand and my customer base grew, I knew I had to expand. Initially, I used another web store provider, but it didn’t have all the features I required. First, there was an issue with currency conversion where I could only accept certain transactions in USD, which upset my Canadian customers. My previous provider also didn’t have the marketing features that I was looking for or the ability to see detailed customer information as well as investigate abandoned carts. Even more frustrating, the templates were minimal and not very friendly when modifying.
Why did you choose Volusion?
After having my business open for only 4 months, I switched to Volusion. Volusion’s customer support has always been with me from the beginning to help get my store set up. I like that Volusion has many different features, and while I’ve yet to utilize all of them, I know that they’re available when my store grows and needs change. I was happy with the ease of transitioning to a new template, as well as the design support while getting it ready!
What are the key features that you use to help sell Natual e GREEN products?
Merchandising: With Volusion, I was able to offer better photos and descriptions of my products for my customer base. There were so many pre-determined fields to fill out; I wouldn’t have thought of these options on my own. I love being able to customize reports and settings to quickly find the info I need, as well as input extra product and/or category information.
Built-in SEO: I remember when I would get only a few orders a month when I first started Natural e GREEN. By using meta tags and SEO functions, I’ve seen much better placement in search results for my store. From seeing 20 hits a month, Natural e GREEN now averages 1,500 hits per month and this number is growing.
Site Analytics: I’ve learned so much from the reports and tracking capabilities offered. They help me to better understand what my customers need and how I can reach them when they are looking to buy.
Social Media Integrations: The website I now have allows my customers to not only find products, but also to read information I’ve posted, as well as communicate openly via product reviews and social networking sites.
How is your business doing today?
My business has more than doubled its sales in the last year, and our customer and reader base has increased over 400%! Natural e GREEN has gone from a small-town, home-based business to one that now serves all of North America and reaches audiences worldwide.
My store now makes enough revenue to allow me to run this business full-time from home. With revenue doubling from last year to present and customer base increasing consistently, trends predict Natural e GREEN to have continued growth and success.
What is the biggest piece of advice you can give to other business owners?
Constantly re-evaluate your business! It’s great to have an idea and to get it out there, but keep putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. If you really want your business to succeed, it will, but you’ll have to work hard at it. Don’t give up, and keep encouraging customer feedback. It’s crucial to understand how your customers think, how they found your store and what they think of your store. Also, be sure to market in your local community and offer free delivery to local customers, if possible.
What’s your business philosophy?
I believe in running the business with a personal touch and open communication. I started the store for parents like myself and let customers know who I am and what I’m about. I like getting products that are on sale and I love finding good deals, so I try to add deals into the store where I can to help customers save money. I listen to my customers and bring in products they want, provided they fit the non-toxic criteria that I’ve established.
What words of advice do you have for future online business owners?
The online storefront is the first impression that you may never know you’ve made. It’s important to have that storefront perfect and as informative as possible, because if your customer doesn’t feel comfortable or enticed, they’ll simply hit the back button and continue looking. You won’t get a second chance to reach them!
Some people think that all you have to do is open a store and presto – you’re rich. Nope. Having an online store takes a lot of work, not only in describing the product and services accurately, but also in establishing trust with your customers. It’s great having a huge market to sell to, but it’s a big challenge getting in front of that market too, so be ready and willing to work hard!
Big thanks to Tamera for sharing her story and congratulations on a successful year!