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Magento! Nowadays, this word sounds like a magic formula for many people all over the eCommerce world. This platform created a fast-growing community with thousands of e-marketers, ideas and aspirations involved in it. Anyway, with tons of information about Magento which can be found in the Internet, sometimes it is hard to see the human being behind the code, multiple extensions and technical issues.
In our interview, we tried to focus on changes in their lives and business since they started their eCommerce journey. The basic point was to find out what impact Magento produced on their business and how Magento influenced their lifestyle.
So please welcome Alan from Twisted Time ( http://twistedtime.com )and here we go.
Q: Hi Alan! How are you?
A: Hi, Dimitri! I’m fine, thanks. What about you?
Q: I’m okay, thank you. In order not to waste your precious time, let’s get down to business. Could you tell me, please, what are the major changes in your life since you’ve been running a Magento store?
Q: Well, since opening an online store I have learned a lot about running a business as it really does force you to hit the ground running. I had previously studied business at University but it didn’t prepare you for the day to day activities of running a business such as managing stock, providing great customer service and keeping your finances on track. Another major change (and the reason many people get into online marketing) which comes around from running an online business is flexibility. Even though I probably work more hours now than I did previously I can choose when and where I want to work. This is great as I can take some time off when it’s sunny (not so often in Scotland!) and put in extra hours in the evening when I would usually have been watching TV.
Q: Oh, let’s hope there will be more sun in Scotland. Anyway, why did you decide to be an online merchant?
A: My decision to open an online store came around quite organically. I had been interested in web design/development for some time and was ‘playing around’ with Magento. I started to realize that I had all the skills necessary to get a shop up and running relatively quickly and cheaply. Straight away I knew I wanted to sell watches as they have always been a passion of mine. Numerous Google searches later I realized no one in the UK was really focusing on niche watch brands. I started contacting the brands I was interested in and things progressed from there.
Q: Do you miss anything from your former life?
A: I can’t say I miss much. Possibly my weekends! The thing about running an online business is that it can be very hard to switch off. I am always replying to customer’s emails, tweaking the site, researching new products etc. It’s not like a 9 to 5 job where you log out on Friday evening and forget about everything until Monday morning.
Q: Perhaps it’s the common problem for many online businessmen. But what is the hardest part of being an e-merchant?
A: Starting out can be difficult. Many people still believe in the “Build it and they will come” notion. This really isn’t true on the internet. It takes a lot of hard work to gain visibility on the internet and gain some traction. This is why it is so important to retain customers once you find them and provide them with such a good experience that they will want to share it with their friends.
Q: Any advice for starters?
Become a jack of all trades. You don’t need to be an expert at everything but if you know a little about certain areas it will make your life a lot easier. For example I would strongly advise people starting out to learn a little about HTML/CSS, SEO, Accounts and online advertising. This will give you a great head start and means you can save a lot of money by doing things yourself as opposed to outsourcing a lot of work.
Q: Ok, and finally the question that is hard to pass by – how do you see the future of eCommerce?
A: I believe eCommerce has a great future. People are becoming more and more comfortable with shopping online. The explosion of mobile and tablet computing only helps to increase the amount of time people spend online everyday. The current recession has also forced many people to look at ways to save money. An easy way to do this is by shopping online as lower overheads mean retailers can pass these savings on to the customer.
Q: Thanks for your detailed answers, Alan! We wish you good luck and prosperity in your business.
A: You’re highly welcome and thank you too.
Author Byline: aheadWorks (http://ecommerce.aheadworks.com) is a dynamic market leading provider of Magento extensions, Magento templates and themes, and custom development services with a comprehensive portfolio of best-in-class solutions for eCommerce businesses. Working together since 2001, our team of 30+ highly skilled software professionals brings in the extensive expertise in eCommerce domain to help web store owners boost their revenues using cutting-edge technologies.