Founder of nadimo.com eCommerce Futurist - IBM Top 10 Best Businesses - SBBC Business Excellence Awards - Finalist theguardian.com Small Business Leader of the Year - Nominee
This is an interesting question and one that I was just discussing at the IBMAmplify conference last week which I attended as a VIP Futurist of Commerce.
There are a significant number of options you could consider, and to list them all here would be a disservice to you as implementing a strategy that will work needs to be catered to you and your needs specifically. I am a big proponent of niche categories, and looks like you have a good niche based on your offline sales as you mentioned.
You can look to offer your products through various marketplaces, as well as stepping up your social presence on various mediums. The right marketplaces and social areas are where you need to spend your time, not your money. You can also integrate these with your online store so that it automatically pushes content to them.
I do believe marketplaces and social may be a lower cost solution to getting things started, then once sales start to happen you can look to other avenues.
I normally do not solicit phone calls through the Q&A section, but believe that we need to talk further, as I have more questions, but also have some thoughts on some marketplace partners that would allow you to spend little to no money to further implement.
Let me know if you would like to discuss further.
Branden Moskwa, B.ASBE, CAPM
Principle & Founder - nadimo.com
Twitter Handle: @bmoskwa
Commerce Futurist - VIP & Influencer
Business Excellence Awards - Finalist
Best Business of the Year - Semi Finalist
Small Business Leader of the Year - Nominee
Basecamp is a highly used and often recommended product, but too be honest, I have found Asana to really handle the basics well. That said, if you are looking for something more robust with build in gannt charting etc, then I would not recommend it. It is a super simple solution however, that can be used by a vast array of skill sets, and can also be shared with clients so that they can monitor easily and comment on questions if needed. I am also looking to integrate it with SLACK for the purposes of increased communications, but quite honestly for a simple solution to managing tasks and project deadlines, assigning to various individuals and even forwarding emails straight into the system to add as a task, its a nice solution.
I would have to agree with Brian on this answer, that determining the features you need to meet your markets needs is the first place to start. Providing you with a black and white answer is very difficult without having more specific specs. I would be happy to sit down and review everything with you and help you determine the needed features, the nice to haves, and estimated costs associated with each. There are a number of different directions you can go in even the initial development and hosting etc, which would effect even your ongoing costs. Send me a message if you would like to discuss further, as I am quite certain I can assist you in determining your early stage needs and send you in a direction that will help you out. WITHOUT costing you an arm and a leg just to get your feet wet and test out your concept.
It would depend on a number of variables, what your shipping, to and where from, do you want it to integrate into an existing store, or are you building a store that you want to integrate this with, which platform are you planning to use or using?
Also, whether you use shopify or not, there app directory is also a good place to look to start finding solutions and service providers:
Hope this helps.
This is not an a typical issue and rather common within the industry. I may be able to help but here are a few things to consider.
1. Changes to scope and scope creep will certainly add time to a project, so hammer down the scope of work moving forward and allow for no further change requests. Ad the on as a phase2 after the first items ade acoplished.
2. An itemized list is good, but need to start with the objective then break it down into stories, or tasks acompanied by time estimates. Each should bd no bigger than 4 hours and if it is break it down further.
3. Figure out dependancies, what needs to happen before the next can start, a before b kinda thing.
4. Then sit down together and really figure out what you can get done on a weekly basis. Some call these iterations sprints but regardless the name jt will help hou figure acurate timelines.
5. Lastly Allow for error! So there are all sorts of numeric formulas to calculate estimating overages, I lkke to do it one of two ways. First if the developers tend to be overly optimistic or have underestimated before, i DOUBLE the time, yes DOUBLE IT, otherwise I go with 30 - 50% increase. So 10 weeks becomes 13 - 15.
Just my thoughts,
These guys are based out of LA, but the offer shipping to Canada, and have hear great things about them. In fact some very interesting Canadian success stories have come via starting with them.
They can be integrated into your woo commerce site (aka a Wordpress blog) or a number of various eCommerce platforms like Magento, Bigcommerce and Shopify. I am not sure how easy or if there is a direct integration with Etsy shops however they may be worth a look.
Hope that helps.
I can provide you with my thoughts, they are a little one sided but I feel, for good reason. While everybody believes they have the next best idea not everything even great ideas take off. Thus the whole concept of the MVP. Get something out there get people using it, start generating revenues and then invest further. It is my opinion that because the responsively designed website can reach a higher audience, ie everyone with the internet, mobile or otherwise this is the best direction for 90% of MVP's.
The thought here for me, is simple. Build it once. With an App, you will have to build for the given platform(s) iOS as well as Android, unless you wanted to test it on a smaller segment then focus on just one, probably iOS. But then don't forget that this will only work on mobile devices, and because it is an app built for a platform that is constantly changing you too will need to upgrade the app, in some cases just to keep it alive, rather than focusing on enhancements that your user/customer is looking for.
Those are just a few of my thoughts, the other is that building an app will need the involvement of a different developer base and to do it correctly will probably increase your overall costs to get your MVP to market.
In the end, I would say build something that is accessible to a wider reach then once its proven its viability start rolling out the iPhone and android apps. (I am pretty sure Clarity itself is a case in point of website before app development).
Hope this helps.
I would not try and code these ideas yourself. You may be able to find a developer that would work with you if they believe in the ideas, but that means you have to give up equity, and run the risk that they are not as passionate about the concepts as yourself. I would suggest you start reaching out to smaller development firms with your concepts and meet with people in the industry to bounce both the concepts and the approach off of. You will more than likely have to find some initial funding or partnership arrangement that can get you to a MVP, (Minimal Viable Product) that you can then start promoting and marketing to build some cashflow, or further investor interest, depending on the concepts and direction you wish to grow.
I'll be starting dev on an existing blog that will be moving to a membership based model. LEAN BUDGET, I will be giving this one a try. It may be worth a look, not a lot of reviews, but still 4.5 out of 5 stars rating.
Custom User Registration Form Builder
You might want to try unbounce.com they have a free version that has their branding on it but allows for the use of most features and if its for a course then when they are done they can upgrade if they wanted to get rid of the branding. Just a thought take a look. Might be easier to setup then WP for some students,and built more specifically for landing page conversions.