Family

084 Getting Started With An Online Store

“Do You Expect Apples To Fall From The Sky?”

After weeks of preparation, the newly set-up online store was at last ready for business. I didn’t tell anyone except a friend, ET who has been helping her family business go online in the midst of COVID-19. I sought ET’s advice,

“Should I promote to my friends about my newly set-up online store? I am hesitant.”

ET replied in humour, “Do you expect apples to fall from the sky? Don’t be shy! Send to all your friends! You need to build a customer base!”

Her advice prompted me to send to you a promotion message out to all my contacts

Is Your Business Sustainable?

Fifteen minutes later, a friend EL texted me, “Bought! 😊”. That’s all she said.

Two hours later, my cousin ST made a purchase. ST told me, “I hope your online business can be sustainable. I paid less than $9 after discounts. I am concerned over how little Cairn can earn after all the discounts and other costs.”

I felt warmed by his concern. ST knew that the online store is an endeavour to help my sixteen-year-old son, Cairn, who is moderately autistic. In two years’ time, Cairn will complete his special-school education and has to look for work, that is, if he can find employment. I am not leaving that to chance. Certainly I do not want him to just stay home in his adult life. I am determined that my son gets ample opportunities to lead a productive life.

Over the next three days, I received four more orders— two orders came from friends whom I had not met for years, and one was from my younger brother. Surprisingly, one order came from an acquaintance who bought without saying a word. I felt thankful! All in all, we received six orders and sold 30 packets of potato chips!

The Work Behind The Scene

In excitement, I retrieved the orders as soon as I received them. But I waited patiently for Cairn to return home from school to do the job together.

We had to package everything within certain size requirements to avoid hefty shipping cost. It was more difficult than I had imagined. Luckily, our domestic helper was dexterous enough to pack the potato chips nicely.  Then she taught Cairn to complete the packaging using bubble wraps. As always, Cairn did his work meticulously.

There was one thing that Cairn could do entirely on his own. He cut the mailing labels to appropriate size before pasting them on each parcel.

The next thing was to wait for the delivery company, Ninjavan to pick up the parcels from our home and deliver to the respective customers. But the Ninjavan delivery man didn’t turn up as scheduled. I was told that it’s probably due to the sharp increase in delivery requests during the nationwide partial lockdown, euphemistically known as the Circuit Breaker in Singapore.

I couldn’t wait. The next day, Cairn and I took a bus to the nearest shopping mall, and deposited the parcels in a collection machine stationed there. Cairn learnt to operate the touchscreen quickly and was able to deposit the parcels independently.  Cairn is a half a head taller than me, which proves to be very useful in certain situations.

The Rewarding Moments

The most rewarding moment was to know that our work brought joy to others.  Cairn’s 12 year-old cousin texted us excitedly when she received the parcel. She behaved as if she had  received a gift.

I didn’t quite understand her euphoric reaction until my friend SK told me, “It’s so beautifully wrapped like a present!”. Another friend, PY also wrote in her review, “Very well-packaged! No damage at all. Immediately, I opened a pack and enjoyed it! Yummy!”  I read all these reviews to Cairn, which made him beam confidently in broad smiles.

Now that we are left with only 2 orders, I wonder when they will be sold out. When the next two orders arrive, I will let Cairn do everything as much as possible. That’ll be another great milestone!

I wonder who our final two customers will be. Will it be you?

Click the link below.

 https://shopee.sg/product/274648190/6538448577?smtt=0.0.9

William Tan

3 July 2020

Afterword

By the time you read this article, the truffle potato chips may be sold out. No worries. Here is one other thing you can do to encourage us.

Click “like” on the heart button, and enter “View Shop” to follow us for future product updates.

I am now sourcing for quality products at better prices. And I am eager to find good “lobang”, a Singlish word that means “good bargains”. Let me know if you know of any good products or you have interesting ideas. I’ve got to make this business work!

Updates as at 04/07/2020 11:00.

At the requests of some very warm-hearted friends who are eager to give their support, I have just uploaded another product, “Best-Selling Mogu Mogu Grape Juice Drink With Nata de Coco”. Check out the link below if you are interested:

https://shopee.sg/product/274648190/5840763043?smtt=0.0.9

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