Melbourne-based Phoebe Yu is CEO and founder of Ettitude, an Australian ecommerce site that sells eco-conscious clothing and household goods.
Yu’s first role after completing her bachelor's degree at Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade was as a sales and marketing executive for Shanghai Light Industry Trade Corporation, an importing and exporting firm.
Ettitude, which Yu launched in November 2008, calls on all of Yu’s experience in business development, manufacturing, outsourcing, branding, ecommerce, online marketing, and social media.
Her website has grown steadily in revenue, from $2,000 per month initially, to around $40,000 per month currently.
Yu began Ettitude.com.au using a Melbourne software company, Equik, now called Arctic Fox Web Engine, which had a shopping cart and content management system. It cost Yu about $8,000 on web design with this turnkey solution. Yet she wasn’t happy with the results.
“I knew nothing about how to run a website or what functions were critical for a successful ecommerce site. I should have done more research and homework. The system was hard to use,” Yu said.
“I couldn’t change the meta tags or descriptions as I didn’t know how to code and the URL structure wasn’t SEO-friendly. So my sales growth was very slow.”
“I listed the critical features I wanted for my website and compared the shopping cart solutions. Bigcommerce had the best functionality and the price was not expensive. So I switched to that company in August 2010, getting my web designer Dvize to redesign the whole site and transfer all the product information across.”
Yu said Bigcommerce is easy to use, and has many self-managed SEO features that allowed her to improve Ettitude’s Google ranking quickly, helping sales to grow.
“Bigcommerce integrates with many third party software programs such as MailChimp. I’m on Bigcommerce's Gold plan, which is $79.95 per month. On the plan above that, they offer cart abandonment notifications.”
Yu uses Bigcommerce’s new features as soon as they are released; Ettitude’s Bigcommerce Facebook store was one of the very first.
“Because of this I was asked to speak at a conference to talk about Facebook marketing, and I was featured on Mashable.com.”
Credit Card Payments
Ettitude takes payment via Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club and PayPal. Customers can also pay directly into Ettitude's bank account.
“While most of our current payments are via credit cards and PayPal, we plan to add those payment options that are currently unavailable in Australia — such as Google Wallet and Checkout By Amazon — when we expand more into the U.S. market.”
Order and Inventory Management
Yu has been using Bigcommerce until now to print invoices and packing slips. But she has just started to use Ordoro for inventory control, as it supports multiple warehouses.
“This means we can better manage our warehouses in Australia and China. But Ordoro is a new company, and it is still adding and improving features. So it’s hard to judge at this moment.”
“We started using Temando for sending Australian parcels in 2011 but are starting to switch to Australia Post’s eParcel now,” Yu said.
She is waiting for Bigcommerce to integrate Australia Post and Temando into the system so shipping orders can be done automatically.
“They do this with some U.S. couriers, but not yet those in Australia.”
Yu works fulltime on Ettitude. All four employees began as part-timers three years ago. Her assistant in China, who handles manufacturers, is now fulltime. Her Melbourne assistant handles shipping, customer service, and administration, the U.K. employee does social media marketing. Ettitude has a part-time sales agent in New South Wales, Australia. Ettitude’s web designer, SEO expert, and accountant all work on a contract basis.