Reflection about opening an online store.

It has been almost a month since Karl Philip Lund’s part started and our mission in this section has been to plan and open an online store. In this reflection note I will comment on the whole process from preparation to implementation.

Concept and potential:

Concept:

The concept we have chosen for our online store is bracelet for the LGBTQ+ community. The reason for choosing this concept is that we see there are no unique products sold to this community. By making these handmade bracelets, we not only produce many good products and earn profit, but also share the enthusiasm to support and encourage the LGBT community. We want to spread a message ‘’Be yourself, believe yourself, be confident’’ to people in this community. Buying our bracelet and wearing it to show who you really are. 

Advantage of this concept is we can manage the stock of products. We can produce a number of products in a point of time, and the products will be always available. By doing this, we can partly solve the inventory pile up. 

Disadvantage is it will take a lot of time of us because this is a handmade product. Moreover, the products’ quality is not constant due to the nature of handmaking. 

Potential:

We aim on the Pride Month and Pride Parade in June. The potential will be the entire pride parade and customer on that day will use our product as clothing. This can all depend on who is also willing to support a small school assignment. The potential could also be like the Live Strong bracelet produced by Nike for cancer-stricken Lance Armstrong. Wearing a bracelet from us can possibly be in the sense of support for this community and can raise emotions in many here in Norway to support a good cause. The income potential depends a bit on the popularity of bracelets + own production. 

Preparation phase: 

It was one week for finding an idea and model for the bracelets. We came up with many styles, colors and materials. The problem is if we make so many kinds of bracelet and colors, the material cost will be too much. We finally decided the material of the bracelet will be yarn, wool and thread. The model is the friendship bracelet and the colors is based on 4 type of flag of the LGBT community: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender. Materials were bought from Panduro. 

Marketing:

We created both Facebook page and Instagram account. We work more on Instagram account a few days before launch to promote our products. We could work on Facebook page also but the problem is the coupon for Facebook ads from Marius’s competition could not be given this time, I have to wait until 2nd June. We searched these hashtags #lgbtnorge, #lgbtnorway, #pridenorge, #pridenorway, etc, then we followed them, by doing this, we hope that we can have they attention and they might follow our account. But in reality, we just received a few followers back. 

We will do the marketing with posts on Instagram and regularly update the news feed to promote involvement and information about the products.

We want the Instagram to run all the way through June so we can also promote our products through Pride Month. 

I am the one who took the responsibility to design the website. My activity was to take picture of the products and upload it to the website. I had a concept for my pictures, but due to the lack of materials to do the “transgender color”, so I had to tell a member of our team to take the picture of that color that for me. At the end, her pictures and mine were different, so I had to let her do all the photography. It was sad because I cannot do as I had planned, but the pictures turned out very good so it was not a big deal to me. 

In conclusion, our preparation phase was quite good, except the difficulty to buy materials due to the pandemic. 

Launch phase:

We launched our website on 5th May. That was a exciting day, in my opinion. After a couple hours after the website launched, there was a first order. During that day, except the first order, we did not have any more. Then we had to think about marketing strategy. 

We also tried to get shoutout from various influencers who can help us with visibility. Especially influencers who are part of the LGBTQ + community themselves.

We also came up the marketing plan for the future:

For Facebook

We runs advertisement mainly to the teenager group who is the most active on social media. 

On our facebook page ( also on Instagram ), we will share the stories of people in LGBT community. 

For Youtube:

We will open our youtube channel to do the video advertisement such as product introduction, product reviews, story videos, etc. 

These videos can also be shared on our Facebook page and Instagram account.

In conclusion

This is quite an interesting part, I realize that opening a web store needs a good plan and good strategies. I have learned many thing such as teamwork and responsibility. I hope our webstore will not only earn profit, but also spread our message to people in LGBT community “’Be yourself, believe yourself, be confident”. 

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