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Part 2: MailChimp’s store is live

Freddie and Company has flung open its virtual doors for business – what have we learnt?

Freddie and Company is the brand new online shop from MailChimp; the culmination of what is surely one of the most committed email marketing campaigns ever. Meg, an employee of MailChimp, has been sending out regular email bulletins documenting the highs and lows of her mission to conceptualise, design and launch an ecommerce store from scratch. You can read more about the early stages of the journey here.

The final days before the launch and the opening of the store saw an entirely new set of challenges for Meg to overcome. The aim was to replicate the experiences of small ecommerce business starting from scratch, often with tiny or no budget. That means Meg did everything the hard way, identifying the pressure points and giving MailChimp a better understanding of how to improve its service and help its clients out.

The lessons:

  1. You can do a lot with a free template

As part of its bid to experience the nitty gritty of startup life, Meg used a free Shopify template to create the website for Freddie and Company. There are countless ways to launch a simple, effective website for free. WordPress is the most commonly used CMS and it has any number of handy free plugins to deal with everything from SEO to creating complex image galleries.

  1. Test, test and test again

MailChimp did a soft launch of the Freddie and Company online store before publicising it on social media and through the email newsletter. This gave Meg the chance to rectify any teething problems before telling the world. Even before the soft launch, MailChimp employees experimented with the ordering and returns processes to make sure they worked properly.

Doing thorough tests before going public is invaluable, whether it’s for a new website, a blog or a new product. For example A/B conversion rate testing can help you decide which version of a web page performs better.

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  1. Ask for help

One of Meg’s biggest realisations was that by asking someone’s help with the aspects of the job she wasn’t confident with – designing the logo and implementing a social media strategy for example – she could save huge amounts of time. Time which she could then spend far more efficiently doing things she was good at.

For many businesses, this will mean working with a partner agency to create effective website content or refine the body copy for an email marketing campaign. Outsourcing tasks which you’re not specialised in saves the valuable time of your employees which could be better used, making it a cost-effective strategy.

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