The White Teak Company
This was my baby from 2016 to 2018. I watched it grow, quiet literally, from a piece of paper to the business it is now. For all intents and purposes I was the acting CTO here, working along side the founders.
What did I do there?
- Website Development
Built the e-commerce shopping website up in Magento, and blog in WordPress. A couple of interesting features introduced were:
360° Product Demos
Setting up 360° spins of the products, all the way from getting the products photographed on a turntable to integrating the tech on the website. It is a new feature and I'm yet to come across any website that offers this for every product. The aim was to bring the experience of the product to the customer online - Read more.
Cash on Delivery is the prominent method of payment in India, although this wouldn't work for the White Teak Model as it does involve a bit of risk on the seller front. We introduced the concept of "Easy Pay" where we allowed the customer the option to pay 15% of the order value online, and the balance through Cash at the time of Delivery.
- Brand Identity Management
From conceptualizing the Logo, look & feel of the website, creatives that went on-site, colors, themes, pages, etc. to deciding what the Ad copy should say, and the PR Material that went out in Magazines & Press Coverage, Amazon Listings - A+ Content, etc, I co-ordinated & owned a lot of these items.
- Content Marketing
I helped put together all of the content on the website & blog. I've always had a penchant for writing and did this more as a hobby than as the main requirement for the work. I enjoyed coming up with unique names for some of the products!
- Chats & Phone Support
Managed the chat & telephone support for a couple of months, helped me understand what a customer is looking for and how we can use this to improve the website and brand as a whole.
What did I learn in the process?
- UI / UX
Observed a customer's interactions on the website and used that as feedback to improve the website, bit by bit. Also a bit of common sense and observing other websites used
- The Mind of The Customer
Understanding the target audience, what the audience is looking for, and to finally present the offerings aligned with their needs.
- Brand Storytelling
Learnt to communicate what we are about, and how to put this ahead to the end customer. I learnt that a brand is a whole experience you're selling to the end customer and not just a bunch of products. And how important it is to communicate this experience in every touch point - from the initial ad you see, to the shipping label delivered to you along with the product.
- Magento Development
Well, yes. I built up the site so I had to learn a fair amount of Magento in the process. We used 184.108.40.206 since at the time of development 2.0 was still WIP and did not have as much support as it currently does.
Why numbers are important, and how to track the metrics like an anal insomniac. Why & how every cent you invest on ad-spend is important and should be tracked.
- Team Stuff, Remote Collaboration, etc.
When we started building our team, we had a few resources working from remote locations. I'd manage the collaboration over Skype, email etc. We went through a whole hiring process recently and I sourced, interviewed and hired up a stronger team in-house.
- And, finally, running an e-commerce business 101
This encompasses everything I didn't mention up above. Sometimes it was choosing the right Order Management tool, other times it involved manually packaging the products and calling up the shipping partners myself. Wacky needs would come up like being involved in the photo shoots, naming the products, arranging the stores in the etc.
Some interesting new tools I stumbled upon in my time here:
- Tagalys Search
- Zendesk Chat