The issues with setting up an online business

This is not a sales pitch as such, but it is an account of my tumultuous experience in setting up an online business, www.WineGifts4U.co.uk, selling original personalised gift ideas for all occasions. In reality, setting up a full e-commerce website is a very complex topic, which might take me a while to explain, so I’m going to condense it down into manageable chunks over a few weeks:

 

1)    The motive behind setting up an online business.

2)    How did we go about setting up an e-commerce website?

3)    Problems we faced after putting the website “live”.

4)    Website development.

5)    Top Tips that we think will help new e-business starters to avoid the mistakes we made.

 

Let’s start from the beginning…

 

During 2006 and 2007, with a little (ok, a lot of) help from our in-house graphic designer, Lea, my sister, Hanifa, my dad, Asgar and an ingenious web coder named Charlie, a website www.WineGifts4U.co.uk was created.

 

The motive behind setting up an online business

 

Vin De Terre Ltd was established in 1997 by Asgar Dungarwalla, as a wholesaler in beers, wines and spirits supplying pubs, nightclubs, restaurants and sports clubs within a fifty-mile radius of the warehouse. The company began with just three employees eleven years ago, and over time has grown to employing nine members of staff today. Over the last two years, Vin De Terre Ltd has diversified its product range to include personalised gifts, including personalised wine, personalised champagne, vodka, whisky, mugs, engraved items and a ‘design your own’ t shirt section. These gift ideas are incorporated onto and sold through the website, www.WineGifts4U.co.uk, which a subsidiary company of Vin De Terre Ltd

 

Over the last few years, due to raw material and fuel price increases, inflation and the smoking ban in July 2007, sales in beers and spirits have steadily declined, so the company has focused its efforts on wine, where there is growth and where margins are better.

 

The personalised gift business, WineGifts4U was developed following a conference six years ago, where the focus was on the ‘personalisation’ of marketing products and services, which captures the consumers’ attention. The brief for this website was a location where customers (the general public as well as corporate clients) could personalise the wines we sold on the wholesale side of the business, online and in real time with their own images and messages to create unique gifts (which would be appreciated by the recipient) for all major special occasions throughout the year.

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