The act of marketing goods and services on the Internet – known as e-commerce – continues to grow as businesses in the United States and around the world look for ways to reach more consumers.
With many people looking for advice on how to start an e-commerce business, Wells REV (Rural Entrepreneur Venture) hosted a segment on the topic led by Colette Drager of Metriere, Otto Media Group’s Wes Otto and Brian Hoffman of Hoffman Consulting. . The event took place on Tuesday evening, February 28, at the Wells Community Centre.
“Our call to action was the epidemic.” Drager explained. “We decided to take our work and sell it on the Internet.”
What the Druckers have done with Meatery is to partner with producers and small meat markets across the state of Minnesota to create an online platform that is a one-stop shop to provide consumers with a variety of quality meats. their door.
“We call these consumers the butchers.” Drager explains. “They are people driven by the desire to share their appreciation for buying, preparing and eating quality meat.”
Drager shares that one of the benefits of e-commerce is not having to maintain and operate a physical store.
Although we choose to operate in the United States, online customers can be from anywhere in the world. she recalled.
The butcher is based in Mankato.
“We emphasize community and recognize the importance of small town businesses working together to strengthen Main Street.” Drager comments.
One of the disadvantages or criticisms sometimes associated with online business is the lack of personal touch. The ability to know who to buy from.
Meatery has made great strides in making it easy for customers to connect with those who buy their products.
As Draeger explains, “When people visit our website, they can not only see the products available for purchase, but also read and learn about the stories of the people who make the product. It helps create a connection between the consumer and the manufacturer.”
Among the producers featured on their website are three businesses from Faribault County, Eastland Country Butchers, Blue Earth Blue Dirt Farms and Brycelyn Goethe Farms.
Otto gave this advice when starting an e-commerce business.
“Start by offering your most popular products.” he said. “People also need to use multiple channels to get their name out there. If you rely solely on social media, you can lock yourself into one set of consumers.”
The Meatery launched their online sales less than a year ago and have already shipped meat packages to more than 20 states. The commercial was televised on Minnesota Live on KSTP in Minneapolis and on Minnesota Public Radio.
There are many options to order on their website – themeaterymn.com – with different choices of beef, pork, lamb or chicken.
Once you order a box or box of meat, the order goes out to the manufacturer or meat market and is assembled and shipped.
“Another thing we’ve done is an eco-friendly packaging product with a focus on convenience.” Dragon adds.
She emphasized that one of the keys to getting The Meatery off the ground was the support of family and friends.
The family side of the equation includes Colette, her husband Bill and their family, along with Bill’s brother Bruce, his wife Jodie and their family.
“Two generations and 12 family members contribute to the business.” Colette Drager says. “We are a team that moves minds and experiments with food together.”
Draeger, who has a background in human resources, was originally the only full-time employee for the business, but her mother-in-law, Jodi, recently left her full-time position in the finance industry to join the business.
Another aspect of getting The Meatery up and running was choosing a platform to host their website.
“People need to make sure they understand the technology commitment required to start an online business.” Hoffman addressed the crowd. There are many platforms and each has its advantages and disadvantages.
A panel of speakers told attendees to use other resources when considering whether to start an e-commerce business.
Those resources include the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), a partner program of the US Small Business Administration.
Drager admits that there have been many challenges since she and her family began the journey to start their business.
“There’s definitely a learning curve. You have to get people to buy. She comments. “So do your homework before you start your business. Then don’t be afraid to jump.”