I show and breed champion boxers and have been in love with the breed since I was small thanks to my grandmother who had boxers. I started my own online business selling boxer merchandise. The reason being my strong passion for the boxer breed and, more importantly, my frustration when shopping online for boxer items in not being able to find items that were unique or displayed good quality artwork of the boxer breed. My store offers a variety of products, many which are difficult to find and also features a variety of art by very talented arists.
I recently went through the merchant account set up. Fortunately my credit was very good so I had no problems but I wouldn`t be so worried. You have nothing to lose by applying and hopefully all will go through easily. If not, I understand there are brokers you can find on the web that are capable of assisting you by walking your application through the merchant status approval process for a small fee.
You won`t know until you try and you may be surprised and be accepted more easily than you thought you would! Good luck!
Thank you to everyone at SUN who sent words of congrats and good will! Sales are still generating well for this time of year and although I have a long way to go to make a profit, I am confident it will happen and feel I am on my way. Can`t wait for the Christmas rush if this is a taste of what is yet to come!
To answer TJ, the search engines HAVE picked up on BoxerHaus already with my alternative domain that I bought www.boxerhouse.com which redirects to www.boxerhaus.com I bought this domain figuring if two people happened to be talking and one asked the other where they bought that "cool boxer thing" they had and the person just said "I bought it at BoxerHaus.com" upon hearing these words and not seeing, the spelling may be interepreted as House and not Haus. Looks like this paid off, www.boxerhouse.com is registering on Yahoo as #8 out of 1,810,000 hits with a search term for boxer dog products and #18 out of 1,500,000 hits with a search term for boxer gift products!
Seth, you asked about Whisper Campaign and how I generated the traffic so quickly, which by the way remains consistent in the number of hits my site is receiving. Whisper campaign is what generated the traffic. Fortunately, for the last 12 years or so I have been very involved in showing boxers and am a member of the American Boxer Club, Maryland Boxer Club and active with assisting Boxer Rescue. Therefore, I had several outlets at my disposal and took advantage of all of them. Whisper Campaign is merely the act of "whispering" the message of BoxerHaus.com as being an entity and persuading, without being pushy, people to come check out the site. I e-mailed several boxer lists that are composed of close to 1,000 or more members combined as well as all of my friends, boxer and nonboxer. Nonboxer friends are sure to know a friend with a boxer and are just as likely to help spread the word of Boxer Haus. Many friends wrote back saying they loved the concept of BoxerHaus.com and the store and said they forwarded my message to everyone in their address book. And just as simple as that, the word was spread and people started coming to my site.
My next move was to e-mail friends about a week later and ask them to add BoxerHaus.com to their boxer website or any website they may own on their link pages. I additionally added BoxerHaus.com on the front page and the links page of my own boxer website at www.amityhallboxers.com Tracking the activity regarding where referrals are coming from to my Boxer Haus site has proved links from other websites to be an avenue of some of the hits I am receiving.
Now I have a boxer rescue group in Ohio as well as boxer club in Florida asking me to donate something for their respective fundraiser and show. Of course I will donate and put my business card on the product to spread the word even further. I plan to develop a brochure soon that I can also send with donations. I figure the money spent in donations will come back tenfold in advertising this way. My Database also allows me to create Gift Certificates that contain my logo and name so these will also make great donations that will surely bring people to my store.
Another plan I have for generating traffic is through advertising in dog show catalogs and the Boxer Ring which is the #1 boxer magazine in the USA. And I also plan on registering soon, key words with Google and Yahoo to up my rankings on those search engines.
Just standing by with a website for your online store and waiting for people to find you is not going to generate traffic quickly to a new site, you need to go out and "pound the pavement". Marketing your site with what ever avenues you have available to you is imperative as a start up and being creative as to what is possible in getting the word out will give you an even bigger advantage. That is what is working for me and I am constantly thinking of new ideas to market from, the logic being the more people who hear about your store, the faster your store will be successful!
FINALLY! After many late nights and hours of work, BoxerHaus.com is Open For Business!! The store went live on Wednesday and in just 3 days has already resulted in numerous entries into the Customer Database, almost 800 visitors averaging 9.5 Page Views, and generated over $400 in sales!! These results were captured mainly through Whisper Campaign and Viral Marketing alone!!
I am very pleased with the results and am very thankful to the following people for their help: TJ Graff for his countless hours of personal time giving me advice and guidance - I was blessed to have found you!, Jay Jones of AllMediaNet.com for his talents in web design, Vince Creazzo of Spads.com for his wonderful Apple Cart design, and to the members of SUN who offered their opinions and assistance on my forum posts!!
Boxer Haus is off to a great start and I couldn`t be more satisfied! I wanted a website that was rich and easily functional and I was able to garner exactly that! The store offers a variety of Boxer dog gifts, collectibles, and art and I keep adding new products almost daily!! Boxer Haus features items that use templates designed for personalization and customization. The store also has a unique Gift Certificate program that the customer can opt to receive via e-mail or snail mail. You can check out my Boxer Haus store at www.boxerhaus.com
And the best part is that with just under a $3,000 investment....BoxerHaus.com became an online store just as I had envisioned!
To show my thanks to SUN members for their help in making my vision a reality, I want to offer a 5% discount to all SUN members any time they shop at my store! Even if you don`t have boxers, you may know someone who does or you can still utilize our custom artists, such as Marty Gordon, to paint your own dog on the merchandise of hers that Boxer Haus carries! To get the discount, go to http://www.boxerhaus.com/store.htm and register into the Customer Database. In the comments section, notate you are a SUN member and your SUN member log in name. After membership in SUN is verified, I will input the 5% discount into your Customer Profile and notify you - after which time the store will generate the discount for you ever time you shop at Boxerhaus.com
Thank you again to everyone and wishing you great success in your own business ventures!!!
and by the way, these are what you call logo identities; http://misipile.com/
Thanks HDean! Great link to give examples of logo identity! I know the logo I decided on is not streamlined like the examples you shared, but I didn`t want streamlined for my store. I chose to go with warm, fun, and inviting - at least I hope I accomplished this!
With regards to the same, all of the boxer owners I queried outside of SUN on the final logo loved it so I think I accomplished what I had hoped for. If BoxerHaus.com ever goes corporate, I expect I would then have to change the logo to a more streamlined design but for now, I am content with the one I have chosen.