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E‑commerce Life on Mobile for Freddie and Co.

Running a business from your phone.

Meg walking into a pole while looking at her phone and Michael is laughing at her

A fun thing about being in charge of an e-commerce store is the constant buzzing of the phone and friends and family calling you a screen-obsessed Millennial.

What they don’t realize is that it’s usually Shopify or Gmail pinging me that someone bought something or an order hasn’t been fulfilled in a few days or a package hasn’t arrived or there’s a comment on the store’s Instagram asking why we said we had free shipping but there’s no free shipping option at checkout.

*deep breath*

Before I was in charge of Freddie and Co., I received some sage advice from Mailchimp’s Art Director, David Sizemore:

But now that I’m working on this e-comm store, those apps are back on my phone with notification privileges, and I have even more apps in my arsenal. The Shopify mobile app is *constantly* buzzing in my pocket, and I can’t keep myself from pulling up Mailchimp Mobile a few times a day to check reports and keep a tally of subscribers. (And unsubscribes, if I’m honest.) Over Thanksgiving, I was in line at the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London on my honeymoon (yes, I’m awesome) and Shopify started going nutso.

Shopify notifications saved the day!

Well, Brooke saved the day, but Shopify notifications facilitated the day saving.

As much as I want to be the person who doesn’t have her phone out in the Great Hall of Hogwarts, I think that running a small business kind of requires you to be present 24/7. Sure, if your store grows enough that you can hire more staff, you can be more secure in your time off, but until then, it’s not the type of job that allows for a lot of downtime.

Customers can shop online at any time of day, and they expect us to be there to answer questions and fix errors that pop up. Mobile apps are really useful for this because you can reply on the go and get updates about everything that’s going on. Some issues, like changing shipping prices, aren’t possible to take care of on the phone, but most of the basics are.

Last week, for example, I used the Mailchimp Snap app to send a campaign. Just choose a photo and write some copy and you’re basically done. We’d just set up a new collection of gifts under $30, so I grabbed all those items, arranged them on a desk (inspired by my pal JTrav), and snapped.

All this connectedness will be changing for me soon, though. If you subscribe to Freddie and Co.’s newsletter, you’ve heard the news that Freddie and Co. will soon close its doors. Our last day open for business is Dec. 31. What’s in Store, on the other hand, is sticking around! We’re transitioning from telling my stories about Freddie and Co. to telling the stories of other e-commerce business owners and their experiences. Melissa and I will be traveling and interviewing shop owners to ask them about what their life is like running a business online. We’ll be digging in deep to hear the real stories: screw-ups, surprises, unexpected hurdles, unexpected successes, and more.

Next week in What’s in Store, I’ll be writing a year in review about Freddie and Co., summarizing my experiences and learnings through this whole process. In 2017, we’ll start our new chapter. I hope you stick around.

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