Over the past few years, I’ve pondered and procrastinated on the notion of opening an online retail store. Whether it was the lack of knowledge or flat out failure to take action, I’ve wasted a lot of time just sitting on the idea. Something changed recently and I am proud to announce the opening of my first online golf store! ParSaveGolf.com is live and open for business!
Let me tell you a little bit about my vision for ParSaveGolf.com. I never knew exactly what I wanted to sell online. I just knew I wanted to try my hand at launching an e-commerce site. I figured I would leverage my knowledge and love for the game of golf and launch an online golf store since I feel highly comfortable with the market.
At first, I had decided to build my website strictly around the golf training aids niche and build and e-commerce website focused on improving your golf game. After talking with my wife and various friends, I decided it was a better idea to expand the product line a little more. With the website now live, I have decided I would still have a large focus on golf training aids but that I would not limit it to only these specific products. I would also consider other golf products that could help improve your golf game outside of the golf training aid niche. Things like golf grips, golf rangefinders or various other golf accessories that help you play better.
As I began to look around for products to possibly sell on ParSaveGolf.com, I thought it would be cool to build my website around independent golf companies. These would be the passionate golfers who thought of an idea, designed it, invented it and would end up coming to market with a golf product they feel can improve your golf game.
I am about three weeks into this adventure so far and it’s been fun. Over the next 9 weeks, I am going to be posting a journal of my progress towards launching ParSaveGolf.com. These updates will include how I promote and grow the store and hopefully make my first sale!
So let’s get into what I’ve been working on over the first three weeks!
Week 1: August 1 – 7
On August 1, 2015 I signed up for the 14-day free trial on Shopify. I had done quite a bit of research on e-commerce platforms and landed on Shopify as having the best reviews and features for what I needed to get started. Shopify allows you to sign up for this 14-day trial and get a feel for what they have to offer. You don’t have to enter a credit card and there is really no commitment needed.
At first, I had decided to go with Front9Back9.Golf as my domain name. I had purchased this domain when they opened up the .Golf domain names a couple months ago. This first week I didn’t do much to the website. I got familiar with the Shopify interface and messed around with adding products and blog posts.
Week 2: August 8 – 14
This week things really started to pick up. I ultimately decided Front9Back9.Golf was not the route I wanted to take and spent about two days trying to come up with a focus of the website and a domain name to match. I knew I wanted to focus on golf training aids and I was looking for a domain name that defined that. I don’t know how I came up with it, but when I saw ParSaveGolf.com, it just stuck with me and I knew this was the domain name and website branding I would go with.
I registered the domain name, setup the Twitter handle (@ParSaveGolf), registered a couple email addresses and then made all the updates to Shopify to reflect the new website name. I also purchased a logo from 99designs.com. It was a stock golf logo which just allowed me to insert ParSaveGolf.com into the logo design. After a few email exchanges with the designer, I was happy with the logo. ParSaveGolf.com was live!
This week was my last week with the free trial on Shopify. I had the logo, domain name and idea and knew by the end of the week I would need to turn my credit card number over to Shopify to start a monthly membership.
Week 3: August 15 – 21
By Saturday, August 15 I had made the decision this was something I wanted to pursue. My 14-day trial had expired on Shopify and I was now determined to turn this into a viable business to make some money from; or at least cover the expenses each month. I signed up for a monthly plan with Shopify and I was now officially an e-commerce website owner!
One of the most important things I did during this week was put a pen to paper and figure out a reasonable budget. (Okay, really it was keystrokes to an Excel spreadsheet.) Running Front9Back9.com has not made me rich since November 2009 when I launched it. For this reason, I have a full-time day job that I have to attend everyday so I can pay the bills. I figured I can invest enough money to cover three months of expenses, some inventory, and some promotion of the website.
I am not ready to share the amount of money I have decided to invest in the venture yet, but I feel comfortable I can get it up and running and get some products on the website. This budget also includes some Twitter, Facebook and Google advertising to help drive some traffic. I plan on leveraging Front9Back.com and Front9Back9’s Twitter as well to drive traffic. Eventually, I want ParSaveGolf.com to stand on it’s own. But I figured leveraging the audience I have now could be helpful.
This was also a busy week as I had three calls with possible products to list on the website. I have sent a total of 11 emails to various companies and I have heard back from six of them. I’ve had three phone conversations with three different people as well. I figured I would make small investments upfront to these companies to show I am serious and then possibly work towards a drop ship arrangement later if I can sell some products. This will preserve capital and allow me to promote the site more.
As of Thursday of this past week, I have two products in stock and these two products are live on ParSaveGolf.com. TIBA Putt and Train Your Aim are the first two products listed. I actually wrote a blog review here on Front9Back9.com of TIBA Putt and I am working on reviewing Train Your Aim right now.
Week 3 was busy. I feel I had to do a lot to sell the vision ParSaveGolf.com and the people I spoke with on the phone and exchanged emails with seemed highly interested. So we’ll see if these discussions build into great business relationships.
Conclusion and Discount
The first three weeks have been a great learning experience and there is so much more I have to learn. I am looking to add a couple new products each week so I can continually build out a product line and audience.
If you’ve gotten to the bottom of this post, I truly appreciate you sticking with me! For that, I am offering a 10% discount on ParSaveGolf.com if you decide to make a purchase. Use promo code Front9Back9 at checkout to receive this discount. Shipping is always free!
I’ll be back next week with another weekly update on what I did to promote and grow ParSaveGolf.com! I hope you like it. If not, I would love to hear your feedback!