From 10 to 1000 Products: Stefanie Parks Shares the Story of the DermWarehouse

Interview
 
23 January 2018 764

Starting an eCommerce, not each and every entrepreneur thinks primarily about profit. Some are more concerned with the distribution of products that could bring some benefit to people’s health or otherwise. The hero of this interview grew up in the house of a dermatologist.

 

Stefanie Parks’ father is a skin doctor. Alongside his professional duties, he has been selling skincare products of about 10 brands in his office. That is until Stefanie and her brother started thinking of expanding the business online. A realization struck Stefanie - why sell 10 products from an office when you can sell thousands of products online throughout the country?

Thus, DermWarehouse was founded - an eCommerce store that sells professional dermatologist recommended skincare and beauty products. Now, Stefanie’s whole family works on the eCommerce and profits from it.

Expanding the Family Thing    

“In 2010, my brother and I started a digital marketing agency in Columbus, Ohio.” - Stefanie tells. “We did everything from video to social media marketing, search engine optimization, online advertising, web development, app development etc. We had a lot of eCommerce clients and this idea about moving skincare concept online would visit us restlessly.”

 

Eventually, a site was created. Its development took about eight months. DermWarehouse was launched in November of last year, and now, the e-store works with about 50 brands and sells around 1,000 SKUs all over the United States of America.

 

The website does not offer prescription items, but rather the advanced skincare and beauty products which cannot be found in your regular pharmacies or supermarkets. Stefanie considers that to be her business’s unique marketing advantage.

 

As it has already been mentioned, by the time of the initial stages of the eCommerce implementation, Stefanie and her brother already had a marketing agency. In such manner, the web development and marketing ends of the business were covered. But everything was intended to be made from scratch and entrepreneurs had to establish marketing relationships.

 

“We started with contacting the brands our father had already dealt with.” - says Stefanie. “Having established the supplements, we pretty much had to add information for every single product on our site by ourselves.”

According to our hero, just choosing the brands to work with and getting all the products set up on the site was the most time-consuming part.
Picking the “right” brands is important for Stefanie’s business as well as for eCommerce as a whole. The names featured on the “brands page” can influence other candidates in their decision to cooperate with a certain e-shop.

 

“We are very selective about the brands that we choose because it speaks to all of the other brands.” - notices our hero. “Some of them are more popular or more well-known than others and can help attract more partners. Some of them are only featured on one or two other resources and would not make as beneficial impact.” 

Tips From the Personal Experience

Stefanie gladly shares pieces of advice with ambitious entrepreneurs looking to start a brand new eCommerce. Obviously, the foremost things you will need are a properly functioning website, inventory, credit card processor, etc. Other than all those basic aspects, according to our hero, it is important to start working on the SEO strategy as soon as possible.  
 

“As soon as we decided that we were going to launch a business we got a domain name and built just a very basic homepage and a Contact Us page.” - our hero tells. “We used that to outreach for SEO and start building our domain authority. This is one of the most beneficial things that you can do because it increases your rank on Google and doing that will get you organic traffic without the need to pay for it.”

 

According to Stefanie, a timely take on the SEO enabled organic ranking for a lot of the products later on. She also recommends to set up a Google Shopping campaign once the site is launched. 

 

“We sell products from a lot of brands that people already know.” - says Stefanie. “People are searching for them, and by utilizing Google Shopping, Bing Shopping, and things like that, people can find our ads online and get to our website that way.”

Stefanie and co. prefer Google Shopping over Facebook advertising because they do not like the idea of trying to plant something in somebody’s head. 

 

“With Google Shopping, the likelihood that people are actually going to convert on our site is much higher.” - notices Stefanie. “If somebody sees an ad for the same product on Facebook, they're not actively searching for it, they are just seeing it and there are much fewer chances of attraction.” 

 

Our hero gained much professional experience managing the rapidly growing eCommerce. The three key lessons she learned from her entrepreneurial career imply that a successful business founder must:

 

  • Be prepared to hard work and stress loads ahead of time: You do not want to be unable to keep up with all the orders or with the volume of products you want to sell, so you have to always be one step ahead of the game. 
  • Pay your customers equal attention regardless of the situation: No matter how fast or how big your business grows, it is still important to give your customers the same special attention. 
  • Always be proactive: It is very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day things. But you should contribute every single day to be proactive and to keep your business grow further.

 

Stefanie’s other recommendations include putting much effort into SEO as a whole and closely monitoring ads. 

 

“You have to make sure that your advertising is profitable for you.” - Stefanie notes. “We are adding in other sales channels, we're partnering up with salons and other companies. So, that is just another way to diversify and get more people in front of our brand.”

Current situation

The website runs on WooCommerce. Stefanie is content with the platform and considers its flexibility as well as extensive customizability to be very beneficial for eCommerce development and management. 

 

“The reason we chose it over something like Shopify is that WooCommerce gives you a lot more options and there are excellent plugins that we've used for so many different things.” - notes Stefanie. “It's been a great choice for us so far.”

 

The online store offers free shipping and distributes free samples, which, according to our hero significantly helps with sales and is regarded as a competitive advantage.

The founder’s current eCommerce management routine is very flexible and changes based on the situation. The things she does consistently throughout the working week include checking on all the orders, reviewing customer feedback, checking the packages’ readiness for shipment, and such.

 

“I don't have a routine, I do a little bit of everything.” - says Stefanie. “What I do is I take a lot of phone calls and talk to our customers, various brand representatives, and things like that. Some days I'm on the phone all day; some days I'm packing up packages; some days I'm driving at the post office; some days I'm doing a million different things.”

 

Stefanie notes that direct feedback is one of the crucial things for successful business management. She believes that the fact that any customer can talk to either her, a dermatologist or an aesthetician directly is a standing out feature of her company. The website has a built-in live chat just for that purpose.

 

“We really pride ourselves on our customer service and I'm giving attention to any customer that needs it.” - our hero notices. “Skincare products are not cheap and people's concerns and problems are very specific in this regard. We want to make sure that when somebody's spending that much money, they are happy with what they're purchasing.” 

Conclusion

Stefanie Parks helped propel her father’s business to the forefront of digital marketing. Having in mind the good intention of spreading the word of skincare and being prepared to take on the challenges, she managed to achieve success.

 

That is why taking her experience and tips into account may be helpful to prospective business founders. Our hero’s ultimate piece of advice is to spend an hour through each day doing something to grow your business.

 

“Do something every day.” - Stefanie implores. “Whether it's talking to a reporter, working on your SEO, finding a new brand for your site. Do something that not just helps to keep the positions but something that's going to help you get bigger and reach more people.”

 

With that being said, we wish you nothing but good luck and persistence on your way to the top of eCommerce!