Running an On-line Store

As many of you may already know, in September, I helped set up and open a Shopify on-line store for MisquePress. Known as, the site is intended to be a place where I and other authors who publish under the MisquePress banner.


Now, more than a month into operations, I can report on some of the issues that I have discovered with selling on-line through your own store.


  1. There is the joy of knowing who your customers are, where they come from, and what they are buying. When you sell through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or other on-line channels, you know what you’ve sold, but nothing more. With your own on-line store, you get information about your customers that makes it possible to give them even better service.
  2. There is a downside to knowing who your customers are. You see who doesn’t want to be a subscriber to your business, and if you’re like me, you wonder, what did I do wrong to not earn your trust? I realize this is foolish, but it is still something that goes through my mind. I always think that someone who subscribes to you is giving you a sign that they trust you and want to be your friend. But maybe this is just a boomer way of thinking about existence on the internet.
  3. I get a chance to solve specific customer problems. Most of these problems fall into the category of the customer not getting their order fulfilled. Since all of our orders are electronically fulfilled, this means that someone couldn’t figure out how to get the download from the internet (BookFunnel, actually) onto their device. All I can do for these customers is resend them the actually download link on BookFunnel and hope that the customer can proceed from there.
  4. A second problem customers may have is buying a product (one of our books) and expecting to get a physical book. I had one customer buy two copies of each of two books, and I cannot understand why. Did the customer think he was getting two copies of the same paperback book? I really hope not. Many of our pictures seem to suggest that the book is a physical object, but really it is not. This may be something we have to adjust in the future.
  5. With the extensive data we have, we can tell when someone has bought the same book more than once. So far, this has only happened with free books, so no harm, no foul. But what about when someone is spending real money to buy a book? We have a policy of not giving refunds, but this is little consolation to someone who has just wasted their money buying the same book twice. Amazon warns a buyer of this, but I have not yet figured out how to stop it. There is a way, but I don’t know how effective it is. That is for each customer to register with the site. Then, when they access the site, they can see all of their purchases. However, I must admit…it’s not something I would ordinarily want to do. So how can I ask our customers to do that?
Running an on-line store is not something that you can just set up and ignore. It requires attention, work, and effort. Not just to maintain customers, but to attract new customers, manage products, and keep up the appearance of the store itself. The fact that it’s on-line, however, means you can do all of that while you’re still in your pajamas.

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