During this course, we have had a great opportunity to actually design and create a business idea and more importantly to realize it as a web shop. It was an interesting and valuable opportunity to get to know the software and the whole process in setting up and running a web shop. Vilkas software is used in about a third of all the Finnish web shops, which meant that we had the right web tool to build a web shop with. This makes for great preparation when it comes to thinking about our future careers.
We dived into the project right from the beginning and got our group’s workload evenly divided up. We threw some ideas for a web shop back and forth and already on day 1 we had an idea that everyone was on board with. Nope, we are not telling you – It’s on a need to basis since your group should do something original. After all you are up against every other group when it comes to getting the glory and fame of winning your Go Live competition!
Our first workshop class was not your run of the mill class. Our teacher Mickael was there to help us out but it was up to us to get everything set up and done. The beginning of this journey together with Vilkas software wasn’t the easiest for us. While the software itself is quite easy to use, once you get familiar with it, that is, it can be quite frustrating at times though.
We found certain functions and the formatting of some of our content, such as font size and colour did not always turn out as wished. The same settings would sometimes just not stick and some of the pages had slight differences. We also thought that the placement of links and buttons was a bit limited at times, and it wasn’t always clear what changes would occur when we changed things.
Vilkas web shop software, by the way, is built on epages which is the nr.1 web shop software around. Vilkas offers a lot of functions and e.g. tools for marketing purposes, deliveries and payments tailored to Finland and these were quite easy to set up for the web shop as well.
We were able to get our web shop going with limited knowledge and more importantly not only make it work but we had the background processes working smoothly as well. No point in making your shop look awesome if you can’t process the orders or deliver them. So big tip here. Get those settings right and thoroughly test them all the way through. Oh and don’t forget to get your analytic settings done right. You will need that up and running if you want to understand what your customers are up to on your web shop and how to get them coming back!
Towards the end of the course, it was almost surprising for us how to see how much work and how many different factors there are to consider when building a web shop. Each week’s assignment was given to us ahead of time so we could get together, lay out a plan and get on it, without having to wait for workshop day to come around. We moved along with our business idea quite smoothly and started to consider the actual software and the possibilities that it offers.
At this point, we do have to claim that this experience taught us 2 very different things. The 1st was how to go from an idea of a business and web shop to getting one built by ourselves, which includes all the different factors that go into building a business. The 2nd one is just as important a lesson, as we didn’t always see eye to eye on our ideas and in which direction our shop was headed, so we learned how business partners can have differences which means we learned about ourselves as individuals within a group.
The ending of the course was memorable. So many different start-up ideas were discussed in the content of e-business! The idea of building a web shop which offers renting the furniture for a short-time period was excellent. Since Helsinki is highly international, many exchange students come to visit it and might want to rent a bed or sofa for a couple of months rather than buying an own. There is definitely potential behind the idea and one cannot leave out its originality.
GO Live 2015 – time to step up your game!
Time to pitch your store, show your commercial. Yeah, you read that right, commercial as in a video commercial that better grab every course participant’s attention and get customer’s to your store!
Some of the pitches were somewhat unusual which helped to differentiate them from others in a good way. Choco SHOP distributed its sample products in the audience so our first impression of them was very good and even their web shop looked yummy!
Shanti included a small performance with members of their group as audience participants, into their 5 minute pitch. That was definitely great and engaging way of presenting their business idea and one of the best ways to bring product experience to the potential customers or investors.
Eat me Cookie stepped up the competition another notch with home-made baked goods for all and an enthusiastic knowledgeable pitch about their products of tasty treats.
In the end though there was one pitch that was hard to not get excited about –
Look at That Ass presented their web shop and cool products with a video and soundtrack that was persuasive, catchy and vivid! They not only made us all laugh in a really good way but they were voted as the best web shop of 2015 ! Look at that ass & their viral video rightly took the top spot by a huge margin through our online voting.
Go Live 2015 was an awesome experience as it was fun and entertaining!
We would like to thank our great teacher Mikael Forsström who was open and always ready to give support throughout the project. He managed to create a friendly inspiring atmosphere with vibes of enthusiasm to keep us energized and motivated on learning more about starting our own e-business!