How OpenCart Fuels the Double Yearly Growth of Cilantro the Cooks Shop

Cilantro The Cooks Shop is a kitchenware store in Canada that sells all manner of cookware, cookbooks, and everything for beginners and professional chefs. Their story is an interesting one because it started years before founder Tim Reibling launched an E-Commerce website running on OpenCart.

Our team has been working with Tim for quite a while now, and we thought it would be cool to share the story of how he managed to grow his business exponentially using the free platform.

It’s a pleasure for us to work with Cilantro The Cooks Shop and we believe it will also be a pleasure for you to read their success story. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it.

Introduce your business with a few words.

The online component of Cilantro The Cooks Shop began in the summer of 2012 as a test to see whether or not the products we sold in our kitchen store would sell online. We sell popular well-known brand names from some of the world’s largest kitchenware distributors in our brick and mortar store, so naturally it was a great idea to try and sell those same products online.  

How did you feel when you generated your first online sale? How did you promote your products online?

First I was surprised, then shocked, followed by joy. I couldn’t believe someone on the other side of the country had purchased a product from us. We started with Google Ads, and then with Facebook Ads. Now we are focusing on video and live video. However, the majority of our sales still come through Amazon.

What has been your growth for the past few years?

We’ve more than doubled each year. Both as a combination of expanding our market reach through Amazon, and by bringing in additional products from each brand. There have been a few headaches along the way though, primarily dealing with suppliers. Our future growth will come from our own branded products sourced from manufacturers.

Tell us about your website and the tools you are using? How do you handle the product management and marketing strategy?

Our website is built on the OpenCart platform, and is being upgraded as we speak. I’m very happy with the platform and its extendibility. It’s also very intuitive and easy to use. For product management, we have developed some software internally for managing the influx of orders from the various channels and marketplaces. It makes sure we don’t oversell product and upset customers. We’re integrated with Amazon.com and Amazon.ca, eBay, and Houzz.com.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced while developing your online store?

Google organic growth. In the ultra-competitive kitchenware space, it is nearly impossible to rank organically for well-known kitchen brands. The big players dominate that space. And spending money on Google Ads also hasn’t worked out well.

What would you say is your business core competency?

We’re small and swift. I think we do a good job leveraging newer technologies to carve a niche for ourselves in a very crowded space.

Are you using social media marketing and which channels work the most for your products?

We use Facebook to promote our videos and our brick-and-mortar store. It’s working really well. We are going to focus on YouTube and video ads moving forward, along with Twitter giveaways and more targeted Facebook Ads.

What’s your advice for new entrepreneurs and future store owners?

Stick with it and keep trying things until you find something that works. Don’t give up. Spend your time and money wisely.

Summary

Spend your time and money wisely” - this is amazing advice and fits right into the concept of using OpenCart for an online store. A free open-source platform means you can cut the startup costs of setting up a website and use that money for investing into more vital subjects, such as marketing and design for instance.

So, there you have it. We hope you found Tim’s story as inspirational as we do. Thank you Tim and best of luck on your E-Commerce adventures!

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