How is the online store of chandeliers, LEDs and lamps

This applied article will provide an idea of ​​the work of online stores lighting and lighting equipment. It is aimed at start-ups who are interested in this line of business in terms of business logic and implementation techniques. The article was written based on the experience of developing online stores that started in 2008, and are now one of the leaders in terms of site visibility in Yandex search results and presence in contextual advertising in Moscow and Moscow Region.

Potential clients

- Individuals who buy light in an apartment or cottage;
- Legal entities for the office;
- Designers (here you need to understand that it is necessary to look for interior designers, but it’s harder with them because they usually buy in stores, this is easier and less a headache).

Average check, margin and cost of goods

All calculations are given in rubles at 2014 prices. The margin is 30-60%, minus logistics, accounting and marketing. The average price of a check is 10 thousand rubles, this includes the lamp itself, including related consumables (energy-saving light bulbs, shades) and delivery. Orders can be 100-200 thousand rubles. So it can be, for example, if you need lamps, poles, lights to illuminate the entire perimeter. In this case, the volume of the order will be the whole car, plus 30-40 thousand light. An order may be for several chandeliers, but expensive.

Seasonal Business Model

Light is a seasonal item. In the fall, there is a peak, from September to the end of December, there is an active sales season. There are many wholesale and retail transactions. Even with a small advertising budget, you can make good profits. From January to March there is a slight rise, then stagnation time. Thus, it turns out that in the fall we need a huge company, which should provide large volumes of sales. The team should include a sufficient number of logisticians, or rather couriers, managers, an expanded marketing department, which will increase all kinds of advertising. It turns out that in one period of time we need a huge department, and at another stage we need a small department. I think many are faced with such problems. This situation is being solved by dismissal. The main thing is not to inflate the state, if you inflate the state, get too big expenses. It is always necessary to keep staff at a minimum, and only if employees are overloaded by 200%, then hire additional people.

Seasonal HR Policy

To offset seasonal fluctuations, large companies usually increase their staff by the end of summer, and reduce it in the spring. As a rule, this applies to marketing and logistics departments. It is necessary to correctly draw up an employment contract at the stage of hiring, so that, with a pure soul, by the time of the decline in demand, reduce the number of employees. When hiring, it is better to immediately agree on piecework wages, and on an urgent labor relationship.

Startup company structure

With a turnover of 2 million or 6 orders per day, a team of 4 people or more is required:
- A manager who controls everyone, looks for reliable suppliers, negotiates discounts, monitors SEO and contractor;
- A contractor who places a new product, works with the database, finds errors, etc. updates balances and prices. Balances change every day, prices also change every day in connection with the dollar;
- A well-versed manager who will answer calls, control the purchase of products and logistics;
- The logistics department, it will take 4 drivers, but you can use a third-party organization.

From the outside it may seem simple, but maybe the situation is that one driver is sick, the other is missing money, the third is returning the marriage, etc. It happens that there are a lot of cases, your head is spinning, but it's quite possible to cope.


Mid-sized company structure

Large players have up to 120 orders per day:
- General Director. He negotiates discounts with suppliers and is responsible for sales volume and financial indicators, if there is no CFO. All other key employees are subordinate to him;
- Marketer. Supervises site developers, contextual and display advertising, SEO-company or full-time employee, copywriters, content specialists, etc .;
- Accountant. Responsible for the absence of claims from the tax;
- Head of the logistics department. Draws up a plan for shipment of goods from suppliers and delivery to customers;
- Client manager. It takes orders from customers and informs customers about the delivery time of orders, and also works with complaints.

Questions that are usually asked at the startup stage

- How to approach the site development process?
- Every day new players appear, although they are small, but nevertheless, they compete with each other. How can we create an online store that will help us compete with experienced companies and newly formed ones?
- We came to the market, there is everything for work, but it is necessary to choose a specialization, how to do it - from a technical or marketing point of view?

Suppliers and Cross-Docking

Cross-docking (eng. Cross - directly, cross, eng. Dock - dock, loading platform, docking) - the process of receiving and shipping goods and cargo through the warehouse directly, without being placed in a long-term storage area. Cross-docking is a set of logistic operations within the supply chain, due to which shipment from the warehouse and delivery of goods are most precisely coordinated in time. As a result, products are delivered in the shortest possible time.

There are several main suppliers from which goods are usually purchased. They unload the leftovers, and prices, once every one or several days, we put them on our site. As soon as we have an order, we reserve the goods from these suppliers and ship them, or they ship directly, to the final consumer. The scheme is bought and sold, that is, it is not necessary to immediately have a lot of money in order to start selling lamps. In the case when we first purchase goods from the supplier ourselves, we come and pay for the goods we want to buy. Suppliers can have a minimal balance on their account, say 30 thousand, and some 100 thousand, and money is debited from this balance. But, most suppliers work according to the usual scheme, that is, they arrived, gave their order and paid.

The most active suppliers we can list

  • Sonex Sonex-light
  • Rosstyle Rosstyle
  • Citylux Citilux
  • Mantra Mantra-opt - designer light
  • And about 8 wholesalers


All lamps are Chinese, even those that indicate that they are Italian. In another case, fixtures cost space money. You need to understand that China is different. There are companies that monitor production, they control every step of Chinese manufacturers. But there are those who work according to the “arrived-bought-left” scheme. Such goods are sold very cheaply.
Crystal products, even if they are not the most popular, but, sometimes, make a profit.
LED and technical lighting.
Lamps for a summer residence, usually expensive models are ordered to summer houses.
There are both cheap fixtures and expensive fixtures.


You can use logistics companies, but they can make mistakes, for example, not checking the goods with the supplier, so it turns out that we pay for re-delivery to the customer and returning the goods to the supplier.

The logistics department, it is small enough, that is, the main thing is to pick up responsible drivers who will not disappear, because they, enough, carry big money.
You can also use foot couriers, especially they will be very helpful at rush hour. By car, you can deliver several orders, and in your hands you can take away only 2 boxes, i.e. 1 order.

By car, a person receives 500 rubles, and a courier on foot receives somewhere 250 rubles. A walking courier costs less, but the number of people who need to be controlled is increasing.

It’s better to throw money, of course, onto the supplier’s balance, a driver comes to everyone, loads this money into the account. Inevitably, it turns out that the client must give the money to your driver, and here you need to count on, for the first time, at least so that their amounts are not so large.

Necessarily need an intermediate warehouse, that is, somewhere you need one point through which all the goods will pass: today you collect, and tomorrow you deliver. It’s very difficult to transport everything in a day, so that the driver picks up the goods from one end of Moscow and then takes them to the other, that is, it is easiest to collect all orders from suppliers, drive them to the warehouse, and group them the next day along the optimal route.

A small office is enough for a minimum warehouse. At first, there will not be many orders, everyone starts with 3-5 orders per day.

More than 10 orders per day, other technologies will already be required, and the warehouse is good, then you need a person who will take the goods, you must force drivers to check for marriage, because they do not look very often, and when they bring it to the end customer, he, clicks, refuses.

It turns out that you pay both for the trip, and for the fence, and again for repeated delivery, that is, it is easiest to check. While the number of orders is small, it’s easiest to check with the driver, and when there are already a lot of them, it’s best to check in the warehouse so that the driver has time to get everyone apart.

They are all very similar schemes, brought-sold, brought-sold, however, there is a different scheme. There are suppliers who first try to buy products and then sell them, but this is very costly. They buy a container, bring it and sell it. Much cheaper, it turns out, at cost, but you need good capital, you need to understand that this product may not be bought, it may not like it. In general, all the main suppliers copy goods from each other. That is, they directly at the factories order the top model of competitors, enough pictures and a minimal description.

List of some logistics companies that deliver in Moscow and Moscow Region

  • City express
  • Pickpoint
  • Fox Courier
  • DeliveryHouse
  • Major express
  • Top Delivery
  • Pegasus Express

In the regions there is an advance payment, usually 100%, this is normal.
In Moscow, payment on the fact, that is, arrived, looked. Moscow buyers need everything at once.

If you automate the payment from the regions, then the site should be able to calculate the cost of delivery, generate invoices, accept payment by plastic cards.

List of logistics companies that deliver to regions

  • DHL
  • DPD
  • EMS Russian Post
  • PonyExpress
  • Auto trading
  • Baikal Service
  • Gruzovozoff
  • Business Line
  • ZhelDorExpedition
  • PEK
  • Pickpoint
  • SPSR

Niche Selection

If the direction is technical lighting, consumer light (chandeliers for domestic use, for apartments, residential buildings, for example), industrial equipment (for example, for lighting stadiums, car services, etc.), how will such sites differ from a technical point of view, and which could we identify technical issues here?

To increase the average bill, it is necessary to offer related products, for this you need to offer peripherals.

Product Filter and Usability

Also technically difficult moment is a large filter. It has a lot of parameters, and the columns are small, so the site should be quite productive. A filter can have from 10 to 20 parameters. It is better to take a separate dedicated server for this load.

There are two standard structures: the catalog menu on the left (1st screenshot), the catalog menu on the top (2nd screenshot).
It’s more convenient from above, because the site is much more compact.
With the menu on the left, the filters have to be placed somewhere, and therefore it is best to display and make an adaptive website (3rd screenshot)), so that it is convenient to use on all devices.
Also, the structure of the site depends on the frequency of use of the filter by visitors. Usually the filter is in demand, therefore, hiding it on the left under the catalog is not the right decision in terms of usability. Positioning it at the top is also not very right, because it is large in itself, and on the left we have navigation in the catalog, and the window will not be visible. Therefore, the best placement is on the right, or make a horizontal menu, and then place it on the left or on the right, as convenient.

Catalog menu on the left. Catalog


menu on top.


Responsive design.


Automation and 1C

The most important thing in the online store is automation. That is, balances and prices should be updated automatically.

In principle, it is difficult to come up with something new from a technical point of view, except for some highly specialized services. The most difficult thing is to form a database of goods. For example, we have three suppliers. We work with each of them, and we get information from them, we need to bring the received data (files) to a single view. You can write a middleware or macro that will work until the provider changes the file format.
You need to understand that 1C is very expensive for a startup. Sometimes integration with 1C is done, because the database has a large range, or you can integrate and update files through CSV.

First you do not need to strive for 1C - this is a separate specialist. The average hour of 1Snik is 2 thousand rubles. In the development of the site, the average rate is 900 rubles per hour. Therefore, costs are doubled. 1C-nicknames are some kind of gurus who either don’t know anything at all, or they are so meticulous that it’s difficult to communicate with them.

In fact, they are all very nice and pretty guys, but they just increase the cost by 2 times if you enter 1C . But a lot of things have already been written on the web, and there are ready-made tools for filling goods, for updating balances, and the like.

Initial filling of the trade catalog with content

If suppliers do not give pictures, then it’s hard to find photos, and it’s very expensive to take photos by yourself, especially since the warehouse may not have the right position to be photographed.

As an identifier, the brand and the article are best suited. It turns out that we have some unique field by which we correlate what we have on the site and what the supplier has. When we spill the remains, we bring all the articles of goods on the site to one form.

The output is matrices containing the nomenclature, quantity, links to pictures. Not all suppliers provide balances, some indicate only the goods that are. Quantity is important here only when you have your own warehouse. Accordingly, you can enter what we have in the balance, but which is not on the site.

There are suppliers who make uncomfortable moments for further work in Excel, for example, the article starts from scratch, or indicate a hundred different colors. This all leads to confusion and errors. We have to make correspondence files in order to somehow unify this article, in general, this is inconvenient. Therefore, you need to choose good suppliers.

Updating a product catalog is easier than doing the initial content. Usually a parser is written on one of the two sites of industry leaders. For starters, it’s better to parse these two sites, including photos, all text and tabular content, place it all on your site, and then launch your content specialists, who will check the balances with what is already paired and add to the goods.

Be sure to need a content manager who will control the news, photos and current prices.

Do not develop your own site

The presence of a project manager in the development team is necessary, because the designer, layout designer, and programmer do not agree among themselves. What does 4 different people mean. That is, if we calculate a minimum of 40 thousand wages, this is 160 thousand per month.

A minimum site will be created 3 months. That is, it turns out that 160 is multiplied by 3 and we get 480 thousand. Thus, you will give this amount for the development of a regular online store, which will not be specialized in the light. You will not separately search for a designer and project manager with specialized experience.

In turn, there are studios that have already done a bunch of light projects. It is better to watch those who have successfully implemented projects in their portfolio.

SEO Competition

Due to what, can one store catch up with another? The age of the domain is very important. SEO is affected by trading matrices, the more brands, the better. The average catalog size of large players is 20 thousand SKU.

The more commodity cards, the more labor the content manager. This is very difficult to maintain, because you need to hammer in all the new items, prices, specifications, for example, styles - this is a floating characteristic, for some one chandelier will be one style, for someone else. So, in order to score one card, it takes a lot of time for the content manager, and if we still drive in some additional characteristics, this will complicate the work. To maintain the base will require a bunch of people to say the same thing in different words.

Choosing an SEO Company

Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to find good SEO specialists on the market right now.

No one, as always, is responsible for anything. Any agreement is fraught with something. In any contract you will pay money and you will be wrong. Do not believe anyone. With the choice of SEO companies you must be very careful.

If a large company has advanced projects, it is not a fact that it will also be possible to pump a young project. Search engines have many filters for young projects. It is not a fact that the specialist who promoted a cool site will promote your project as well. For your project, they can put a student who does nothing and always argues.

Alternatively, work with an SEO company for the result. But it is very necessary to carefully select the semantic core. They have very vague plans, a lot of excuses. You think, “Oh, I’ve hired everything, I’ve given these, millions and everything will be cool”, but it turns out not so, it needs to be controlled much more. And it’s very difficult to get information from them, because you called, and one on vacation, the other got sick, everyone starts throwing, answering with common phrases. Several people are responsible for your project, and in the case of your own SEOshnik, he sits right in front of you.

If we watch freelance, then here it is still worse, less predictable. A lot of bloggers, a lot of smart people who can only write articles.

In no case should you take freelancers, this is a taboo! Because even if a specialist comes across good, then he can leave, he can get sick, he can just switch to another project.

SEO is such a thing that requires constant attention. Some results can be seen only after 4-8 months, as they say now. For full SEO, you need a year or two. Therefore, companies and many freelancers use this, they say that the result will be only in 8 months, respectively, pay us these 8 months, and whether you will get the result or not, you do not know.

Staff SEOshnik

The best SEO is finding your person. It is justified, and it turns out not so expensive. Light is already a big project, you just can’t jump up and down like you did in 2008.

SEOshnika must be controlled. At the startup stage, a plan is drawn up, and the leader, who monitors all departments, must understand SEO. According to the plan, he should ask every week what results have been achieved. It is necessary to monitor a person so that he does not do other work - very often, when companies run SEOs, they have a lot of free time. In a month it will be clear if a person does nothing. Neg is very bad: Yandex and Google are constantly changing their algorithms, and the whole world is against it. You must immediately dismiss such a person.

Conversion context, SEO, I.Market

In this industry, large players manage to maintain several satellites (affiliates), which allow to cover up to 70% of traffic for some search queries. Most of the sites in question operate on the same CMS.

A well-tuned contextual RK, it will still tend to zero or small profits, very small. The main part, of course, is SEO. E-mail newsletter and Yandex.Market also work well.

For simplicity of calculations, we agree that one client makes one single order. In the number of cases known to us, on average, the combination of advertising sources is 1/4 on the Market, 1/4 - Direct, and 2/4 SEO.

The average SEO costs for the year are 90 thousand rubles. Let's say 1000 people with SEO and 1000 with Direct generally give about 15 orders per day. At the same time, Yandex.Direct provides more conversion traffic.



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