I Quit My Engineering Job and Started My Own Online Business. I Would Like to Hear Your Feedback of My Website

OK. This is my first post though I have bought countless evenloop batteries from this website.

Some background story about me. Like most of the ppl on this forum, I was a 9-5 weekday employee and never thought about starting my own business. I worked for a few large Australian and International energy corporations. I liked engineering and thought it was interesting and challenging. However after years of working in both office and fields, I found the sad truth about corporate life and I am tired of office politics. I found a lot (actually most) engineering decisions were not based on merits rather what the senior management would like to hear. Sometimes the decisions were already made beforehand. You just need to find ways to justify it.

People can use all sorts of ways such as risk assessment to justify some poor decisions to suit their needs. I decided to leave the industry and started my own online business.

I would like some honest feedbacks of my website so I can improve the site before I wasting all my ad money.
My website is www.aloak.com.au

If you believe this post does not belong to this forum.I will change or delete it immediately.

mod: forums not an appropriate place to post competition.

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  • +5

    Where's the site link?

  • +2

    Rotating ticker strip at the top changes too quickly. I’m trying to read the one relating to shipping but it moves away before I get to digest what it says

  • +3

    I think you meant to say Andrew was "quirky" not "quirly"

    • +10

      This. There are a few mild typos etc like this. "Garden ornament" instead of "garden ornaments". Makes it look spammy/dodgy.

    • Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

  • +10

    Looks great!

    FAQ section is comprehensive.
    Shipping price is good.
    Might want to look at adding zip with afterpay.
    Pages take a bit to load, but not bad.
    I personally don't like the 10% discount popup straight away, not sure if it can be delayed till a few pages in?

    Overall very clean and functional.
    Good luck.

    • Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback. The pop up window is shown when the page is scrolled to the middle.

  • +13

    To b honest I cannot see the correlation between your post and the website content.
    For example, your website seems to be an already established company, with 29 fb comments.
    Strange that the company is not registered for GST, implying you have a turnover of less than $75.000 pa?
    All that aside, save your money and don't get sucked into forking out a truckload to SEO people

    • Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback. As you mention, my current turnover is less than 75k so no GST.

    • +2

      save your money and don't get sucked into forking out a truckload to scammy SEO people

      FTFY : )

      The reality is crap SEO mobs seem to be a dime a dozen, based on the relentless amount of spam we get in our inbox.

      However, good SEO is critical for most businesses in order to be found by their ideal clients.

      So what did we do? As IT types without an ounce of digital marketing experience, we rolled up the sleeves and immersed ourselves. Now our bricks-and-mortar retail business gets the vast majority of its traffic via organic search, although we often boost it with Google Ads (and in the past FB Ads) during sale periods.

  • +5

    Umm, nice knobs. Not sure if I trust Andrew lurking in the trees though.
    I’ll show myself out…

  • +3

    Forgot to add, review your postage rates. For example, with a flat rate shipping cost of $9.95 if someone in Broome or Darwin buys one of your garden ornaments it will cost you more in shipping that the item itself.
    We also offer a flat rate of $9.95 for our store but we do state on certain items the shipping cost is subject to quotation.

    • +1

      Thanks. Posting rural is hard. I actually sold a few items to rural customers at a loss as I honoured the deal. Thanks for you suggestion.

      • +2

        Only change it if there's a material cost to you. Simplicity for the customer and simplicity of operation are both key to scaling.

  • +24

    The fake reviews are hideous.

    • +7

      Excellent ozbargain post was surprised with the quality and the fast shipping Ótimo produto eu recomendo

    • +13

      Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback. Some reviews were copied from my ebay listings. Some were imported from reviews of the same product from a platform when I was testing the review app of the website. I have now removed the imported ones.

  • +6

    To tell you the truth, the good name always comes first before your products. Be sure any nationality can say it eg. Apple. Any Asian or European can say it properly even kids. Ducks for mattress is also a great choice name.
    But Aloak is maybe a great name but a bit hard to pronounce.
    Photos are great, if you can fit more styles in 1 photo at homepage then even better.

    • Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback. Its probably too late to change now. :(
      Great advice thanks.

    • +1

      Agreed completely. The name is awkward to say. Why is it too late to change OP?

    • while the name can alienate some markets..if the product is good enough,it doesnt matter ; people will find their own pronunciation/nickname/nomenclature.

      Case in point , look at the high end fashion houses or luxury goods..

  • +18

    Website seems pretty standard fair.

    Because everything is Stock pictures from manufacturer these give me a feel of drop shipper/ those random pop up shops at Westfield now and then - maybe make the 12 month warranty more prominent. I suggest to at least write a personalised item by item ‘intro’ for each item as well. Highlight some features.

    Maybe take out the ‘discover’ option in payment methods on home page so it seems less like a cookie cutter template.

    On iOS the 10% pop up banner was an instant turn off for me. Anything that gets in the way of my browsing is an instant detractor.

    • +2

      Also Regarding your led solar fittings. Your faq says is it dimmable - yes?

      But at no point lists actual lumen which is pretty important. Is it 10? Is it 100? Is it 1000?

      Also some of the listings for the solar lights list 230v compatible too.

      1. At least list 240v which is what Australia typically uses as a catch all for input voltage.
      2. Have you got the applicable Australian approvals for 240v installation? If not I would probably not advertise it as suitable as it will detract from your credibility.
      • Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

        Its not a drop shipping business. The products are stored locally and shipped from Brisbane. I think I probably should disable the pop up window.

        I realised the 240V issue so removed them from most solar lights. Only one product I forgot to remove. I think. Will do. Thank you

      • +1

        Most of Aus is 230 volt

        • +4

          Not really an issue because there is a 10% tolerance allowed as per the as/nzs3000 standards, allowing voltage to be acceptable between 217-253v.

        • I think WA is the only state to still use the old 240V standard. I seem to recall some time back that WA use to be 250V.

  • Bulk reports coming in lol

  • +3

    Asking a forum for free suggestions on your business website is one of the classic tips from internet marketing blogs.

    The question you have to ask yourself is that because you have quit your other job, how "serious" are you treating this website?

    Here are some suggestions:

    1. Check how Temple and Webster design their front and sub pages, they are your competition

    2. Create a product photography style and use it for all your products - having vendor watermarks like "HCNT Technology" looks cheap

    3. Are you faking the reviews? Some of the photos contain Brazilian shipping addresses but you apparently only ship locally

    • Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

      Some imported reviews (of the same product) during testing now have been removed.

      I am very serious about this business. I turned down a few job offers from agents.

      To me, it is not just about money. At work, sometimes you feel like you are just like a tool for the management. You are just a number in the company annual report.

  • +8

    Hey, I work with a lot of web content, often test it too.

    The site feels a little off overall. It's totally fine and clearly works! But if I wouldn't spend a lot of time on it as UX it a little unintuitive.

    • Why re-render the whole page when selecting tabs? Keep the header and rerender the section that changes
    • Two loading animations are odd (circle spinner and dots)
    • Animation on home screen goes down/up, when I'm clicking to the right. Doesn't make a lot of sense.
    • In the sort by drop down, the two price sort & title sort should be together, they are currently split
    • I don't need to filter to just see out of stock items
    • The eye icon to view a store item is odd looking. Too small?
    • The store item modal is oddly spaced. Also could easily fit on screen without a scroll. e.g. 'Fairy House Garden Ornament with Solar Lights'
    • Images are a bit off. There are a lot of repeated angels, probably unnecessary
    • It's pretty slow. I don't know if that's where you're hosting or the size of the pages coming back from the server.
    • -2

      Just check the source code - it's shopify -'nuf said

      • +2

        Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

        It is shopify. Not sure why you so negative about this platform. I am not a drop shipping business if thats what you think.

        • Shopify is notoriously slow when creators add to many apps without realising the consequences.

          • @MS Paint: Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

            I will take your advice and delete unused apps.

            Its a big learning curve for me (no IT background). I did try a lot of apps when building the website.

            • @brissywalker: Delete unnecessary apps and load times will improve for sure.

            • +10

              @brissywalker: Tons of successful sites run on shopify, you're doing fine.
              Page load speed won't be the hill you die on - unless people are shopping for garden ornaments on a Telstra network while in a train carriage between Strathfield and Redfern during peak hour.

              • +1

                @spunkyfondue: Thank you for your feedback.

                I did use a free lancer to improve the mobile and desktop to optimise the shopify speed.

                Not sure how to improve further.

                • @brissywalker: You're okay. Page speed is always a limiting factor with hosted solutions. The effort you need for going from 66 (which is where you're at now) in PageSpeed insights to 86 … is better spent elsewhere.

        • +4

          You say it is not a drop shipping website.
          It feels like a low quality drop shipping website:
          - excessive use of trust badges
          - long lists of specifications of products that look like a cut and paste from Ali Express. Nothing warm and fuzzy telling me about how this product will make me feel or what problem it will solve. Just cold bullet points.
          - name doesn't tell me what the store is about, jut random letters
          - strange combination of products
          - some of the products are best sellers on Aliexpress. $139 for a floating bonsai stand? https://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?catId=0&initiative_id=S...

    • +2

      Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

      I had no previous web design skills and everything is from scratch for me. I use the shopify platform as it suits a dummy like me. I have to engage a designer to sort most issues you listed. Really appreciate your inputs.

    • which for 99% off shopper would not make a bit off difference.

    • It's pretty slow. I don't know if that's where you're hosting or the size of the pages coming back from the server.

      It seems to be hosted in Canada. For an Australian website that makes no sense at all.

  • +31

    Frank opinion: Terrible website name that's not memorable and will be forgotten. Bog standard website with mass produced cheap tat content for sale that you would expect on eBay. Wouldn't buy from a random website but instead get it there, probably cheaper and with buyer protection.

    This doesn't feel like a profitable business strategy but good luck.

    • +2

      I hope you win the store credit haha

      • +7

        Happy to forfeit so they can buy a new business name and domain.

    • Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

    • +1

      Bog standard website with mass produced cheap tat content for sale that you would expect on eBay

      My first impression too

      • +1

        Same impression here.

        Had a colleague setup a website drop shipping hammocks, the competition was too high.

        How can you expect to compete with the big players, Amazon etc.

        The hardest part is finding a niche, but that is probably the main key to success and with this website I'm just not seeing that.

        Likely good first learning experience, but now I'd suggest finding something you can sell which is your passion or something you know better than others.

        Maybe sell something related to your engineering experience and contacts. Who knows, you might even get a corporate customer that way.

  • +6

    Looks like the standard dropshipping affair, maybe a touch more legitimate. Got any chopping boards?

    • -2

      Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

      As explained, it is not dropshipping.

    • +1

      I got the same vibes. Random products and the interesting reviews. Best of luck to the guy though.

  • The icons in your nav bar collide with your logo on a small mobile screen.

    I couldn't see your delivery and returns policy, but I didn't look too hard.

    I would not be able to remember the name of your website off the top of my head.

    Good luck with the site!

    • Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

  • +3

    I can only see loading ball move left to right.

    • I gave up after two pages, felt like I time travelled back to dial up

    • Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

  • +1

    Congrats on starting your own venture, must be exciting!

    I have nothing useful to contribute other than the fact the two doll statues that popped up creeped the hell outta me.

    • +1

      Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

      Will try to find a better picture.

  • +2

    is it my phone or internet connection but I got 2 second load time for the website, saw the circles move left to right

    pissed me off and I goggles another website

  • +5

    One of your reviews sums up the website in a nutshell.

    I really liked it. Everyone came safe and sound. Recommend u buy.

    • Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

      Please see previous explanation. Apology.

    • +7

      "Everyone came safe and sound."

      I'll have what she's having.

  • +3

    ABN previously traded under the name of ZLP Healthcare

    That must have been where he was an engineer.

  • +1

    I actually like your products. Will be bookmarking this site!

    • Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

      Its inspiring to hear a comment like this.

  • +1

    This is the way. 💪🏿
    You won't get rich by being an employee 👌🏿

    • +1

      Thank you for your feedback.

      Its not about getting rich. To me its more about having a better goal for my life.

  • All power to you OP.

    I think your branding at the top should be bigger. It's great you have a logo but the name could be bigger.

  • looks like a typical shopify site, on a fast connection well after peak times took 2 seconds to load images, tried to run it through responsinator to view mobile and ipad sizes wouldn't connect, nor would it connect to screenfly, couldn't be arsed testing on my ipad or galaxy a20.

    But to op, I'd certainly look at testing on major brands of mobiles and tablets something just doesn't look right, maybe try a wordpress/woocommerce site instead

  • Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

    Will test more.

    • Hey I really like the dog side table. Will definitely be on the lookout!

  • Your privacy policy is obviously generic but requires a lot of editing and filling in the blanks.


    you are not satisfied with our response to your complaint, you have the right to lodge your complaint with the relevant data protection authority. You can contact your local data protection authority, or our supervisory authority here: [ADD CONTACT INFORMATION OR WEBSITE FOR THE DATA PROTECTION AUTHORITY IN YOUR JURISDICTION. FOR EXAMPLE: https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/

    • +1

      After a very quick look, that is something I picked up too.

      Also, some spelling mistakes grabbed my attention which is not a distraction you want (e.g. "battries", "color").

      Good luck!

    • +1

      Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

      I have never read any privacy policies when shopping online. Thanks for pointing this out. Should have been more thorough when using the generic shopify policy.

  • Hi, congrats on wanting to start your own business and I agree about office politics….. honestly I struggled to find a correlation with the products you are trying to sell, door locks etc and garden ornaments? Besides garden ornaments I can not see as being a popular online product and I hope they are not pottery or ceramic (breakages).

    Online selling is really really hard (to make good money from) and advertising is expensive if targeted so broadly, so my feeling is that you want to target a market segment and do the best job you can in that area.

    When you advertise a broad range of products your advertising $ are not going to be efficiently spent as you can not market to a specific demographic.

    There are a few ways to build a successful business where the market is already saturated…. Be cheaper, be better (Hard to prove as a startup) or be different.

    If you are dedicated you will make it work …. good luck

    My two cents :)

    • +1

      Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

      All the statues are resin so no breakages issues. Going from 0 to 1 is always the most difficult part.

  • Looks good, my only feedback would be the enlarged photos "new ornaments" are the first thing you see but the photo quality is not very good. It would look more professional if the photo was clearer

  • +1

    The site wouldn't work in my spam and script protected browsers even when I disabled the plugins, it was trying to load something in the background and computer said no. I had to open a browser that had zero scripting protection to allow the home page to load up. Looks pretty attractive once I was in there.

    Many people are like me and don't allow deep loading scripts in their main browser that can't be enabled with a click or two, but they won't go to the effort of trying to find a way to make the site load they will simply walk away.

  • As someone who understands the frustration that is working for incompetent management i wish you luck!!

  • I'm looking for a door lock which is exactly the same in the photo on your website. This one https://imgur.com/iBDRV1M
    I don't see you list it for sale. Do you have it or do you know when I can find it?

    • Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

      I do plan to sell this type of lock. I installed two of them in my own house.

      I initially imported some items for self use when I was doing some home improvements and decoration. I liked the products and was happy with the quality so decided to sell them online.

  • -2

    Good luck!
    I went from a R&D lab job where I had millions of worth of instruments at my exclusive use to leave the factory to do my own. Went good for a while then the real awakening came when the real politics kicked it.
    You fine forum users here buying toilet pater from Amazon because they have a sheep brain.

    Jeff Bezos may be rich but look what he has done! https://youtu.be/kI7a-9HRI54?t=86

  • +1

    the 10% popup is spoiling the user experience. use exit intent to trigger the popup.

    • +1

      Thank you for taking your time to review and your feedback.

      Thats exactly what I have changed it to.

  • +1

    First off, good on you for having a crack at your own business, I hope it works out well for you.

    Ill be brutally honest, but please take it as feedback to work on.

    1. The website name, for the average joe, is not memorable and doesnt have any link to what you sell on the site. Is it an acronym? Honestly, you would be better off with a generic name such as 'Stuff for your house' or something. You want your website showing up when people are searching for items in google and someone is more likely to click on a link with the product theyre looking for in the title.
    2. The front page looks like a Wordpress blog template, ditch the large intro banner and go straight in to Categories. A much, MUCH smaller scrolling banner would work too.
    3. All your product images have no consistency to how they have been taken. The random assortment of items makes your site look like an aliexpress market place clone or something. Do you actually warehouse this stuff or do you sell on behalf of multiple sellers? The quality of the images makes me feel like you just sell alot of the Chinese cheap stuff people usually find on eBay.
    4. Get rid of the fake reviews, its tacky
    5. Stipulate which '5 Days' a week you guys are operating. If its Monday to Friday, say that.
    • I am really grateful when a stranger is willing to spend his time to review and provided his honest opinion.

      You certainly cannot get honest opinions at workplace. When I was a junior engineer, I provided honest opinions to management as required. I got burnt badly and learnt my lesson in a hard way.

      Thank you.

  • +27

    The website is fine - if nifty UX always meant more sales - Amazon would've shut down in 2006.
    You'll sink and swim on the marketing and operations - here are some thoughts in no particular order.

    • Set up marketing - start with Adwords and then do FB. You will get no organic sales in the beginning.
    • Call up customers to thank them for their order, dispatch ASAP and include a free gift / discount for next purchase
    • Set up abandoned cart recovery - shopify already has integrations for this (cannot stress this enough)
    • Listen to lost customers, don't spam them. If you don't get a purchase after 2 emails - send them a request for feedback and offer to donate 20$ to a charity / give them a gift card, it's the best money you'll ever spend. Act on the feedback you get. Someone might tell you - we're worried its going to break on our way to us - the response is not to say - oh you bear that risk - it's to put up a message on your website that says - free replacement if broken. You're not worried about the profit in your first 3 months - just the product market fit.
    • You'll be competing with hundreds of drop-shippers. Nobody likes dropshippers ( not as bad as social media influencers, but close). You're a local - differentiate yourself - put your story out there on the homepage. Put your face there. If you're good looking - impulse purchases, if you're not - sympathy purchase
    • Put products on the first page - not just categories - you'll get 50% + drop off from that page - you need to give it your best shot.
    • Ignore SEO and organic social media. do it if you've got the time but don't spend money on it. You'll know whether you'll sink or swim with your first 20 sales and the easiest way to get to it is to spend on performance media
    • When you spend on performance media - just target close locations - cheaper to dispatch and more likelihood of getting an order
    • Hedge your bets - start selling on platforms like amazon (send a discount voucher for direct ordering through your website with those orders)
    • Have realistic expectations - conversion rate will be 2-4% in the first 6 months because you won't be getting repeat purchases. Can you survive?
    • Make sure you've got your data well organised so you know what is happening. get your e-commerce tracking set up, goals, conversions etc - you need data to understand what to do
    • Garden ornaments are a one-time order. you won't be getting repeat purchases. small e-commerce businesses rely on repeat business to drive acquisition cost lower. Think of how you are going to deal with this.
    • Keep an open mind - Be open to tangents based on customer feedback - wind chimes instead? sure.

    Edit - build a story to tie your products together - your stuff looks great - but tie it together with something like - everything you need for a beautiful home or some stuff like that.

    All the best

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