September 22, 2008

Raya Delights on the Web

By Rozana sani

HARI Raya cookies have always been in Rozita Abdul Kader's blood. Her late mother was known for making the home-made delights, and the skill has since been passed on to her.

With encouragement from close friends, Rozita has for some 12 years produced cookies and conducted baking classes from her base in Klang, Selangor.

Initially, she sold her products to friends, colleagues and those who attended her baking classes, which were either held at her house or the students' premises. Then, earlier this year, she decided to take the bold step of becoming a full-time entrepreneur, with Net presence as a key strategy.

"I got the inspiration to create from the company that I was previously employed with. The company had set up a Web site to introduce its presence to the world. When the company became successful, I was forced to make a decision whether to remain as an employee or to become self-employed," she says.

Rozita decided to do it alone. But first, she prepared herself by doing some research on online businesses by surfing the Internet.

"Much to my surprise, my Ita-Delight products have already been listed on several Web sites under the Biskut Raya category. I looked around online and found a company which manages Web sites for those who did not have knowledge in IT like me," she shares.

Soon after, Rozita had up and running, and is now successfully hitting sales in places as far as Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei.

"Once I started making sales through online means, I let go of my position in the company and became truly self-employed. I also felt ready with my skills to expand my baking classes to a few States outside Selangor," she says.

Elaborating on, Rozita says the local company she hired to develop the site also has experience in worldwide Internet marketing.

"I have been using their services for Web site management and Internet marketing solution. The cost of conducting business over the Web is not only affordable, but also easy."

She highlights with pride that she can now update the baking class schedules in the site's Calendar feature herself, apart from adding and editing the site's content, uploading pictures in the gallery and sending newsletters to registered members.

She can also relay short messages and respond to queries through the chatbox.

"The most important feature of my Web presence is the e-commerce system. It is capable of receiving orders of every type of cookies that I have, and can automatically calculate the postage rates according to our local shipping provider based on the order quantity, weight and the customer's address. The way the system works has really helped me to organise my customers' orders," she says. is now six months old.

"For the first three months, the site had some 120 hits per day. There were more visitors each time we made an advertisement through the e-mail group or local newspaper," Rozita says.

She continued to retain the services of her Web consultant after the three-month period.

"Now, my Web visits can reach up to 400 in one day. I can say about 80 per cent of my Biskut Raya sales are made through my Web site, either by online order or e-mail. Therefore, the Internet is the main channel of my business now," she says.

Rozita's big dream is to have her cookies in all stores and made accessible to all Malaysians.

"My Web consultant is planning to market the Ita-Delight cookies worldwide. This means people from outside Malaysia can also use our Web presence to order Ita-Delight cookies in the near future."

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