4 Business Lessons From e-Commerce Pioneers

4 Business Lessons From e-Commerce Pioneers
Written by Susan Finch

Growing too fast may sound like a nice problem to have, but can leave businesses with a talent gap.

E-commerce is no longer an experimental retail outlet, it’s a booming industry. According to research collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, the second quarter 2017 e-commerce estimate increased by 16.3 percent from the second quarter of 2016.

Although consumers and businesses alike only had resources like eBay to sell online, today there are plenty of options to get up and running and develop a global presence.

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However, that lower bar to entry also means an increase in competition from smaller e-commerce shops, as well as retail juggernauts. But you don’t have to be the next Amazon to compete in the world of e-commerce.

There are dozens of companies from fashion to technology that excel in their industry and stand out from the Amazons of the world. Gather inspiration from these four e-commerce pioneers and four business lessons you can apply today.

4 Business Lessons From e-Commerce Pioneers

Stay forward-thinking

When Natalie Massenet saw an opportunity to bring fashion to the e-commerce world, she stayed forward thinking and founded Net-A-Porter to sell designer fashions and goods online.

Massenet already had a long track record for spotting the latest fashion trends as a journalist with Women’s Wear Daily and Tatler.

For her next business venture, Massenet focused on disrupting the high-fashion e-commerce industry by staying forward-thinking to the trends in both fashion and technology.

She joined Farfetch as a non-executive co-chair to help guide the company that uses APIs to allow consumers to shop in hundreds of boutiques from a single platform. Instead of limiting her talents and focus to a stand-alone platform and products, the company has the ability to tap into a worldwide marketplace and streamline the shopping and distribution process.

Walk in your customer’s shoes

Vice President of eCommerce and digital at FLIR Systems, Sufi Khan Sulaiman, found an opportunity to sell home and business security systems online with Lorex Technology and carved out a niche around it. But he credits addressing their customers’ issues and questions through content and messaging as a powerful growth strategy.

Their content has helped them walk in the shoes of their customers with their line of security systems through Lorex Technology. Developing online strategic content can help solve customer’s problems and address their pain points as they’re researching and shopping.

Make time to hire

Growing too fast may sound like a nice problem to have, but can leave businesses with a talent gap. Birchbox co-founder Katia Beauchamp founded the monthly subscription beauty product service, but it grew too fast to keep up with the demands on her own. She and her co-founder continued trying to manage it all on their own and didn’t make time to hire early on.

However, it’s not necessarily extra hands that pushes an e-commerce site forward early on. In Birchbox’s case, the founders’ first pick was hiring a director of content to capture the story and authenticity of their e-commerce site to give life to the products for sale and connect with their ideal customers.

Relentlessly attack a marketing tactic that works

Timepiece startup Tayroc grew a successful multimillion-dollar e-commerce company, in part by finding a marketing tactic that worked and attacking it with vigor.

They were among some of the few brands focusing on building an audience and conversions on Instagram pages and ran with it before the tactic got saturated and diminished their return.

Tayroc stands by their strategy to find something that works well and tripling down on it until it stops working. Today, their combined Instagram and Facebook followings reach around a million followers by relentlessly focusing on building.

The Trayoc founders also understood when and how to pivot to a similar but more effective marketing strategy. Today they work with large influencers with core credibility and engagement to expand their reach and scale their affiliate relationships.

Finding success in e-commerce isn’t always about having the biggest marketing budget or hiring a talented executive staff right away.

Instead, these e-commerce pioneers focused on a deliberate strategy of attracting the right customers, telling their brand story, and innovating to stay ahead of their competition.

At the end of the day, it’s really hard work and a diligent strategy to keep pushing forward that keeps these pioneers at the top of their industry.

Identity Magazine is all about guiding women to discover their powers  of Self-Acceptance,  Appreciation, and Personal  Achievement.  We ask that every contributor and expert answer    the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the  current article they have written.  In that way, and as a team, we hope to  encourage  and motivate  each other, thus inspiring  you to Get All A’s.

1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally?  Additionally, what are you  still working on accepting? Now, we’re not talking about resignation, rather stepping into, embraced, and owned.

My career as a commercial video editor grew quickly before I had kids, but afterward, I made a more sustainable switch to freelance writing. It took time to curate and grow into something sustainable and required a lot of physical and mental momentum to keep it going. When my second child was born, I rarely slept more than 5-hours a night for the first 2 years of his life until he started preschool and I could work more during the day.

2. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally?  On the other hand  OR in contrast,  are there elements of who you are that you’re still working on  appreciating?

I appreciate the deep friendship I have with my husband and our teamwork in raising kids, both of us working from home, and traveling as much as possible. We’re about to spend another month in Mexico with the kids.

3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us  not only  what makes YOU most proud  but also  share the  goals and dreams that you still have.

My most rewarding achievements are finding a balance between working from home while taking care of my young kids. I love my work, even though it’s challenging, and still have goals to grow my freelance business.

4.  Of course, we  all have imperfections,  or  so we think.  In truth,  we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways?  Likewise,  what imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?

I am nowhere near perfect and have no intention to be. I spend too much time in my own head, am an analytical thinker, a daydreamer, and have no fear when it comes to looking for new freelance work. All of those things combined have lead to a pretty rewarding life and career.

5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to  appreciate and express  all the positive traits that make you…well…YOU!  In fact, sharing  what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (We assure you!)  Therefore,  Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”


About the author

Susan Finch

Susan Finch, From a commercial video editor grew quickly before I had kids, but afterward, I made a more sustainable switch to freelance writing.

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