I’ve worked in ecommerce since 2006. I’ve held management and operational positions for startup and enterprise companies in many industries — lighting, gaming, funeral products, furniture, office supplies, and more.
Here’s what I’ve learned.
Starting, running, and optimizing a B2C or B2B ecommerce business is not flipping a switch and sitting back. You don’t need an advanced (or any) degree to develop high-converting digital experiences. But you do need persistence, passion, and the drive to learn.
Perfection does not occur on day one, if ever.
My current role is the head of ecommerce for Lighting Reimagined, a U.S.-based lighting, furniture, and home décor retailer. We launched our ecommerce site in late 2020 and have grown dramatically.
Here are three lessons from the trenches.
3 Ecommerce Lessons
Start with the minimum. It’s near impossible when launching a website to have the time, money, and knowledge to know what works. Thus start with the minimal, bare-bones features — in design, navigation, marketing, products — to attract shoppers and close sales. Then strengthen what works and discontinue what doesn’t. Launching with the basics and optimizing afterward saves time and money.
Transparency. Without trust and communication among principals, managers, and employees, there’s no successful launch or growth. Depending on the person and role, team members should know what is going on — from the big picture to weed-like details.
Moreover, company-wide transparency carries over to customers, who can see a purpose-driven organization that values service and satisfaction. A company has serious foundational weaknesses if, for example, its leaders do not understand the marketing efforts or the customer care team cannot articulate on the phone why a product is superior. Those weaknesses cripple the business from the start.
Continuous optimization. Having launched a minimal site with a motivated team, do not relax. The money will not automatically flow in. You’ll likely never reach a pinnacle of success.
You might have the best-converting site in your industry, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. Continuous optimization is the key to long-term ecommerce success. Use data from sales, support, customer feedback, and more to identify weaknesses and strengths.
Strategies come and go. What works today may not work tomorrow. Since November 2020 our site design has changed with new functionality and appearance. Our go-to-market strategy has improved, and our service level has vastly increased. We have learned successes and failings to pursue our goal of being the best in the lighting industry.
In short, success in ecommerce comes after hard work. My college degree is English. From there I’ve gained years of experience in business and online selling. A passion for growth, for the unattainable pinnacle, is the sole necessity. Anxiety, worry, and lack of sleep are byproducts.