Living Entrepreneurship Blog / Babson Entrepreneurs

Starting Out and Selling Online: How 2 Sell via Ecommerce

For entrepreneurs starting out in the e-commerce space, it can be hard to know what resources to integrate and leverage. In How 2 Sell via Ecommerce, Ross Beyeler ’09, Founder of Growth Spark and COO of Trellis, shared some incredibly valuable resources with us. As Ross explained, “I find early on as an entrepreneur, it’s really about getting resources and knowing kind of what direction to head.”

Sourcing Products

First off, where will you get your products? There are a few different models for sourcing products. One consideration to keep in mind as you choose your model: “The margins will be tighter anytime someone else is taking over more of the work. If you want to do less, you’re going to make less.”

  • Wholesale: Alibaba
  • White Label: Oberlo
  • Print-On-Demand: Printful
  • Branded: Maker’s Row

Branding Products

Next up: branding your company and your product.  Don’t forget to optimize your photos for e-commerce.

  • Identity: 99 Designs
  • Photography Editing: Pixc
  • Packaging: Lumi

Selling Products

There are quite a few online sales channels. Here are a few:

  • Marketplace: Amazon
  • Social Media: Instagram
  • Direct: Shopify

Generating Traffic

Ross thinks about web marketing in two buckets: “the kind of advertising that you own versus the kind of advertising that you lease.” Or, in other words, time and effort exchanged for traffic versus money exchanged for traffic.

  • Organic Social Media: Buffer and Hootsuite
  • Paid Social Media: Facebook Business
  • Paid Search Engine Marketing: Google Shopping
  • Content Marketing: Hubspot
  • Technical Optimization: Structured Data
  • Virtual Marketing Assistant: Kit (Shopify app)

Converting Customers

Once you have customers on your site, how do you convert them to making a purchase?

  • Landing Page Management: Shogun
  • User-Generated Content: FourSixty
  • Email Pop-Ups: Privy
  • Product Search and Filtering: Findify

Managing Operations

Once you have some orders coming in, think about standardization.

  • Inventory Management: Stitch Labs
  • Shipping Management: ShipStation
  • Financial Management: Quickbooks

Managing Support

Customer feedback is critical. As Ross said, “There is a lot of value that you can get out of the support side of your business. You can find out, ‘What’s wrong with my website?’… Improving your website is probably going to lead to new sales or more sales.” Here are resources that can help you efficiently manage customer support and ultimately drive your e-commerce business.

  • Live Chat: Olark
  • Support Tickets: Gorgias
  • Returns Management: Returnly

Automating Retention

Once someone has placed an order, you want to keep them – and keep them coming back! Here are a few ways you can automate outreach to customers in different situations, like abandoning their shopping cart, spending a certain amount, or not making a purchase in a while.

  • Email Marketing: Klaviyo
  • Messenger Marketing: Octane
  • Mobile Marketing: SaveMySales

Engaging Customers

How do you turn customers into brand advocates?

  • Loyalty & Rewards: Smile
  • Product Reviews: Okendo
  • Customer Feedback: Delighted

Analyzing Performance

There are a lot of pieces that go into an e-commerce business. Analyzing performance can help you to see the big picture and to make changes to improve the business. As Ross explained, “This is the idea of taking a step back and looking at what’s going on here.”

  • Website Analytics: Google Analytics
  • Customer Behavior: Hotjar
  • A/B Testing: Visual Website Optimization

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