What can you do to continuously expand your company and customers as an owner of an eCommerce store? That is a problem on the mind of any eCommerce player! In this article, with Darlan Munhall, who has over 22 years of eCommerce experience in technology and digital marketing, we take a deep dive into the secrets of sustainable eCommerce development. He is currently the founding father of Squad help, a crowdsourcing site that helps start-ups participate in naming and branding ventures with several branding experts.
Darlan Munhall’s 22 years of experience in digital and tech-focused enterprises range from bootstrapped entrepreneurs to Fortune 100 firms with multi-billion dollar investments. In 2012, Darpan co-founded Fashionara.com, a website for India’s fashion-focused eCommerce industry. Darpan is also the founding father of Squad help, an innovative crowdsourcing platform for crowdsourcing that links start-ups and companies with creative people from all over the world. Before that, Darpan owned his own Chicago-based eCommerce consulting firm (Leap matrix), which offered services for technology consulting and digital marketing. Darpan has also held many executive roles with Fortune 500 firms at different stages. Read more on his LinkedIn profile about Darpan.
For an eCommerce retail store, what is the secret to steady customer acquisition?
I don’t think there’s a trick that can provide a steady acquisition of consumers, but I believe it always comes right down to the core product. And by brand, I don’t just mean the physical goods the eCommerce store sells. It is about the overall experience that separates you. Tons of eCommerce firms make the mistake of paying huge amounts of cash sales to accumulate clients (I are guilty of that as well). Yeah, by burning an outsized amount of sale cash in ads and promotions, you’ll gain clients. That isn’t a viable plan, however.
I think it’s necessary to spend some time and energy deciding what separates you from others. If you’re in a niche group, there are likely to be other rivals that have goods like yours. And what makes you unique? Is it an array of goods? Is there a price? Is that the general experience of shopping? Is it the feeling of delivery? Is it the service of the customer?
We would like to be good at all, of course, but I think we have to select one area on which we are profoundly hooked and devote a considerable amount of time and efforts to make that feature stand out. For example, if we want to have the easiest delivery experience, then we need to spend significant time and energy on our product packaging, delivery speed, and therefore the overall return process. Then, brand marketing must continue to strengthen our communication with the powerful element of differentiation.
In what ways will crowd-sourcing support players in eCommerce?
Crowdsourcing is not new, but I do believe that many businesses have not taken advantage of crowdsourcing in a way that will help their business.
It’s not easy to start with branding, find a singular name and build a singular identity. Many businesses are struggling to find a unique name, and as a result, they find themselves choosing a generic or a mean name for their company.
Platforms such as Squad help (disclaimer, I’m the founder) empower businesses to connect with multiple branding experts and receive highly differentiated names and logo designs that have an effect. This helps them to establish a memorable brand that will have a powerful effect on their future customers.
Similarly, there are platforms now that allow eCommerce businesses to source content writers who can create catchy descriptions of products and content for their products.
Testing platforms such as utest.com are also available that allow eCommerce websites to check their end-to-end experience. In addition, user testing platforms such as usertesting.com allow eCommerce websites to urge input from potential customers related to usability.
There are many eCommerce businesses on the availability side, which have leveraged crowdsourcing to create a deep distinction in their product selection. Companies such as threadless.com and etsy.com, for example, use crowdsourcing to encourage imagination to source unique items that will be sold on their website.
First of all, it is extremely important to have a fully optimized mobile experience. Customers are rapidly turning to mobile commerce and it is important to have a “mobile-first” strategy to ensure that the website performs exceptionally well on mobile phones and tablets.
Secondly, it is important to invent goods. It is sort of important to invest in a very robust search capability that enables customers to filter using various product attributes.
Finally, engaging in a “customer-friendly” item hierarchy is also very beneficial in improving product innovation. The items are categorized by many online retailers using physical and technical characteristics such as color, height, weight, etc. It’s necessary, however, to take a place across your entire product range through a consistent set of attributes. “For example, if you are a fashion retailer, you will find that some brands use “Small”, “Medium”, Large” attributes to reflect their items, while others use a special sizing model such as “Size 10”, “Size 12” etc. By discovering these products, providing a uniform would greatly enhance the invention of your products.