Thriving E-Commerce Business: Insights & Experiences From Successful Online Retailers

Successful online retailers share their insights and experiences in building a thriving e-commerce business.

The founders include:

  1. Ryan Popoff, Co-founder of Soma Water
  2. Jamie Salvatori, Founder and CEO of Vat19
  3. Sean Kelly, Founder of Jersey Champs

They offer valuable advice throughout the discussion and share their experiences building an e-commerce business, from product development to marketing and customer acquisition. Here are some of the key takeaways from the discussion:

  1. Build a great product: The first and most important aspect of building a successful e-commerce business has a significant effect. As Ryan Popoff explains, “If you don’t have a great product, all the marketing in the world isn’t going to make a difference.” Therefore, it’s essential to focus on developing a product that meets a real need in the market and provides value to your customers.
  2. Focus on your niche: One of the advantages of e-commerce is that it allows you to target specific places and build a dedicated customer base. Jamie Salvatori stresses the importance of finding a niche and focusing on it rather than trying to appeal to everyone. He explains, “If you try to be everything to everyone, you end up being nothing to nobody.”
  3. Use data to inform your decisions: E-commerce provides a wealth of data on customer behavior and preferences, and it’s essential to use this data to inform your choices. Sean Kelly advises e-commerce entrepreneurs to track everything and use analytics tools to understand their customers better. He explains, “The more data you have, the more informed your decisions will be.”
  4. Prioritize customer experience: E-commerce is highly competitive, and providing a great customer experience can be a differentiator. The panelists emphasized the importance of investing in customer service, providing a seamless checkout process, and ensuring timely delivery. Ryan Popoff sums it up by saying, “Customer experience is everything. It’s what sets you apart.”
  5. Experiment with marketing channels: E-commerce businesses must find effective marketing channels to acquire customers and drive sales. The panelists suggest experimenting with different social media, email, and influencer marketing channels to find what works best for your business. Jamie Salvatori emphasizes the importance of creating content that resonates with your audience, saying, “We try to create content that is shareable and gets people excited.”
  6. Don’t be afraid to fail: Finally, the panelists emphasize that failure is a natural part of the entrepreneurial journey, and embracing and learning from it is essential. Sean Kelly advises e-commerce entrepreneurs to “fail fast” and iterate quickly based on customer feedback. Jamie Salvatori adds, “It’s okay to make mistakes. Just don’t make the same mistake twice.”

In conclusion, building a successful e-commerce business requires a combination of a great product, a niche focus, data-driven decision-making, customer experience, experimentation with marketing channels, and an embrace of failure as a learning opportunity. By following these key insights from successful online retailers, e-commerce entrepreneurs can increase their chances of building a thriving online business.

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Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA. Starting in the early 2000s, Steve achieved eBay Power Seller status which propelled him to become a founding partner of, a contact lens and eyewear retailer. Four years later through a successful exit from that startup, he embarked on his next journey into digital strategy for direct-to-consumer brands.

Currently, Steve is a Senior Merchant Success Manager at Shopify, where he helps brands to identify, navigate and accelerate growth online and in-store.

To maintain his competitive edge, Steve also hosts the top-rated twice-weekly podcast eCommerce Fastlane. He interviews Shopify Partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, that assist Shopify-powered brands to improve efficiencies, profitably grow revenue and to build lifetime customer loyalty.

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