Tips and tricks from the founder of S-kin Studio Jewelry, Chi Mai.
Given today’s current climate – online is inevitably an important part of any business. Mastering online ecommerce however is a 3D puzzle on wheels, and getting started can often be one of the hardest steps for any new or current business owner to take.
Three years into S-kin Studio’s journey the business is now a thriving million dollar ecommerce brand.
Here are my top tips and tricks on how to start a successful online business.
Get your finances sorted early
If you’re 100% bootstrapped it may take some time for your ecommerce business to get off the ground - especially for those with hefty outright product costs.
If you find yourself in this position (like I was with S-kin - we started from $5,000 AUD of my savings) it’s super important to draft out a budget, and find creative ways to keep the business lean at the very beginning of your journey.
This helped us maintain a decent amount of cash flow which then allowed us to scale and spend bigger when the time was right. Lean into your finances and get close with your numbers - shying away from them never helps.
Choose the right ecommerce platform
There are a number of platforms out there to choose from and you can learn a lot about each of them simply by researching on Youtube and Google.
We started as a subscription business and experimented with several platforms before we found the right one for our business.
Shopify would be my #1 go-to for beginners like myself who don’t have too much web development experience and are looking for a user friendly and reliable platform.
Always think about your target market
It may sound straightforward but developing a marketing strategy that really takes into account your target market is invaluable, and is often the difference between a successful business and one that ticks along as a hobby.
It’s not enough to simply have a good product, consumers need to know about it.
Think about the factors below that may determine where you spend your marketing budget:
• Where does your target market hang out online socially? Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tik Tok, etc? Choose one to two platforms and master these rather than dipping your toes into every single one.
• What is the ideal ‘journey’ that you would want your customer to take when they purchase your product? Think about the touch points that a potential customer may have with your brand and perfect those elements, ensuring each one is reflective and true of the brand you are creating.
• What are the friction points that may prevent a potential customer from buying? Being aware of these and having solutions to resolve them will increase your conversion rate.
Upskill & outsource
When I started the brand everything was self-funded so I had to find ways where I could upskill and do tasks myself as much as possible to save money.
Having said that, there does come a time when you will need to outsource certain tasks to an expert in order to grow your business and take it to the next level.
Although the initial cost outlay can be frightening, the time and money you will save as a business owner means you can focus your attention on the things you are good at.
Since hiring my first employee to help pack our orders I’ve never gone back.
It frees up a huge amount of my time and allows me to work on new collections, growth strategies and big picture tasks such as our sustainability goals to drive the business forward.
In terms of online courses founders can take to upskill, I recommend Brynley King’s ecommerce course - very valuable in making sure you are adaptable as a business owner, especially in today’s volatile business climate.