The majority of the global customer base today is shopping online. Retail eCommerce sales grew 27.6% worldwide to be worth $4.28 trillion in 2020. eCommerce business is undoubtedly a vast domain where there is always something new to learn. With that in mind, taking a look at the journey and eCommerce business strategies of some of the biggest eCommerce business tycoons is one of the best ways to imbibe valuable lessons.
While every company undergoes a learning curve in running an online store, some of these tycoons have walked the treacherous path and built the best eCommerce companies in the world. These strategies can help you weather any kind of storm in this fast-growing industry.
1. Customer Obsession – Jeff Bezos (Amazon)
Amazon has dominated the eCommerce business landscape for quite a while now. The success of this eCommerce giant boils down to establishing and adhering to core values since inception. Jeff Bezos launched the company in 1995, intending to be Earth’s most customer-centric company — a principle that the brand has followed rigorously to date.
Amazon maintains a consistent 90% customer retention rate through tailor-made user experiences. Bezos obsesses over satisfying his customers beyond the textbook definition. You can use this strategy by putting the complete focus on your customers and building backwards. One such way is to be inventive about the benefits and products that you offer to your customers.
2. Prioritize Company Culture – Tony Hsieh (Zappos)
Hsieh built a strong brand over a long period. He focused on establishing the right culture throughout the journey, which emphasized always hiring the right people. During the hiring process, the company goes to great lengths to ensure that the candidates are the right fit not just by their qualifications but also culturally.
It is that simple. Hsieh figured out that people;
- Don’t like the feeling that they have lost control,
- Need assurance that they are making progress,
- Love strong social ties, and
- Are motivated by the vision of being a part of something bigger than themselves.
Economists also observe that companies with happy employees earn 1.2 to 1.7% more than their peer firms. Keeping these factors in mind makes Zappos a happy place with happy employees that inevitably translates to happy customers.
3. Tackle Problems as They Arise – Brent Bellm (BigCommerce)
According to Bellm, leadership in the eCommerce business realm is all about solving problems on the go. This includes pursuing opportunities when you see them. You should refrain from admiring, tolerating, or ignoring the issues at hand. Instead, face them head-on by leading with a driven problem-solving approach.
Similarly, you should take advantage of the opportunities and eCommerce business strategies. Set ambitious yet realistic goals like elevating sales, efficient merchant acquisition, and timely order fulfilment. A target-driven approach sets your eCommerce company for success. Bellm believes you see actual accomplishments when you hit the goal or get as close to it as humanly possible.
4. Humanize eCommerce – Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani (Rakuten)
Rakuten has grown exponentially since its initial years. Mickey, the founder of Rakuten, attributes this success to the personalized approach of the brand. Rakuten integrates people’s need for connection, even if it is through computer screens, for a rich shopping experience. The principle is that you should focus on delivering high-quality customer service and hospitality for a personalized approach.
Mickey wanted to create a bazaar-like experience where the small shop owners could curate their merchandise and interact with their customers. Rakuten works on a hybrid approach by combining humans plus algorithms to drive recommendations. As a result, customers are met with a pleasant experience when they liaise with the merchant for humanized recommendations.
5. Be Picky and Patient – Josh Silverman (Etsy)
This pertains to the merger and acquisition strategies followed by Etsy. Josh joined Etsy as CEO in 2017 and worked relentlessly to pace up the Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) and recover from the ballooning expenses. He built a house of brands by acquiring niche marketplaces that can add millions of GMV annually.
The acquisition strategies brought in vertical and geographic expansion in their portfolios. With DePop, the company taps into the Gen Z demographic, and Reverb assures a top spot in the trade of musical instruments. What’s more, Etsy acquired a Brazilian brand for handmade products, Elo7, furthering its geographical prowess. The takeaway is simply choosing the right online marketplace niches can make or break your eCommerce business.
6. Think Big and Never Give Up – Jack Ma (Alibaba)
This list can not end without including this legend. Jack Ma is a cornucopia of lessons, be it the eCommerce business arena or life in general. Ma personifies the idea of hard work and quickly demonstrates the real-life outcomes of perseverance.
His early days were filled with challenges which he overcame by integrating experimentation and determination. His vision, even then, was to make Alibaba the number one eCommerce platform in the world. He secured huge investments and carried out the transformation of Alibaba’s IPO.
More importantly, Ma did not limit himself to Alibaba. He established Yunfeng Capital in 2010, which invested in several different sectors and industries. He imparted his guidance, wisdom, and ideas to push various companies in the right direction. You should insist on scaling your business online as eCommerce has a long way to go, and you can make the most of it.
The leading eCommerce tycoons have paved the way for you. The bottom line of any business is to deliver results that satisfy the customers.
While there are many ways to go about it, some of the lessons to learn in eCommerce tycoons include: customizing user experience, teaching a winning company culture, finding solutions to obstacles, expanding tactfully, and above all, consistently being persistent.
It is time for budding eCommerce companies to take their efforts a notch to leverage the market opportunities. An intelligent approach would include strategically planning the growth of your online store and making minor changes to implement these ideas. Consistently testing and making positive changes can offer highly effective outcomes over time.
Carl Torrence is a Content Marketer at Marketing Digest. His core expertise lies in developing data-driven content for brands, SaaS businesses, and agencies. In his free time, he enjoys binge-watching time-travel movies and listening to Linkin Park and Coldplay albums.