4 lessons your e-commerce startup can learn from these successful companies

Brian Zeng

You can establish a loyal customer base even if you don’t have a million-dollar budget with the right branding and engagement

The e-commerce industry is booming right now, and why not? With the influx of millennials, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the e-commerce market is going to expand rapidly. According to Statista, retail e-commerce sales in the United States alone are projected to surpass US$ 485 billion in 2021. In 2016, online sales amounted to more than US$350 billion.

Image Source – www.statista.com

However, as the market grows, so does the competition. Setting up an online store and waiting for customers to come knocking is no longer enough. To stand out in this increasingly cluttered market, next-generation online retailers need to come up with unique ways to engage with customers. The end goal of an e-commerce startup should be to create an unforgettable shopping experience for consumers.

Read on to know what these four e-commerce companies did to stand out in their niche. Your e-commerce startup can learn a lot from them.

1. Threadless – Adopting a unique business concept

Threadless is a highly-successful t-shirt company that has sold millions of t-shirts to date. The company used a unique business model by carefully studying the emerging e-commerce trends when it opened its doors in 2000. Threadless allows people to submit their t-shirt designs. The users can vote, and the best designs get printed. This community-driven design concept has enabled the company to take its e-commerce business to a whole new level.

Image Source: www.threadless.com

Threadless develops dozens of new t-shirts without professional designers, paid advertising or sales channels. Over the years, the company has amassed a vast collection of out-of-the-box t-shirt designs created by the community. This is an example of an e-commerce business that emphasizes on transparency and trust. Instead of pushing their products on the customer who wouldn’t hear about it otherwise, the company focuses on promoting designs created for and voted by the people for the people.

2. LittleBig Bikes: Offering a brilliant product

Nothing sells better than a brilliant product itself, particularly in a crowded market. Even if you have an amazingly simple, yet marketable product, you can easily attract loads of customers in a relatively short time. LittleBig Bikes is an example of an online business that is killing it with a simple, yet innovative product and an equally competent e-commerce set up. Launched in 2014, LittleBig Bikes is the brainchild of Simon Evans. The company manufactures three-in-one bicycles that adapt to a growing child’s needs. The bike’s design allows you to turn it into a bigger bike with a higher saddle and a longer handlebar reach by rotating the rear of the bike’s frame.

Image Source: www.littlebigbikes.com

Located in Ireland, the company focuses exclusively on online sales, thus attracting customers from all over the globe. As a result, nearly 25 per cent of the business comes from the US, approximately 50 per cent from the UK, and the remaining from the rest of the world, including Ireland. The online store functions across a range of devices and offers a rich shopping experience to the global customer base.

3. Chubbies Shorts: Taking content marketing to the next level

If you want to learn about leveraging content marketing for your e-commerce business, Chubbies Shorts is the right place to start. This Silicon Valley startup is a content marketing and branding powerhouse. Chubbies Shorts is a next-generation e-commerce company that sells US$60 shorts to men. They have one of the most effective content marketing strategies out there, particularly their weekly newsletter.

Also read: Definitive steps to a content marketing strategy your customers will love

The newsletter isn’t just a marketing platform. Rather, it focuses on sharing hilarious real-life stories clients may enjoy reading. Each post, video or newsletter is an attempt to make their brand as customer-centric as possible. It may sound surprising, but they don’t have a blog. Instead, the company focuses on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts, product descriptions, and even customer experiences. Users often share photos via email or social media platforms, which other Chubbies share on their social media accounts. It’s no surprise their brand gets a copious amount of word-of-mouth publicity.

Image Source: www.chubbiesshorts.com

The Chubbies marketing team makes sure that none of their content appears salesy, not even their service page. Take a look at the service page yourself. By incorporating innovative content marketing tactics in their marketing strategy, they’ve developed a dedicated customer base.

4. Contiki: Using Facebook for generating brand awareness

Contiki is a worldwide leader in group travel for 18 to 35-year olds. This company is using its Facebook page to drive the online business. The travel brand is promoting their products on their Facebook page by posting a collection of helpful tips, lifestyle and inspirational content, and breathtaking images taken by their customers. The brand clearly knows how to leverage social media to attract millennials.

A couple of years ago, Contiki launched a social media campaign called #NOREGRETS around the concept of “You only have one shot, so make it count.” The end goal of the campaign was to inspire young travelers to think outside the box when it comes to travel. In their latest Facebook campaign, “What will you do in 2017 that you’ll remember forever?” the travel brand is asking followers to share the year they’ll remember forever and the experiences that made it memorable.

They avoid ramming products into their Facebook page, and instead share content specifically crafted for 18 to 35-years old travel enthusiasts from all over the globe. The appealing and high-quality content is enough to coax people to think of Contiki whenever they want to plan their next holiday.

Conclusion

With the ever-increasing competition, running a successful online business has become a challenge. Fortunately, several brands have found new and innovative ways to develop a loyal customer base and not all of them are multimillion dollar corporations. These four e-commerce examples will help you establish a fool-proof strategy to make your brand a huge success. Are there any e-commerce success stories you have found inspiring? Please share your experience in the comment section below.

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