Growing an e-commerce business is challenging. You need to get everything right — from store design and product images to marketing and fulfillment.
Now, there are two ways to get everything right:
- You can spend your time & money to A/B test your way to success.
- OR, you don’t reinvent the wheel and learn from examples of stores that are already crushing it.
What’s your choice? Our guess: You’ll read articles like this one, learn whatever you can from the e-commerce businesses that have made it, and start from there.
If that’s the correct guess, you are going to love these examples.
The 5 Ecommerce Business Examples To Learn From:
Men’s pants. Bonobos — one of the leading men’s clothing e-stores & that Walmart acquired for a whopping $310 million in 2017 — started by selling men’s pants.
Let me rephrase: In 2007, Brian Spaly and Andy Dunn launched Bonobos with one product: better-looking, better-fitting men’s pants. And consumers loved it!
In his Medium article, Andy Dunn states, “Consumers don’t need many things from your company —they just need one thing from your company. You may want them to need everything from your company, but guess what: consumers don’t care what you want. Your job is to care about what they want, not what you want them to want.”
That’s what you can take away from the Bonobos example.
- Focus on one thing initially.
2. Dollar Shave Club
Founded in 2011 by Michael Dubin and Mark Levine, Dollar Shave Club is one of the most successful subscription e-commerce businesses. How successful? Well, Unilever paid $1 billion to acquire it, just after five years of the company launch!
What Dollar Shave Club sold wasn’t something unique, but the idea to send essential shaving equipment to the customer’s doorstep at a regular interval was. The convenience it sold combined with fun marketing like its first viral video, “Our Blades Are F***ing Great,” made Dollar Shave Club successful in record time.
- You don’t necessarily need to undercut your competitors to win customers. People buy for many reasons: In Dollar Shave club’s case, the reason was/is convenience.
Leesa sells mattresses online — mattresses that helped Leesa founders sleep better. Their first successful product was a “Universal Adaptive Feel” mattress that adjusted to bodies of all sizes and shapes.
They are so confident in their product that they offer a 100-night free trial to mattress buyers. That confidence also reflects in their marketing strategy:
Instead of spending marketing budget on ads, they rely on word of mouth. They have set an affiliate marketing program that incentivizes customers that bring more customers, which has led to a snowball effect.
- Make your products so good that you consumers bring more consumers.
Pro Tip: You can set up a Shopify affiliate app with Social Snowball to amplify word of mouth.
4. Warby Parker
Warby Parker is an online retailer of prescription glasses that started because of one question: Why are glasses so expensive?
Dave Gilboa, one of the four founders of 2010-started Warby Parker, describes the eureka moment of finding the answer to the question: “Understanding that the same company owned LensCrafters and Pearle Vision, Ray-Ban and Oakley, and the licenses for Chanel and Prada prescription frames and sunglasses — all of a sudden, it made sense to me why glasses were so expensive.”
Hence started a fashionable and low-cost online glasses retailer, Warby Parker. Combined with unconventional marketing strategies (that included telling resonating stories & publishing fun content) and memorable customer experience, Warby Parker disrupted a monopolized space in style.
- Understand your USP (unique selling proposition).
- People resonate with stories. Incorporate them into your marketing mix.
Born in Susan Gregg Koger’s dorm room, Modcloth is a Women’s clothing brand that focuses on authenticity and stories.
- They interact with fans on social media and take requests.
- Their customers can sign up to model for product landing pages. All photos on the site are authentic — there’s no airbrushing to fit the traditional “beauty” mold.
- With its Be The Buyer campaign, ModCloth even allowed customers to vote on potential clothing designs.
- Anyone can chat with ModStylists for personal styling and product questions.
- Their blog is filled with behind-the-design stories.
All of it has made ModCloth an ever-growing strong community of loyal customers.
- Keep your customers first.
- People connect with stories.
All in All
Learning from examples is an effective way to get forward faster. We hope you got some ideas to implement for your store from the e-commerce business examples mentioned above.
If your store already attracts a significant number of customers, one sure-shot way to grow it is with an affiliate program.