Welcome to #TheGreatBuild, a series dedicated to starting an ecommerce business from scratch. In this series, the founder of A Better Lemonade Stand, Richard Lazazzera, shares the lessons he learns and the strategies he tries as he builds his own ecommerce business from the ground up. This series has been created with the intention of showing other new entrepreneurs what it takes to start an ecommerce business so it will hopefully inspire them to start their own online business, too.
To read all the blog posts included in this series, navigate using the Table of Contents down below.
Table of Contents
- #TheGreatBuild: Choosing a Niche & Product to Sell Online
- #TheGreatBuild: Product & Niche Evaluation
- #TheGreatBuild: The Great Reveal of My Product & Niche Selection
- #TheGreatBuild: Make, Manufacture, Wholesale or Drop Ship
- #TheGreatBuild: Negotiating with a Manufacturer
- #TheGreatBuild: Choosing a Shopping Cart
- #TheGreatBuild: Pivoting
- #TheGreatBuild: How to Build a Brand Persona
- #TheGreatBuild: Unveiling My Brand
- #TheGreatBuild: DIY Product Photography
- #TheGreatBuild: How to Launch a Business
- #TheGreatBuild: First Month Revenue & Marketing Report
- #TheGreatBuild: Behind the Scenes of a 6-Month-Old Ecommerce Business
It’s already been nearly a month since the launch of my ecommerce business, Finch Goods Co. I launched the business on April 6th, so this report is technically for 3 weeks, but I figured it would be best to do a revenue report for the month of April.
I haven’t yet decided how often I am going to be doing revenue & marketing reports. It may happen every month, or I may extend it to every 2-3 months. We will see.
It’s been an exciting first month and I have many things to share with you. First, I want to note that I did a pretty soft launch. I didn’t have the variety of the products I was hoping to start with due to various reasons, but I decided to launch anyways. It was a difficult decision to make, especially if you’re a perfectionist like me, to launch a project you don’t feel is ready to be launched but #TheGreatBuild had already taken longer than expected with my business pivot and I was getting anxious to begin shipping product. So, how soft was the launch? Well, you guys are basically the only people I really announced it to. I have yet to even post this to my personal Facebook page for my friends and family to see.
Because of the soft launch, I spent much of my time this month curating new products for a more well-rounded collection, completing some design work, and editing some of the product descriptions (which still need a lot of work). I spent very little of my time on marketing.
Despite this, I still am proud of my accomplishments for the first month.
My goal for April (24 days) for #TheGreatBuild project was to generate $500 in revenue.
For a total of the first 25 days of business, Finch Goods Co. revenues finished strong at $1,235.00 with a total of 12 orders.
Traffic & Conversion
Traffic was not bad. Actually pretty good, in my opinion, for the small amount of promotion I did. I had 1,273 unique visitors for the month and a conversion rate of 0.7%. These numbers give me a good base to begin working from to increase sales and conversions.
Social media growth was pretty healthy with a strong boost to my Instagram account. Details on how I accomplished this further down in the report.
Other Tracked Metrics
For Finch Goods Co. there are several key metrics I will be tracking closely besides revenue, traffic, and social growth. Those metrics include:
- Email Subscribers – 68/76
- Added To Cart – 117 (7%)
- Reached Checkout – 39 (2%)
- Purchased – 12 (0.7%)
- Average Order Size – $102.96
Wins This Month
One of the manufacturers I purchase from has a particularly strong social following on Instagram with 16,000 fans. I had posted a photo to the Finch Goods Co. Instagram Account that included one of their products. They reposted it to their account and tagged me in it, which netted me almost 350 followers. Here is that photo:
I also had an awesome and happy customer that tweeted out his order when he received it. It always makes you feel great to see customers happy about your products and services.
I was interviewed by a local fashion blogger who originally reached out to me on Twitter. It’s great to start local and it starts to get the word out about my brand and my story. Check out the post on XY Vibes.
Losses This Month
Unfortunately, a customer purchased a wallet and within 3 days the stitching was starting to come loose. Completely unacceptable considering these wallets are extremely high quality and meant to last a lifetime. Sometimes these things happen though. He sent me a message along with an image of the issue:
I responded within 3 minutes to apologize and tell him that I’ll fix the situation. Since I didn’t happen to have any more stock of his particular wallet, I placed another order with the manufacturer immediately and let him know the timeline for his replacement wallet. I asked him to send me back the defective wallet and let me know the cost of shipping, and I would offer him credit at Finch Goods Co. for the total cost.
He seemed very happy with my response. Unfortunately, this will come at a cost of about $25 out of pocket for all the extra shipping costs I will incur. Sometimes, that is the cost of business though.
Upon forwarding the image to the manufacturer, they promptly replied and sent me a complimentary one to send my customer.
Marketing This Month
Despite the limited amount of marketing I did, I had a few marketing wins this month.
- Instagram: One sale for $240 came directly from an image I posted. I was also able to acquire over 350 Instagram followers this month with the help of Bison Made reposting my image and tagging me. I am pretty sure I had another sale ($214) as well for one of my wallets that came from Instagram but I am unable to directly connect that back.
- Twitter Reach Out: Two confirmed sales came directly from relationships built pre-launch on Twitter. I reached out to 4 people in total and gave them $10 to spend however they like at Finch Goods Co. Those two sales totaled $215.50
Goals & Tactics For Next Month
I have several lofty goals and tactics for achieving each goal for next month:
My revenue still isn’t my primary concern at this point, however, I am raising my revenue goals from $500 this month to $750 for May. Even though I did more than $750 this month in revenue, I feel there was some luck involved and those exclusive wallets I was carrying helped to bump my numbers.
Maintain and Increase Average Order Size
My average order size at $102 is MUCH higher than I expected. This is partially because of the 2 premium wallets I sold. I do expect next month for this to be lower, however, average order size is important for profitability and helps to offset the costs of shipping. I will be continuously looking for ways to increase this number. Some tactics will include looking at options to create packages and group items/products together.
Reoccurring revenue is a dream. It’s more predictable, stable, and allows you to increase your marketing spend to acquire customers because of the lifetime value of the customer higher. Several competitors do a monthly sock subscription which is something I have wanted to do from the very beginning. However, all my competitors seem to be fighting to see who can offer the lowest cost sock subscription. I do not intend or want to play in that arena, so I really want to figure out how I can provide a superior premium service. While they are charging $13-$14 per month, I’m aiming for $20-$25. Any thoughts?
Decrease Shopping Cart Abandonment
Klaviyo Email Marketing has extended their service and sponsored #TheGreatBuild, so over the next week or two, I’m going to be setting up their service to help manage cart abandoners and try to reel them back in.
Increase Social Following
I have identified Instagram as a possible effective social marketing channel that I feel like I can “crack”. This month I am planning on doing a large Instagram promotion where I will be reaching out to several large men’s fashion and accessory accounts and pay for a sponsored image post on their account to drive new followers to Finch Goods’s Instagram account. My goal is to reach 100,000 potential Instagrammers and acquire a total of 2,000 followers in total.
Overall, I am really happy with the first month. I didn’t expect to be even close to $1,235 in revenue for my first month, especially since it was only a partial month.
Although I expect revenues and average order size to be smaller for month two, I am excited to tackle the challenges. I have some pretty clear goals and tactics for achieving each one.