Running an online business isn’t easy. It takes a lot of patience, determination and hard work, and you need to remember that success doesn’t magically happen over night. On top of that, the industry is growing fast and constantly changing; new trends are emerging left, right, and centre and it’s not always easy to stay ahead of the game.
Whether you’re new to eCommerce or have been in the industry for years, we believe that a little inspiration can go a long way. So, we’ve put together a list of 12 eCommerce entrepreneurs that will inspire you.
Check them out, read their success stories, and as they say, learn from the best.
We love VR at Pixc and think it’s going to be huge for online shopping — I tried the VR display at the Shopify Unite conference and came away incredibly impressed.
Meet the man behind Shopify’s VR efforts: Daniel Beauchamp. His official title is the Head of Virtual Reality, and he’s the guy that helps position Shopify at the forefront of the coming vCommerce (virtual commerce) movement.
If you want to stay updated with VR, stayed tuned on his Twitter, @pushmatrix.
Carl is the CEO of Temando, a company that helps companies optimize product delivery to customers. He’s won many awards for his work, including the IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year in Australia.
As Carl says, if you want to sell online, you need to get three things in order: a place to sell, a method of accepting payments, and a way to ship your products. If you’ve ever tried to ship a product (especially internationally), you understand that it can sometimes be a struggle. Temando lets store owners ship from anywhere in a streamlined fulfillment process.
Steve is the founder of My Wife Quit Her Job, a blog with a catchy name and incredibly valuable tips for eCommerce.
When Steve’s wife became pregnant, Steve set out to replace her $100K salary within a year. He’s achieved that goal, and now he teaches budding entrepreneurs how to start their own eCommerce businesses.
If you’ve ever thought about creating an online store, start at Steve’s website. You’ll find a treasure trove of information about getting your business set up, as well as a popular blog with plenty of eCommerce tips.
Linda Bustos is the genius behind the GetElastic blog, the number-one subscribed eCommerce blog in the world. It offers incredibly valuable advice on everything from multi-channel management to conversion optimization.
In October 2015, Linda co-founded Edgacent, a firm that advises and creates strategy for eCommerce brands. Along with her partners Matt Dion and Mark Miller, Edgacent has a power-packed 50 years of experience under its roof.
Right now Linda is writing Ecommerce Illustrated, a book that covers optimizing eCommerce essentials — everything from your home page to your checkout page. The book is slated to arrive this spring, so while you wait, make sure to read the companion blog for in-depth articles on improving your store.
At this moment, Richard’s pinned post on his Twitter reads:
“I’m on a steadfast path of helping 20,000 entrepreneurs this year. I’ll sacrifice everything to reach this goal.”
That’s the kind of passion Richard brings as the founder of A Better Lemonade Stand, an online eCommerce incubator. Every day, he helps entrepreneurs launch and grow their stores. He knows what he’s talking about, too, having served on the Growth Team at Shopify.
If you’d like to see what A Better Lemonade Stand is all about, take a look at #TheGreatBuild, which details the steps Richard took to create a thriving eCommerce store. Also, check out the blog’s Guides page, which includes the “Ecommerce Incubator Black Book” (a collection of Richard’s favorite tools) and an eCommerce branding guide.
One big lesson any store owner can take from Susan and Eric’s experience is you should know your target customers really well. ModCloth collects detailed feedback from its customers, allowing the store to release new styles in the right quantities. Be the Buyer, for example, lets customers vote for their favorite designs — designs that later end up being sold on Modcloth apparel.
According to Susan, Modcloth has changed the fashion industry because it lets customers dictate what’s stylish. As she says, the fashion world is “no longer top down.” Any store owner would do well learn about their customers and start a conversation with their audience — just like Modcloth does.
Ezra is the CEO of a website called Smart Marketer, a fantastic resource that can heighten your marketing chops and bring more customers to your store. It’ll answer all your questions about traffic and conversion, copywriting, and content marketing.
It’s not difficult to see how good Ezra is at what he does — the proof’s in the pudding. One store with which he’s partnered, Boom by Cindy Joseph, does $1.5 million in sales per month. And that’s on top of the multiple seven-figure eCommerce businesses he runs!
Here’s a classic case of a sharp-eyed entrepreneur, spotting a need in the market and providing a solution.
Chris Folayan is the founder and CEO of Mall for Africa, Africa’s largest online store. It connects buyers in Africa to sellers in the US and the UK; consumers love it because they know their products will arrive reliably, and retailers love it because they can sell to the African market and can ship without risking fraud and chargebacks.
Chris created an elegant business model in Mall for Africa. His platform doesn’t carry any inventory; instead, it serves as a facilitator between consumers and retailers.
The Mall for Africa example is a great story, furthermore, of how diligent work brings success. Chris started his business in his spare bedroom, and today the platform is Africa’s biggest online shopping hub.
There are tons of resources out there for the entrepreneur just starting out with eCommerce, but Andrew Youderian is unique in that he runs an online forum specifically for business owners who run a six- or seven-figure eCommerce store.
The eCommerceFuel forum promises invaluable advice, interesting people to hang out with, an annual community meetup, a contractor directory, and masterminds.
If your store hasn’t quite hit the six-figure mark, you can still acquire valuable tips from the eCommerceFuel podcast. A few of the recent episodes include discussions about how to generate seven-figure sales through Instagram and brand storytelling tips from a Hollywood screenwriter.
Evan Carmichael is a man who lives and breathes entrepreneurship. He’s also someone who’s done a lot of interesting things in his life (he can tell you about some of those things in 99 words).
Many business owners might know Evan from his popular “Rules for Success” YouTube videos — a few of the especially popular ones include videos about Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett. Watch them for life-changing tips and a ridiculous amount of inspiration.
No doubt one of the reasons he’s so ubiquitous is because, as he puts it, he believes in entrepreneurs. If you’d like to see how he can help and inspire you, make sure to join his #BelieveTeam.
Neil Patel is one of the foremost marketing authorities on the web with many rock-solid claims to fame. He’s helped giants like Viacom, General Motors, NBC, and Amazon grow their revenue. He’s co-founded much-admired companies like Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics. He’s even been recognized by the United States House of Representatives with Congressional Recognition!
So, what can Neil do for you? Well, for one, he can help you grow your website at an explosive rate. Check out his blog and his website Quick Sprout (both must-reads) for detailed guides on getting more traffic, dominating social media, and creating awesome content.
Also, check out Neil’s Advanced Customer Acquisition Webinar, which, among other things, will teach you how to convert traffic into actual paying customers.
Michael Perry is the founder of Kit, a brilliantly simple customer relationship management (CRM) tool.
Now, CRM software is usually better-tuned for B2B companies, and it can be unwieldy. Michael’s company tackles both of those problems: Kit works extremely well for B2C companies and is perhaps the most user-friendly CRM out there (it does, after all, operate through texting on your phone!).
With a simple text, Shopify store owners can send thank-you emails to new customers, distribute Facebook and Instagram ads, send business reports, and more. This is a godsend for small business owners and solopreneurs — they don’t have to learn complicated CRM software or pay an arm and a leg to keep track of customers.
Michael and his team have done such a good job that their company was just acquired in April by Shopify. That, of course, is a big score for Kit. But it’s a bigger score for the thousands of Shopify stores all over the world.
At Pixc, we LOVE success stories. If there are any eCommerce entrepreneurs that have inspired you or that you frequently turn to for advice, let us know in the comments.
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