They Built an eCommerce Business From Scratch in 3 Days – What are the Takeaways?

Back in June Richard Lazazzera published a (VERY) long post on the Shopify Blog called “How We Built an eCommerce Business from Scratch and Generated $922.16 in Revenue in 3 Days“.

In the post he explains in detail how with 3 others and $500 they went from nothing to 32 orders. To mind the blog is required reading for anyone in eCommerce, or thinking about getting started in eCommerce.  Just the section on how they marketed it is fascinating and packed with good, easy to execute, ideas.

There are lots of very clever little ideas in the post for you to try out (Reddit, Product Hunt and others I hadn’t previously thought of…, as well as photography and product advice). Rather than regurgitate the original, I thought I’d share what I think we can learn from their experience of building an eCommerce business, fast.

shopify in 3 days results 1
The headline results from just 3 days

Impact of the 3 day timeline

Building an eCommerce business in 3 days isn’t something many of us will ever do – but the time restriction mean that they had to make decisions fast, and focus on what was the most important to get right.

Of course we could all do with being a bit more focused! But the tight timeline really shows what was key to making this a success…

Don’t do it on your own

It may have only been 3 days, but there were 4 of them working on it. Each with a slightly different skill set to bring to the table.

You may not be able to have 4 employees – but make sure you’re chatting through the big decisions with someone else rather than operating with just your own brain!

And call on experts in the field when you get stuck – it’s not necessarily going to cost you anything, just ping off a tweet and you’ll be amazed at the responses you get.

The first step of their marketing activity was tell family and friends what they were up to, bringing in 6 of their 32 orders (that 19%). So don’t forget to tell your friends and family what you’re up to.

Understand your in-house skill set and outsource if you need to

The team were lucky enough to have pretty good design skills, so creating the logo was easy for them. As were the labels.

But for most of us that’s something we should outsource – it doesn’t have to cost very much (<£100 using Upwork or 99Designs), and will save you a LOT of time and effort.

That goes for every single task in the business. Is it worth you doing it? Or should you outsource?

If you want to move VERY fast – dropship

In order to have the product live in 3 days they basically had to dropship, and it took a long time to find someone willing to work with them as such a new enterprise.

[Dropshipping = the order is placed on your site, and sent to the wholesaler/ manufacturer who ship it on your behalf to the customer. So you don’t have to worry about inventory or despatch]

Don’t think that drop shipping is the perfect solution though. The common theme throughout my podcast interviews is that at the heart of success is great customer service – and if you’re not in control of the shipping you’re not in control of the customer service.

It is all about the product

The first thing they do is work out what the product will be.

Then source it / design it / photograph it. And get the product page information right.

The product then strongly influences their choice of marketing methods.

Having a trending product is very helpful, as is having a product that’s so interesting – there are lots to talk about and lots of people talking about it….

AND – It is all about the customer

There’s no point in launching unless there are people who want it. That’s what triggered the product choice. They didn’t sit down and say “I love macha tea”, they sat down and said “What do people want to buy right now”.

There is no point in launching if there’s no customers. (or not enough customers, or customers you can’t get in front of!)

By finding something that’s a new trend it also made sure that the competition was going to be low.

Then the marketing and the site creation is all about making it easy for the customer as well.

Consider your brand right from the start

Right from the beginning they were considering what impression the branding, style and name would give.

Including making sure it appeared premium (and the product stood up to that) so that the price point would be higher.

Use short term and long term marketing methods – and test lots

With the marketing they kicked off I think they were setting up for future success, not just to make an impressive 3 day performance.

Several of the marketing methods are ones which I’d expect to take a few months to really show worth while results. So look at their marketing not as “quick fix, quick results” but as a sensible launch marketing plan. (the only one they left out due to time restrictions was building an email sign up, with follow up sequence).

Despite their time restrictions they started with 7 different marketing methods offering a mix of short term and long term, and covering Advertising (per click and normal), Social media, and Content.