Five tips to build your ecommerce business

At only 27 years of age, entrepreneur Davie Fogarty has built himself an ecommerce empire that has generated over $270 million in revenue and landed him a coveted spot on the AFR Young Rich List.

However, success for the founder behind The Oodie, Calming Blankets and Pupnaps didn’t happen overnight. Fogarty endured several challenges and business failures, but his perseverance and hunger for results has seen him amass an enormous amount of digital skills and knowledge. Now, he shares his best tips and tricks for fledgling digital entrepreneurs looking to achieve the same levels of success.

For Fogarty, the key to building a successful business has been all about trying, testing and endless learning. Some months, Davie Group makes more than $20 million a month, a far cry from the $500 a month the business earned in the early days.

“The real secret behind any kind of success is to remain intellectually curious and always be prepared to learn something new,” he says.

“Even the smallest pieces of knowledge can potentially unlock another path or opportunity

“Particularly in a fast-paced and heavily saturated ecommerce market, it is important to be able to take these learnings and adapt your business idea, model or strategy quickly and learn from the mistakes of those around you to build something better.”

Below, Fogarty shares five top tips for fledgling ecommerce entrepreneurs in 2022.

1 Get on board TikTok with an organic strategy. The rapid growth of TikTok’s base, recently surpassing one billion users, has allowed brands to reach huge audiences fast and with minimal effort. Yet many businesses still underestimate the platform’s value.

The Oodie TikTok account grew to over 100,000 followers over a very short period of time and even Fogarty initially underestimated how much impact the platform was having on their sales. TikTok doesn’t require financial investment and is great for raising product awareness or even developing a personal brand.

To be successful, he recommends capitalising on current TikTok trends use trending sounds, asking questions in the captions to increase engagement, posting regularly and committing to the strategy. Most importantly, he recommends brands keep content simple, but creative, witty and/or controversial so that it has the potential to go viral.

2 Use post-purchase attribution surveys. Get feedback from customers after they have made a purchase from your business. Fogarty says that one of the most important questions to be asking your customers is ‘where did you see us?’, as it is crucial to understand where your customers are coming from to focus your marketing activities accordingly.

It also presents an opportunity to ask customers other questions about their opinion of your brand’s service, such as why they didn’t buy or what competitors they looked at. The answers to these questions will inform marketing activities to optimise ad spend and ensure a greater chance of success.

Fogarty recommends tools such as HotJar or Acquire, which can be added to the confirmation page after the customer orders on Shopify. HotJar and other platforms such as Klaviyo can also be put into the post-purchase flow to ask the customer to rate their experience.

3 Most customers prefer email communication. Fogarty says most consumers prefer email marketing over any other form of marketing, as long as it is from a brand they trust and love. He strongly recommends setting up email marketing for your ecommerce business before driving ads. It will lower customer acquisition costs by converting more customers that have visited the website.

Increasing customer retention increases customers’ lifetime value, so a brand doesn’t always need to search for new customers to survive. To set up an effective email marketing strategy, know your business objectives, study your competitors’ design and email copy to ensure you are creating something unique and, finally, find an email marketing provider such as Klaviyo for ecommerce businesses.

4 Analyse your success. Fogarty recommends analysing a constant stream of data to ensure smooth sailing. Using tools such as Klipfolio to build dashboards around key performance indicators (KPIs) can help show deeper analytical insights into customer behaviour and the success of digital tactics. Expand your dashboards beyond sales and marketing into customer satisfaction, and compare advertising spend per channel with sales.

5 Optimise your time. For busy entrepreneurs, learning to optimise time is essential. Fogarty uses the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80-20 rule, whereby 20 per cent of an individual’s work creates 80 per cent of their results. He says it is important to try and identify which activities are in that 20 per cent and focus on them to create more results in less time.