E-commerce Tools & Best Practices

3 Spooky Selling Stories From Successful E-commerce Businesses (Webinar)

By: Michelle McNamara | November 1, 2018

Before we close the door on the spookiest day of the year, we’d like to share scary stories from three successful online retailers (and Shippo customers). These stories were featured in our recent webinar led by Jeff Stone, our VP of customer success, and Adam S., one of our customer success reps.

The issues these businesses experienced are common among online retailers, and the lessons learned provide good insight for any entrepreneur or business owner. Lucky for us, each of these stories has a happy ending. Sure, these businesses ran into a few obstacles along the way, but they have grown tremendously and successfully since then.

Here’s a sneak peek into the nightmares these businesses experienced. For more insight into the lessons learned and tips to navigate these issues, download the full webinar.

Spooky Story #1: Inventory Stock Shock

Mr. Muffin's Trains

First up is Mr. Muffin’s Trains, an e-commerce store that consistently ranks in the top two percent of high-performing Shopify stores. (If you’re ever in Indianapolis, you should head to Mr. Muffin’s fifteen thousand foot model train showroom just outside Atlanta, Indiana.)

When we asked Mr. Muffin about a mistake he made, he said, “I’ve made the mistake of letting my own bias dictate the inventory we stock. The result? I’ve had a bunch of products sitting on the shelves for years and other product that I could have purchased much more of.”

Mr. Muffin’s Trains is not alone. In fact, overstocks and out-of-stocks cost retailers $1.1 trillion globally in lost revenue.

To prevent over or understocking, you should:  

  • Leverage tools like Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner to gauge the interest in a product.
  • Weigh the costs and potential profit to determine the impact of ordering too much.
  • Calculate your inventory turnover ratio and compare to your industry’s standard.

Spooky Story #2: The Wrong Kind of Holiday Break

Matthew Berk, BeanBox Co-founder

Next is Matthew Berk, one of the co-founders of coffee subscription company Bean Box. Founded in 2014, Bean Box ship tens of thousands of packages a month during their busy season.

Matthew shared his most memorable mistake, “During our very first holiday season, we found our process for selling on Amazon was broken—we didn’t have enough resources to satisfy and fulfill orders. So, the first week in December we shut off our Amazon store and focused on our website. We learned a very powerful lesson about preparing for holiday, and for the past three years we start our planning in July.”

Like Matthew mentioned, the best way to prevent your process from breaking during the holiday season is to address issues early. You can also implement automations like shipping software to speed up your process and support you as you grow.

Spooky Story #3: Lacking the Perfect Fit

Luckyleo Dancewear

Finally, we heard from Luckyleo Dancewear, a fast-growing Shopify store that just recently reached 70K followers on Instagram.

Karen Saari, Luckyleo’s administrator, shared their biggest learning lesson, “While we make fun, colorful leotards now, we haven’t always. We actually started out in bridal. We did okay and were beginning to grow slowly, but one of the founders didn’t think it was easily scalable. Plus, the co-founders value creativity and bright colors and the bridal dresses ended up providing a much more sterile creation experience and environment.”

The Luckyleo team learned that early entrepreneurs need to be willing to pivot. If you’re trying to decide if it’s time to move to the next project, ask yourself:

  • Do you have customers?
  • Are you passionate about what you’re doing?
  • How are your finances?

Your responses to the above questions will prove very insightful to whether you should continue on the track you’re on or change courses.

While these stories are certainly scary, these three companies are proof that you can endure these situations and still be successful. Better yet, learn from their mistakes and avoid these challenges altogether with proper planning and forecasting.

The webinar dives deeper into the learning lessons for each of these stories, so be sure to download the recording to access these details. You might also be interested in our holiday checklist created to help online retailers prep for the upcoming selling season.

Michelle McNamara

Content Strategist at Shippo

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