June 12, 2024

What do the fastest growing ecommerce stores have in common?

Kristen Campbell

Fast growth is the goal for almost every ecommerce store owner. Fortunately, ecommerce is a rapidly growing field! The number of online buyers in the United States is expected to continue increasing almost 22% each year, to reach 333.5 million users by 2029. In fact, the US is one of the largest ecommerce markets in the world, which gives ecommerce merchants plenty of opportunity to lead with their brand. 

Many ecommerce founders wonder how the most successful ecommerce store owners have boosted their growth, revenue, and customer base. Here are some real life examples of how ecommerce merchants strategically grew their brand, with some takeaway tips you’ll want to adopt.

What makes an ecommerce store grow their revenue, customers, and sales fast?

Rapid growth starts with a great product. According to BigCommerce, profitable products target customer pain points, support the founder’s passion, or solve a problem a market has. Great products should not only be something the customer wants to buy, but something the merchant is able to supply, source, and sell. Merchants should also take into account feasibility given the resources at hand.

Clearco customers, Cecil & Lou founders launched their children's apparel company because they could not find custom, high quality, matching children’s clothing for the milestone moments their young families were experiencing together. Cecil & Lou founders realized from Facebook groups that other new parents were experiencing the same pain points and out bloomed a multi-million dollar ecommerce empire.

Another example could be launching an ecommerce brand around convenient breakfast bars or screen-printed fitness apparel. It may be relatively easy for a first-time Amazon merchant or Shopify store,  but engine modules for rocket ships take time before they’re (literally) ready to launch! 

Fast growth comes from products that meet market needs

Fast growing ecommerce stores sell products that resonate with customers. Customers want to buy them, to re-buy them, or even to share the experience of buying them with people looking for similar items. Products that fill a market need generally solve a problem users have or solve the problem in a way that existing offerings do not. When customers actually purchase the product, despite other options available, there is product-market fit.

According to Marc Andreessen (who should know a thing or two about product-market fit, having created the first widely-used web browser!), good product-market fit can’t help but lead to growth. Great markets, with potential customers and unmet customer needs, actually pull products out of the startup and into growth stages. This is true for products in technology, financial, ecommerce - or any sector.

The product doesn’t have to be perfect, but if it works to meet customer needs, customers will buy it as quickly as the store can put it on the shelves. In the Cecil & Lou example, founders Ashley and Blythe McCain hopped into an unmet market need for high quality custom children’s clothing. Before starting their private label, founders Ashley and Blythe used local vendors for monogramming, Paypal to invoice customers, and Facebook auctions to sell. When demand was consistently outstripping supply, the market had already effectively ‘created’ the business model Cecil & Lou used for their fast-growing brand. 

Fast growth comes from strategic capital management

Having product-market fit is one half of the equation, but having leadership that can execute on the idea is another. No matter how ‘hungry’ the market is for a certain product, it might lose interest if the company fails to deliver on expectations. For brands like Thomson Ferrier, part of fulfilling market interest (and continuing to grow) was being able to forecast and purchase peak season inventory in advance. Founder Raffi Arslanian was able to use insights like contribution and profit margins to weigh the benefits of Invoice Funding. With inventory required 3-4 months in advance of a busy season, Thomson Ferrier needed to pay deposits to suppliers as much as 8 months in advance. Forecasting inventory needs and paying suppliers up front ensured the business was able to match inventory storage levels to periods of peak market demand – ensuring sellout sales and rapid growth. This type of planning and precision requires excellent leadership to carry out and continue building on a successful brand.

Fast growth comes from a great brand

Connecting with the market is one aspect of sales, but reaching the same market is another. Fast-moving ecommerce brands reach customers with savvy marketing. Most importantly, fast-growing brands reach customers with marketing in places where they already are. For example, ecommerce merchant Gymshark’s founders saw its target buyers in the subscribers for YouTube fitness channels. It sent the influencers merchandise,  which wasn’t common at the time. Unlike other social media partnerships, Chief Brand Officer Noel Mack used his music industry experience to ensure Gymshark’s partnerships weren’t a ‘X dollars for X posts’ transaction. Gymshark soon built the brand around an influencer community so popular it ultimately led to other influencers vying for a slot, for free – which led to massive growth and ‘unicorn’ status for the brand.

What do the fastest growing ecommerce stores have in common? 

The ecommerce stores discussed here are similar examples of how meeting the needs of a market with a great product, sound business strategy, and clever marketing can lead to accelerated growth for the brand. Product-market fit can make ecommerce offerings fly off the shelves – but it’s no good to the business to have hundreds of customers and an empty store. Strategic decisions about products and stock should go hand in hand with marketing efforts and the creation of the brand. This way, demand grows and supply keeps pace: leading to rapid and effective growth for your ecommerce business.

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Kristen Campbell
Content Writer

Kristen is the co-founder and Director of Content at Skeleton Krew, a B2B marketing agency focused on growth in tech, software, and statups. She has written for a wide variety of companies in the fields of healthcare, banking, and technology. In her spare time, she enjoys writing stories, reading stories, and going on long walks (to think about her stories).