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How To Build E-Commerce Sales 101

In May of 2020, Jessica Bierman began her venture as Founder and CEO of JBIER Inc. and founded the JBIER Fashion Internship Program. Through this program, undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to partner with a growing startup to gain experience in digital media marketing, project management, fashion merchandising and product management, website design, photography, as well as e-commerce sales. Through the development of the Internship Program, Jessica has utilized her experience as a mentee by becoming a mentor herself and advising students as well as recent graduates. As a female entrepreneur, she has been involved in several notable organizations within the past few years, such as Cosmetic Executive Women's Organization Inc. (CEW).

"CEW’s purpose is to provide programs that develop careers and knowledge of the beauty industry through industry leader talks, trend reports, newsletters and mentoring." - Cosmetic Executive Women's Organization Inc. (CEW).

As a non-profit professional organization, CEW strives to inspire, connect, and uplift small business owners, like Jessica, by offering supportive programs, such as the Small Business Advisory Program. As a mentee, Jessica partners with powerful female leaders, including Rachel Hersh, and has the opportunity to attend various CEW webinars and events led by beauty industry professionals. Jessica was incredibly inspired by the online event, Creating an Optimal Sales Funnel for E-commerce, hosted by Estella Benz.

Estella Benz founded Skin Match Technology, a software company that allows beauty brands and consumers to find personalized beauty matches for skincare, haircare, body care, and makeup. As a successful businesswoman and founder, she shared four vital steps on how to build an optimal sales funnel for e-commerce. We would like to share key insights and takeaways Benz presented to help other women in pursuit of starting their own e-commerce businesses.

Stage 1: Pre-Launch

When starting the pre-launch phase of an e-commerce business, three main areas of focus are:

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  2. Social Media

  3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital to a company's growth strategy because when customers look up keywords that are relevant to the business, the goal is to be in the top results. When thinking of how to boost SEO, it's crucial to pick essential keywords that reflect the business and to familiarize yourself with Google trends.

In today's world, social media is more relevant than ever. Businesses should create social media accounts that align with their brand identity to establish their overall presence in the industry and increase exposure. Benz believes it is essential that social media managers are genuinely passionate about digital media marketing and customer relationship management (CRM). In the pre-launch stage, it is important to conduct research on CRM platforms, as well as gather customers' contact information to build your client list. Jessica and the JBIER team conduct thorough research on our customers and keywords that align best with the JBIER brand identity. We ensure that this message is consistent across all social media and sale platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Poshmark, and of course the JBIER website. We created a seamless, internal CRM system to track and monitor the relationships between JBIER and our customers.

Stage 2: Launch

Congratulations! You've officially made it to the most exciting part of starting a business, the launch phase. You know you're ready to launch when your e-commerce website is user-friendly, meaning it's clear and consistent, customers can easily navigate the site, and there is a strong call to action. Benz emphasized the importance of a businesses' product page and shared 5 crucial items to include in the product page. Jessica places high importance in the JBIER website's product page, ensuring it is as detailed as possible and provides customers with a full representation of the product, as shown below.

Stage 3: Post-Launch

You've launched your website, now what? How do you keep customers engaged and encourage them to return to your site? Strategizing how to reach and retain loyal, returning customers is the main objective in the post-launch stage. Once you earn trust from your customers, they will return back to your site, resulting in customer loyalty. When customers return to repurchase, word of mouth follows. Providing top-of-the-line customer service and offering the highest quality products motivates your customers to share their experiences with friends and family.

Another great way to build customer loyalty is by providing a subscription service. Benz emphasized that there has to be a reason for the subscription service and you must choose the product and/or service wisely. It's important to consider how you want the customer to act, and more importantly to make clear what the customer gains from the subscription service. Although the JBIER website does not offer a subscription service at this time, Jessica is inspired by Benz's insights on the post-launch phase and intends on launching a similar service in the near future. The JBIER team agrees that implementing a subscription service into the website would increase sales with repeat purchases and add value to the overall shopping experience.

Stage 4: Growth

Ultimately, when beginning an e-commerce business, the main goal is to consistently grow. This comes with many trial and errors. Knowing how to improve the customer experience, gaining insight on what products are your best sellers, and how you can better meet your customer's needs, are key factors that are learned along the way. Not only will the business grow, but your team will as well. Nurturing and building a great team that believes in the business and its mission is what will lead to success. After all, your team is your biggest asset!

"Teamwork makes the dream work, which is why I place such high emphasis on talent acquisition. It is important to ensure that each member of the team shares the same vision, goals, and beliefs. Although we offer different tracks in our internship program, I curate roles based on individuals' skillset, experience, and interest. By doing just that, we are able to build the most diverse, collaborative team from coast to coast. I am so proud of all the milestones I've achieved alongside the JBIER team and couldn't be more thankful for to have such a supportive, hardworking, and creative team." - Jessica Bierman

"My team and I would like to thank CEW for being such a resourceful platform for business owners with an inspiring community of experienced beauty industry professionals. CEW truly shows what it means for women to support other women and the power of networking. Between the high-level qualitative and quantitative reports, online webinars, and events, CEW is an impactful resource for not only Jessica, but the JBIER team as well. In fact, staying up-to-date with the latest trends is one of the best ways to beat the competition and stay relevant. The Small Business Advisory Program is such a unique way to connect likeminded entrepreneurs around the world. I am so thankful for my mentor, Rachel Hersh at Prestige Capital and CEW's, Leslie Hutchings for connecting me with my new mentors, Randi Liodice at Kaplow and Ashley Banks at Iced Media. - Jessica Bierman

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