Some e-commerce SMBs are thriving in the recession…

April 11, 2009

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Sophias

I was excited to see ChannelAdvisor customer, Sophias Style, get some really great press this week.  They were first featured by local TV station, KETV.  Then their local paper, the Omaha World-Herald ran this piece.  Finally, the story went national with stories on CNN and MSNBC.
A couple of thoughts on this coverage, I’d love to hear yours in comments too:
  • I was excited that Jake worked a stealth Star Wars quote into the OWH piece – did you catch it?
  • At ChannelAdvisor, we’re really proud of the success these guys are seeing and are happy to have played a small part in that success – congrats guys!
  • Jake+Belinda have been coming to Catalyst for years now, if you’re coming, you can meet these rising stars in a couple of weeks and learn more about the keys to their success.
  • For all you sellers out there, here’s a call to action – let your local business news media know you are doing well, hiring, growing.  The press is starved for this kind of news right now.  Notice how Belinda’s pitch mentioned eBay, but always talked about the company as an ecommerce company.  There’s a negative connotation out there around eBay so don’t pitch yourself as an eBay business.
  • Sophias Style is a perfect case study of what I call the e-commerce lifcycle.
    • Started on eBay to get their niche figured out and build a core competency in sourcing that niche and understanding the buyer.
    • Expanded to other channels once they had the above figured out.
    • Now enjoy a very diversified business with 3-4 sales channels that allow them to implement more advanced ‘waterfall’ strategies and other margin-maximising techniques.
  •  My favourite Sophias story.
    •  At Catalyst 07 (I believe), Belinda was on the stage with 2-3 other sellers to do a live town hall with Bill Cobb.  Bill asked the sellers on stage what eBay could be doing better.  The other three sellers had good specific feedback.  When it was Belinda’s turn,  she gave a very intelligent, articulate and extremely empassioned response that basically was something like: “Mr. Cobb.  We love eBay.  We owe eBay for our start in e-commerce and want to actually stay on eBay.  However the policies you have enacted that raise our fees without adding value, constantly change the site with no upside and a Trust and Safety Dept. that is running wild have forced us to look elsewhere for growth.  What are you going to do to try and keep growing retailers like us on eBay?”.  The crowd of 200+ stood and applauded – Cobb was speachless.

 

SeekingAlpha Disclosure – I am long Amazon and Google