The Pillars & Pitfalls E-commerce


This week on the “2 Regular Guys Talking Decoration” podcast, Aaron is joined by show producer Erich Campbell to discuss the ins and outs of e-commerce. While Erich is known for his expertise in embroidery and digitizing, Aaron and Erich take some time to discuss other areas of Erich’s experience. With Terry out this week, the duo dives into the pillars and pitfalls of e-commerce success. Erich shares insights from his years of experience building and managing online businesses. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to optimize your existing e-commerce platform, this episode is packed with valuable insights and practical tips for success.

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Erich: I may always work on embroidery every day, but it’s not the only thing I do. For the largest part of my career, I’ve managed eCommerce properties alongside my embroidery duties. As much as things change, I’ve noticed some of the same pitfalls that decorators fall into and found myself that there are certain pillars on that a solid eCommerce presence rests. Today I’d like us to discuss some of those Pillars and Pitfalls and how we’ve seen those play out with decorators and in general over the years.

Aaron: Let’s get into it and start on the side of the things that you find online sellers really need to make their store work- What are some of these foundational ‘Pillars’?

Erich: Absolutely- let’s start with some of the basics, then get to the things that have the most effect on decorators. Every store needs to have basic functionality and policies established- First, Clear payment, shipping, and return policies need to be spelled out if you want to generate trust in your clients. Second, you must have one (or more than one) well-monitored channel for customer communication. Third, you must have clear, simple navigation. *Discuss platforms / tools 

Aaron: Ok- if we assume everyone has these basics out of the way; everything is functional, policies are spelled out, and they are present for customers, what else should they be thinking about as they get their store underway?

Erich: These are the real pillars- foundational choices that make a difference to how you operate.

Clear Focus – General Purpose vs. Customer Specific – Custom Decoration vs. Company Store *Discuss online decoration vs. Curated stores- no need to replicate your brick and mortar. 

Aaron: With the focus established, what are the universal ‘pillars’ that decorators should keep in mind? What questions should they be asking themselves as they put their store together?

Erich: The big questions here cover a few different topics, but they all stem from one major underlying question. “What makes the store the best way to buy this product for the client I want to serve?” * Discuss ease of use, presentation, and value to customers. Reducing friction and offer benefits specific to the online store.

Aaron: In thinking about the way the store presents products, are there any specific things to look for in how you describe your products or how you show your work?

Erich: Though this is going to vary depending on the store, I think there are some universal ways we want to entice our clients to consider the products. The way to overstate it is to help them see how their lives would be better if they bought the product. Sounds corny, but it makes a point. Copy should be more than a description, it should also have something to say about the results. Images should be instructive and show decoration, details, placement, and other critical info, but they could, at their best, include scenarios or people that make them aspirational.  *Describe what content should explain about a given product. Action shot, Garment shot, Decoration shot, Texture shot – Functional, Brand Building (for your site / company) Aspirational

Aaron: With all of that information out there, we have a lot to think about in building our sites- now let’s discuss where things fall apart- what are the major pitfalls?  Where do decorators often go wrong?

Erich: I divide the pitfalls up into 4 categories, and they really are reflective of not being attentive to the Pillars we’ve already discussed. They are (Explain each briefly) Lacking Responsiveness (communication), Lacking Clarity (Store direction, curation, policies), Blaming the Customer (under-informing), and Overpromising (Unrealistic promises / uses of decoration).

Aaron: We’ve covered a ton of ground today, but can you leave the listeners with a final tip or two as we get ready to close up the show?

Erich: Absolutely- the 2 major tips I want to leave everyone with are simple. First, imagine your customer- create a profile of a real person or persons to whom you want to sell. Remember, you are not your target audience. Second, ‘taste your own cooking’ – run sample buys, up to and including purchasing and shipping if that’s part of what you offer, and make sure you and your staff know every part of the purchasing process.