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Is eCommerce Dead? How The eCommerce Industry Almost Destroyed My Life

Written by: Silvia Myers, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Is eCommerce dead?! I keep hearing this question over and over. It’s been more than twelve months now since the online retail industry changed for good.

Due to many tech privacy changes and privacy laws introduced around the globe, advertising on social media has become on average five to ten times more expensive and the precision of the results has fallen for some by almost eighty percent. Yes, you heard me, five to ten times more to advertise with an eighty percent worse result. The EIGHTY is not a typo, although I wish it was.

Despite the online retail industry experiencing a crazy hyper-growth curve (right now, we’re talking about a $5.4 trillion industry), it’s been heavily reliant on how the social media giants and online algorithms work, how the global logistics networks work and what are feasible and sustainable production costs.

When it comes to me, a small business owner in the eCommerce industry, the past twelve months have definitely shaken me to the core.

I ventured into eCommerce over six years ago now thinking that it was going to be easy. I was an experienced professional with a digital marketing and eCommerce background, and I was confident that I knew what I was going into.

Like many of us, I really wanted to break free from the 9-5 cycle to spend my time the way I wanted without having to report to someone who might not share the same values as me. I was looking for freedom on all levels creative freedom, personal freedom as well as financial freedom.

SO, WITH THIS AMBITION AND A BURNING ZEAL, I BEGAN MY VOYAGE OF LEARNING ABOUT THE COMPONENTS OF ECOMMERCE FOR A SMALL BUSINESS, OR A START-UP IF YOU WILL.

Always a good student, I bought a bunch of courses on How to run ads on Facebook, Instagram and Google (Tik-Tok wasn’t around yet), educated myself on ‘How to do SEO’ and dived into content on ‘How to do email marketing. I believed that I just had to learn all of this, ideally the way how the big successful companies do it and that I’ll be fine.

I put in A LOT of work and invested a lot of my money too. Over many sleepless nights, I scrolled through almost every page on the internet educating myself about the tricks of the trade.

AND TO A CERTAIN EXTENT, E-COMMERCE WORKED FOR ME…

After a long long while, that felt like forever, I started to generate some results. So to a certain extent, my hard work paid off. I started to get traffic to my website, making some sales here and there. I was excited and thought I had found an eternal income source.

The problem was, however, that I worked more than I had ever done before… Those of you who have your own online business know, that for each sale, there was a pile of work waiting to be done.

In the beginning, I didn’t mind it as I was high on the change and felt empowered by creating something from scratch.

BUT…

I wasn’t making any profit and wasn’t getting paid for my time. And just as I see many small business owners make the same mistake, I also believed that ‘more sales’ was the solution to my latest problem. I believed that if I could only get more sales, I could ‘start scaling’ and all of my problems would disappear.

WITH MORE SALES, I DEFINITELY NEVER EXPECTED MY PROBLEMS TO GET BIGGER.

So, I did what I knew best – I turned up the budget and spent more money on Facebook and Instagram ads to get a few extra sales. I didn’t mind how much I was spending because I believed it would pay off in the long run.

So, over and over I would work hard, spend a lot, get a few more sales, and work even harder. Rinse and repeat.

And it was when I thought I was almost there, that the online algorithms on Social Media I mentioned at the beginning, drastically changed.

New privacy changes referred to as GDPR and iOS14 came into play and changed the ‘game’ for online businesses, especially small businesses, forever. Paid ads from Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms increased in cost by almost 10 times.

Overnight, the eCommerce industry and particularly the small business eCommerce industry was in big trouble.

Having been in business for a few years and relying on the online traffic from paid sources, I honestly didn’t know what else I was supposed to do.

So, I did the one thing that I knew how to do – I increased my ad budget and followed what the big businesses were doing. As you can probably predict, without ever getting a return on any of those efforts.

I got extremely frustrated, went almost broke and felt completely desperate. I thought that this is the end of eCommerce as we know it. With an incredible surge in the cost of paid traffic, increasing competition and decreasing attention span, I was really afraid that small businesses were done in eCommerce and that there was no way out.

IT WAS THEN WHEN I STARTED SEEING STORIES IN THE NEWSPAPERS OF NEW ONLINE STORES AND SMALL ONLINE RETAIL SHOPS THAT HAVE DONE SO WELL DESPITE THE CHANGES.

One after another, I kept seeing more and more small online businesses that were thriving in this online retail space. And I just wasn’t sure how they were doing it.

So, I set out on a journey determined to figure it out. I really wanted to get to the bottom of what these stores were doing that helped them thrive in the industry. I did what I knew best – I started to gather information, research and analyse what these businesses did, what they had in common and how they succeeded despite the changes in the market.

Very soon, I started to see a pattern.

ALL OF THESE SUCCESSFUL ONLINE STORES WERE FOLLOWING LITTLE KNOWN HARDLY UNDERSTOOD PRACTICES THAT MADE THEM EXTREMELY SUCCESSFUL. AND NO ONE WAS TALKING ABOUT IT.

With very little resources, they were reaching very far, and not relying on paid ads with Facebook, Instagram or other big social platforms. They were doing something no one out there was teaching and something that made them succeed and grow in this eCommerce environment that nearly destroyed my life.

As I continued analysing stores from inside as well as outside of our network, it became easy to see the contrasts between what the successful stores had in common and the stores that have not done so well.

It was a very simple but smart and powerful pattern that helped them maneuver their way around eCommerce without exhausting their business resources. I also found that what they were doing allowed flexibility and wasn’t as complex as the traditional eCommerce method. But it was so little known and hardly understood in eCommerce. I was determined to map it out, put it together and make it work. Not just for myself, but for our community as well.

It didn’t happen overnight, but I finally cracked it. And contrary to what it looked like before I fully understood it, it was a super simple, intelligent method that differed significantly from what everyone else was doing in eCommerce. It was just so much more intelligent and underground. In fact, it reminded me of the Ninja Turtles.

You know how they came from the sewer and were often facing a whole army of ‘bad guys’ with little resources and yet they always managed to succeed?

So with this new system being intelligent and underground just like the Ninja Turtles, I decided to call it:


THE ICOMMERCE NINJA SYSTEM

So you might ask ok eCommerce and the iCommerce Ninja System, what’s the difference?

WELL IN ECOMMERCE, TO START WITH YOU NEED A BIG BUDGET. YOU NEED A BIG BUDGET TO GET ATTENTION, GROW, AND SCALE.

In eCommerce it’s also extremely competitive, so you also need to do everything to succeed. Which in itself is impossible for a small business owner.

You need to know how to do Facebook and Instagram ads, how to advertise on Google, how to run email marketing campaigns and so on and so forth. In other words, you need to work extremely hard for very little reward (if there is any reward at all).

Running your store in an eCommerce industry is kind of like pushing uphill and it’s not meant for small businesses running with limited resources against a ‘whole army’ of big business competition and social media giants controlling the exposure to your ideal customer.

IF YOU SWITCH TO THE ICOMMERCE NINJA SYSTEM, HOWEVER, IT’S GOING TO BE MUCH EASIER.


It’s much easier to cut through and implement, irrespective of whether you’re still a newcomer in the industry.

But what’s really important is that the iCommerce Ninja System is designed specifically for small businesses with limited resources to actually succeed. Because many of them are bootstrapped without any external funding and all of us need to get paid, right?

So the one thing the iCommerce Ninja System doesn’t require is a huge ad budget. When I first tried it, instead of increasing, I dramatically decreased my ad spend and finally achieved better results with less work.

So after years of pushing uphill, the iCommerce Ninja System finally felt like running downhill. Embracing my inner ninja didn’t just change my business but it ended up changing my life.

There are only four easy steps to the iCommerce Ninja System.

First, no longer we can rely on online algorithms to find our ideal customer in the social media ocean full of sharks. Instead, we need to be super specific on who we are looking for, who we are speaking to and whose attention we want to get. The more you niche down, the better results you’ll generate.

Second, imagine you’re fishing for your ideal customer, you need to test several different hooks that your ideal customer will be responding to.

The third step is easy, some of these hooks will actually turn into magnets and finally, you can stop with the push marketing and instead start pulling your ideal customer towards you.

Last but not least, it will help you create a unique audience that’s exclusive to your business and your brand where the big competitive business doesn’t play.

After that, once you have your business set up and running profitably, all you want to do is to make sure that you always spend as little with the social media giants as necessary. For someone who’s spent hundreds of thousands of my own money on social media ads, all I can say is that I wish I had connected to my inner ninja earlier.

You can learn more about how the iCommerce Ninja System works here.

For more info, follow Silvia on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and visit her website!


 

Silvia Myers, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Silvia Myers is co-founder of Traffic Ninjas, teaching product makers and brand builders how to sell their incredible products online without having to discount or spend their hard-earned cash on things that don’t work.


Together with her husband and co-founder, Kristen, Traffic Ninjas equip eCommerce stores with an underground Ninja method specifically designed for small business owners, teaching them how to be profitable and sustainable and actually earn an income from selling their products.


The Traffic Ninjas community has grown from Sydney, Australia to 35+ countries around the world with small business owners achieving amazing results.

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