dark·​room | \ ˈdärk-ˌrüm  , -ˌru̇m \



: A darkroom refers to a space where art and science come together to create something complete before premiering to the public. It’s where process and creativity combine to form a final product.


This is why we’ve chosen it as our name.

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How to Become a More Skillful E-Commerce Entrepreneur

January 2020


As Tiger Woods won the 2019 masters, one of his well-known quotes rang true, “No matter how good you get, you can always get better, and that’s the exciting part.” Even if you have a career as an e-commerce entrepreneur, there’s room to better yourself and your business.

Unfortunately, when you have a large knowledge base and a fair amount of expertise, learning how to become more skillful in your craft can be increasingly difficult. When you’re a leader in your field, it can be challenging to know where to turn for further mentorship and growth. 

Here are some of the most important revelations and pieces of advice that have helped me become a more skillful online entrepreneur:

1. Study the Market 

Markets are always changing and growing. Even if you’re very knowledgeable about e-commerce, there’s always something new you can learn.

Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of my time and energy researching the future of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands. DTC companies cut out middlemen, which lowers their costs and allows them to offer their products at attractive prices. 

Casper is one case study of what can be done with DTC. Shoppers have long been underwhelmed with the mattress industry. Buying a new mattress is historically expensive, confusing and stressful. On top of all this, salespeople can be off-putting and pushy. 

To create something radically different, Casper made one, affordable mattress that ships directly to consumers. Casper claimed they only needed one product because their mattress was the best, eliminating the need for choice. Consumers quickly showed that this message resonated with their needs, and Casper achieved $100 million in sales in under two years

2. Continue Refining

Have you ever looked at an online advertisement that seems like it’s been made for you? Although you may think your iPhone’s been listening in on your conversations, well-targeted placements are often the result of niche targeting. 

No matter how long your business has been running, you can always look at your consumers and make sure your advertisements are reaching the right people.

You need specific consumers to know about your product and convert more than once. You should be evaluating market data, your competition and your customers at least monthly to fine-tune your business efforts accordingly.   

3. Continually Invest In Your Team

Sometimes being more skillful means hiring and retaining the right employees to support you and your company. If you don’t have a sound development program created for your workers, it’s time to create one. 

Employee churn is an expensive issue that can take your attention away from operations and hurt your bottom line. For example, replacing a $60,000-salaried employee costs a company about $30,000 to $45,000, which is roughly the expense of hiring and training a replacement. If you lose an executive who’s making $120,000 it’ll cost you around $225,600 to replace him or her. 

Development programs attract and retain great workers. In addition to improving employee satisfaction, development incentives allow you to create promotable employees, eliminating the costs associated with outside recruitment and hiring. 

4. Briefly Revisit Old Opportunities

When you were creating your company, you likely spent many hours choosing where you would sell your product or service. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, deciding whether you’d sell on your own portal or a marketplace was probably a difficult choice. 

However, down the road, chances are you haven’t dedicated any time or thought to altering your platforms. Although you made your original choice for a reason, markets change and buyer preferences might have shifted since you started selling. 

You don’t need to spend an exuberant amount of time looking into it, but thinking about what platforms you should be selling on needs to be reviewed on an annual basis. Similarly, looking back over past decisions to see if any other pivots need to be made annually can only help your company. 

5. Optimize Your Site

Even if your e-commerce platform is successful, you can always modify it to increase sales. First things first, go through your checkout process. Chances are you can make the steps required to purchase simpler. 

If you don’t have a guest checkout, for instance, it’s time you create one. Consumers are hesitant to hand over their contact info and email, especially because they want to avoid pesky email marketing.

Simply requiring someone to give you his or her email to make a purchase may kill the sale. UIE, a research, training and consulting firm that specializes in UX, was able to improve their sales by $300 million when they allowed their customers to complete purchases as guests. 

Every piece of information you require a potential buyer to give you is another requirement that might lead him or her to terminate the purchase. Of course you’ll need a customer’s address to ship the product, but do you really need to know his or her birthday, etc.?

Likely, some categories are extraneous and can be deleted. 

6. Increase Average Order Value

Average order value (AOV) matters.

Once you know your AOV, you can alter pricing and your marketing strategies to increase the average amount shoppers are spending. Although there are several ways to increase the amount people spend per order, upselling is often the most effective way to achieve worthwhile results. 

For companies that offer up-sales, 70-95 of their revenue comes from upselling.

When you convince your customers that a more expensive, better item is what they should buy, you improve your bottom line by increasing your AOV. In addition to upselling, you can use a technique called cross-selling. 

You can often sell additional, complementary products in addition to the original item your customer’s shopping to buy. One real-life example of this is Spinn, a DTC coffee maker and coffee beans company. If you try and buy a bag of coffee on their website, they showcase other options—like a coffee maker that’s available for pre-order—that might go well with your order. 

Don’t Stop Learning

Although Tiger Woods is a somewhat controversial figure, it’s hard to deny his skill when it comes to pushing himself and developing his golf game. Even as an expert in his field, he’s shown that you can continue to grow and achieve more than anyone else thought possible. 

As an entrepreneur, a similar mindset will treat you well. Even if you are established in your industry, you can develop your skills and refine your e-commerce business for the better. 

*Image Credit:

-Featured Image, Unsplash

-Image #1, Core DNA

-Image #2,  User Zoom


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