Episode 43: Growing an ethical e-commerce business – with Kristi Soomer


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Today I’m talking with Kristi from Encircled, a company that produces versatile and ethically-made women’s clothing. She talks about expanding beyond her first product – a difficult point for many entrepreneurs – and gives us an inside look at her current team members and structure. I also asked Kristi about common mistakes that people make in e-commerce, and she gives some great tips that can be applied to any business.

Highlights:

  • How did Kristi spend $20,000 of her own savings when she started? (2:30)
  • The evolution of a business: coming up with new products vs. developing your existing product further (7:27)
  • What Kristi’s team looks like and what she does on a day-to-day basis (11:37)
  • Three specific mistakes made by e-commerce businesses as well as other companies (16:40)

Links:

  • Daria Molchanova

    Hi Shayna, I’m not sure if I’m leaving this comment in the right place, but I don’t know who else to ask. Tried to google it, but didn’t find anything.

    I know that you use Mailchimp. Can you please explain how to exclude subscribers that already bought my course into some kind of a segment?
    I have a list of 1500 subscribers and an automation workflow. So I want to divide paying customers from others, but also I want them to continue receiving the automation emails. Does it make any sense? Thank you so much

    • Hi Daria! Here’s how I do it:

      1) I set up “Merge tags” in MailChimp, each with the name of one of my products. Lists –> Click on your list –> Settings –> List fields and merge tags. Create your new tags (make sure to UNCHECK the “required” and “visible” boxes)

      2) You’ll need to link your payment/checkout software to MailChimp; I do this using Zapier (www.zapier.com) – I have it set up so that anytime someone makes a purchase of a certain product on my site, Zapier then tells MailChimp to set that particular tag to a value of “TRUE.” Ex. If you buy the “Business English Course,” then your “Business English Course” tag automatically updates to “TRUE” in MailChimp.

      3) Then when creating new e-mails or automations I can choose whether I want to send to everyone, or send only to customers, or only to non-customers, or only to customers of a particular product by using MailChimp’s options in “Recipients.”

      It’s not terribly easy, unfortunately; it took me a lot of time and trial/error to get this system all set up. Some software makes this process easier but it tends to be expensive and difficult to use (such as InfusionSoft, which takes care of your payment/checkout AND your e-mail).

      • Daria Molchanova

        thank you soooo much!

      • Daria Molchanova

        2) You’ll need to link your payment/checkout software to MailChimp; I do this using Zapier (www.zapier.com) – I have it set up so that anytime someone makes a purchase of a certain product on my site, Zapier then tells MailChimp to set that particular tag to a value of “TRUE.” Ex. If you buy the “Business English Course,” then your “Business English Course” tag automatically updates to “TRUE” in MailChimp.

        – this part is crazy for me T_T I use e-junkie and paypal for my products, and they seem not to integrate with mailchimp at all

        • My checkout system doesn’t integrate directly with MailChimp, either – that’s why I use Zapier to connect them. Basically it works like this:

          – MemberMouse/Stripe/PayPal (my checkout system) generates a “push notification” (an e-mail message) that is sent to Zapier.
          – Zapier connects to MailChimp and adjusts the tags accordingly.

          If that first part isn’t possible with your checkout system, then here’s a more manual way (which is what I used to do before):

          First, create a Group or Segment in your MailChimp list. Call it “Customers.”

          Then, anytime you want to e-mail just your customers or just your non-customers, do this:

          – Export the most recent list of all your customers from e-junkie (this HAS to be possible somewhere in their system!)
          – Import them to your “Customers” segment in MailChimp
          – Then, when you set up your MailChimp campaign, you can choose either to send ONLY to the customers segment, or else to send to everyone EXCEPT the customers segment.

          • Daria Molchanova

            Thank you very much! You’re the best!

          • Daria Molchanova

            but I’m absolutely retarded because I can’t do it:( If you ever find some time to make a short screencast for your YouTube channel about it, you’ll make me the happiest person in the world:)