Lessons from 3 small-scale eCommerce success stories

Great ideas, added value & the right niche

Though the Amazons and Targets of this world hoover up most of the profits, there are plenty of smaller eCommerce outfits regularly knocking it out of the park on a more modest scale. Simple but powerful modern solutions such as WooCommerce mean that it’s never been easier for business owners to set their virtual stall out for the world — and there’s no shortage of people who are making a tidy living online as a result. In this piece, we’re shining a light on three relatively small-scale eCommerce success stories to inspire you in your own entrepreneurial efforts.

Via very different routes, each one of these small eCommerce businesses has found a recipe for success.

 

Their stories offer plenty of key takeaways you can easily apply in the context of your own business. Let’s cut the jibber-jabber and move on to meet our three eCommerce success stories!

1. The Five-Minute Journal

The hyper-positive power couple Alex and Mimi Ikonn are increasingly omnipresent online and have notched up a series of eCommerce triumphs over the years. Their biggest hit to date is the soaraway success of Luxy Hair, and there’s plenty for eCommerce entrepreneurs to learn from in their innovative use of YouTube in promoting that product.

Equally interesting, however, is the more recently launched Five-Minute Journal. It’s the brainchild of Alex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas, and a product that’s taken the productivity world by storm of late. Though the product was certainly helped by high-profile backing from the likes of Tim Ferriss, the real takeaway here is the added value that the creators have managed to build into a potentially very pedestrian idea.

eCommerce Success Five-Minute Journal
The Five-Minute Journal in all its minimalist glory.

The paper notebook market is a horribly crowded one, but a combination of product flair, a psychologically sound USP, and rigorous attention to design detail have led to the domination of a brand-new category at a very attractive price point.

Throw in a super-slick product page and naturally recurring sales cycle, and you’ve got yourself a winner!

2. LittleBig Bikes

LittleBig Bikes is one of those ideas that’s so staggeringly simple you’re amazed nobody’s gone to town on it before. The innovative Irish company makes a slick 3-in-1 bicycle that can grow with your child, and keep them tootling around under their own steam from two to seven years of age. At around €250 a pop, the upfront costs aren’t cheap, but parents are sure to lock in substantial savings over the bike’s lifetime.

LittleBig Bikes grow with your child — an amazingly simple yet marketable product idea that underpins a big eCommerce success story.

 

The team behind LittleBig Bikes have deservedly won international praise for the quality of their product design, but there’s plenty to admire in their actual eCommerce implementation as well.

The shop looks bright and clean, functions perfectly across mobile devices, and provides a textbook example of how to break out product features and benefits across a site in order to push the buttons of all possible types of purchasers.

eCommerce Success LittleBig Bikes
LittleBig Bikes combine modular product design with excellent eCommerce implementation.

Peek under the hood and you’ll see that LittleBig are using a combination of WooCommerce and Avada to deliver the goods — proof positive that you don’t need to spend a fortune to deliver a top-class shopping experience to your users.

You don’t need to spend a fortune to deliver a first-class eCommerce experience.

 

LittleBig have only been going a short time, but their combination of tip-top product design and a smoothly implemented online shopfront should see them delighting young cyclists for many years to come.

3. TastyWorms

The next time you’re agonizing over whether there’s really any money to be made in a particular online niche, head on over to TastyWorms and put your fears firmly to rest. We first came across Tasty Worms on the excellent eCommerceFuel podcast, where owner Chris Bosdal went deep on his rise to the top of the dried mealworms world.

eCommerce Success TastyWorms
TastyWorms show that even a niche within a niche within a niche can be enough to build a business on.

The eventual success of his site highlights the virtue of patience in establishing a particular niche online — it took the guts of two years for Chris to be able to turn TastyWorms into a full-time gig. As he explains in his interview, there was also a substantial amount of course correction and problem solving involved along the way.

The eCommerce success of TastyWorms attests to the power of patience.

 

Take a quick look around the site today and you’ll soon see what has eager anglers coming back for more. There’s obvious niche expertise on display throughout, and a strong commitment to making life simple for customers via free shipping and attractively priced deals.

The big takeaway, however, is of course the power of identifying the right niche — get your targeting and execution right, and even the most unlikely of sources can easily fund a thriving business.

eCommerce success stories: Key takeaways

Though there are literally thousands of inspiring eCommerce success stories out there, the three examples we’ve highlighted above offer particular encouragement to those just starting out. Let’s step through the main takeaways one more time:

  • The Five-Minute Journal: By breathing new life into a staid product category, the team at Intelligent Change showcased the difference and value a little creative thinking and market research can bring to the table.
  • LittleBig Bikes: Innovative product design is the star of the show here, but LittleBig Bikes’ bullet-proof eCommerce site shows that excellence can be delivered on a budget using accessible tools such as WordPress.
  • TastyWorms: Chris Bosdal’s journey from his garage to a full-time business shows the incredible power of niche selection in building an online empire.

Are there any small-scale eCommerce success stories you’ve found particularly inspiring? Get in touch via the comments below and share your thoughts!


Also published on Medium.

Image by: LittleBig Bikes

Tom Ewer
Tom Ewer is a freelance writer, online entrepreneur, and the founder of Leaving Work Behind and WordCandy. He has been obsessed with WordPress since he first laid eyes on it, and has been writing educational and informative content for WordPress users since 2011. When he's not running his businesses, you're likely to find him outdoors somewhere – as far away from a screen as possible!