Setting up a sustainable business online is hard. But it gets easier when you can leverage an already grown platform to your benefit. That’s exactly what Maple Holistics did when it leveraged Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) to penetrate ecommerce.
Read on to know how you too can use this strategy to take your brand on a global scale.
In our third installment of the Ecommerce Superstar series, we present the story of Maple Holistics, a natural beauty product manufacturer.
We regularly feature stories of top ecommerce entrepreneurs. To learn their secrets – the way they reached the pinnacle of success – don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.
Nate Masterson, the founder of Maple Holistics, is a well-known name in the organic beauty products industry. It wouldn’t be wrong to call him a growth hacker who outsmarted his peers (especially in an era when there weren’t many resources available) by leveraging the power of Amazon selling.
Today, he has multiple online businesses focused on the organic beauty industry.
We interviewed Nate to learn his secrets of success and the process of acing the organic beauty industry by making the best of Amazon FBA.
How It All Started
Nate is a visionary. He is consistent, dedicated, resilient, and lacks the knowledge of when to give up [pun intended].
Nate says that he was truly impressed when Amazon replaced his home library. ‘It was at that time that I saw the true potential of the Internet,’. ‘This is the way to the future,’ he adds
Most People Love Amazon
Nate isn’t a profit-focused and aggressive businessman. Instead, he focuses on finding market gaps. He realized during the early years of internet growth that there is a market for natural health products are not being met on the global scale. The only way to fill this gap was by utilizing online entrepreneurship properly.
“We’ve seen too many companies with good ideas fail, simply because they didn’t fully understand how to market to a primarily online clientele.”
When he thought of jumping on the ecommerce bandwagon, the first thing he thought of was the users. For him, the best example was of Amazon. ‘Most people love to purchase from Amazon’ and that’s where he headed to start his first venture. “I’ve watched their (Amazon) evolution from afar and it is apparent that people love it,” he adds.
While launching the ecommerce store, he has two options. Either go for a full-fledged ecommerce model and ship the products himself, or use Amazon’s fulfillment option and set up a store to serve its customers. He chose the second option because, ‘we had to be an Amazon entity first and foremost.’
Recipes for Success
“A team is only as strong as their weakest link so it’s vital that every member be hyper-focused on their tasks without having to worry about others.”
In all his years working in the ecommerce business, Nate says that he learned four proven strategies.
- The first strategy is to provide quality to the customers. ‘Compromising on the quality for the sake of cost is never a good way to do business,’ he explains. The formula for success is to go above all else and produce quality products that the customers will love. This is the only way you can get them to keep coming back to the store.
- The second strategy is to sustain. Ecommerce is a bumpy ride and ‘it isn’t about how hard you hit. It is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.’
- The third strategy is to focus on organic marketing, especially SEO. Search engines are the starting point of almost all customer research and decision making. He says if a customer has a question or a problem, they most likely turn to Google for help. His advice is to ‘rank as high as possible in Google rankings.
- The fourth strategy is to focus on hiring creative people. He tells of his own mistake of thinking that an online store can easily be run with the help of a few friends. So, he changed his strategy and hired people who wanted to be truly involved in his business.
‘There are plenty of young and motivated people out there looking to get experience and make their mark in the business world. Go and hunt them.’
The Biggest Challenge: Business Is Not a Piece of Cake!
Nate considers himself lucky that he has seen perpetual growth and deliberate success from the very start. But for him, one of the most difficult challenges was to change his thoughts on how to run a business. Initially, he took it as a 9-to-5 job. But he had to change that soon ENOUGH because businesses require 24/7 attention.
“If you neglect your company, inevitably performance suffers.”
Maple Holistic’s Biggest Success
The Holiday season was one of the biggest successes for Maple Holistic. Nate’s team ran a number of holiday-specific promotions which helped develop an interest in the brand.
“Thankfully, our brand and our products provide a gift-quality experience that makes our customers happy.” And, these customers share Maple Holistics with friends and family, further driving the sales volume up.
The Marketing Strategy
Nate says that most businesses fail because they can’t envision the whole ecommerce landscape. “Online businesses have the potential to thrive overnight,” he says, adding that’s the sole reason he has compartmentalized the teams at Maple Holistics.
Within small teams, it is possible for each employee to focus on individual goals and not worry about others’. The result is better customer service and recurring sales.
“Don’t cut corners or costs if it is going to compromise the quality of your product. The best marketing and customer retention strategy is to provide products that flat-out work, and work well. Customers will keep coming back if they like your products or services.”
He has a dedicated marketing team that utilizes online tools and social media channels to market the store’s products to the right target audience/users. In addition to the paid marketing campaigns, the team also focuses on the usual content marketing strategies for awareness and outbound to reach potential clients.
Nate’s Advice to Newbies
“The biggest piece of advice I would give to young entrepreneurs is to do your research. Specifically, it’s crucial to seek out guidance from the people who have done it before, either successfully or unsuccessfully. Sometimes you can actually learn more from failures than you can from successes.“
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