Cloudways is excited to announce its latest series: ‘Ecommerce Superstars.’
The focus of the series is on the success stories of ecommerce website owners, who after trying hard (and often failing) for years, finally discovered the secret of success. I will feature their interviews and highlight the proven techniques that resulted in success of their ecommerce ventures.
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This is the success story of Ecommerce Superstar Christian Sculthorp, the owner of Vaporizers Direct, an ecommerce store selling battery-powered vaporizers and flavor ingredients in Australia. In his story, Sculthorp narrates how he ventured into ecommerce, and after several failures, finally established his first successful ecommerce brand.
Let’s listen to his story:
His Secret Sauce: ‘Don’t Give-up’
Sculthorp started over 10 ecommerce stores and most of them failed badly. For him, these failures were lessons that got him to where he is today.
“I’ve run over 10 ecommerce stores and most of them have failed, but I’ve learned so much along the way.”
It is easy to worry about failing but that’s the wrong way to look at things. For him:
“There is a very low barrier to ecommerce so you have nothing to lose. Start with a small inventory (or drop ship), open the shop and see what happens.” This is his advice to young entrepreneurs, “At the very worst, you can put it as a learning experience on your resume.”
How It All Started
Sculthorp was in business school when he started his first digital business.
He says, “The first shop I ever opened was out of necessity. I needed a beer pong table for parties and the only shop that sold them was located in the USA and had crazy shipping costs to Canada. I knew there was a need for them across the border so I opened up an online store selling beer pong tables. It escalated from there.”
Challenges Along the Way…
For Sculthorp, the biggest challenge was how to market his products to the right audience. He couldn’t market vaporizers on social media. The two strategies open to him was search engine optimization and content marketing.
He says, “I hate writing which is tough since I rely so much on content marketing. So what I do is hire a writer to do a rough draft of any content (product descriptions, blog articles, etc.) and I do the editing. I much prefer editing over writing.”
He mostly focuses on ecommerce SEO because better content and creative outreach tactics, coupled with SEO work well in his niche. The vaporizer industry isn’t restricted to the Holiday Season because the consumers generally buy them for year-around personal use.
Discussing the issue, he said, “We did have a bit of an upswing in December but not by much – that’s to be expected though! We can’t do a holiday push either since you can’t advertise vaporizers on social media,”
His Marketing Plan
In terms of content marketing, Sculthorp only focuses on reaching out to the relevant blogs who might be interested in linking out to his content in their infographics or guest posts.
“We don’t do PBNs or anything else that might put us at risk down the line,” he adds.
But it wasn’t easy. In fact it took him more than 10 years of hard work to achieve success. ‘I did a lot of hard work, read a lot and studied a lot.’
Business Model: Using Affiliates
According to Sculthorp, nurturing quality affiliates and helping them out with targeted marketing collateral will eventually push sales to the business. In his words:
“You just need to be picky about who you choose to join your affiliate program because there are a lot of sketchy people out there.”
From Zero to Success
For him, the biggest success was to create his own online business from scratch, a business that ‘I can run from anywhere’. For him, building a business that’s self sustaining and gives freedom was his biggest dream that he has now turned into reality.
Discussing his plans for the future, he said:
“Now I’ve moved to Australia and opened up my store here. I’m used to working with Shopify but I prefer the customization I can do with Woocommerce. Cloudways has been awesome with helping me so far.”
Advice for Entrepreneurs
His best tip for newbies is:
“Make sure you offer the best informative experience on your website. Give the customers everything they need to make the best decision on your website without going anywhere else.”
Get to know more about Christian Sculthorp by reaching him on Twitter.
Note: We are accepting submissions for our ecommerce success story series. If you are a successful ecommerce store or a flourishing dropshipping business, then drop us a line.
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