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I'm Maxim Godin: award winning eCommerce entreprenuer, built companies from zero to millions. 2x Founder, 1x Angel investor AMA about eCommerce, SaaS and entreprenuership :)

马克辛 Maxim Godin
Nov 13, 2017

I've been deeply involved in eCommerce for 10 years, built my own eCommerce business and grew it from 0 to $5 million in sales, won awards for excellence in sales and went on to build an eCommerce startup with over 100,000 users.I've had my fair share of fails and wins, and learned much more from my failures.

AMA about eCommerce, SaaS and entreprenuership :)

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Conversation (38)

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Which payment and shipping options will the site support?

Nov 8, 11:19AM EST0

There are multiple payment and shipping options out there, one of the most popular payment options is of course Paypal. As for shipping, each eCommerce business owner decides how to ship his products and what shipping methods to offer (next day, express, regular, international and so on).

Nov 11, 10:17AM EST0

How wide is the scope of government regulations in eCommerce?

Nov 8, 11:03AM EST0

Each country has its own set of regulations regarding eCommerce, but in most cases innovation is ahead of regulations and once an innovation is prominent enough governemnts build regulation around it (you can see it happening in Airbnb's and Uber's cases).

Nov 11, 10:15AM EST0

What frontrunning companies make good advantage of eCommerce?

Nov 8, 1:23AM EST0

Take a look at Koala mattress from Australia, they have been extremely creative with social media marketing and are growing like crazy

They are not in a "sexy" industry, it's not an innovative app, it's not a heavily funded silicon valley startup, yet their success shows the power of online exposure.

Nov 8, 1:30AM EST0

How has ecommerce changed the way advertisers appeal to consumers?

Nov 7, 8:47PM EST0

My only experience is with online advertising, I've never advertised proior to the internet age so I wouldn't know.

In general, advertisers today are being more creagtive than ever to attract customers simply because of the noise we as consumers have to filter. If you look at banners CTR over the years you'll see the trend very clearly, we ignore banners (banner blindness):

Just in the (short) 20 years internet marketing has been around a lot of marketing techniques were "invented" then re-invented, then became obsolite so it is a very dynamic environment.

Nov 8, 12:48AM EST0

What are some products to which ecommerce can be applicable?

Nov 7, 6:37PM EST0

Everything.

Nov 8, 12:48AM EST0

What services/products are most eligible to the benefits of eCommerce?

Nov 7, 3:49PM EST0

I would say that any product that can be transferred easily around the world. That doesn't mean you can't sell cars online, in fat cars are one of the biggest categories in terms of volume on eBay. 

If you want to sell something online, you will be able to find a way even if those products are usually bought in brick and mortar stores.

Nov 8, 12:52AM EST0

Do you have a favorite app in woocommerce?

Nov 7, 3:36PM EST0

I never used Woocommerce :)I used Magento, Bigcommerce.

Nov 8, 12:49AM EST0

How can buyers ensure the legitimacy of the products/services sold online?

Nov 7, 11:28AM EST0

I would argue that a lot of the responsibility for that is on the marketplaces, and they realized that early on.

Let's say you buy Nike shoes on eBay and discover it's fake, you'll never buy on eBay again. eBay knows that so they introduced multiple security measures to ensure sellers on its platform are trustworthy. Some of these measures include:

  1. Peer to peer feedback system
  2. Resolution center to settle disputes
  3. VERO program for brands to protect their products
  4. Strict seller requirements to ensure a secure marketplace

As a buyer you have responsibility as well if you’re not familiar with the site/seller.

Check the ‘about us’ page, read online reviews, ask the seller about the product, do you own research to minimize the chances of fraud.

Nov 8, 1:11AM EST0

Who benefits most ffrom eCommerce, entrepreneurs or buyers?

Nov 7, 10:36AM EST0

Both.

What's in it for entrepreneurs: Let’s take myself as an example - When I started my first eCommerce business I had:

  1. Zero cash
  2. Zero experience
  3. Zero knowledge in online sales

In 3 years I grew it to a multi-million dollar business, and it's all thanks to the fact that I could setup my business on platform like eBay who already provided me with the demand side and allowed me to list quickly and get exposure for a tiny fee (insertion fees were around $0.2 per listing).I could never start a brick-and-mortar store as it requires huge financial commitment which not many people have, especially 24 year-olds who just finished uni.

What's in it for buyers:

It’s pretty straight forward, the ability to purchase products at lower prices. Prior to eCommerce you could only buy whatever was available in your country and the prices offered. One of the early tactics to draw buyer online was the promise for a discounted price, and it worked. But once you could see everyone's prices and compare easily you had leverage, so businesses without unique competitive advantage started driving prices further down to your benefit.

Nov 8, 1:06AM EST0

How do you guarantee getting exact payments on time?

Nov 6, 9:07AM EST0

In an eCommerce business it's quite easy since the buyer has to complete a checkout process, only after that his order will be processed.

You have multiple checkout solutions: PayPal, Klarna, Stripe, Skrill and many more.On top of them you have services like Riskified who provide additional layer of protection (fraud protection) to make sure you receive your money.

Nov 6, 10:03AM EST0

How would you rate customer satisfaction concerning the effectivity of eCommerce strategies?

Nov 6, 7:40AM EST0

Customer satisfaction is crucial to your eCommerce business growth, your best brand embessadors are your satisfied customers. One thing you should always do is ask for feedbacks on popular reviews sites. For retaurants it's probably Google reviews, for businesses it's Facebook reviews and specific websites like Capterra and Trustpilot (for example: CrazyLister's reviews on Trustpilot).

Nov 6, 9:56AM EST0

How much do you charge per hour?

Nov 6, 6:47AM EST0

I don't do consulting, I'm fully committed to CrazyLister as the company's CMO. 

Nov 6, 6:51AM EST0

What eCommerce companies would you recommend to a client?

Nov 4, 11:58PM EDT0

There are eCommerce companies in every industry, there are companies who sell products, companies who sell software solution (Like we do at CrazyLister). 

To which type of eCommerce do you refer? 

Last edited @ Nov 5, 1:12AM EST.
Nov 5, 1:11AM EST0

Are all businesses suitable for eCommerce?

Nov 4, 10:23AM EDT0

I will give you one example that may explain my point of view regarding this: The total footwear online sales are $41 Billion a year. This is an industry where people need to try the product prior to purchasing it. Imagine I've told you 20 years ago that people were going to spend $41 Billion buying shoes online. The footwear industry was able to find solutions to make online shoe purchase possible, and I believe that any industry can find its solutions to allow people purchase online.

Retail eCommerce sales are outgrowing Brick and mortar and are already over 10% of total sales:

People are buying Ferrari cars on eBay, so I believe that you can make adjustments in any sort of industry to enable eCommerce sales.

Nov 4, 11:14AM EDT0

How safe is transferring information via internet as involved in eCommerce?

Nov 3, 12:14PM EDT0

It depends on the platform you are using, when I mde my first transaction online via Paypal I was extremely nervous, the money was going to a suppleir in China whom I never met and it could easily be a scam. Over time as I gained experience I learned to trust the systems as the more popular onse have sophisticated protection mechanisms.

Moreover, there are services which you can use on top of Paypal to have more secure transactions (such as Riskified).

Nov 3, 5:41PM EDT0

What are the most common objections you get your service?

Nov 3, 7:06AM EDT0

As  a startup we have to focus on specific features to make our customers succssful, there is always shortage in features that serve wider audience and we get a lot of requests to develop more features to cover additional needs. Busnesses are looking to use one A-to-Z solution instead of paying several services.

Nov 3, 7:25AM EDT0

What skillset should a person in eCommerce field have?

Nov 2, 3:50PM EDT0

I would divide this to two:

1. General skills required to build your own business:

  • Grit - develop the ability to keep going when things get hard, really hard, extremely hard. Your passion, coupled with a powerful motivation will help you get there. I love this illustration about the road to success:
  • Execution - ideas are worth nothing, it’s all about execution. Your idea is no good if you can’t transform it from a thought in your mind to action.The best way to execute is to set due dates for every action item and make sure you complete the tasks on time.

2. Industry specific know-how: This applies to expertise in your industry required to provide A-level service to your customers.Let's say you're selling guitars, potential buyers will ask technical questions which you will need the expertise to answer. Serlling iphone cases on the other hand doesn't require particular industry expertise. 

Amazon may be selling everything, but if you're interested in guitars, an Amazon rep won't be able to offer the same level of expertise as an industry expert, this is a good competitive advantage to have.

Nov 2, 5:13PM EDT0

What is the expected earnings of an entrepreneur relying on eCommerce?

Nov 2, 11:48AM EDT0

It depends on so many things, I would give you an example:

Let's say your business model is dropshipping and you work directly with the manufecturer of goods. You can expect a discount on retail prices of anything between 15-40%.

Let's say your discount is 30% and you sell at retail prices.

You sell on eBay and accept payments with paypal so your total fees are around 12%.

If you sell the item for $100 and buy it for $70 then your gross profit is $30.

Then you have to pay eBay and paypal fees, so you're down to $18 profit.

Then you have to deduct all your fixed expenses (office, softwares, water, electricity, internet, insurance, accountant etc.).

In a competitive category you are looking at 2-5% net profit margins, with a monthly revenue of $50,000 your net profit would be $1000-2500. In such categories the game is to increase your sales volume to allow yourself a reasonable profit.

Nov 2, 11:57AM EDT0

Where are you from?

Nov 1, 2:17PM EDT0

Hi John,

I'm from Israel

Nov 2, 12:56AM EDT0
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