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How to Build a Successful Marketing First Ecommerce Business

A conversation with Aaron Judd and Sara Hicks

Aaron and Sara

In case you missed this from the Ongo Works blog, here's some insight about the company behind Reaction Commerce.

Ongo Works started with a great business manifesto

Sara: The way we originally bonded was through putting together a manifesto for the type of company that we wanted—namely a company of empowerment and allowing people, and ourselves, to be as creative and as free as possible to do good things.

Aaron: Yeah, we talked about the things we wanted to see in a company: high touch, caring for the employees as well as the customers—realizing that high touch is part of what sets the great companies apart from everyone else.

Aaron and Sara

It doesn't have to be a new idea; it just has to be a well-executed idea

Aaron: I think I had two realizations this year that led to us creating our company. One is that it doesn't have to be a new idea; it just has to be a well-executed idea. I think the other realization was just that simplicity is always fashionable and will always work.

Aaron and Sara

Having all the right tools from the beginning with Marketing First

Sara: Aaron and I were both working for an ecommerce startup, and we were spending, in some cases, $50-to-$75 thousand dollars a month on marketing: customer acquisition and retention, email marketing, social marketing—and none of it was really working. I mean, that's a significant amount of money for a small startup to be spending on tools that are just add-ons that aren't well thought out. That's when we came up with this idea we're calling Marketing First. We thought, if we can create an ecommerce platform with tools that put marketing first, it solves a big pain point.

Aaron: There's an awful lot of black magic in ecommerce—like SEO and how to build attributes and how to categorize products and how to promote those products and all these things that a lot of people have to learn. If all that is really handed to you in the ecommerce platform rather than learn as you go, then I think ecommerce sites would be a lot more successful. These are the kinds of lessons that I think Sara and I know and we bring to the table, and we can build our platform so that a new shop has all of the right tools from the start rather than learning these hard lessons.

Sara: Small businesses that don't have technical skills or user experience design skills just get stuck; they get lost. We want to solve that hurdle of making it really simple for the non-techie to be able to build a great shop and then customizable enough so that when they do want to extend it, that's available as well.

Aaron: Don't just build the tools but build our knowledge into the tools so that it helps them, maybe in some cases without them even knowing it.

Aaron and Sara

Solving problems for customers so they can focus on sales instead of technology

Sara: Ecommerce has been around for what, 10, 15 years now but it still has so much further to go in solving problems for customers who just want to create a nice looking shop.

Aaron: Every business owner wants to focus on operations and sales, and none of these platforms actually focus on the sales and conversion. So I think we're at that eight year evolution where it's time for another ecommerce platform to solve the sales focus, the marketing focus, the customer loyalty focus and all of the things that make a great small business successful instead of spending all of their time consumed by the technology.

Aaron and Sara

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