ED: Today we’re chatting with Shaneika Burchell-Kerr, CEO and founder of Breakthrough to Entrepreneur. Shaneika helps entrepreneurs just like you start, launch, and build their own online businesses. With her online programs, her one-on-one coaching, and her continuing education programs that she offers out of New York and Connecticut, she’s helped thousands of entrepreneurs start, launch and grow their online business.
As an entrepreneur, the hurdle of opening a physical location comes with challenges like the build out, rent, and all this overhead. All of a sudden, you’re $20–$30–$40,000 into it, and you haven’t landed a client or sold a single thing. Some of our listeners or our viewers would like to start a business and should be considering e-commerce. What is so attractive about e-commerce right now and why is this a great solution for many entrepreneurs?
SHANEIKA: The reason why a lot of people are being attracted to it can be different reasons. One is people are waking up now, especially because of the pandemic, are at home and they’re realizing that, “wow, I can actually use this opportunity to build my dream business.” Then you have those who have been either laid off from their job or just let go because of the pandemic. They realized that, “Hey, I need to start something.” Those who do DIY, this is an opportunity for them to get online and sell what they have and do what they love.
Then we have businesses who have to have no choice but to pivot to the e-commerce world because that’s where the audience is. Practicing social distancing is forcing a lot of people to go online because people want convenience. So that just a few of the reasons why a lot of people are being attracted to e-commerce.
ED: Say I am an entrepreneur who is trying to consider opening, launching an e-commerce business, what are two or three things that you would say I’d need to think about?
SHANEIKA: There are three things that I’d recommend. First, if you’re going online, you want to remember that now there is a lot competition. Just being online is not enough. You want to make sure you think about the product that you’re putting out there. Is it unique or does it solve someone’s problem? A lot of people are looking for that. They’re looking for things that solve problems, no one really is just going to buy something just because. It either has to be unique or it needs to solve a problem. Second, you want to think about your payment gateway. There are many payment gateways available, but are they right for your audience? Many people don’t consider that. If we get people to our website and they’re not able to check out in a way that suits them, then they’re just gonna abandon their cart. Security is a huge issue online so a lot of people are looking to make sure that you have that SSL Certificate on your website, and you’re secure. They also want to know how to contact you if there are any issues. Third is your landing page. Is it attractive enough? Is it going to attract your customers? Do you have an appealing description about your product? How does this product fit into your consumers lifestyle? What differentiates it from any other product or any other site? Finally, social proof is huge right now.
ED: What do you mean by social proof?
SHANEIKA: People are buying online based on what other people are saying because they can’t go into the store themselves. They can’t see it. They can’t test it. It’s difficult to return stuff. Nobody wants to deal with that right now, so they are buying based on the experience of other customers.
ED: As you’re talking part of my background was the grocery business, I was with H-E-B Grocery here in San Antonio. It is a 24/7, 363 and a half days a year. I was thinking that one of the fallacies that some startup online commerce brands and entrepreneurs forget about is that with brick and mortar, you could lock the door, turn the closed sign and a least go to bed. That’s not the case with e-commerce.
ED: How do you balance that freedom, especially for momtrepreneurs or women entrepreneurs as you were talking about. How do you balance that when someone’s opening up your package at 11 o’clock at night, they’re not happy, and they’re firing off an unhappy gram to you?
SHANEIKA: There’s email marketing. Let me just piggyback on what you said. Being able to have your store open 24/7 can be a huge benefit. One of the things that I love the most about my e-commerce is waking up in the morning, getting on my phone, and realizing that people are shopping at midnight. Basically, I’m waking up to profit. Nothing beats that. You can handle a customer who’s angry later, but nothing changes the fact that you don’t have to close your doors at all. Another thing that I love about e-commerce, if you play it right, you don’t even have to touch your products. I’ve started e-commerce where I’ve done, stocking inventory, and I’ve had those that I don’t have to stock my own inventory. I don’t see them at all. I have a relationship between my company and my supplier, and they ship my product directly for me with my branding. So I don’t have to worry about the stress of going to the store and being there until it closes or not knowing what’s happening with my products losing profits while they’re waiting for someone to buy them. I don’t have to purchase them upfront so it can be a benefit.
How do a deal with an angry customer? Email marketing. That’s awesome. I’ve always told my students if you pay attention to your consumers in terms of their emails, most of the time they just want to know that there’s another person behind the business. Ed, I’m telling you, I have proven this so many times. There are times when people will just email, even if they’re angry, as long as they know that someone else is responding to them trying to go the extra mile. I’ve done WhatsApp. If you have any issues for faster response. Customer service is one of the things that you want to really focus on immediately.
ED: You teach and you consult, where can people find you if they want to learn more?
SHANEIKA: People can reach out to me on my website, it’s www.breakthroughtoentrepreneur.com or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’m also available on WhatsApp 347-575-8654. They may also schedule an appointment at calendly.com/shaneikaburchellkerr, so we can discuss your business goals.
ED: I love it! I love your mission and your service. It was so great connecting with you, and I’m confident we’ll be visiting again soon.
SHANEIKA: Awesome. Thank you so much. I appreciate you having me here, Ed.