At this morning’s E-commerce breakfast, local e-commerce company dogIDs‘ Jeremy Driscoll gave the lowdown on how they bring new concepts to market.
The advice comes on the heels of recent success for dogIDs – they hired 6 new employees in the past few months, and moved into a brand news space in mid-August. The breakfast was held here, as attendees sipped mimosas and patted a host of dogs scampering the grounds.
dogIDs specializes in creating personalized products for dogs (collars, leashes, sweaters). Driscoll used examples from their business, while outlining concepts that can apply to any e-commerce industry.
1. Product Research
It’s important to be constantly toying with new ideas, Driscoll said. dogIDs draws ideas from trade shows, Google search and paying attention to gaps in customer needs.
“An idea can come from anywhere,” Driscoll said. “Production, development, any part of the company.”
Once they have an idea, they test it with two questions:
Q1: Is it something no one is doing?
Q2: Are we going to make this ourselves?
For instance, Driscoll said, dogIDs would not buy knitting equipment to start knitting their own sweaters. Instead, this is an example of a product they would drop-ship – or re-sell from a manufacturer who has the equipment to make the product.
Next, they go through a three-step process: Sample, Test, Revise.
Driscoll stressed the importance to hold your products to a standard of high-quality. He used an example of a leash currently in design from dogIDs, which they’ve adjusted multiple times after testing it out on their dogs. The length of time for this process can vary ; for the leash they’ve spent 2 months devleoping it, while for a drop-ship product it averages around 4-6 weeks.
Once your product is ready to launch, it’s time to get it behind a camera. Here is where voice is important, Driscoll said. Just as dogIDs has a strong voice that expresses their love for dogs, every company should have a unique voice that they express through their photos.
dogIDs takes their photos in house with a set of “fantastic photographers,” Driscoll said.
3. Content & Product Page
When writing content for the website and product page, dogIDs focuses on being as thorough as possible in detail and measurements. They create videos for each product that specify what material is used and the quality of each product. In addition, they provide a sizing guide for customers to use in order to buy the right collar for their dog. Likewise, when applicable, any company should make it as easy as possible for the customer to not just buy – but make the right choice when they buy.
That company voice is very important when developing content for the website and product page as well.
“You want one unified voice when representing your company,” Driscoll said.
4. Back-end work: Amazon & Etsy
After you have all your information, it’s time for the back-end work. This means inputting pricing, title, images, product options, etc. dogIDs works primarily on Amazon & Etsy, two “very different platforms,” Driscoll said.
On Amazon, they can input bulk amounts of product through a spreadsheet, Driscoll said. On Etsy, however, it requires you to upload product by product. They are, however, the two best platforms for their product.
Now, product is ready and its’ time for some action. At dogIDs, Driscoll said, they use Google and Bing for advertisements. Keywords become important here. While they avoid expensive keywords, Driscoll said they will set up keywords for specific products they know people are searching for – such as an Italian leather collar.
They also advertise through social media and e-mail.
“I don’t know if you notice, but a lot of people like animals on social,” Driscoll said. They use that to their advantage. Puppy photos work best for them on Instagram and Twitter, while Facebook and Pinterest are also popular sites, he said.
E-mail comes in handy during special seasons (such as hunting season, or Christmas season) where they can highlight a specific product. Driscoll said at dogIDs, they send about six e-mails a month.
E-commerce breakfasts happen once a month and feature local leaders from within the e-commerce industry. The next one will be held on January 13 and feature Shirts from Fargo. Learn more here!
Photos courtesy of Marisa Jackels and dogID