Shopify Checklist for eCommerce Business Owners

Hiring an eComm expert to help you market your products may be hurting your business instead of helping it.

How do you know if the eComm “expert” you bought for a hefty price (coach, consultant, digital marketer, support staff) is truly an expert… or just a wanna-be squirrel living in an eComm world? 

I’ve seen a lot in my 20 years of eComm retail experience, but nothing like the influx of new product based businesses over the past few years. And I don’t anticipate it’s going to slow down anytime soon, either. In fact, it’s predicted that the rate of businesses entering the online space is nearly 20% each year.

When I think about the considerable growth we’re seeing in the online industry, I’m burdened with a desperate need for true subject matter experts. Unfortunately, as new eComm stores pop up, so do the “experts”.

There are so many people in the digital space right now claiming to be “experts” in all things marketing. We have coaching experts, funnel experts, conversion rate optimization experts, paid ad experts, social media and email marketing experts… the list goes on.

And while I’m certain many of them are experts in their own right, as a product based eComm store owner, you must understand there is a fundamental difference between an expert in “digital marketing” and an eComm digital marketing expert. 

I have owned my digital marketing agency (Digital Dawn), serving primarily health, wellness, and lifestyle eCommerce brands, for nearly 10 years. And it pains me to hear about the really poor advice both new and established eComm store owners are getting from so many self-proclaimed online marketing experts. 

Much of the “expert” advice eComm business owners are being given is actually hurting them financially instead of helping them. 

Unfortunately, many of our clients have come to us after having worked with these experts. Initially, we spend a lot of time cleaning up the costly damage and reprogramming the misguided mindsets these so-called experts have created

For example, prior to working with us, one of our clients (we’ll refer to her as Sally), paid a pretty penny to work with a marketing coach for an extended period. This particular “expert” had been giving Sally poor advice on her paid media strategy. 

Sally was told that she would be profitable when she received X return on her ad spend. But what this expert didn’t realize or understand (bless her heart) was the difference between marketing an info product and a physical product. 

Unlike an info product, there are additional costs associated with marketing a physical product. You must consider your ad spend, plus your cost of goods sold (COGS) when determining your return on investment (ROI).

You see, Sally’s “expert” didn’t have a clear understanding of what determines profitability for a product-based eComm store owner, specifically in regards to paid advertising. Sally was being told, “Hey, you’re getting a great return. Let’s start pumping even more money into this!”

Little did Sally know she was losing money (a lot, actually) on her investment because her COGS were not being factored into the overall ad spend. 

So, back to my original question… How do you know if an “expert” is qualified to give you advice? 

A qualified eComm expert understands…

        • Industry trends, jargon, and marketing strategies, particularly profit margin and how that’s factored into the overall marketing equation. 
        • Product life cycle and the reality that it’s not enough to just have a product. A qualified eComm expert will help you determine how much product you need to grow and scale.
        • Customer experience and demonstrates the creative ability to retain customers.
        • Conversion rate optimization (CRO) and how to improve it.
        • How to establish key performance indicators (KPI’S), as well as measure and analyze them. 
        • Cost of doing business – how much you can spend to acquire a customer and still be profitable. 
        • Ad spend and what your BEROAS should be (psssst… if they can’t tell you what that means – then here’s your sign.) 

As you contemplate hiring an expert to help you grow and scale your eComm business, whether it be a coach, agency, or support staff, ask for references and tangible examples of how they have helped others and how they will help you. If they’re unable to provide that proof, then case closed. It’s time to move on to the next candidate. 

Want to hear more about the defining expectations of a qualified eComm expert (you know, one that will explode your profits, not punch holes in it)? Then check out this podcast episode ASAP.

Want even more FREE advice? Join our Facebook group, eComm Profit Community, where we share winning strategies for product-based businesses just like yours on the daily. We’d love to have you!


Dawn Sinkule, the Founder of Digital Dawn, is an MBA graduate, Strategy and Business Growth Consultant as well as a Certified Online Business Manager with more than 16 years of corporate experience working for a Fortune 50 company. Dawn and her team work with passionate six figure business owners who want to grow, expand, and explode their businesses. Her clients get not only the experience of a Fortune 50 leader, but also a personalized and customized strategy as well as an implementation team: AKA your secret weapon for success. Dawn and the DD team provide your choice of  self-implementation or fully done for you solutions, and both include detailed business strategies, automation, systems, and most importantly the satisfaction of knowing your business is heading the right direction. Her clients get not only the experience of a Fortune 50 leader, but also a personalized and customized strategy as well as an implementation team: AKA your secret weapon for success.