Now that the holidays are beginning to come to a close, you may be wondering how best to learn from your experiences. Our advice? Tap into the many online and in-person networks that offer support, friendship, and learning to online retailers.
Ecommerce merchants are, by definition, online. So it makes sense that online support e-commerce groups would be a perfect fit for online retailers.
“I’m very active on several Facebook groups,” says Kat Simpson, who writes, teaches and trains individuals and small business owners on Social Media and Selling on eBay, Amazon and other marketplaces. “In fact, I have my own Facebook group, at ThatKatGroup.com. I have found the sense of ‘community’ these groups provide, as well as almost IMMEDIATE help for sellers, to be very valuable.”
Other than Kat’s Facebook group, here are some online groups that are helpful for ecommerce merchants:
- The eCommerce group – (4,500+ members) – Facebook
- E-commerce network – (130,000+ members) – LinkedIn
- E-commerce solutions – (22,000+ members) – LinkedIn
- Shop.org – (12,000+ members) – LinkedIn
Of course, there’s no substitute for meeting people in person and shaking hands. One popular way to network with other emerchants is through Meetups.
“We have a local e-commerce group in our area that meets once a month,” says Karen Sherrouse, of Family Bedding Shop, in Sanford, FL. “I have found it to be an excellent way to meet others in this business, and I enjoy the presentations and conversations very much. We help each other out with questions and problems that we all run into, whether selling on Amazon, eBay or your own website. You can go to Meetup.com and check for a group in your area. You might find that very helpful and a great social outlet, as well.”
Some ecommerce companies offer their own meetups. Squarespace, a leading all-in-one website publishing platform, began offering Meetups in early 2012, designed to provide networking opportunities for Squarespace users, as well as an opportunity for users to share their learnings about the platform. Today, there are over 1,900 members of the Squarespace Meetup Group. Squarespace hosts meetups monthly all over the world. The full list of cities is here – Squarespace Meetups.
“We talk to customers 24/7 through our customer care team, but meeting our customers in person is so rewarding,” notes Squarespace Events Manager Jessica Kausen. “The Meetups are a great way to hear directly from the Squarespace community about what they love about Squarespace and what features they’d like to see in the future” says Kausen. “With the addition of Squarespace Commerce in 2012, hearing directly from customers with e-Commerce sites is crucial for keeping up with the ever-evolving online commerce industry.”
Another important way that online retailers connect with their peers is through conferences. “The value of attending an eCommerce conference can hardly be quantified,” notes Simpson. “By attending, you enlarge your network of contacts, gain amazing educational opportunities and make connections to expand your business. However, the hidden value of the amazing motivation is what cannot be over-estimated. You will come home very focused and ready to grow!”
Learn more about trade shows and conferences in our post Making the Most of E-commerce Trade Shows and Conferences.
So say goodbye to loneliness, and hello to your peers, with online and offline ecommerce networks!
Onward and Upwards.