You may have landed on this blog post thinking it was clickbait — perhaps wondering, what in the world is Idea Chíc thinking? Sales on Amazon now account for nearly one-third of all online sales in the US!
But our decision to leave Amazon wasn’t rooted in some sensational public relations motive, and we didn’t just jump-ship on the fly. Our decision was calculated and backed by years of research and trend-watching.
We’ve been maximizing e-commerce for more than a decade now. We started online with Etsy in 2009, and after just a few years, we were able to make a living wage through Etsy sales alone. Fast forward to almost 8,000 sales later, Etsy proved that e-commerce would be a crucial revenue channel for us.
In 2012, we launched ideachic.net, the site you’re reading this blog post on now. Through Shopify, we continued scaling our e-commerce growth, with now a returning customer rate of 62% in 2020.
But it was back in 2016 when we first caught the eye of Amazon and were offered the opportunity to trial Handmade on Amazon. We were fortunate to be selected in a campaign highlighting 52 small batch manufacturers that year, which came with a commitment to remain on Amazon for five years. We were drawn in by all the benefits this giant platform had to offer a small brand like us. It’s hard to believe back then that 2-Day Shipping was novel!
With each addition to our online shopping platforms, we saw the opportunity to innovate. As frequent customers ourselves of Amazon, we were excited to see how the powerhouse could diversify our e-commerce channels and become a fresh way to share our products with new customers.
But over the years, we uncovered a few concerns. Among those, we discovered that our shipping time was often faster than Prime. We were also a small business that prided itself on a thoughtful buying experience for the customer. We realized we were losing control over that very experience on this channel — it was hard to intentionally connect with the customer on a platform built for convenience.
Throughout Idea Chíc’s history, we had worked hard to ensure that the brand experience was a priority, even over sales generated. Was this channel coming to jeopardize that value?
Then the pandemic gave us pause (more here in our Lessons Learned in 2020 blog post.) It forced us to ask: what do we really care most about?
We discuss these two questions in detail, plus the future of micro-fulfillment, e-commerce, and social commerce trends to keep an eye on in this week’s episode of Your Brand Radio.
But here’s the nitty-gritty for those of you who aren’t podcast listeners:
We deeply believe that leaning into customer service affects the bottom line. When you build a relationship with the customer, they realize how much they have a stake in the business — they now become a part of the mission, they’re invested. We determined that every channel we use for sales must prioritize this value.
And with that in mind, we recognized that so much of this happens in brick-and-mortar storefronts, the local heart of the community. We want those Mom and Pop stores, the neighborhoods, not just to survive but thrive. We want to communicate with small businesses that there are makers out there like us who are in business to help them.
We’re excited to see how shifting our focus to these other channels — wholesale, retail, and e-commerce in intentional digital spaces — better supports keeping the brand (and customer experience) first.