Quantifying Ecommerce with Kurt Elster

Oct 7, 2016

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In this week’s episode of the Sailing to Success Podcast Show, Lyndsay Phillips interviews Kurt Elster. Kurt is a senior ecommerce consultant and the founder of ecommerce agency Ethercycle. He is the author of Ecommerce Bootcamp and the host of the Unofficial Shopify Podcast.


  • Tell us about your experience and how you got to where you are.
  • Why Shopify?
  • Where can people go wrong with ecommerce?
  • Do you have any tips for growing your list?
  • How do you gauge success with ecommerce?
  • What advice would you give someone who wanted to get started in ecommerce?


The Life of an Entrepreneur

  • Follow the money, if a customer wants you to do something for them you should listen.
  • Know what your goals are and your decisions become easier to see and make.
  • Say yes to opportunities, you can’t know where they will take you.
  • If something feels easy and people want to give you money for it, it’s because you’re good at it.


  • Ecommerce allows you to quantify your results.
  • Niching down allows you to specialize and become a leader in the space.
  • The Shopify platform is simple, easy to use and develop for.
  • Shopify is very stable, has a low barrier to entry.
  • Shopify has native support for the Facebook pixel.
  • Buy a premium theme, they are well tested and work. Check out Parallax, Retina, and Startup.


  • The hardest part about building an ecommerce business is getting traffic to your site.
  • Validate your idea first, build a list of 10 people who are interested in your product before you start.
  • Build an audience before you begin.
  • Narrow your focus and target a specific group of people.
  • Extending customer lifetime value should be the focus of optimizing your site, a crazy, lazy, drunk should be able to use your site.
  • Get your customer to describe your offering themselves and then use that information to write your copy.
  • You should be passionate about the product you sell.
  • Test your product by listing it on Amazon.

List Building

  • Create interesting content and provide value around the product you’re selling.
  • Preorders and crowdfunding are a great way to validate.
  • Look for communities that are already talking about your niche and get involved.
  • Free educational content is the way to get people onto your list.
  • Focus on them instead of you.

Biggest Mistakes

  • People don’t test their idea.
  • Don’t deal with objections.
  • No reason to trust the vendor.
  • No way for the customer to contact you. Include your number in the header of the invoice.

Final Tips

  • Don’t forget to validate first.
  • Build an audience by giving them free, educational content.
  • Say yes to opportunities when you’re just getting started.

Thank you for listening! If you enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe and leave a 5-star rating and review in iTunes!



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