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Amazon to Shopify: eCcommerce objectives and analytics at various phases, explained

Every successful company starts with a simple but vital concept: brands must know where they are in order to achieve their target. To develop an eCommerce development plan, brands must assess their current position on their growth path. A clear understanding of your current position can assist you in deciding which route to pursue and what your priorities should be.

We have identified four phases of the eCommerce growth cycle based on our extensive research and discussions with product leaders, managers, and founders of eCommerce businesses. Early-stage (0-1 million), Scale-stage (1-5 million), Consolidation-stage (5-25 million), and Expansion-stage (25+ million) funding. Each stage has a distinct set of objectives, necessitating using distinct strategies.

Early stage (0-1 million in sales)

Typically, the initial stage or early stage is the most difficult. Numerous obstacles exist, including product development, inventory limits, brand playbook formulation, and tech stack selection. Venture capital-backed businesses are diligently meeting these expectations. Conversely, Bootstrapped owners have their own challenges.


1. Construct a defendable offering and get your first set of clients

The majority of businesses at this point will be required to overcome the obstacle of market acceptability and seek a niche opportunity. Do not overextend your financial and time resources.

2. If your argument supports returns, raise funds

Monitor your return on media expenditure if you are attempting to raise capital. All too frequently, businesses spend more than required to progress their KPIs. If your Cost Per Acquisition or Return On Advertising Spend is not where it needs to be, you should slow down and address these issues before proceeding.

3. Focus on client acquisition while maintaining cash flow control

While paid marketing is the primary growth engine at this time, it is necessary and prudent to establish channels that permit organic traffic so long as you produce excellent content for your prospective consumers.

Focus areas

At this point, the emphasis should be on creating a devoted client base and a market presence. Some firms tend to address business issues via marketing. Remember that sponsored media is the megaphone for your brand. Your megaphone will struggle to attract customers if the brand’s voice is fragmented.

Facebook, pay-per-click (PPC), and email marketing are often the only channels used in Stage 1. Besides the Cost of goods sold (COGS), advertising expenditures are the highest item on the Income Statement (P&L). Facebook and Instagram are projected to account for 80% of the media mix in order to stimulate demand. In performance marketing, creativity is the most crucial lever to pull. Therefore, dedicate a portion of your media budget to content and design production.

Creatives are the company’s silent brand advocates.

If you’re just starting and don’t want to raise money for your company, you may develop an e-commerce brand by doing these six simple steps. Companies with financial resources may use these methods to expand their organic reach.

  1. Start with content and maximise the amount of organic traffic you get. Social media networks provide several options for this.
  2. Develop a community around your work.
  3. Create a web store. Shopify makes do-it-yourself operations easier.
  4. Utilize points 1 and 2 to improve point 3 earnings
  5. Utilize ads to promote development. Focus on efficiency and effectiveness.
  6. Concentrate on retention and monitor your cohorts. The only way to attain sustainable success is for people to purchase at your business regularly.

In general, your return on paid media should adhere to the following guidelines:

Excellent Zone (0 to 3 months): You are performing well. As the conclusion of the month approaches, move more quickly. Slow down as you approach three months.
Safe Zone (3-6 months): Caution is advised.
Risky Zone ((6+ months): It is a warning symbol for Danger Zone (6+ months). The founders will continue to fundraise.

As you go through stages 2 and 3, the significance of these indications increases. Since most direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands trade on EBITDA, establishing a solid foundation in the $0 to $1 million revenue stage may help generate substantial value in succeeding stages.

Scale stage: $1-5 million revenue

You have successfully completed the most challenging portion of the process and are now prepared to go on to the next step: developing your brand. It would be best if you had achieved product-market fit by now. This indicates that the number of new consumers, recurring customers, and revenue will increase. Here, profitability is key.


  1. Increase visitors and sales via direct and organic routes
    50% of your traffic and profits should come from unpaid direct and organic channels.
  2. Consensus on audience segmentation
    Whether gaining traffic via paid or free channels, it is necessary to have a better awareness of what’s accessible online (Search, Social, Display, Targeted advertising, Emailers, SMS) and offline (Search, Social, Display, Targeted ads, Emailers, SMS) (Print media, Radio, Broadcast).
  3. Start focusing more on essential business indicators.
    It is crucial to monitor and evaluate all significant data indicators, from CAC to LTV, to ensure that you have the proper insights to remain on track.
  4. Master your tactics for client acquisition, but shift your attention to customer retention.
    It is common knowledge that acquiring a new client is more expensive than retaining an existing one and that loyal clients will pay more for your product or service and perform other crucial functions for your organisation. Therefore, during this point, your client acquisition should go smoothly so that you may concentrate on customer retention. Consider building a mobile application and customer community in addition to an online shop.
  5. Cross-sell & Up-sell
    10-30% of an eCommerce site’s income is often contributed by product suggestions. Upselling and cross-selling may strengthen your income stream. Amazon has stated that cross-selling and upselling account for up to 35 percent of their income.


The channel mix is the same as in stage 1, but a more established media strategy supports it. After $3 to $5 million, creatives, audience segmentation, and message become more manageable. The relevance and significance of influencer marketing increase. Utilizing paid media to amplify influencer or user-generated content is a sensible approach.

In this industry, the following alternatives are accessible, emphasizing online platforms.

  1. Google and Bing may be used for searching and shopping (highest customer intent)
  2. Facebook includes Instagram, Tiktok, Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter in its Social & Display (Immediate purchases with audience clusters) category.
  3. Existing visitor/buyer base retargeting (increased lifetime value) – Entire Search and Display stock
  4. Blogs, celebrity tweets, and infomercials – Growth hacking and influencer marketing.

From design to inventory, you should have a birds-eye perspective of everything. Demand planning should always be at the forefront of your thoughts, mainly if your suppliers demand 90 days or more. Stage 2 will need brand leaders to develop their organisational structure, and great brands are concerned about being flexible and agile.

This phase has the greatest rate of failure. At this moment, the notion of scaling seems like an exciting challenge. There are times when companies seek expansion too aggressively and hit an inflection point, and it is not undesirable. Knowing when diminishing returns will occur may be useful, as it enables you to reduce your efforts and then increase them again.

Consolidation stage: $5-25 million revenue

Wholesale and retail are getting increasingly profitable. Once a brand’s sales hit $10 million, the strong foundations will begin to bear fruit, but the organization’s mechanics will change.


  1. Optimize your cost structure to continuously get the maximum margin possible.
    Now is the moment to negotiate expenses, from the price of raw materials to the cost of acquiring customers.
  2. Hire the appropriate individuals
    Leaders of brands will have to invest in people. Employ employees knowledgeable about the category and have already done the role. Before recruiting, you should reveal OKRs and set expectations accordingly.
  3. Focus all your efforts (and resources!) on customer retention
    Only customer retention methods can sustain your development at this level. Your CRR, NPS, and CV scores must be high to succeed at this level.


Simply monitoring numbers is insufficient; action is required. The importance of loyalty programs, community building, exclusive items or features, and enhancing the consumer experience by providing individualised alerts, material, etc., grows. Invest in brand loyalty and enhance consumer involvement on direct channels such as the mobile app, social media, and the community.

“At this point, buyers do not purchase products, but rather experiences.”

At this juncture, examining how CAC will decline with time is essential. This is uncommon among digitally equipped businesses. CACs increase at the channel level and channels degrade with time. Cohorts run the danger of becoming stale if the product catalogue lacks diversity or retention efforts are insufficient. Over time, the blended CAC follows the leading channel.

Brands should also begin to watch copycats in the marketplace. When you reach stage 3, which is difficult to achieve, you will witness product imitations of your brand. There are methods for escaping velocity and skipping to stage 4.

The consolidation stage is vital; however, most businesses get stuck here. Over ninety percent of e-commerce companies are in stages 1 and 3. E-commerce in general, DTC in particular, is very fragmented, and the long tail grabs the vast majority of businesses and brands.

As the issue of consolidation enters the discussion, there will undoubtedly be a great deal of M&A activity in e-commerce in the future. In the second phase, there will be lots of activity, but small holding companies will head it. The most substantial opportunities will be identified in stage 3, and companies in stage 4 will likely acquire stages 2 and 3.

Expansion: $25+ million revenue

In this phase, organisations that have made significant progress in implementing their business concept consolidate their revenue and staff growth. A successful business model enables the company to contemplate more ambitious objectives, such as globalisation, development into other product lines, and the hire of more personnel.


  1. Diversify – whether in terms of product lines or geography
    Now that your initial product engine is a well-oiled machine, it is time to extend your firm in order to generate extra money and solidify your position as the industry leader.
  2. Go Omnichannel
    Currently, retail and wholesale provide significant opportunities. In addition to their efforts, the leaders of a brand must discover a way to scale this. It may occur via partnerships or by owning physical businesses.


Here, businesses will use a diverse channel mix. However, corporations can spread their risk over 8-10 channels. Stages 1-3 necessitate that brands be millimetres wide and miles deep in each aspect. At level 4, players must stretch out and delve deeply, and they must have the persons, processes, instruments, and friends essential to support this growth.

And now your new product line or efforts fall under the heading of early stage. Have a staff capable of managing your first product and beginning from scratch. Your new offering may be a novice, but you are not. You would have mastered e-commerce by this point.

Now that you have mentally traversed the full lifetime in 10 minutes, we are certain you will have many questions about strategies and tactics at each stage, which will be addressed in our subsequent blog postings.

At Apptile, our goal is to empower you to create personalized experiences that showcase your brand in the best possible light irrespective of your business size or budget.

Get started now and create stunning mobile apps in seconds without any coding. Book a demo with our team to see how Apptile can help you transform your business for the mobile era. We would love to hear more about your brand’s mobile app vision and help you bring it to life. Also, follow us to stay ahead of the eCommerce game and join the conversation today!