Building strong foundations with Shopify based on the fundamental principles of ecommerce success—part 2

I have been exploring what it means to adopt a first-principles mindset to design, development, and growth on Shopify.

When working with ecommerce brand leaders, I often push back on “must-have” (or even “nice-to-have”) feature requests—with a gentle but firm reminder that we need to focus on the fundamentals first.

But what are “the fundamentals”?

The fundamentals are the foundational or core principles that should inform every decision—running your business, leading your team, and guiding your vendors and partners. They should be your “North Star”—guiding your priorities as you build a successful, sustainable, profitable business.

It’s easy to get distracted by “shiny things” or “squeaky wheels” and to lose sight of what matters—what will move your business forward.

By focusing on the fundamentals, you can measure needs, wants, desires, and personal opinions against the proverbial yardstick of the underlying principles to help you focus.

Early last year, I came up with a list of what I felt were essential principles of DTC ecommerce growth.

I have continued to iterate on this and have an updated list I am experimenting with in my consulting work.

  1. Acquisition, Retention & Growth
  2. Accessibility
  3. Apps & Integrations
  4. Community & Engagement
  5. Company Leadership & Culture
  6. Content, Imagery & Storytelling
  7. Customer Experience
  8. Data & Metrics
  9. Design, Branding & Positioning
  10. Finances & Profitability
  11. Merchandising & Inventory Management
  12. Operations, Supply Chains & Logistics
  13. Packaging, Labeling & Unboxing Experience
  14. Product Design & Innovation
  15. Regulations & Compliance
  16. Sales Channels Optimization
  17. Shipping & Fulfillment
  18. Reliable Partners & Vendors
  19. Sustainability
  20. Vision & Purpose

If you are not building your business on a foundation of core ecommerce fundamentals, you are wasting time, money, headspace, and resources. You are likely focusing on the minutiae and things that don’t matter now.

Suppose you were to rank your business on a scale of 1–5 for the half a dozen areas of focus that flow into each of these 20 fundamentals. If you are falling below a 3.0 on average across all points, you need to get those 1’s and 2’s up to at least a 3 (or higher!) before you get distracted by the minutiae.

This takes tremendous discipline, leadership, and focus.

If you need an external perspective and would like help assessing where you’re at with your core fundamentals, I would love to work with you.

If you have feedback, questions, or suggestions, please drop them in the comments.

Subscribe to Galen King

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.