To know when it’s the right time to expand an online retailing business, a merchant must first pay close attention to what customers are saying, identify an opportunity and then follow through with a well-organized plan, says Jason Roussos , president of Living Direct Inc.
Following those cardinal rules helped Living Direct, No. 265 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, open three new niche e-commerce sites and grow sales by almost 15% to about $40 million in 2009, Roussos says.
He will brief attendees on the best practices and timing to expand an existing e-commerce business in a session entitled When opportunity knocks, what`s the right answer? When to expand your business.
“The time to expand is when you see a void or opportunity in the market that everyone but the customer is missing,” Roussos says. “We let the customer be our guide to the last three niche sites we opened and that feedback was invaluable.”
In the early phase of a start-up business, a few key talented employees can be instrumental in helping to identify an opportunity and then bring that new expansion to life. But as an organization grows the process needs to change, Roussos says.
“When an organization gets bigger and so does the business development opportunity, you have to bring more people into the decision-making and execution process,” he says. “You need to make it a part of the culture you are trying to create and maintain.”
In 2009, Living Direct relied on customer feedback and extensive market due diligence to launch SimplyDehumidifiers.com, a microsite that carries about 100 SKUs and brands such as Danby, Frigidaire, EdgeStar, Ebac, Soleus, Sunpentown and LG. “We had the supplier relationships and customers told us they wanted access to a lot more brands,” says Roussos. “That was the combination that told us we had a pretty good opportunity to capitalize on.”
Why the editors asked Jason Roussos to speak:
Jason Roussos heads up Living Direct Inc., a steadily growing online retailer that operates CompactAppliance.com, PortableAirshop.com, HotWaterSource.com, Kegerator.com, SimplyDehumidifier.com, WineCoolerDirect.com, and LivingDirect.com. Jason has over a decade of experience in the Internet and e-commerce world in marketing, merchandising, operations and strategic planning.