In this interview series, we are talking to leaders of ecommerce businesses who can share their strategies for creating a very successful ecommerce website. As part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alex Reichmann.
Can you tell us a bit about your backstory and how you got started?
My origins in this industry start with my grandfather, who helped start the U.S. company Dri Mark, which was the first American company to patent the counterfeit detector pen.
From there, we took that concept more than years later (in 2007), when ecommerce started becoming big, to make an online store dedicated to counterfeit detection products, and we have gone on to provide all kinds of counterfeit detectors and money counters since then.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? What lessons or takeaways you learned?
I think rolling with the punches and the ever-changing landscapes of doing online business. We used to use (now) very outdated marketing techniques in the early days of iTestCash, like building links that would get you banned from Google now.
I had to spend a number of months working hard to get all those removed some years ago. Lesson learned and something I’m glad to have gotten over!
Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are?
I would have to give credit to my family in the case of this business. Without their early foundations in the industry, I can’t imagine I would have ever gotten into it. It was also up to me to keep it going up until this point.
What does your ecommerce company do? What was the “aha moment” that led to the idea for your business?
To be a one-stop shop for businesses' counterfeit money detection needs! I don’t think there was ever one aha moment, but instead, it feels more like a continuous process of learning and meeting the needs of our customers. Figuring out ways to compete and stay relevant in the days of Amazon and tons of options on the internet.
What was your original vision for your company? What pain point(s) were you trying to solve for your customers?
Ultimately, to help businesses not lose money to counterfeiters either through lack of knowledge on the subject or using cheap knockoff brands that don’t detect high-quality counterfeit bills.
Over the years, as printing technology has advanced and become cheaper, so has the black market industry of counterfeiting money, so we always want to keep up with the trends and make sure our products can detect these bad bills.
We also like to be a place where we can offer personalized customer support for all kinds of businesses that you simply don’t get when buying from a non-specialized “marketplace” like Amazon.
There are more than 12 million ecommerce businesses out there. What do you think makes your company stand out? What are you most proud of?
Specializing very specifically in our industry. When customers come to us for products, they know what type of products they are looking for. We could have easily turned into a store that just sells scattershot any type of office and retail products, but we have remained true to our values and what we offer for very specialized niche products to help businesses protect their cash. The story, like with many businesses, is ever-evolving!
Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things you need to know to build a highly successful ecommerce website?
1. Have a plan and know what your goals are. Having something you are aiming for with your business can make all the difference in the world.
2. Offer something that isn’t offered by mega websites like Amazon and Walmart. I would ask: What is a reason someone might choose your website over theirs? Maybe you specialize in something very specific or offer a personalized service?
3. Another important question I would ask: What kind of marketing techniques could work for you? Does your industry thrive on social media, Adwords, or maybe even organic SEO?
4. Always get your basics right. This is true for pretty much any industry, but your website should be as easy and simple to use as possible. All it takes is one thing not working properly on your site to lose a customer. So it’s always good to review your website and make sure everything is up to speed with the modern ecommerce industry.
5. Some industries do well with a blog. Do you have any special skills or knowledge in your industry? A blog is a good way to showcase this and potentially can help you build up a following and credibility in your field too. Also, sharing these posts on social media with relevant hashtags can help get your words out too.
If there were one part of the ecommerce website development process you would have spent 50% more time on, what would it be and why?
Reaching out to industry blogs to write articles for them for potential features. The reason is that I think this is one of the best SEO strategies in the modern era. It’s credible and doesn’t cost you any cash. It’s more merit-based, and it helps you build up your brand while you do it too.
Can you share a few examples of tools or software that you think can dramatically empower emerging ecommerce brands to be more effective and more successful?
I’d recommend looking into tools like Semrush and Moz—SEO tools where you can analyze and look at what your competitors are doing. This can really help to come up with marketing ideas that may work in your industry.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs and founders make when they start an ecommerce business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Spending too much money, spreading themselves too thin, and not acting on opportunities. Ultimately, one has to use their own judgment, but, in general, try to make sound decisions and analyze if they will help in the long run.
In your experience, which aspect of running an ecommerce brand tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
I think a lot of people get duped by magic marketing pills. For many businesses, it can really come down to a lot of trial and error and figuring out what works overtime. Different types of marketing will work better in different industries, so I would also try to pay attention to what is working for your specific niche.
As a simple example: TikTok may work great for the fashion industry, whereas Facebook might work better for someone selling office products.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most people, what would that be?
In all honesty, to get our climate priorities in order. It is a very complex topic, but it would be nice if people from all sides could gather and genuinely discuss sustainable ways to help the future of the planet and humanity.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
My blog on iTestCash for topics relating to the money and cash side of things.
Don't miss out on the latest tips, insights, software recommendations, and expert advice from The Ecomm Manager. Subscribe to our newsletter today!
More great ECM content: