In this interview series, we are talking to leaders of ecommerce businesses who can share their strategies for creating a successful ecommerce website. As part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Olivia Jenkins.
Can you tell us a bit about your backstory and how you got started?
Thank you for having me!
My backstory started in mid-2019 when I took a GIANT leap of faith and resigned from my dream job in corporate to pursue a career in ecommerce consulting for some of Australia’s best health, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle brands.
I had served over 10 years in corporate as a General Manager for global health and beauty brands like VANI-T, Swisse Wellness, and Kosmea—but I had the vision to serve more CEOs and have a much bigger impact on the industry.
I started as a solopreneur in mid-2019, and fast forward to now—I have worked with over 100+ CEOs across the health, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle sector, helping consulting clients generate more than $45M in sales.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? What lessons or takeaways did you learn?
When I first started the business, I made a HUGE mistake when setting up my invoice template in my accounting system. Unbeknown to me, I had accidentally entered my account number wrong on the invoice. Therefore, funds were getting paid into an account that was someone else’s and not my own.
I figured that clients were just paying late, and so when I reached out to clients with a payment reminder, I was met with several emails stating that the funds had been paid “weeks ago.” I went into a panic, wondering where the funds might be and knowing full well there was every chance I would never see those funds again.
Thankfully, the bank was able to assist me and locate the funds that had been mistakenly sent to another account. I was very lucky to have received the full amount back on a payment plan as the individual had already spent the money, and I learned a very good lesson in attention to detail when dealing with banking matters.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are?
I have a favorite quote for this, which is, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
I think this is really a testament to having an amazing team and that, as business leaders, we are really only as good as the team working to support us with our vision.
I’ve always placed a huge focus on being mentored by someone who I really respect and admire. This has helped me to achieve great things throughout my career and have someone that I can call for advice or to be the voice of reason when I needed extra support.
I’m also a big believer in creating a winning team for your business that truly embraces your business values—and live and breathe your vision. It’s not always about having people on your team that have your vision, but rather having people on your team that really respect you as a leader and want to be part of a winning team where everyone is working towards the same goal.
In the beginning, I was hyper-focused about doing it all on my own for two reasons; one, I was a startup, and I knew the importance of getting the plane off the runway and in the air before adding additional costs that would restrict growth. And two, because I thought that doing things myself was the best way to do it however soon realized that I could focus on things that were the highest and best purpose use of my time.
This allowed the business to soar to new heights and make much more impact than ever before. As well as produce world-class quality results and deliverables.
What does your ecommerce company do? What was the “aha moment” that led to the idea for your current ecommerce business?
Olivia Jenkins Consulting is a Business & Marketing Consultancy specializing in serving female-led ecommerce health, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle businesses to achieve extraordinary growth and position themselves as iconic brands.
OJC provides a number of services to ambitious CEOs and their businesses, including business advisory, strategic marketing, promotional planning, campaign management, email marketing management, paid ads, and more.
We have helped consulting clients generate more than $45,000,000 in sales since mid-2019 and have been recognized with 14x domestic and international business awards.
I launched OJC after spending over a decade in corporate as a general manager of health and beauty brands. I knew that I was destined for entrepreneurship. However, I never had the “light bulb moment” for an innovative product. My true passion was working alongside CEOs in a CSO/CMO/GM capacity, and so I decided in 2019 that I would dedicate myself to a career in service.
OJC was born in mid-2019.
What was your original vision for your company? What pain point(s) were you trying to solve for your customers?
The original vision for the company has not changed in the 3.5 years we have been in existence. That was, we never wanted to be the biggest, we strived to be the best.
OJC is focused on delivering world-class results that are built upon a solid foundation of; trust, results, growth, service, and transformation. This business was never created to be the world’s biggest agency—we are not a volume business but rather a luxury white-glove consulting solution for those who are wanting the best.
We pride ourselves on delivering a white-glove, high-touch service that delivers real results and retains incredible relationships with clients. The business was created out of my frustration with so-called “digital experts” that promised the world and delivered nothing when I was working in corporate.
I was determined to break the mold and create an ethical consulting business that truly delivered on its promises.
There are more than 12 million ecommerce businesses out there. What do you think makes your company stand out?
What makes us unique is our disruptive approach to business and the value we place on client experience.
What makes us stand out is our personable approach to business, our immense focus on professionalism, and our never-ending pursuit of excellence.
There have honestly been too many “proud moments” to list. However, if I had to narrow it down to just one, it would be helping OJC clients generate more than $45,000,000 in sales since mid-2019. This achievement in itself has changed the lives of so many, including my clients, their teams, and their customers.
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 . Choose a winning website platform
It’s imperative to choose an ecommerce-focused website platform such as Shopify. I see many clients make the mistake of using a platform that has not been optimized for ecommerce.
An ecommerce-first platform like Shopify provides you with everything you need at a click of a button and without the need for expensive website developers.
2 . Focus on store architecture
Your store architecture is essentially your blueprint for your house and if you fail to draw it up correctly, you’ll see it collapse. The same happens with your ecommerce website if the focus is not placed on website presentation and customer experience.
Good store architecture allows search engines to index the website and rank it higher, allows for scalability, enhances user experience, and helps to optimize conversion rate so you can make more revenue from the same amount of traffic.
3. Mobile-first optimization
Customers are shopping from their phones more than ever so it’s critical to focus on a mobile-first experience to optimize your conversion rate. Mobile-first, as the name suggests, focuses on optimizing content for mobiles and tablets first and desktop screens second.
Mobile-first design boasts many benefits, including economical advantages, responsiveness and exceptional growth potential—think of it as a customer-first attitude.
4 . Integrated approach to website, email, social media, and ads
Succeeding in ecommerce is very much a sum of all the parts, rather than succeeding in one focused area. Hence the need to integrate at every touch point from website to email, social media, paid ads, and everything in between—it is an ecommerce ecosystem, and everything must work together seamlessly to create the ideal customer journey.
5 . Focus on customer loyalty to retain long-term customers
Once your ecommerce website has been built, your work is far from over. After making those first few sales online, you’re at a critical point where your focus should turn to customer loyalty in order to skyrocket your ecommerce success.
Simple ways to do this include prioritizing customer service, offering personalized content and product recommendations, providing exclusive perks and discounts, and developing an irresistible loyalty program.
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?
Conversion rate optimization. There are a few ways to grow sales through an ecommerce website, including increased sessions, increased average order value, or increased conversion rate. Conversion rate optimization allows you to convert more people with the same amount of traffic, so it is the most logical way of increasing sales and is an ever-moving compass.
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?
My favorite tools for ecommerce brands are Shopify for website platform, Klaviyo for email marketing and SMS marketing, Loox for product reviews, Smile for rewards programs, and Notion for project management.
Choosing a robust ecommerce platform like Shopify will allow you to create a high-quality ecommerce store at a click of a button with limited to no intervention from a website developer. There are countless apps you can “bolt-on” for different features and to optimize your conversion rate or build loyal relationships with your shoppers.
The next most important thing is an ecommerce focused email marketing platform like Klaviyo. Klaviyo are the email ecommerce experts and invest heavily in optimizing the platform for ecommerce purposes, particularly with the advanced integration with Shopify and Facebook Ads.
You can push email lists and segments from Klaviyo into Shopify as a custom audience and even set up a live lead generation pathway to push leads from Facebook Ads straight back into Klaviyo so you can start sending emails straight away!
From there, it’s all about optimizing conversion rate so you can look at tools like Loox for product reviews and social proof. Or you can check out Smile, which is a loyalty points, referral, and VIP app that helps to build brand trust and loyalty for an improved customer lifetime value.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start an ecommerce business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
The number one mistake I have seen CEOs & founders make is not focusing on growing an audience. Many people think that you can start a brand, create a website, launch it, and create millions. That’s not how it works.
Once you create the website, the work has only just begun, and it takes tenacity to keep focused on the daily efforts required to build a loyal and engaged community of potential customers that are interested in your products.
It’s the daily efforts that are required to form healthy habits in business. Startup ecommerce brands are total hustle culture in the beginning and require investment in time, resources, and effort.
In your experience, which aspect of running an ecommerce brand tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
I don’t believe there is one specific aspect that is underestimated, but more so the excessive workload across all the different areas. The ecommerce landscape is a very competitive space to operate in, and it’s not enough to be “good” anymore. For an ecommerce brand to truly succeed, it must be “exceptional.”
This means that all aspects of the ecommerce ecosystem need to be executed in perfect harmony with one another, and that is a huge workload.
Think about the daily maintenance and efforts required across website, email marketing, paid advertising, social media, influencer marketing, content marketing, SEO, and more. It’s multiple full-time jobs to keep everything operating at a high standard, and the consumer doesn’t care if you are set up to handle this or not.
They just expect to buy the products they love at great prices with minimal to no shipping expense, lightning-fast delivery, and exceptional post-sales support. It’s our job to make sure they are happy to keep them coming back.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most people, what would that be?
I’d love to see us pay it forward with new businesses and those who are just starting out.
Help out your family member, friend, or acquaintance that has just started a business. If you can’t afford to purchase from them or don’t need the products they are offering—then simply share a social media post on their website or leave them a 5-star review.
It can make the world of difference for a new founder or someone who is just starting out.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can find my website at www.oliviajenkins.co and book a 1:1 Strategy Session with me.
Or, if you’d prefer to follow me on social, you’ll find me at www.instagram.com/oliviajenkins.co.
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