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In this interview series, we are talking to founders, CEOs, or ecommerce business leaders about using social media to grow your ecommerce business. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Trevor Zheng

Trevor Zheng

Trevor Zheng is an entrepreneur and the founder of Archic Furniture, an ecommerce website serving customers with premium and luxurious furniture from top brands in the industry.

Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

It all started when I realized that I had a passion for furniture design. I spent my free time sketching out ideas for unique pieces that you thought would be perfect for the modern home.

I soon realized that I had a talent for creating pieces that people loved. Friends and family members were constantly asking me to design custom pieces for them, and I began to think that maybe I could turn my passion into a business.

So, I decided to take the plunge and start my own ecommerce furniture business.

Can you share the most exciting story that has happened to you since you began at your company?

Connecting and meeting amazing vendors and CEOs in the industry. Learning about how they built their business and manufactured furniture to fit customers' needs.

Can you tell us the funniest mistake you made when you first started? What lesson did you learn?

Yes, shipping to the wrong customers. We accidentally send another customer's orders to an old customer. Thankfully, we caught it in time, but it taught us to double-check shipping addresses before sending them to our suppliers. 

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people? 

We’re now working with bigger and more well-respected brands in the industry. This will give our existing customer base a chance to find new brands and discover brands with items they love.

You're a successful business leader. What are three traits about yourself that you feel helped fuel your success?

  1. Staying disciplined: Staying disciplined is hard, and I am definitely not perfect at this. It’s hard to stay focused on the distracting social media world around you. But you have to use everything you want to urge you to avoid distractions. 
  1. Trusting my gut: Trusting my gut is also something many people underestimate. Your gut is often times following the correct path even though your mind thinks overwise.
  1. Always be growing: Always be growing is a mentality that even if you think you’re doing well, there’s always something to improve on, do more of, or add something new to a business. 

What was your original vision for your ecommerce business? What pain point(s) were you trying to solve for your customers?

Archic Furniture provides premium furniture from top manufacturers in the industry. We want to help customers find what they’re looking for—a home remodeling, an additional piece of furniture, and everything in between. 

How did social media help you grow your business? What were your strategic objectives, and how did you implement your social media plan?

With a well-executed social media marketing strategy, I have been able to increase the visibility of my business, increase traffic, increase my revenue as well as build cordial relationships with my customers.

I created a strategy that would work perfectly well for my brand by:

A. Developing a monthly social media strategy that supports the overall marketing plan and business goals, ensuring my content is consistent with my brand standards.

B. Managing social media marketing and day-to-day activities, which includes:

  • Publish all planned content across various social platforms.
  • I also monitor, listen and respond to comments, messages, social mentions, and tags.
  • By also creating an online review and feedback funnel that would capture my audience's feedback through social polls, Q&As, interactive posts, and “Ask Me Anything” through stories.
  • Identify opportunities or threats in user-generated content surrounding the company.
  • Monitoring trends in the news or social topics, we can leverage to engage followers or reach new target audiences.
  • Engage with industry professionals and influencers to expand our digital network and create opportunities for cross-promotions.
  • Analyze competitor brands and suggest creative ways to attract more customers and promote marketing content.

C. Compiling monthly reports to:

  • Analyze social performance, campaigns, and content, and translate anecdotal or qualitative data into recommendations for optimizing plans.
  • Share emerging trends in social media channels, design, content, and community engagement.
  • Stay updated with the latest or trending social media best practices and technologies.

Which social media platforms have you found most beneficial for ecommerce? 

I mainly use Instagram and Facebook as my ecommerce social media platforms because they both have a lot of audiences, especially Facebook, which has a marketplace where I can itemize my product and people could place orders from.

Due to the kind of products I sell, I use demographics to determine where to sell. Instagram and Facebook have been the best ecommerce platform to sell.

What social commerce trends are you most closely paying attention to, and how are you preparing to leverage them for growth?

Partnering with content creators to create short-form content (TikTok UGC). 

Recent studies have shown TikTok to be the best platform for ecommerce promotion. Many brands have achieved success by developing strategic partnerships with the best influencers and content creators they hire and with TikTok, where marketers/content creators engage meaningfully with specific users via their own channels and develop loyal relationships with them. 

By tapping into the communities of my associated content creators, these partnerships help me build my brand and generate content and conversations for it—and, more crucially, around it.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen when companies try to use social media to promote ecommerce? What can be done to avoid those mistakes? 

Most companies do not strategize or do proper planning regarding social media management, mostly because they do not know how to manage their platform.

Some leverage social media managers to help manage their social media pages by staying updated and creating reels, designs, videos, captions, copywriting, etc. They also use analytics to track their growth online.

Based on your experience and success, what are the top five ways to use social media to grow your ecommerce business?

1.  Engagement: I make sure that whatever post I would be posting, either on my page as a post, story post, reels, captions, or graphics, I make sure they are relatable to my audience. I also ask for their opinions on my business (e.g., asking them what they like that I do, any contributions to what they think I wasn't doing well, designing game graphics they could play, and also adding a call to action statement in my captions

2.  Competitors: I follow up and check out my competitors' pages—either to see how they are thriving in the business or get daily trends. 

3. Learn from your analytics: Analytics allow you to track a variety of different data points, from engagement rates to growth in followers, reach, and whether your target audience is turning into paying customers or whether they’re just checking out your content with no real intention of buying.

4. Use stories: Stories provide a decent alternative to that and allow you to reach your target audience more frequently without overwhelming them. When you create an Instagram post, the content you share will sit on your profile for people to see forever. It can also come across as spammy if you post too many updates in too short a period.

5. Run ads for your ideal audience.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

A movement to learn more about social media for the general public! Social media has taken over the world, and people need to know how to use it safely for their mental health.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

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By Francois Marchand

Francois Marchand is passionate about helping and educating business leaders, ecommerce professionals, and digital marketers grow their skill sets to stay ahead of the competition. Francois holds a BA Specialization in Communication Studies & Journalism from Concordia University (Montreal, QC) and 20+ years of experience in ecommerce, marketing, traditional and digital media, and public relations, including The Vancouver Sun, National Post, CBC/Radio-Canada, Unbounce, and Vancouver Film School.