How To Be An “ECommerce Pioneer”

In China on July 30, 2011 by KHughes Tagged: , , ,

Currently, I am working as an Executive Assistant to the CEO of a Swiss skin care line in Washington, DC.  Don’t be fooled, however; the title Executive Assistant may not be what you think it is.  Rather, the position really has no boundaries.  From grocery pickups to creating baby shower invitations or optimizing the company’s ecommerce site, I can really say I’ve done it all.  It is through my time with the company that I have grown to realize the importance of one’s ecommerce presence, especially in a small business setting.  One of the largest tasks that I’ve been assigned to is increasing direct to consumer sales, by implementing SEO and brainstorming ways to have our website develop DTC sales.

Recently, Yuan Jiang, a young Chinese entrepreneur, has been deemed an “e-Commerce pioneer.”  It is through his site,, that Yuan is moving over 10,000 bottles of wine per day, producing annual sales of over 20 million dollars. After reading an article on about Yuan and his ecommerce accomplishments, many thoughts race through my mind…

How is Yuan doing this? has done a great job of knowing and relating to their passionate consumer base, that being the wine connoisseur.  They have provided a one-stop shop for purchasing wine, while also incorporating an interactive aspect, which adds to the online experience and appeal. also offers free membership, so that customers can take advantage of discount prices on wine.  But more importantly, in my opinion, what makes so different than other discounted sites, are their interactive options. provides users the ability to create their own profile in a micro-blogging platform called The Wine Cellar that is embedded in the site.  The Wine Cellar allows members to share thoughts, reviews and stories, as well as interact with other members. 

Besides providing members with a platform for sharing, Yuan Jiang believes that member bloggers will spark interest with their posts, blogs and pictures to guests of the site.  This will then promote guests to comment; in turn, building membership. Through this, has, and will continue to develop, not only a large customer base, but more so, a wine connoisseur community.

Why is it working? works; first, because of the quality and price of the products they provide.  Moreover, really is a one-stop shop for the wine connoisseur, offering high caliber products at a discount rate.

Secondly, and possibly the reason for its success, is because has done a great job creating a platform for conversation for members and non-members.  The interactive aspect of creating your own profile to upload pictures, blogs and comments is a great idea, given that wine lovers are normally so very passionate about their wine choices; this is a great way of knowing your customer base and giving them a platform to share on.  

Through the Wine Cellar,’s micro blogging platform, is doing an amazing job creating buzz, starting conversation, in turn bringing members and non-members to their site.  This can be measured by their close to 4 million members, and counting more, each and every day.

Overall, I feel their interactive aspect is a great model for ecommerce growth and sustainability.

What’s next?

My suggestion for would be to optimize the site by implementing search engine optimization.  After looking in their source code, they really haven’t optimized with any keywords or meta description.  Incorporating this would allow additional users in China, as well as worldwide shoppers, to find and explore the website quickly, easily and organically through search engines.  Furthermore, is one of the few Chinese websites that does not need to pay for advertising through other sites; this could be because of their blogging and interactive initiatives.  If they were to optimize the site, it would allow them to develop more and more members on their own, thus minimizing future need for purchased advertising.

What can I take away?

By exploring, I’ve come to the conclusion that the ecommerce site of our company would benefit from the development of an interactive platform.  First and foremost, we need to allow our customers to post reviews of the products. By giving users the ability to voice their opinions, we can learn what our customers want and need, like and dislike. Obviously this opens up the possibility for negative feedback, but negative feedback can be a great learning tool.

We also need to work to create conversation with our customers directly on our website.  We do have a blog, but this doesn’t really give customers a free forum for discussion and sharing. We could do this by first creating a blog, then asking for their opinions and inviting them to share comments or ideas.

Lastly, as a small business, we don’t have the profit margin or consumer base to offer all our products at a discount rate on a regular basis.  At this time, we offer sporadic specials, primarily given to meet sales goals.  By offering a monthly special, we would encourage users to check the site more frequently; in turn, driving sales of their favorite products and promoting the purchase of products they haven’t tried before.

Overall, as a team member of a small business, I am always looking for inspiration. Yuan Jiang’s successful ecommerce site,, did just that.  I truly believe that by implementing an interactive aspect to our website, providing consistent specials and creating buzz, much like Yuan Jiang did, we can increase our DTC sales.  

One Response to “How To Be An “ECommerce Pioneer””

  1. Not only did you find a great example to write about this week, but you really brought it to life in terms of how you would take the lessons that it offered back to your own situation and do things differently in your role at your company as a result. I loved that level of detail and thinking in your post. The question and answer format that you used throughout your post was also useful to bring us into the example and also answer the key questions while your readers were thinking of them. The one thing that I would have loved to see your thoughts on is whether wine itself is the sort of product that lends itself more freely to this type of discussion that YesMyWine has managed to create online. People love to talk about wine, to be seen as understanding wine and also can connect with friends on that level around the product. Do you feel skin care has the same emotional attachment and conversational side? Why or why not? This is the one thing that could have added a dimension to your post, but even without it you had a good takeaway and strong analysis of your post this week. (5)

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