Growing your ecommerce business can be challenging. But you don’t have to do it alone.
There are multiple online communities where ecommerce founders and marketers gather to exchange notes, help one another, and grow together.
Have a question about running ads?
Wondering about content marketing for your brand?
Or looking for an app to add to your store?
Pop your question in one (or several) of the ecommerce communities below. Several kind folks will surely jump in and help.
The 11 free communities and five paid communities below are in no particular order, besides being sorted by the platform they are on.
A quick tip: You do not have to join all the communities. I personally found it hard to keep up with all. I would recommend joining just two to three that suit you. For example, if you prefer a close-knit group, join a Slack community. If you find Slack or Discord too overwhelming, join a Facebook Group or forum.
1. DTC FAM (free)
My top recommendation is DTC FAM, a Slack community by Kristen LaFrance, Head of Resilient Retail at Shopify. Why?
The community is filled with ecommerce practitioners who are eager to help one another. Sarah Moret, Founder of Curie. Fred Perrotta, Co-founder and CEO of Tortuga. Monica Grohne, Founder of Marea Wellness. And more.
AMA with Eli Weiss, Director of CX & Retention at Olipop
Recommendations for copywriters
Best platforms to get more wholesales account leads
Top email marketing tips for Black Friday/Cyber Monday
2. Lean Luxe Connect (free, invite-only)
Lean Luxe is a website and newsletter on modern brands. It has a private community for its most engaged subscribers to “connect, debate, and share ideas around a shared interest in modern luxury, brands, and culture”.
I have not been able to get into Lean Luxe Connect because they are strict about eligibility. You have to be their newsletter subscriber for at least one month and open at least 60% of their newsletters. To be fair, I think that’s a good thing! This ensures the community is filled with people who are genuinely interested in modern luxury and brands.
Since Lean Luxe Connect was recommended to me by Kaleigh Moore, one of the top writers in the ecommerce space, and Aaron Orendorff, VP of Marketing at Common Thread Collective, I’m sure it’s great.
3. DTC Wonderland (free)
DTC Wonderland is a new community set up by Doe Lashes founder, Jason Wong, for DTC operators, agencies, SaaS companies, investors, and anyone new to the ecommerce space. Wong and his team are actively answering questions in the community from their own experience running several brands.
Here are some recent discussions:
Broad audience or narrow audiences for FB ads
Should I offer influencers to be my affiliates right away?
What is everyone doing for loyalty and referral?
4. Club CPG (free)
Club CPG is a community for founders and funders by Chris Cantino and Jaime Schmidt. Schmidt's, their bootstrapped personal care brand, was acquired by Unilever in 2017. Now, they invest in ecommerce, consumer products, marketplaces, and more.
Here are some recent discussions:
Any recommendations for paid social creative shops?
Good place for getting some creative inspiration?
Looking for people to who I can ship my product in exchange for UGC content
(Side tip: Schmidt and Cantino often share helpful advice on Twitter on growing a bootstrapped brand.)
5. Startup CPG (free)
Startup CPG is a Slack community for young consumer packaged goods brands, especially those with five or fewer employees.
Here are some recent discussions:
Setting up basic email list funnels
How to structure a rate card for influencers
Looking an Amazon photo studio on the East Coast
Apps that show how much someone is spending on marketing/advertising
6. Shopify Plus Community (free, Shopify Plus merchants only)
If you are a Shopify Plus merchant, you will be able to join the exclusive Shopify Plus Community on Facebook for free.
Because only Shopify Plus merchants, partners, and select industry professionals can join the Facebook group, the conversations are relevant and tactical. For example, there are some of the recent discussions:
How much are you paying for your marketing agency for SMS marketing?
Does anyone have a good system to manage their influencer programs?
Which SMS shipping updates apps to use?
How do you find out the top three combinations of products bought together?
Thoughts on Rebuy as an app for bundles/upsell/cross-sell
How do I add an email collection bar at the top of my site?
Is there an app that makes it easy to send out free products for PR purposes?
Has anyone tried calling their abandoned carts instead of just using automated emails or SMS?
9. Shopify Community (free)
Besides its Facebook group for Shopify Plus merchants, Shopify has an online forum for all Shopify users. It is more like a questions-and-answers site than a community.
There are several Shopify staff, Shopify partners, and helpful fellow merchants going around the forum to help answer questions. If you have a Shopify-specific question, this will be a good place to ask for help.
The forum is split into several categories, such as the following:
There are a few subreddits on ecommerce: r/ecommerce, r/shopify, and r/smallbusiness. While they are much less active than the communities mentioned above, there are some good discussions once in a while.
This isn’t a community to join per se but the benefits are quite similar.
As I’m trying to learn more about ecommerce, I started following many ecommerce operators and adding them to a Twitter list. It has been so insightful to read their tweets about their business. It almost feels like being able to hear what they are thinking about for their businesses.
The list includes operators such as the following:
Joanna Griffiths, Founder and CEO of Knix
Amanda Goetz, Founder of House of Wise
Connie Lo, Co-founder of Three Ships Beauty
Sandro Roco, Founder and CEO of Sanzo
Patrick Coddou, Founder and CEO of Supply
If you are an ecommerce operator who tweets about your business regularly and you want to join the list, tweet me!
The following ecommerce communities are paid communities. I am not in them, so I can’t vouch for their quality but they were recommended to me by several ecommerce folks.
12. eCommerceFuel ($297/quarter)
eCommerceFuel is probably the most well-known paid ecommerce community. There’s a good reason for that.
The team only accepts store owners with a 7-figure ecommerce business and people who have worked in ecommerce for years (e.g. Director of Ecommerce). They do not allow vendors and agencies into the community.
With the membership, you get access to the following:
Proprietary review directory
Member directory and message inbox
I love this testimonial on the site:
"After migrating to Shopify we saw a significant drop in traffic. I posted the problem on the forums and within minutes we had dozens of knowledgeable suggestions which helped us fix the problem. eCommerceFuel saved us tens of thousands in potentially lost sales."
13. Common Thread Collective ADmission (paid)
Common Thread Collective has managed more than $100 million in Facebook ads and helped their ecommerce clients make more than $250 million in revenue. They set up an exclusive community for those who want to scale their ecommerce business through paid advertising.
With the membership, you will get the following:
Group coaching and support from their experienced media buyers
Group webinars on media buying
Tools, templates, and access to their creative library
The team only admits people who are a good fit for the community. You can apply here.
They don’t list the membership price but I imagine they will let you know if your application is successful.
14. Foxwell Founders ($997/year or $97/month)
Foxwell Digital is a paid social media agency by Andrew and Gracie Foxwell. Besides providing consultancy and courses, they have a community for paid social media. If you like their courses and prefer a small community, their community might be more suitable for you than other communities.
With the membership, you get the following:
Quarterly webinars on optimization, scaling, and more
Dedicated Slack channel
One video audit per month for your brand
A bunch of discounts
15. Draft Membership ($300/year or $30/month)
Draft is an interaction design consultancy that optimizes online stores by Nick Disabato. It also offers a membership that comes with a private community and many exclusive resources. The community discusses things such as the only metric that matters for your store’s speed, optimizing the buy box, and the ideal starting point for your home page’s masthead.
2PM Inc is the leading publication on the interaction of media and commerce by Web Smith. It has a newsletter, an executive membership, and an invitation-only forum, Polymathic.
Members get premium reports, invitations to member-only events, access to all databases, and more. Polymathic, at $999 per year, is reserved for members who are leading their industries as founders, C-suite, and VPs.
Smith is creating something entirely different (at least to me), and I’m probably not doing 2PM Inc justice by summarizing what it is at a high level. So I definitely recommend you check out the website yourself.
Join and have fun!
As a former community manager, I know how hard it is to manage a community and keep the quality of the conversations high.
If you are joining any of the communities above, do them a favor, follow their rules, and add value. That’s how everyone else can benefit together.