Victoria Beal from esuite: Building an ECommerce Community | #269

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VB on building community – co-create, activate, empower!

EP 269

Senior operations & partnerships strategy manager with a people first mindset. Victoria’s mission statement is to work with innovative people and companies to deliver meaningful impact.

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Victoria Beal, Head of Learning at esuite.

VB (as she’s known)  joined esuite in September last year and she’s smashing it. You might have seen that we’ve just launched our new Ecommerce Accelerator 10-week course to upskill in the foundations of ecommerce – and we will have specialist on-demand courses launching in the coming weeks. This is really exciting. But the extra layer that VB has added is her experience around building a community – it’s her passion. Today you are going to hear about why VB thinks it is important to connect ecommerce folk in a real and safe way. We also dive into how to develop successful communities for ecommerce brands with some great examples of brands doing it well. And if you are impatient, you can jump straight in and join the esuite ecommerce community -visit This will give you access to the slack channel VB talks about and invites to upcoming events. But trust me, it’s worth holding fire on the slack urge and hearing from VB on the impact that we can make by bringing good people together. 

Victoria Beal

Learning is only valuable if you’re sharing it….bouncing ideas off each other moving forward”

Victoria Beal

Learning and sharing within an ecom community

“We wanted to create a space for people that could be open to them and be accessible no matter where you are in your ecom career, so we were looking at does this already exist?  It actually doesn’t.  There’s not a real, safe accessible, connected space for us to meet new people and frequently connect with these people that we might be seeing at conferences or IRL.

So we found the need for an ecom community and that’s what we’re building, based around the concept that learning is only valuable if you’re sharing it, not just as the recipient but if you’re bouncing ideas off people moving forward.  Every day is a school day, so you might not learn from us but you might learn from someone else and if you’re exposed to people using different products or exposed to people in different verticals of business, there’s no end to what you can learn.”

Channels for connection

“I think slack makes sense, so we’ve started there for general advice, banter, chit chat.  We’ve got a bunch of channels…’reading room’ is a good example, which is where we’re sharing some topical articles, books that we’re reading, anything that you think might be of interest to other people.  We’ve got ‘asking for friend’ with the anonymous function, so you can come in and ask someone a question and not let anyone know who you are or what business you work for, which is a great tool I think and it’s already being utilised by some people.

Then we’ve got the ‘members’ channel which is just a really nice casual way to introducing themselves to break down that barrier of watercooler chat or getting to know you ice breakers, it’s just a nice way for you to quickly see who’s in the space and who might be able to help you. There are people already having private discussions on there about building on something that someone else has shared, giving them access to what they’re building on.  

There was a great example of someone sharing some screen shot automation flows to ab test brochures in orders and people took that conversation off line about what they were testing and what was working for them and i think that that’s really great, it’s not meant to be just public sharing of what’s going on, it’s just a genuine space for connection.”

Community for brands

“The first thing that everyone needs to do is understand why?  Why are you building a community?  What unmet need are you meeting?  What problem are you solving? Then from there, you start to say what can we provide long term?  Who’s going to stick with us outside the life cycle of purchasing with us?  Why would they stick around?  What’s the value that we’re providing on that social psychological level?  

I think that your episode with Zero Co is a really great example of that.  What is important to someone long term even if potentially they stop purchasing your product?  Why would they still want to be around?  What you stand for, the people that you’ve brought together.  So a couple of key questions you can ask yourself around that in the early days to get a real fundamental purpose statement for your community. That is absolutely where you have to start because it has to be about an experience not a product.”

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