Navigating the eCommerce landscape as a solopreneur demands more than just an innovative idea; it requires the right tools to convert audiences into loyal customers and visions into profitable businesses.
To understand how the creator economy is evolving, we reached out to SamCart, a platform designed to empower creators by helping them focus on content creation. In our deep dive with Scott Moran, SamCart’s co-founder, we explore how the platform approaches the challenges of the modern creator and the pivotal role of data analytics in maximizing ROI via informed decisions.
For those aspiring to turn their creative passions into thriving businesses, Scott also provides invaluable insights — including when to consider quitting your "day job" — and forecasts the transformative power of generative AI in the creator domain.
As a co-founder of SamCart, Scott Moran has helped tens of thousands of creators sell more than $3.5 billion of their products and services through the SamCart platform. As a creator himself, Scott lives and breathes conversion rates, customer lifetime value, and growing digital businesses, bringing with him more than a decade of experience in launching and scaling creator businesses.
Spotlight: Can you tell us what SamCart can do for solopreneurs in a stage of rapidly expanding creator economy?
Scott: As the world continues to splinter its attention away from centralized news & entertainment, solopreneurs and creators everywhere are growing their own niche audiences. Monetizing those audiences is what separates the professional creator from the hobbyist.
SamCart’s mission is to give creators the tools they need to convert more customers, increase profits, and drive repeat sales. When creators don’t have to worry about the technology behind their payments, they are freed to focus on creating new content, growing their audience, and launching new ideas.
When a creator has an idea, they can turn around and use SamCart to turn that idea into profit, without fighting technology or compliance. Without ever needing to hire a coder or a designer.
Additionally, they can layer on advanced payment features that multiply the revenue they make with each sale. That’s the power that comes when you have the right tools for the job.
While some people may have great ideas, they often lack the knowledge and experience to handle the business side of things. What tips would you share with the creators who might not be experienced in that field?
Creators just starting their business should focus on their audience and spend less time on the business side of things. Until you are making money that would potentially be in the "quit my job" territory, the implications of how you’re incorporated or what state you're registered in are distractions.
Focus on delivering value to your audience, and understanding what sort of products they would be willing to pay for. When you nail those and have an actual business, then you can invest time back into setting up your LLC, filing for trademarks, or whatever other back-end business items people get distracted by.
With so many creators branching out into multiple revenue streams, be it courses, merchandise, or digital products, how does SamCart handle the scalability and management of diverse product offerings?
With the rise of digital products, there has never been a better opportunity for a creator to spin up a real, sustainable business that can produce life-changing money than right now.
When we look at the brands that succeed on SamCart, more than 17,000 of them have processed over $3.7 billion in sales and the huge majority of them are "hybrid" businesses. They sell eBooks, and let you add on a journal. They sell a meal-planning service and let you add on a digital course about shopping healthy.
Mixing digital goods, physical goods, and professional services is recommended on SamCart. Creators that thrive give their customers a chance to continue to spend beyond their first purchase. SamCart provides creators with tools that allow customers to discover Product A, but tack on Products B & C during checkout.
Our creators are free to sell any type of products they want during that process, with a simple reporting and integration system that helps in tracking and delivering.
Solopreneurs operate on tighter budgets compared to large enterprises. What are your best tips for individuals who are looking for an eCommerce platform that is really good value for money?
Value is the name of the game. Technology should help you, not hinder you. When looking at a new tool or software, think about the ROI. Is this task going to move the needle? How can you be sure? How will you track success?
We are very proud to have a tool that helps creators make and keep more money. Our dashboard shows numbers like Expansion Revenue, which measures how much extra revenue was collected due to features that help customers spend more while buying.
So, when you log in to SamCart, one of the first things you see is an actual dollar amount of how many extra sales you made because of our advanced features.
Ideally, the technology you choose and its value to you is crystal clear. Be wary of tools that don’t make it easy to find the real ROI. The overall economic slowdown isn’t going anywhere, so spend wisely.
What are the biggest challenges entrepreneurs are facing when implementing an eCommerce platform on their website and how is SamCart addressing them?
Traditionally, launching eCommerce on a website has meant one thing; a storefront. Creators have struggled against storefronts for more than a decade because the truth is most modern creator businesses are not served very well by a storefront.
Buying behaviors have made storefronts irrelevant. No one’s audience is clicking over to your website’s private little storefront, researching to understand your entire product line, and then placing their order.
Said another way, your audience doesn’t have time to learn about everything you have for sale. Instead, customers want to be hand-held to one product, one service, and one offer that fits their needs at that moment. They want a curated experience that is simple to understand and simple to buy.
We do not start from a storefront at all. SamCart creators start with a single landing page for a single offer. They have pre-designed templates that are loaded with elements that we know boost conversion, so creators don’t need to worry about design or conversion best practices.
Outsource that work to us, and we will allow you to easily spin up a checkout experience that looks great, converts well, and then maximizes your profit.
The pandemic has significantly accelerated the shift to online shopping. Has this momentum slowed down in 2023, and what lasting changes do you anticipate in consumer behavior?
The shift to online shopping was accelerating ahead of the pandemic, and while the economy has slowed, the movement online has not. What has changed is people’s expectations when it comes to placing an order online.
Ten years ago, having a "mobile ready" checkout experience was the exception, not the rule. But now visitors want to go from social media to your website, to buying something on their mobile devices. And they expect it to look perfect the entire way. Buying needs to be simple and easy, even when on your phone.
Customers are savvy about the different payment options. More and more visitors are migrating to familiar, trusted payment methods like Apple Pay or "Buy Now, Pay Later" options like Affirm and Klarna.
Creators who are leaning into these trends are winning big. It’s a huge reason why SamCart continues to move to mobile-first experiences, alternative payment options, and simplified designs that cut down on wasted clicks.
With the increasing importance of data analytics in eCommerce, how can solopreneurs leverage the insights they receive to make better business decisions?
You are only as good as your data. If you can’t measure, you can’t grow. But as with anything, the correct approach to data is "moderation." Creators and solopreneurs need to find ways to locate the opportunity in the data, and then quickly ignore the noise.
Succeeding online is about leaning into your winners. Whatever is working, double down on it. If the majority of your customers are coming from email subscribers, then find more ways to get your audience onto your email list. If your expensive services are driving the majority of your revenue, then stop giving valuable airtime to your less expensive courses or ebooks.
At the end of the day, your business will be judged based on how well you acquire new customers, maximize what they spend, and drive repeat sales. It’s why we organize the data inside of SamCart to help customers cut through the noise, and identify which of those three areas they might be lacking in.
If my Customer Lifetime Value is flat, then the opportunity is to drive repeat business. If Expansion Revenue is low, then the opportunity is to help customers spend more on each order.
For the first time in history, there is too much data at the creators' and solopreneurs' fingertips. Those who succeed understand what to look at, how to find their winners and double down.
How does SamCart facilitate partnerships between large B2B enterprises and the solopreneur community?
SamCart’s platform is about giving the solopreneur community access to tools and features that traditionally were monopolized by large enterprises. In a lot of ways, we set out to democratize enterprise technology to give anyone a chance to be successful in the creator economy.
However, we recognize large B2B enterprises bring value to solopreneurs and creators, and therefore, our goal is to allow creators to use any tools that they find valuable to their business with SamCart seamlessly through APIs.
SamCart integrates with several tools creators need to run their businesses, such as email marketing tools, shipping platforms, and even other eCommerce platforms.
For example, if you use Hubspot or another email marketing platform to capture and nurture leads, we want you to easily be able to send those ebook contact purchases to your email platform so you can know more about every lead you bring in, improve your email marketing segmentation, and market more things to them they are likely to buy.
For B2B companies looking to tap into the creator economy, which of SamCart’s resources should they leverage first to understand how to serve the solopreneur segment?
SamCart has always provided marketing and sales resources to help our customers be successful. This has included courses, ebooks, and blueprints along with our eCommerce platform to provide more than just software to creators.
Nearly 18 months ago, we expanded these resources into a full product called CreatorU, the ultimate resource guide including training videos, ebooks, checklists, interactive courses, blueprints, and more that creators can leverage to monetize their audience and build their business.
B2B companies can best understand the challenges and needs of creators and solopreneurs by joining CreatorU and digging into these resources. Understand creators’ challenges first and then determine how best to serve them and solve their challenges for them.
CreatorU now has over 70,000 customers and is growing every day. It is a wealth of knowledge and insight into the minds of creators.
Can you share SamCart’s vision for the future of the creator economy powered by generative AI?
While generative AI will change the way creators operate, we see the vast potential of it to augment what creators are doing, support them in content creation and curation, and speed up their processes.
Creators excel at finding a niche, honing their expertise, building their audience, and keeping their audience engaged with their content. Writing, designing, selling, and converting are some of the more challenging aspects for creators and take the most time.
SamCart acquired a generative AI company, Typeset, earlier this year to provide this future for creators and help with these aspects of selling online that are the most time-consuming.
Typeset enables creators to create beautiful content with ease. It transforms text inputs into visual content in any form a creator may use to either reach or sell to their audience, be that ebooks, presentations, courses, or ads.
SamCart’s vision for creators and generative AI is for AI to make creators’ lives easier while letting them focus on the things they are good at.