Lessons in eCommerce From the Noble Sea Otter

Sea Otter in the Internet

In honor of Sea Otter Awareness Week

We love otters at the cbw office. They’re smart, they’re curious and they’re adorable… what’s not to love? As a matter of fact, we think there’s a lot that everyone can learn from the sea otter.

Don’t just use tools, keep your tools handy for when they’re needed.

Not many mammals use tools, but otters are expert at it. They use rocks to break into the shellfish that comprise a large portion of their diets. When an otter finds a rock that they really love, they keep it with them so they can use it whenever it’s needed.

There are a lot of shiny tools out there to help with the day to day operations of eCommerce businesses. Take the time to explore and see what could make your life a little easier (and more organized). When you find a tool that works for you, embrace it and let it do what it’s designed to do.

I asked our PM, Micah, if there’s any tool he depends on to keep him on track and out of trouble. He recommended OmniFocus, which he can use at home, on the go and at the office. Ask yourself if any of your operations could be completed with more speed and ease if you had the right tool.

We have a lot of experience building these kinds of tools! Get in touch at info@coolblueweb.com if you’re looking for ideas.

Grooming is important! Never be satisfied.

Otters have the thickest fur of any mammal in the animal kingdom. Some otters have up to 1,000,000 hairs per square inch. All of this fur keeps them warm in the cold water, but it also means they spend a large percentage of their time grooming.

Sometimes the temptation after launching an eCommerce store is to just sit back and let the money role in. However, a successful site is always evolving, even if it’s only in small, imperceptible ways. Pay attention to your analytics to see which pages are drawing traffic and which aren’t. Listen to your customers when they tell you they were confused by something on your site, or wished for additional functionality.

Take the lessons you’re learning each day and figure out ways you can apply them to continue evolving your store and growing your collection of loyal customers.

Conversation is an important element of discovery.

Otters are very talkative creatures. They love to chatter and squeak and are always passing information back and forth amongst each other.

This comes more naturally to some store owners than it does to others. If you’re innately attracted to social media and the world of marketing, then that’s an amazing asset for your business. If you’re less comfortable conversing online, it’s worth doing some research and learning how to flex that muscle, or finding someone who is and bringing them onto your team.

We’ve written a lot of articles about the benefits of being in on the conversation. A couple of recommended items are: SEO Considerations for Successful Blogging and Drive Traffic to Your Store with Blogger Outreach.

Don’t lose your sense of experimentation and play.

One thing that everyone knows about otters is that otters love to play. They slide on their tummies, play group games, juggle, and wrestle.

It’s easy to forget that play is a functional activity. Not only can playfulness stimulate creativity, it also teaches us lessons about our environment and what we’re capable of achieving within that environment.

The human brain also needs periodic breaks (in the creative process this is called the incubation stage) to allow it to come up with breakthroughs and a deeper understanding of material. This is why you get some of your best ideas in the shower.

Don’t fall prey to the idea that you have to be hyper focused on your business strategy for twenty four hours every day. This leads to burnout, not innovation.

The next time you see a sea otter, at the aquarium or at the beach, be sure to give these little eCommerce geniuses a tip of the hat. Remember that sea otters are also an endangered species and there are things you can do to help keep these amazing animals around.

Sarah has been with coolblueweb since 2012. She enjoys dance, movies and laughing at inappropriate times.