May 3, 2018 by Ashwin Ramasamy

If you are a company selling to eCommerce companies, you’d run into a problem that is best described by this adage – Water, water everywhere, not a drop to drink.

According to PipeCandy’s estimates, leaving aside China and marketplace sellers, there are about 1.2 million eCommerce companies in the world. That’s a lot of eCommerce leads and it’s almost bottomless, except that it isn’t.

eCommerce is long tail heavy. More than 70% of eCommerce companies are under $1M in revenue.  And under $1M could well be a trickle in reality than a healthy seven-figure revenue. So the economic relevance of such eCommerce leads is nigh.

If you are selling to Shopify websites or eCommerce websites powered by Magento, BigCommerce or WooCommerce, the numbers each of these platforms put out can be tantalising. Each of them claims to have 100s of 1000s of eCommerce stores.

The power law of eCommerce leads

In reality, the power law of eCommerce leads plays with the stores on such platforms as well. Only about 20% of the numbers quoted by these storefront eCommerce platforms are economically viable business units that have money to make them attractive for technology and logistics vendors.

There are 4 ways to identify how big the operations of an eCommerce company would be – traffic, shipments, technologies used and subscribers. Of these, the first three are better indicators.

Until PipeCandy started connecting the dots between the three, you had to rely on 3 different data sources that weren’t purpose-built to track eCommerce leads.

While traffic is a good indicator of the quality of eCommerce leads if you are going for nuances like the SKUs they sell, the count of SKUs, the quality of customer experience etc., you become a cropper with traffic data sources and the same applies for companies that track technologies.

The reality of overlaps

But when you put them all together, say, eCommerce companies with $10M revenue and fashion/apparel category with Shopify and pure-play (not omnichannel) the universe comes crashing from 100s of 1000s to a few thousand. If your tool is built to hitch with a platform like Woocommerce, but your sales strategy is to go after enterprises, the overlap is too small to matter.

Several customers of ours have this eye-opening moment when they realize they got the market estimation wrong when deciding to go after eCommerce leads. With a top-down number like 1.2Million, we always assume that even if it’s 1% we have 12,000 companies to sell to. Well, that is not always the case because even if it were to be true, the lead list will get filtered down further for the want of right contacts.

So what’s the right way?

Estimate the universe bottom-up, add eCommerce segments that are adjacent to what you think the ‘ideal customer profile’ is and do this until you have a size which even if it shrinks to 25% you still have a substantial market to sell to.

But how do you do it?

You can slice and dice this way with PipeCandy. We have a service to just estimate addressable market of eCommerce leads and we have the cleanest data pipe to make your estimates hold strong.

Ashwin Ramasamy

Co-founder @ PipeCandy

Slips poor jokes & gets away with a poker face. Carries a no BS attitude at getting things done. First to arrive at the office, Ashwin’s energy does not ebb through the day. Ashwin is one of the co-founders and he sets the tone for marketing, sales, design & culture.