Playing Real Time Strategy vs. Running an Online Store

You know those games when you start with something small and then you conquer the world? You begin with some small HQ and a harvester. Collecting resources and constructing some production buildings become first objective. Suddenly, while you watch your harvester how slowly gathers spice, an enemy shows up. The game gets a new dimension. You have to fight with a competition.

In those games every mission is harder than previous. You face more difficult challenges, start with less resources while the competition starts with more. Before the major attacks, you save a game and reload in case you loose. At the end, after you conquer everybody, you feel proud of yourself. Of course, it doesn’t matter how many battles you lost and how many times you reloaded the game. At the end, you win.

There is a similarity between entrepreneur online store owner and strategy game player, but with some differences.

Online Store Owner:

  • has no Save/Load option
  • takes much greater risk
  • will not conquer the world

The rest is similar. You have to know how to use your resources, how to expand and how to fight. Experienced games will tell that most of the games are won at the start. With a good start, later battles turn to be much easier.

There was one client I worked with in the past in CRE Loaded days. He was starting his eCommerce enterprise, had a good products and was searching for development team. First meeting was great when he presented his business idea. After development started, it was obvious that the client did not want to listen no one but himself. He wanted totally non-standard navigation because “it was very important for his business”, unique shopping basket interface because “it was very important for his business”, unique checkout process because “it was very important for his business”.

After few months of agony and constand suggestions from our side not to rape things that shouldn’t be raped, the store was launced.

He was shocked how little visitors he attracted and struggled to get 1-2 weekly purchases. The ambition was much higher. This store owner did not put his energy to think about his products and visitors. He put all his energy to think of the ways how to make his online store behave differently.

Online store owners, start with something simple. Online store functionality will not boost your income of other components of marketing mix are not good.

As Branko said in one post, “Get serious, focus on what matters the most“.

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  1. Guys, I read your blog religiously, it offers a lot of insight. Just a little suggestion on this article. You write…

    ‘not to rape things that shouldn’t be raped’

    You might want to stay away from using the word ‘rape’, it most often refers to sexual assault. I don’t think it’s the word you are looking for in this instance.

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