How to start a lean and agile eCommerce business

lean and agile startup
(Last Updated On: April 24, 2023)

Starting an eCommerce D2C brand can be challenging, especially with managing costs and staying competitive. It’s important to build a lean and agile eCommerce business and prioritize efficiency, flexibility, and innovation in order to succeed in today’s digital landscape.

During a masterclass at the D2CTech conference, Akash Gehani, who is a co-founder and CPO of Instamojo, talked about the process of developing a startup that is both lean and agile. Here’s an excerpt from his presentation.

Why should a startup be lean and agile?

We live in very dynamic times. Right now, we are witnessing the rise of D2C and businesses are pivoting to accommodate the varying customer needs.

Having a lean and agile startup means:

  • To adapt quickly to changes in customer behaviour

  • Efficiently manage limited resources

  • Avoid wasting time on resources and strategies that do not work

  • Respond quickly to customer feedback and add more value to customers

Building a minimum viable product

The minimum viable product (MVP) is the basic version of a product with just enough features to be usable by early adopters who can provide feedback. An MVP should add value to your target audience and solve a problem they face, which customers should be willing to pay for.

The goal is to get feedback from customers as early as possible.

Creating an MVP is one of the first things you do when starting a business.

Here are some examples of MVPs by brands that are now global successes:

  • Groupon – Sending mail coupons in PDF format via a single landing page

  • Airbnb – The founders put up a landing page that offered their top floor for rent

Note that these offerings were not elaborate but had enough value to understand how the audience responded. This acted as a foundation for the next stages like gathering investment and building the full product.

Here are some MVP methods to try as a D2C brand:

  • A single landing page for your business

  • A product catalogue

  • A checkout process

  • Basic analytics tools to track visitor behaviour and other metrics

You can start by showcasing your catalogue on social media and community platforms, building your landing page and then creating a full-fledged online store. It’s a great idea if you can get pre-bookings before creating the full product.

Measure important metrics consistently

Make it compulsory to measure kep KPIs right from the start. Chuck the vanity metrics and go for the data that actually counts. Some of these include:

  • Customer acquisition cost

  • Conversion rate

  • Customer feedback metrics

  • Social media traction

To know more about eCommerce KPIs for each business stage, here’s a blog based on the masterclass by Ankur Sharma, CPO of Instamojo.

Learn and pivot

During the initial stages, you may be tied emotionally to a certain feature or product.

Follow the data. Modify your strategy and take action based on what is needed and not what’s wanted.

Types of pivot:

Here are some examples of some noteworthy startup pivots:

  • Customer need pivot – YouTube started out as a video dating site

  • Zoom pivot – Instamojo catered to MSMEs and offered payment solutions. Now it offers a whole host of eCommerce tools along with the payment solutions.

Lay the foundations for innovation by building an agile D2C brand

In conclusion, building a lean and agile eCommerce business can help you overcome common challenges and achieve success in today’s dynamic marketplace. By applying the principles of you can create a business that is responsive to customer needs and adaptable to changing market conditions.

Start an online store

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