Crowding Funding Secrets: How raising $28M through crowdfunding inspired Dan Shaprio, CEO of Glowforge, to build the ultimate ecommerce experience.

By Mission

Crowdfunding has been around for centuries — all the way back to the 1700s when Alexander Pope was looking for resources to publish his book. So what did he do? He turned to the people! In return for their funding, his supporters were promised a shout out in the manuscript and would receive a printed copy.  Thanks to the internet, crowdfunding has been taken to another level. With easy access to billions of people — and their wallets — young companies, inventors, and entrepreneurs have used sites like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and others to get some wind in their sails. Dan Shapiro was one of them. Dan is now the Founder and CEO of Glowforge, but before that, he had a massively successful crowdfunding campaign for a board game he had invented for his kids. Through that experience, Dan realized that there were certain elements of crowdfunding that he described as “magic” and that he thought could translate to the world of ecommerce. For his next venture, he wanted to take the high-intent visitors to a crowdfunding site on his website and get them to start converting reliably on the brand’s landing page. He wanted to build a community, and to build excitement that would turn into a flywheel of referrals and inbound leads. Oh, and he wanted to build an inclusive, mission-driven internal culture at the same time.Well guess what. He did just that with his next crowdfunding campaign. With $100K campaign goal that ended up being blown out of the water, hitting $27M in pre-orders, he launched his next endeavor. And we dove through all the details on this episode of Up Next in Commerce! Main Takeaways:Beyond Crowdfunding: The conversion rate of a visitor to Kickstarter is exponentially higher than that of a traditional ecommerce site visitor. So how can you take the elements of a crowdfunding site and bring it over to a traditional online marketplace? There are certain strategies and tactics that transcend crowdfunding and harnessing that energy, excitement, and engagement can be a differentiator for a brand.Bring A Friend: Referral programs are nothing new, but when done right, they can be a game changer for a new brand. Look at your customer base and the products they are buying from your company. If you are selling to naturally extroverted people — any kind of creator — and your product is helping them create something that they’ll want to share, tap into that natural tendency and give them incentives to share what they’re doing and how your company helped. This could lead to a flywheel of inbound customers without having to spend big on marketing.Come Back When You Want: Repeat customers are the lifeblood of many companies. And while getting customers to return is important, how and why they do so is even more critical. You want people to come back to your company because they were delighted by the product or the experience, not because they need to replace a part that wore out or broke. Those experiences leave a bad taste in the consumers’ mouth, and you should be striving for the opposite, especially if you are trying to build a community of advocates.  For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.---Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Respond quickly to changing customer needs with flexible Ecommerce connected to marketing, sales, and service. Deliver intelligent commerce experiences your customers can trust, across every channel. Together, we’re ready for what’s next in commerce. Learn more at salesforce.com/commerce---For a full transcript of this interview, click here. 

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