030 - Change Management Chronicles: Lessons from an E-commerce Pioneer

Welcome to another exciting episode of Women Powering eCommerce! In today's episode, I'll take you through my fascinating journey as a female e-commerce entrepreneur who dared to make multiple changes in my company all at once. We'll explore the highs, lows, and valuable lessons I learned during this transformative period. Join me as I unravel the complexities of change management in the fast-paced world of e-commerce.

Welcome to another exciting episode of Women Powering eCommerce! In today's episode, I'll take you through my fascinating journey as a female e-commerce entrepreneur who dared to make multiple changes in my company all at once. We'll explore the highs, lows, and valuable lessons I learned during this transformative period. Join me as I unravel the complexities of change management in the fast-paced world of e-commerce.

The Challenge of Change

Two years ago, amidst the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19 and heightened regulatory scrutiny from the FDA and Health Canada, I faced a critical decision. My e-commerce business, specializing in health products, required substantial adjustments to meet evolving standards.

Simultaneously, my website showed its age, a relic of the past decade in the ever-evolving digital landscape. And to add to the mix, there was a lingering uncertainty about my brand name. A competitor with a strikingly similar name loomed, and the need for a unique identity was pressing.

The Bold Decision

Faced with these dilemmas, I embarked on a transformation journey. I opted to tackle all these challenges at once. The audacity of such a move is apparent, but was it one I would later regret?

No Regrets for Essential Changes

While the decision to initiate these changes all at once was undoubtedly daunting, it's crucial to note that each change was driven by necessity. Let's break down the reasons I do not regret my choices:

1. Website Overhaul

The website was showing signs of age, especially on the mobile front. Google's rating of our mobile experience at a dismal 5 out of 100 was a wake-up call. With 70% of our traffic coming from mobile devices, the need for a modern website was undeniable.

2. Product Line Modifications

Regulatory agencies like the FDA mandated adjustments to our product line. Compliance was non-negotiable, and this proactive approach ensured our products met the necessary standards.

3. Changing the Brand Name

Concerns over brand confusion with a competitor led to contemplation. After consulting with legal experts, the decision to rebrand was a strategic move to avoid future complications.

The Weight of Rapid Change

Despite the undeniable importance of these changes, there is an aspect of my entrepreneurial journey that I do regret - the pace at which everything unfolded. Within just two months, these substantial modifications were implemented. Looking back, I realize that the whirlwind of changes may have been driven by panic.

Navigating multiple significant changes simultaneously can be overwhelming. It was my first time facing such a formidable challenge, and I admit that my "all-in" attitude might not have served me as well as I had hoped.

Lessons Learned

The rollercoaster of experiences during that intense year left me with invaluable insights. Here are five key lessons I'm eager to share:

1. Importance of Staged Rollouts

Changing one thing at a time allows for a clearer understanding of each change's impact.

2. Value of A/B Testing

Testing changes on a smaller scale before full implementation can help identify the most effective approach.

3. Listening to Your Team

Trusted team members often foresee potential challenges that leaders may overlook.

4. Embrace Data

Clear metrics provide insights into what's working and what needs adjustment.

5. Know Your Limits

Recognizing your bandwidth, both operationally and mentally, is crucial for long-term success.


In conclusion, the whirlwind year of change was both chaotic and invaluable. It was undoubtedly the most challenging period in my business journey, but it also provided the most profound lessons. While I may not choose to replicate this approach, I cherish the wisdom gained from the experience.

The e-commerce world is relentless and ever-changing, and sometimes, bold decisions are necessary. As we learn from my story, it's not just about embracing change but also about understanding the pace at which it can be effectively managed.

I hope this journey of transformation and the lessons I learned inspire you on your path as a woman entrepreneur in the e-commerce arena. Please take a moment to subscribe to our podcast, rate it, and share it to help us inspire more women in the business world. Your support is invaluable as we continue to explore and empower women powering eCommerce.

Thank you for joining me on this enlightening episode, and I look forward to sharing more insights with you in the future!

Episode Transcription

030 - Change Management Chronicles: Lessons from an E-commerce Pioneer


Welcome to this episode of Women Powering eCommerce. Join me every Tuesday and Thursday as I take you behind the scenes of my journey as a female e-commerce entrepreneur. Together we'll explore the highs, the lows, inspired you to take action and achieve your own business goals. So let's get started. All right. So I want to talk to you about making many changes all at once in your company. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? And here's the story. We were in a particular time about two years ago. We were still in the midst of COVID and the FDA in Health Canada at that time were being particularly present. They were asking us to make some changes to our product line because in case you don't know, we have an e-commerce in the health business. So we had to make pretty big changes there.


Also, our website was really slow and getting old, I think it was about 10 years old. That's kind of old in e-commerce years for website. And we were doing our best to extend the length in the life of our website through changes. But we knew that we had to make the switch eventually. We weren't sure if it was a good time though. And there was this whole thing about our name brand, our name or brand. So we weren't sure if we should keep it, because we had a competitor that was actually very close to our name and we wanted something very unique. So we were thinking, should we just do all those changes at once and get over it?


So not knowing what to do, we actually went ahead and thought this would be the best idea. At the time, we made changes to our product line due to the health regulations that we didn't have a choice. We decided to redo the whole website, have a website makeover, and what else did we do? We decided to change names completely. So that was crazy. That was a crazy time. And the big question is, do I regret it? And the answer is yes and no for different reasons.


The reasons I don't regret I would do it all over again is just because we definitely needed to make those changes anyways. So like I said, for the website, it was getting really old, especially for the mobile version, it was not doing well. I remember when we ran a test on our website, Google rated our mobile experience five out of 100. That is terrible. And to put more on top of that, 70% of our traffic came from mobile. Like most websites I would assume today would be about that ratio. So you cannot have a five out of 100 rating from Google. That is very bad. So that's why we took the website change seriously. It wasn't just because it was looking old or something like that.


And the product line, we had regulatory agencies such as the FDA that asked us to make changes. I'm not going to lie. And I mean in that field, you do your best to comply and really be on top of the regulations. But sometimes some things we missed and that's the truth. So we're honest people, we want to follow the law. So we made those changes. We really made it a priority. So we're very happy we did that. No regrets. For the brand name we spoke to... I had my doubts, but I mean, it's a big thing, changing names, it can have very serious consequences, yes, and especially with everything we wanted to make as for the changes. So I spoke to four attorneys to make sure that we were heading down the right path. And they all said, "Change your name. It is too close to one of your competitors. And down the road you could have serious issues."


So I thought, you know what might as well, there were a few things that we could have probably proactively seen or forecasted, and we didn't at that point for maybe the regulations or the website that was running slow. So I thought, hey, maybe it's the time to do it and not wait to get a letter or something like that. So let's avoid issues in the future. So we decided to jump and finally did it. We changed our brand name. And I'm very happy it had to be done.


Now, what do I regret? It's just, I think maybe doing it all at once. It was huge. Within two months, all changes were made. It was crazy. It was a crazy time. And looking back, I think it's fair to say that I just panicked. Those were really important things. They were serious changes that needed to be made. That's the thing. It's tricky sometimes to know what to do because they were really things that needed to be done. And it was the first time I was going through so many challenges all at once. It felt like everything came all at once. And I just wanted them to be a thing of the past. So there was a good side to being all in. And sometimes I realized there was maybe a less good side. I think my all-in attitude did not serve me as well back then.


But at the same time, I'm so grateful for all of it. It was a condensed business course I can call it that. I think I learned in one year maybe what I usually would have learned in five years worth of knowledge, literally. So it was very instructive. But I would probably not do it the same way I did back then. But what I learned, I still love to extract lessons and I think it's so important to do that with whatever life experience you go through. So I came up with five things I learned and I would definitely and will definitely apply those lessons to my own business in the future.


Number one, the importance of staged rollouts. So changing one thing at a time helps isolate variables and measure the impact more clearly. So that's definitely number one. Number two, the value of AB testing. It's a little similar to number one, but now we're not talking about rolling out one thing at a time. It's actually testing one thing in different ways at the same time. So before fully committing to an actual change to test those changes on a smaller scale before I think is best. So in this case, how could we apply it to the example I just gave? So for example, our website. We felt like we did not have a lot of time and we felt like we just had to make the change and that whatever we decided it would just be better than what we had, which is somewhat true.


But one thing I underestimated is the drop in traffic due to SEO changes. There's this period when you make a website change or change in domain names called the sandbox. So Google, it'll take a little bit of time before it actually shows backup in ranks into Google like it did before, and that affected us. So if I had taken that into consideration, maybe I would have ran a few tests before to see how we could at least reduce the effect of that SEO drop, or just any other little things on our website. I could have probably ran AB testing at the same time to pick which version, which pages converted most, all of that. But we didn't think about that because we just changed so many things all at once. We were not on a marathon way of thinking, that was not our mindset. We were more like sprinting. So we left out on some important things.


Another thing is listen to your team. I would say that sometimes at least my team had a clear picture for potential challenges that I did not see and that we saw only once things were done. Another thing is data. Data is definitely your friend. So you want to make sure to have clear metrics. I should have probably had clear metrics from the start before we changed everything. And then after to just give me better insights into what is actually happening, what needs to be changed. I think we didn't have at that time a lot of metrics that we'd follow on a regular basis. Now we do, but well, that's one thing I learned a lot from that experience. So now we follow things much more closely and with a lot more data. And finally, know your limits, your bandwidth, not only on the operations side, but also mentally.


So I'm not going to lie, I often underestimate that because I'll be all in for a project in general, I'll be highly motivated. But once that motivation phases out, then that's where you have to show your perseverance. And then that's where you just have to do and get down that checklist and to-do list and sometime that can be draining. So I personally feel I have to be careful with that as it's great to be excited about something or really want to do everything all at once. But when a project like this will take you months to do, then that's definitely something you have to consider your limits and the time you can spend on it.


So overall, that year was chaotic. That was about two years ago, but also the most teachable moment in business I've had. Definitely the hardest, but definitely the most teachable moment. I wouldn't necessarily do it all over, but I learned from it. And I surely appreciate everything I learned and I hope you can learn from me. So if you like this episode, take a moment to rate, share or subscribe to this podcast. Your support is crucial in helping us reach and inspire more women entrepreneurs in the e-commerce business.


Thank you for being part of this journey with me. I hope you gained valuable insights and inspiration today to keep growing and taking action towards your goals. Please follow me on social media. Also follow us on your favorite podcast platform to get notifications every time a new episode is uploaded. See you next time.