Category: Uncategorized

They’re Not Amazon and That’s Okay: How Tailwind Nutrition Succeeds in Ecommerce by Trying Differently

If you’re an ecommerce merchant, chances are there’s one burning question that’s probably kept you up more than a few nights:
“Is there any hope of my online store being successful as long as Amazon exists?” The ugly truth — unless you’re Jeff Bezos reading this, in which case, Hi Jeff! — is that you can’t, and that’s okay. It has to be, because what’s the alternative? If there was no hope of competitors being able to succeed, shopping platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify would close up shop and call it a day … yet they not only continue but thrive.

“If nothing else, you can have just as high of a satisfaction rate as Amazon by doing the little things that matter to customers.” — Neil Patel


“Don’t Compete, Co-Exist”

In an article on the Kissmetrics blog called “How E-Commerce Companies Can Compete in an Amazon-Dominated World”, Neil Patel talks about various ways that ecommerce merchants can co-exist, not compete, with Amazon.

After reading the article, I immediately thought of a BigCommerce store I had come across earlier that same day, Tailwind Nutrition. Tailwind successfully employs three of Patel’s ideas:

  • Create a solid product offering for your niche
  • Improve your shipping
  • Provide outstanding customer service


Niche Perfect

Jenny & Jeff of Tailwind Nutrition

The fitness nutrition category is crowded, with many major players. Tailwind Nutrition’s products address a niche within that niche: nutrition problems faced by endurance athletes in events like 50-100 mile races, 24-hour races, and multi-day events. As athletes themselves, Jeff and Jenny created products out of needs they had, backed by experience, research and testing. In describing the many benefits of their product line, they stress health and performance factors, customer feedback, convenience, and value in an easy to read, relatable (and humorous) way. Oh, and their products taste good, too.

As multi-channel sellers who do sell on Amazon as well, Jeff and Jenny recommend determining SKUs/product assortments that are only available on your site and not on Amazon, like their Tailwind Gear. Creating an air of exclusivity increases time on site by keeping people from searching elsewhere for products that they will not find outside your website.


(Almost) Free Shipping

Amazon Prime has made free shipping not only desired but demanded by consumers. However, Patel’s article quotes GeekWire as reporting that “Amazon lost $7.2 billion [Note: that’s billion. With a b.] from shipping in 2017 between what it cost them and what they charged. But they have more than enough revenue from other sources to make up for it.” Do you? Probably not. While totally free shipping is out of reach for many online stores, encouraging customers to meet a purchase threshold provides enticement to purchase more items to meet that goal. If your price points — or bundled products — make it easy for customers to get to your free shipping threshold, all the better.


At the top of every page on Tailwind’s site, GET FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS OVER $49 is displayed. On checkout, a message is displayed indicating if the cart contents do not yet meet the minimum threshold for free shipping, which helps increase AOV by encouraging additional purchases to meet this criteria.

Last But Not Least: Killer Customer Service

This is where Tailwind really shines.

As a regular contributor to BigCommerce’s Critique My Site forum, I look at a wide variety of ecommerce websites every day, offering constructive criticism and our development services to online stores. Tailwind Nutrition contacted us for some development help, and in my initial evaluation of their site I noticed not only their awesome images and clean layout, but the way they create a unique experience for their customers. I was struck by some of the special touches that they add to their customer experience that provide a snapshot of the values they hold dear, namely: their customers matter.

Personalized products & notes? Yes!

Tailwind Nutrition’s brand bleeds through every customer interaction and touchpoint to create and solidify their identity. Tailwind has invested in their own website and social media channels to create a presence that helps set them apart from their competitors. What are the things that Tailwind Nutrition does that Amazon does not?

  • Each of their endurance drinks is personalized with their customers’ first name, creating a one-of-a kind experience.
  • A handwritten note is included with each order, so the customer feels seen and valued.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” — Theodore Roosevelt


Jenny told me, “We actually have customers who continue to purchase directly through us because of the notes.” Now that’s an endorsement! As of this writing, Amazon does not currently send handcrafted responses to their customers. If they could swing it, they probably would — I’m sure they’ve got people working on it! But in the meantime, get busy and do the thing they cannot do: get personal.

So, perfect marketing to your niche or target customer, improve your shipping, and level up your customer service game. While you can and should automate lots of processes, you can’t automate sincerity, passion, enthusiasm, and love for your customers. Is this easy? No. But it can be done, and done well if you have a plan and give that plan time to work. Like losing weight or changing any other behavior, the results of the methods you have used to get where you are now can’t be seen overnight. But change your methods right now and start going in the direction that will lead to success.

Ecommerce Experts Help You Get Even More from Your Online Store

happy woman looking at her ecommerce store

Is your ecommerce website still just average?

Are you working way too hard in your back office?

Is keeping your online store updated overwhelming?


You’ve come to the right place.


Less Ugh, More Ooh!

happy woman looking at her ecommerce store

At Inkblot Digital, our ecommerce developers specialize in creating custom code applications that add extra functionality and features to your online store, along with providing store support services that keep things running smoothly and lighten your load.

Now approaching our fourth year in business (!), we have continued to focus on three areas: Store Customization, Ecommerce Connectors, and Store Support. We dive deep into BigCommerce, Lead Commerce, Shopify, and Volusion stores and offer custom solutions and service specific to the ecommerce community. Need a quick fix or an extra pair of hands so you can get back to business, or an occasional weekend off instead of spending it to get caught up? Here’s what we do best:


Store Customization & Development


Is your “off the shelf” ecommerce website not quite cutting it? Are you missing key functionality that would set you apart from your competitors and improve user experience? Do you have a laundry list of tweaks to your site that you don’t have the time (or the expertise) to do yourself? Enhancement possibilities are endless with imagination and custom code.

If you’re having trouble finding a developer who knows your shopping platform well enough to make the changes you need, look no further. Choose a pre-built app from our Store Mod Marketplace or work with us to have a custom solution designed to suit your needs.


Ecommerce Connectors

Ecommerce connectors make life easier.

Do you spend time transferring orders and stock levels back and forth manually between systems? This method is not only tedious and time consuming, but greatly increases the likelihood of making costly errors. Inkblot makes your life easier by designing amazing ecommerce connectors that integrate your back office software with platforms like Amazon, eBay, and ShipStation. Wouldn’t you like make your business run more efficiently? If so, why wait? Connecting your systems is an important yet complicated process, but one that could be vital to your long-term success. Integration allows you to spend more time working on your business, rather than in your business.

We’ve built connectors that hook up Lead Commerce with other platforms, but we can integrate many other platforms to your specifications. Choose one of our existing connectors or have us create one just for you.


Ecommerce Store Support

Life preserver on keyboard

Wouldn’t it be great if you had easy access to ongoing assistance with your ecommerce store? Our Store Support Packages provide an easy way to pay for our services and are the perfect solution for busy online store owners. We offer four service package levels for BigCommerce, Shopify, Lead Commerce, and Volusion stores.

Our packages are billed on a monthly recurring basis and can be cancelled at any time without penalty. Plus, some packages feature really cool perks that you will love, like a free monthly backup (included with all plans), site downtime monitoring, and quarterly checkup reports that help keep your site performing at its best.


How Can We Help You?

Traditional Pork Tacos

Yes. Yes. Yes.

All web developers are not created equal. Our developers are ecommerce experts who know what to do when you just need to get it done. And in case you were wondering, we are 100% U.S. based and love Radiohead, t-shirts, tacos, and lots and lots of coffee.

Find out how your store can be AWESOMIZED! Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can help you get even more from your online store.

Inkblot Digital: Your Ecommerce Development Experts.

BigCommerce Stencil Theme Engine Conversion & Customization

BigCommerce’s Stencil Theme Engine is Here!


The new templating engine – called Stencil – from BigCommerce has arrived. The long-awaited update opens up all sorts of opportunities for flexible, highly customized store templates.

Benefits of Stencil Theme Customization

  • Increased template power
  • Flexibility to better engage customers
  • Improved page speed for customization


BigCommerce Stencil Theme Features

  • Greater flexibility & opportunities for customization
  • Backend, server-side processing of template for improved speed
  • Logic based, conditional page elements (i.e., if customer group is X, then Y)
  • Test theme changes across various devices on a local computer prior to launch


Stencil Template Technologies

The BigCommerce Stencil theme engine is built on the following technologies:

  • Handlebars.js template processor – allows for dynamic & conditional logic based template page creation
  • YAML Front Matter Data Syntax – provides page data on an as needed basis for dynamic use & insertion into templates
  • SASS CSS Preprocessor Scripting Language – makes it easier to manage your CSS
  • Stencil Utilities – offers templating functions and event handlers that will bring powerful functionality into your theme


Stencil Theme Resources

BigCommerce Stencil Theme Engine Announcement

Customize a Stencil Theme

Need help converting to Stencil? Contact us to get started.