10 Things to Know before You Start an E-commerce Website

Nov 26, 2014
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by- Kunal Choudhary, Digital marketing entrepreneur, Public speaker and trainer at DSIM

Want to start an e-commerce website? Here are 10 important aspects that you need to look into.

1. Is your product sell-able on internet?
2. Can you trust your sourcing partner?
3. What is the competition level for your niche?
4. How would you do marketing for your website?
5. What kind of shopping cart are you using?
6. What is the objective behind starting an online business?
7. What if your plan fails? Do you have a plan-B and plan-C?
8. How do you plan to do deliver products?
9. It is about customers. Can you fulfill their requirement?
10. Will you make purchase from your own website?

 

1) Is your product sell-able on internet?

Not every product is a success when it comes to internet sales. B2B products are not very internet friendly and generally people find it hard to sell them on internet. However, in the last 2-3 years people have become open to do shopping on internet and are buying daily need stuffs like- electronic appliances, mobile phones, daily deal coupons, apparels, watches & accessories, shoes and more. This change has paved the way for marketers to grab customers online.

2) Can you trust your sourcing partner?

Not everyone who sells on internet manufactures the products themselves. In fact 99% of the online sellers rely on sourcing for their SKU’s. Finding a good and trusted sourcing/supply partner can be a difficult task. Lot of marketers makes a big mistake when it comes to finding and deciding on a sourcing partner, i.e. dealing with just one partner. What if your sourcing company or individual shuts down their business? This type of mistake can be a blunder if your sourcing partner is outside your own country or country where you are running online business. Hence, it is safe and advisable to find at least 2 sourcing partner for any given product.

3) What is the competition level for your niche?

Not everyone bothers to check the competition level for the type of products that they want to sell online. People are emotional when it comes to sell online. Chances of coming 1st in a race are more when 2 or 3 people are competing in a single race but not everyone can win a marathon. To check the level of competition on your niche (product) is one of the first step that marketers must take.

4) What is your Internet Marketing plan?

If you are selling on internet then you must do marketing on internet. One cannot hope success in selling online by advertising on road side or in shopping malls. A full proof internet marketing plan is required with a proper mix of offline marketing. Still 90% of the marketing budgets must be allocated to internet marketing depending on the type of product you wish to sell. Many big ecommerce companies have done blunders of going for a kill for traditional marketing methods and not keeping internet marketing their priority. Also, when it comes to creating a internet marketing plan one needs a proper online marketing mix. For instance if you only adopt search engine optimization( SEO) in your online marketing strategy then it may take good 6 months before your website start getting traffic from search engines like Google, yahoo and bing to name few. Not many people understand online marketing needs and its technique. To have a proper understanding of how internet marketing works they can go for internet marketing training program.

5) What kind of shopping cart you are using?

Online world is full of different types of shopping cart. Price range between $0-$2000 and even more. You must check your budget before you decide which shopping cart you want to go for. Few shopping carts like- oscommerce are also available for free. Then there are interspire shopping carts with every possible feature that one can ask for. Also these days there are many shopping carts that come with a monthly payment and hosting facility like- big commerce and martjack to name a few.

6) What is the objective behind running an online store?

Deciding on a sales figure that needs to be achieved can be really tough. Different marketers have different objectives behind running an ecommerce store. Some just want to achieve high turnovers and do not bother much about profits, for e.g. online stores selling mobile phones. Then there are some that are only concern about profit margin and not turnovers. For example, an ecommerce store selling in-house products. Also profit margin is high in such stores.

7) What if your plan fails? Do you have a plan B or plan C?

Not every online business (read ecommerce) becomes a success story. It takes a lot to just start and run an ecommerce business. Driving profit is even tougher. Most of the ecommerce business starts up with a plan. But the problem arises when they do not have a plan B or plan C if required. There are 33% chances that your original plan (Plan A) will succeed without any changes and 50% chance that it will succeed, though it also depends on the product and your online marketing strategy. Hence, it is advisable and highly necessary that you at least have a plan B ready if plan A does not succeed.

8) How do you plan to do the delivery?

Some online businesses do not give much importance to delivery and it is in their least priority when it comes to key points. But it can be as dangerous as swimming in the middle of the sea in hope to find an island. Imagine you started your ecommerce website and things started working according to your plan. But your customers are not getting the delivery on time as promised and some are getting unpacked packages. Would they come back to your store to shop again? The answer can be NO. The success of an online store depends on how many customers shop twice and thrice from it. If a shopping website has lot of repeating customers then it Cost per Customer Acquisition can drop down which will increase it profit margin. Hence, shipment should be in priority when it comes to making a happy shopping experience for your customers and deciding on your shipping partner has to be done with utmost care.

9) It is about customers. Can you fulfill their requirement?

Basics are always basics, but it matters a lot in deciding the future of any business entity. A happy and satisfied customer will not only come back to your website but will also bring 10 others to your website which will further decrease your acquisition cost. Just aim to satisfy your customers and rest everything will take care of itself.

10) Have you made a purchase from your own website?

Keep yourself in your customer’s shoes and think from their level. Would have you made a purchase from your own website? If the answer is yes then you are a winner. But if you are in doubt then it is time for improvement. Consumers think at least 5 times before they make a purchase online. Security is one of the biggest factor in the decision making process. Then there are price, free shipping, discount, reviews of the website and products to name few.

Hope these points will benefit you.

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