E-commerce, also known as internet commerce, refers to buying and selling products using the internet. E-commerce is usually done with the help of websites or mobile applications. It is generally thought to be the sale of physical products online. But any type of transaction through the internet comes under e-commerce.
Before starting any business, a business owner must always follow the market trend. If there is a trend of e-commerce, the business must start selling online along with physical commerce. But before starting an e-commerce website, there are a few things to be aware of. Here are 10 aspects that must be checked before starting an E-commerce website.
1. Is your product worthy of selling on the internet?
Even if internet commerce is trendy these days, not all products can be guaranteed to be sold online. Generally, products belonging to the B2B category are not e-commerce friendly, and hence are difficult to be sold on the internet.
Although people have embraced online shopping in recent years and are purchasing products for daily needs, there may be some products that may not appeal to the customers. Generally, products such as clothing, apparel, electronics, gadgets, and footwear are being bought from the internet, and this has opened a gateway for business owners to search for customers online.
2. Can your sourcing partner be trusted?
The products sold by sellers on the internet need not be produced by themselves. Most of the sellers source their products from various producers. It is generally difficult to find a good product along with a trusted supplier. Therefore many sellers make mistakes while searching and deciding to partner with just one supplier. The problem arises when the only partner you are dealing with decides to shut down his business. The situation becomes serious if your sourcing partner is present outside your country or the country where you are running your online business currently. Therefore it is always safe to have more than one sourcing partner for running an e-commerce website.
3. What is the level of competition in the niche you have chosen?
Running an e-commerce website for business may seem appealing. But for running a successful business, proper research on the niche of the business is necessary.
A business niche is a specialised or focused area of a market where businesses can serve to differentiate themselves from other businesses. The best way to run a successful online business is to target a niche that has unmet needs. After choosing such a niche, a business owner must check the level of competition in that particular niche. You must research the competitors and the marketing tactics they follow. With that in mind, you can plan better marketing methods to promote your product and sell them online on the website.
4. What is your marketing plan?
Every business needs some promotion to survive in the market. Similarly, selling on the internet also needs marketing. If the business is online, one cannot use hoardings on the street as an advertising tool only. To promote an online business, one must have a mix of online and offline marketing plans. The majority of the marketing funds must go for online marketing. There are many real-life examples of business failures when businesses refused to give priority to online marketing.
One must also have a proper online marketing plan to run an e-commerce website. If a person only includes Search Engine Optimisation in the online marketing plan, it may take months before the website gets organic traffic from various search engines like Google. Starting an e-commerce website may be crucial for a business but understanding the online marketing techniques is more important. A person must go for online marketing training to level up his online marketing game.
5. Which type of shopping cart to use?
Internet shopping websites have various types of shopping carts. The prices of these shopping carts vary. Before deciding on a shopping cart for your business, you must check your budget. There are some shopping carts which are available free of cost too. Shopping carts these days have various features, and some shopping carts also have a subscription facility.
6. What are your objectives before starting the E-commerce website?
Striving for a particular sales figure can be difficult before starting an e-commerce website. Many online sellers only want to achieve high turnovers, such as the online stores selling gadgets and electronics. They don't care much about the profits. There are other types of sellers also who want to achieve high-profit margins. These types of sellers mostly run small businesses and produce artisanal and customised products. Since a lot of effort goes into the making of such products, the sellers expect high profits to sustain.
Therefore before starting an e-commerce website, you must identify the type of business you are running and the objectives that must be met to help the business grow.
7. In case your business plan fails, do you have a backup plan ready?
A business rarely becomes successful in a short period. A myriad of things is needed to start and run an e-commerce website successfully. Almost all businesses launch with an already decided plan. But what if the plan does not work and the business sees a horrific turn.
The situation becomes more problematic when there is no backup plan to save the business from deterioration. There are very few chances of the survival of the business if it sticks to only one plan. Therefore it is advisable that a business owner makes prior assumptions and keeps 1-2 backup plans ready if the first one fails.
8. How will you deliver the products?
The first and foremost aspect of online business is delivery, which is not given significance by many online business owners. There are many such cases where people get unpacked packages and delayed deliveries. This is a serious issue which may annoy the customers and prevent them from shopping on your website again. The success of a business is measured by customer retention. A business owner will understand that the business is running smoothly only when the customer repeats their purchases on your website. This also indicates customer satisfaction and can significantly increase profits. Hence the packaging and delivery must be given priority while operating an e-commerce website. This can be done by choosing an excellent delivery service provider so that the packages reach the customer untampered.
9. Can you fulfil the requirements of your customers?
Fulfilment of requirements is considered a basic thing, but such basic things have an upper hand in deciding the business' future. Customer retention, as said earlier, doesn't only indicate that the customers are happy but also shows that there is a high chance that they may recommend the business to their peers and family members.
Word-of-mouth is the most powerful marketing technique, and this happens only when the customers are satisfied with the products and the e-commerce website. Therefore always aim for customer satisfaction and customer retention, and everything else will fall into place.
10. Will you ever purchase from your website?
Sometimes, despite using all the possible marketing techniques to sell a product, a business fails. In that case, an entrepreneur must visit his website to see and think like the customers. The owner must think rationally whether he/she/they will purchase from the website again. If yes, then there is no issue. If not, then the issues must be noted down and improved further, including security, price, product quality, delivery charge, discount, and the functioning of the website.
To start an e-commerce website, one should possess complete knowledge of the different aspects discussed here. Half the work is completed if you follow these tips.
1) E-Commerce Tools Every Small Business Needs
2) The Rise of Ecommerce over the years
3) E-commerce Business Ideas: What Should You Sell?
4) E-Commerce Customer Service – 10 Best Practices [guide]
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Q. What are the top 10 e-commerce websites in India?
Ans. The top 10 e-commerce websites in India are Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Myntra, Book-my-show, Nykaa, Alibaba, and India mart.
Q. What are the four models of e-commerce?
Ans. The four models of e-commerce are B2C( business to customer), B2B(business to business), C2C(customer to customer), and C2B(customer to business).
Q. What are the small factors that help the e-commerce website to be successful?
Ans. The small yet significant factors that must be taken care of in a website are colours, fonts, words, pictures, graphics. These things must be kept as attractive as possible to convince the customers to make a purchase.
Q. What is the average price of a website?
Ans. On average, a website costs around 14000 INR (200$) and an approximate maintenance cost of 3500 INR(50$).