Electronic commerce, or ecommerce, can do almost everything that a brick-and-mortar store can do. Moreover, it’s cheaper to set up, easier to attract buyer traffic, easier to process orders, and easier to distribute electronic or physical goods. And your store is open 24/7 and can reach customers all over the world.
Since ecommerce is so flexible, many entrepreneurs launch their startups as ecommerce ventures. Instead of spending 6 figures to build a full scale business that may or may not work, it’s possible to build one with 5 figures to see how things work out. If the business happens to be as successful as envisioned, it can then be scaled up.
An ecommerce solution should include an attractive user-friendly website, an advertising system for driving traffic to the website, an order processing and fulfillment system, and a robust customer service system.
In addition, deploying services like magento e-commerce solutions can improve a site’s search functionality. This is important because a behind-the-scenes search system for customers that improves the relevance of search results makes it easier for them to shop.
Where to Start?
When it comes to listing the top priorities for ecommerce startups, it’s difficult to know where to start.
However, instead of thinking of an ecommerce venture from a technical perspective, it might be more helpful to first think of it from a business perspective. So, instead of thinking of it as a cash machine that needs different components, it’s better to first start thinking about business operations before considering technical components and functionality.
Here are five things to consider:
1. Identifying problems
Before thinking about the technology, the UX design, the product itself, and order processing and delivery mechanisms, the first thing a startup should think about is its customers.
Without a good idea about your target customers, without understanding what they want, and without understand what price they are willing to pay, nothing else matters.
A business generates a customer when it solves a problem for the customer. If the customer can solve the problem on their own, then the business has no purpose. If, for instance, a new line of cars were made that was so easy to fix that customers could do it themselves, all car repair businesses would go out of business.
So find out what pain your business resolves for a customer, find out what pain you can alleviate quickly and affordably.
2. Validating the idea
Suppose you believe there are other people just like you who are interested in owning ecommerce websites. Since you know how to build ecommerce business platforms, you reason that you could help other people get into business. You reckon that your business would do well because you will save customers the pain of having to learn how to build a highly specialized website.
Although you have an excellent idea, it may not be a valid one. Perhaps, after researching your business idea, you discover that only a few people are interested in ecommerce websites. You also discover that these entrepreneurs don’t like to spend much on infrastructure and are content with template-based website builders to create their websites. So, although you had a great idea, it’s not a valid business idea.
It’s possible that your research does not validate or invalidate your business idea. The idea is so new that you can’t get a good reading on whether or not it will work well. In this case, create a prototype to see how potential customers will respond. You may have to make adjustments to the prototype based on beta-testers before you get it right.
Assuming you’ve found the right idea either through research or product testing, you should create something that will be easy to scale in the future. In the mobile phone market, for example, Apple and Samsung constantly scale up the quality of their smartphones. Each new version is a marked improvement over the previous models.
Launching your ecommerce business
Once you’ve got a clear idea about your business idea, your priorities should now shift to building an ecommerce solution that helps you fully manifest that idea. Besides making the website as user-friendly as possible, also make it amenable to marketing. For instance, develop a newsletter, a blog, and fast-loading pages to facilitate your ability to market the website.