eCommerce businesses are one of the fastest growing industries on the internet today. While people used to visit physical stores and locations to get their goods and services, nothing beats ordering from the comfort of your own home. As such, starting your own eCommerce business can have a wide variety of benefits.
Getting yourself started is the difficult part, however. It doesn’t only require passion, but also extensive planning, and some cash under your belt as well. Here, we’ll be going over some things you need to know before you launch your first eCommerce business, as well as which eCommerce business may be best suited for you.
What eCommerce Business is suited for me?
When people think about eCommerce, most of the time you consider B2C (business-to-consumer) websites, such as a site that sells groceries, products, and for the consumer to purchase directly. This isn’t the only type of eCommerce business, however; there are so many varieties, and each of them have their own set of risks, benefits, and difficulties. One thing they all have in common though, is that they’re all highly sought by some sort of consumer or business.
If your new business is looking to sell to other businesses, you may be looking to start a B2B business. Have something quick to sell, sort of like people do on eBay? That would be C2C. Some have more benefits to having their own websites, and the most common one is definitely B2C. Before you start your business, it’s best to find out all the varieties of eCommerce business, and start planning towards a specific demographic.
Advertisement and marketing does differ greatly depending on the business you’ve decided on, so be sure to read up on what you’re selling before you make a hard decision.
Necessities for your eCommerce business
There are some things that will remain consistent, regardless of the type of business you follow through with. For example, customer service will be vital in every business, so you need to account for that. Depending on the size of your business, you could handle support yourself, but it is a good idea to find someone who will be able to handle support while you handle the business, especially if your business begins to grow exponentially. Remember, all contacts from consumers should not wait, and be responded to in a timely manner.
Most eCommerce platforms will allow you to include these things naturally, but they are worth mentioning. Make sure your business has a way to process payments, and has access to a payment gateway. Unless you want to advertise your products as “coming soon”, you will need to be able to handle shipping, allow for credit card payments or other methods, and make sure to keep track of inventory for all your products. Luckily, a lot of eCommerce platforms streamline this whole process and make it very easy for you. If you want to create your own website, from the ground up, make sure you pick the proper team and CMS platform to go with.
What is the best eCommerce platform?
Unfortunately, this question isn’t as easy as “X is the best, Y is the worst”. In fact, a lot of eCommerce platforms are drastically different from one another. You could go with a platform that’s easily customizable, even by you, in case you want to make adjustments without hiring someone to do it. Wix would be a great example of this. Or, you could pick a platform that has a very friendly and expansive app market to customize your customer experiences to fit your exact vision, such as Shopify or HubSpot.
There are a variety of eCommerce platforms out there, and all of them each have their own high points and low points. Doing research can only get you so far, since every business does have different needs, and will prioritize different factors. Something that may be amazing for a shirt company, may not be very useful for your beer company, as an example. There are some key things that you can research when trying to find the one that’s best for you. Below are a list of questions that you should ask yourself when deciding on your eCommerce platform.
- What is my budget?
- What is my target audience?
- Does this platform have great optimization / speed as a base?
- Does this platform have all the features I am looking for?
(If not, is there an app market to help achieve what is unavailable?)
- How is their customer service?
(Keep in mind, if your business is on the backbone of another platform, you may need to interact with them a lot - friendly, helpful, and responsive is what you need)
- Does the platform have SEO friendliness?
- Does the platform have mobile friendliness?
Those are a few of the many questions that you should be asking yourself. There are many other questions that will vary depending on your needs, but above are some great starting points for you.
What should I avoid when picking an eCommerce platform?
A good follow-up to the previous section, there are definitely some things that should be avoided or to be careful of. A good example of this is a platform which has too many features. It may sound a bit strange, but having too many features that you aren’t using can directly affect your income. You may think that “an extra 40 dollars a year will barely make a dent”, but be mindful that these small expenses do add up. Take into consideration employee wages, app addons, technical support or assistance from developers, and soon you’ll find yourself breaking even, instead of turning a profit.
Additionally, it’s advised to avoid picking an eCommerce platform due to their popularity alone. Not all big platforms are bad, but not all are good either. You should pick the platform that fits your needs to a T - as mentioned above, too many features can be a bad thing, especially if you have no plans to ever use them. Minimalistic is almost always the way to go - this is true for web design, and for eCommerce.
When it comes to choosing your platform
It’s time for you to begin doing your research! By following our article above, you should be able to make an educated decision which suits your needs. Sometimes, finding exactly what works best for you can be tricky. There are consultants that can assist you with this process, and do the research on your behalf. Us at e-dimensionz Inc also offer consultations, in case you’re worried about going down the wrong path.
Whether you’re looking for a CMS, an eCommerce platform, or for that special feature to make your site stand out, a consultation never hurts. Choose something that will help you and your business grow, and never forget that the most important part of creating your business is gaining and retaining your consumers.
For additional information or assistance, please feel free to contact us and we can discuss more with you one-on-one.