The idea of becoming an entrepreneur is fascinating. Having your own ecommerce store, getting orders, selling stuff and making money may sound captivating, but it’s a herculean task !
To start with, you need to have a clarity on what your business will be or what you are planning to sell. This is most important as it kind of decides if your business will work or not.
Starting with something new and different will score more than what’s already in the market unless you are offering an entirely new and unique dimension to the existing one.
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But here’s the tough part. To ensure the success of your business, you need to strictly follow the right techniques and have ample patience too, because this is where most of the entrepreneurs lose focus and deviate from the track and eventually close down.
Let me highlight some of the points that put you off track from the beginning.
Ignored Market Analysis
Okay so you have a great product, but first ask yourself – Is there a need for your product in the market? Is your product the best? Is it unique? Do you need to make any changes? Who are your competitors?
How long can your business last? Do you have enough capital to survive or foresee funding for your startup to sustain? Have you analyzed your annual turnover etc?
If you can’t answer them, you have clearly ignored the market analysis.
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Before you plunge yourself into the sea of ecommerce business… RESEARCH !
Study and explore the market, especially the area that you plan to enter.
Find out more about the market size you will be serving, w.r.t the people, location etc. See what is trending and what people need. A bigger market has more competitors which means you have to be innovative to get a foothold.
Find out the total revenue generated (for the kind of product that you intend to sell) in the recent financial years. Find out the growth rate of the market to know how long your business can last.
Understand the way existing business gurus are handling the dynamic situation.
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Finally, analyze the profitability trend and try to predict your share of the market that you might capture.
Don’t Have a Business Model?
Do you have a blueprint to implement the overall functionality of your business? If you don’t, you are entering a black hole.
It’s always best to put your ideas on a paper. It helps you get a clarity on your business framework. You can identify your strengths and work on your weaknesses. It also keeps everyone working for you, stay focused and have a common understanding.
So draft out a detailed and a realistic game plan. Divide it into various sections.
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Get a clear picture of your business strategies, milestones, metrics, costs, expenses, sales projections. etc. Figure out how to assign responsibilities for execution and track performance. Identify assumptions clearly.
Find out the channels and techniques you would be using, to connect with your target audience.
A typical business model would contain the following parameters –
(Of course, the parameter entries would differ according to the kind of store you have).
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Ecommerce Platform Doesn’t Fully Cater To Your Business Needs
Understand the requirements of your online store, and the resources you would need to manage the overall functionality of your site, both front-end, and back-end.
So, the base should be right. Whatever ecommerce platform you choose should be feature-rich and flexible enough for you to expand or make changes to your estore in future as well.
They should also provide for the installation of a third party plugin or add on, as per your need for optimum user experience and growth.
Customers Aren’t Buying?
Wonder why? Maybe the customers don’t know about your products yet. Maybe it’s just the initial phase of your business and people are unaware of your brand.
Which means you need to work on your patience and marketing strategy.
Try to incorporate solutions for real time engagement with prospects.
Advertise on social media. Share the relevant content of your site and try to engage the targeted audience. Promote yourself offline too. Turn to organizing or attending events. Print merchandise with your brand logo. Offer online discounts etc.
You could even tie up with an established brand and sell your stuff through them in order to spread your own brand awareness.
Anything to get yourself heard !
The other reason could be that the sale on the existing product line has reached its peak and the customers are no longer in a mood to buy. On top of that, your product isn’t offering anything new that excites them.
So what can you do ?
You need to create a sense of urgency amongst the customers but with relevant choices.
Understand what your customers like and need. Alter your product or services accordingly. Add a Unique Sales Proposition to attract them. Offer irresistible deals or combos.
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Poor Presentation of Products
If creating your ecommerce store is cardinal, then setting things right, is equally significant. You have a great product to sell, but if no efforts are put in elaborating or showcasing them in the right manner, it can pull your business down. The display on your website should be eye catching!
Put up clear product images preferably with a white background or in a relevant context. If you can, put video demos as they are more effective than images.
Stand out by providing detailed product descriptions, highlighting all the special or unique features. ( Do not just blindly copy the content from the manufacturer’s site. They are boring and is present on other sites as well).
Get creative by putting some fun quotes or building up a short story around the product, just to make it an interesting read.
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If possible, add a few reviews and testimonials from other customers. This will help the potential customer get an idea of what to expect if at all they buy your product.
The whole idea is to keep the customers engaged and convince them into making a purchase.
Even if they don’t give you an immediate sale, your website should be capable of making a positive impact and stay in their minds long enough to bring them back again.
“Success doesn’t just happen. It’s planned for.” – Anonymous.
The market is volatile. Thriving in an ecommerce business isn’t easy. You have to be creative and innovative with your venture and should be willing to take calculated risks.
However, at the same time, it’s better and safe to research, analyze, observe, learn from previous mistakes and be well prepared before you tread on this path.