Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Ecommerce is still a rapidly evolving industry and although the web space may appear saturated already, there are still many opportunities for new businesses to launch and steal some of the market. However, setting up a successful ecommerce business is far more complex that picking a catchy domain name and hiring a web developer – all the real work happens behind the scenes.
Once you've chosen a suitable domain name and integrated a shopping cart solution, it is time to start thinking about how the retail business will be managed. Here we share a few ideas that you may not have considered.
Managing Data and Processing Orders
Many e-commerce businesses now make use of hybrid cloud solutions, which enable them to store customer details and process payments through a secure cloud network, which will be linked to a public cloud.
Cloud storage is flexible because it allows for more collaboration between teams, especially those with employees scattered across the country (or even the world!). It's also a good idea to offer mobile payment solutions and a contactless payment options. If your customers can easily pay for your products and services via their mobiles, they won’t have to delay an intended payment to a later time (i.e. when they have access to a PC or laptop), or forget about their intended purchase altogether.
For online businesses that have limited office space, using cloud computing means they don't have to spend money on physical servers or bulky IT equipment. When you need to move to a new venue, you won't have to worry about transporting all these heavy items and the risk of damaging the equipment and losing essential business data. Another huge advantage of cloud systems is that they are usually more secure. If you are running a large database of customer information, it is imperative that it is secure from hacking and other malicious attempts to steal data.
Marketing Your Website
One of the biggest hurdles today for new businesses is gaining a strong presence in Google search. A new ecommerce business needs to work a lot harder today compared to 10 years ago. This means yean need to invest time and money in experienced marketing professionals, such as copywriters and content marketers, who can get more visitors to your website.
Is Your New Warehouse Ready?
To consistently satisfy your customers' demands, you have to meet strict deadlines, and having an efficient, perfectly functioning warehouse can help you cut down costs and despatch your items swiftly.
Has your new warehouse been used recently? Are the electrics in good working order? Are there any health and safety hazards that you will need to alleviate before you start? If your warehouse doesn't have the necessary infrastructure to meet your commercial capacity, you won't be able to operate efficiently until it does.
Take, for example, the popular retail company Everything5Pounds, which offers outstanding value for money on an impeccable range of clothing and accessories, all items priced at £5 each. It is based in Basildon, Essex, which offers much very affordable office space, and still has excellent transport links to the M25 and London. It chose a 160,000 square-foot warehouse that had been unused for more than 10 years, only to find out that the majority of the electrical systems were not working. Hence, it took some fast work, with the help of Project Skills team, to get the warehouse ready. The warehouse was functioning after a couple of weeks and continued to operate while the project was completed.
E-Commerce logistics technology, like automatic payment reminders, reorganising track shipment, data analysis, and e-fulfillment centres are all critical to the success of your new e-Commerce website.
Remember – e-Commerce is still evolving
Data from the E-Commerce Pulse of Custora, the US dashboard for e-commerce data and trends, revealed that, in the first quarter of 2014, online sales rose 13 percent compared with the same period for the previous year. Another study from the UK's Interactive Media in Retail Group found that about a third of all UK online sales take place after 6pm, presumably because this is when most people have the time to shop for products and services online. Although there is evidence to suggest that many customers still prefer to buy items in shops, e-Commerce sales are likely to continue to expand in the next few years.
Sam Barton is the marketing assistant at Project Skills Solutions, which provides electrical installation, CCTV, network solutions, air con and building maintenance in and around Essex.