With the rapid growth of the eCommerce sector, businesses of all kinds and sizes arePaula and Chlo, a women’s clothing company, are expanding their reach online. Meanwhile, publications like Business Insider are reporting about retail giants that are signaling significant changes to their business plans, in order to capture some of the lucrative eCommerce market. However, haven’t most businesses established their digital storefronts already?
The answer to that question is yes and no. It is true that almost any serious business in today’s market has some sort of online presence. However, a website alone doesn’t necessarily make for a successful digital business. The eCommerce world is a highly competitive place, and there are many elements that a business requires to make it a serious competitor in the eCommerce realm. Let’s take a look at what those elements are.
The eCommerce World
It is not hard to see why customers are flocking to online stores. With the Internet’s powerful search engines, customers can easily find a niche store that has the unique products that the customer wants. For example, Dafina Jewelry carries a distinctive collection of fine jewelry and eyewear. For the customer looking for a wedding band, a site like this will have a selection to suit discerning customers, and the specialized information required to make a purchase.
Another great example is All-Fit Automotive, an eCommerce business that sells DIY lip kits designed to fit a wide variety of cars. If a customer has an interest in this product, there is a collection of videos and blogs on the site that can provide purchasing advice and install directions.
Online businesses can provide a much more rich and personalized shopping experience for individual customers, a fact that larger incumbents are taking notice of. With website accounts, cookies, email newsletters, and other Internet tools, businesses can build a personalized relationship with customers that is tailored to their shopping habits. Unique selections and convenient, customized, and responsive customer services are the order of the day.
From Information to eCommerce Integration
Many of these businesses had to transform their informational websites into genuine eCommerce platforms. A lot of early adopters of online stores set the sites up for informational purposes; with actual online ordering as an afterthought since the logistics and operational aspects of running purely digital businesses were still being developed.
For example, businesses would set up websites with information about their products and services, store locator pages, FAQ pages, policy pages, and other bits of information. Many stores did have limited inventory pages where customers could order products online, but these types of services were typically not as integrated and user-friendly as modern eCommerce services.
Today an eCommerce site has to offer far more comprehensive online services to compete in this type of marketplace. An online business can make use of all sorts of technologies such as mobile commerce platforms, electronic funds transfer, Internet marketing, data collection, electronic data interchange and other tools to run itself and stay profitable. Online retail companies also have to rethink variables like supply chain and inventory management.
All of these elements must also work together. Online stores have to implement a robust set of services to provide the functionality that many online shoppers have come to expect. They also have to get their supply chain and inventory management down in order to offer top-notch customer service and shipping. Data collection and analysis can help businesses to better tailor their online shopping experiences to customers. All of these elements should work to keep customers loyal, customers that are brought in with various web marketing techniques.
Success in eCommerce
All of this may sound pretty complex and intimidating for entrepreneurs and companies that want to enter the eCommerce sector, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, eCommerce is an excellent venue for many small businesses to try their hand with very low starting capital and other resources. There are plenty of useful resources available online for businesses that want to get started in eCommerce, such as guides offered by universities like SCU and companies like Shopify. If you’re reading online business journals for tips, Entrepreneur is another excellent resource for businesses starting out.
As the eCommerce world becomes steadily more competitive, businesses need to take advantage of every technology and service available to make online stores more attractive to prospective customers. Whole industries have risen to provide businesses with better tools, with SEO and web development companies like Los Angeles-based Coalition Technologies and many others offering their services.
Businesses that are dedicated to eCommerce are likely to make the transition with some success if they understand what is required to make it in an online market. Thorough research and/or professional help comes highly recommended. With the right business plan, companies both small and large stand to gain much from an eCommerce approach.
Author Bio: Carolyn Clarke is a freelance tech writer whose particular interests lie in eCommerce and Internet technologies. When she’s not writing, Carolyn is working to perfect her own homemade food recipes.