Eureka! You’ve just come up with a brilliant business idea and want to bring it to market tomorrow. With so many e-commerce platforms (i.e. Shopify) to choose from, you can. Online retail is a fast paced industry but before you get caught up in the start-up hype, you might have to deal with the nitty-gritty bits of the business. Here are a few things to consider that will might help your business in the long run.
Choose the Right Business Partner
All too often we are quick to make decisions and form affiliations and partnerships that suit our immediate business requirements. Choosing the right partners from the get go not only helps you in the short, mid and long term, but also saves much hassle and props your business up further for future partnerships. The first thing a potential partner will look at will be your current partners and your previous partner. They’ll also be interested to know why it never worked out with your previous partners. If you can’t answer this last question, your prospects of signing new partnerships may be hindered.
Read the Fine Print…All of It
There are many legal aspects to be aware of when it comes to online retailing. First and foremost is customer privacy – this includes securing their transactions and how you communicate offers and sales with them. Many a time, an energetic entrepreneur starts out building a business from scratch - leaving the legal side of the business neglected. If they are successful they may see growth reach levels in a few months – which can be exciting. But if you have not properly checked the legal boxes, the hard work put in could be wiped out with a complaint or lawsuit.
A few simple things to look out for are as follows:
1. How do you capture your customer data?
2. How do you plan on using your customer data and is the customer aware of this?
3. If you have an ecommerce website, how are you recording credit card transactions?
4. How secure is your website? Do you have encrypted areas of your website to help protect your customer and their data?
5. What statements are you making on your website? If checked, would they all stack up? It's great to market your product or service, it's another thing to push the envelope a little further then intended.
Map Your Marketing
This depends on the industry you are in as there are many different ways to prospect new clients. Advertising online is a very large part of the marketing umbrella as there are many different forms of online advertising i.e. Google Adwords, Facebook, remarketing campaigns (ever wondered why the same brand seem to follow you around the internet and be advertising everywhere?)…
Some basic marketing principles can be applied here. One of which I use often for Yumtable.com.au - know where your client was just before he/she made a decision to purchase your product and service, and know where he/she went after they purchased your product.
If you understand this client journey, you can then pinpoint key opportunities to approach the prospective client. Depending on your industry, product or service you may even lean to more traditional means of advertising. However the correct blended online/offline advertising always works best.