- 20 Jul
Business and e-commerce: The planning process
In the business, there is only one door that will lead you to success: well-prepared and well-thought development. You should expect nothing if you do not fulfill both aspects of this preparation. Well, of course, you cannot make perfect plan and information without knowing where to find appropriate information. For this cause, until now internet still becomes the world’s preference among other available sources of information. You can learn almost everything from this place and perform an effective information management as you should also do with resources you have. All these e-commerce planning steps are necessary when you want to create a perfect plan for your business and its goal. Now, we come to one absolute question: what does a complete business plan look?
Everyone, especially business owners and practitioners, may have the different perspective about a complete business plan and preparation. However, if I may describe it, there are at least five different aspects that are worth for your concern. Take a look at the following aspects of perfect e-commerce, and you will understand my point.
Does the business website have any correlation with the business?
Nothing can deny one important fact about our global network: it has all the power it needs to transform a simple business to a dominant one. It changes the conventional way of business in selling their products to the customer. Any business, no matter which niche they run, experiences total change when they come to the internet, especially with its e-commerce feature. People are no longer need to come to the company office if they want to purchase its products or services. Besides, some studies also discovered that the presence of e-commerce in the business world also changes the business culture. Today, many people even require the online presence of business on the internet, or they will have no interest with the company. Even the simplest business experiences this change of culture. Everything is changing now, from as simple as ticket sale to as complicated as payment method, people believe that the most credible way they can trust is the internet itself.
There are many aspects that put internet into world-class popularity, but if we search to the peak of them, we will find that it is its nature as the one-stop information that makes internet as popular as we have today. The importance even grows higher than ever especially for business because today everyone can find almost everything they want on the internet quickly and efficiently. For the business it means that in order to mean the competition, the simplest and fastest way is by using the internet.
Which resources do your business need?
Physical border is not the only border internet eliminates when you have merged your business with e-commerce. It also eliminates ‘time border’ which means that as long as internet connection takes presence in this world, everyone from any spot throughout the world can access your business website at any time he or she want. It means that your website should become available for anyone at any place for the whole time. It is something you cannot do in the real world because limited resources you have, especially your employees. However, you can do the contrary if you know how to optimize appropriate technologies.
Technology experts and advanced technology are two important keys for this issue. Without their presence, there is no service you can give from your website to your audience. With many technology experts, the world graduates today; it is quite simple to get the best in the field with the perfect knowledge. However, it will turn to an entirely different case if you look for the best candidate with the combination of the best resources and assets. You may need to take deep consideration of the following points before making the recruit:
1. Recruit only a person with full dedication to web management as his/her nature and your technology resources stand as his/her support
2. When you are not sure to hire someone with the permanent position, you can turn to temporary recruitment. However, make sure that candidate you recruit to the system will aid you in setting up the business as well as perform regular website maintenance, online capabilities expansion, and finally new ventures launch.
3. Sometimes, you do not need to hire someone to become an employee at your office. Sometimes, you just need to outsource the job, especially when you do not need someone to work as the permanent employee. Think about website design, development, hosting, and management. These are the most common jobs companies choose to outsource. The reason is it is more efficient than conventional recruitment strategy.
4. ‘E-commerce inside a box’ is a perfect product you can use to set your e-commerce website. With affordable monthly fee, you can get virtual shopping cart for your e-commerce website. Other products you can get include online catalog, inventory tools, personalized product page, highly-secured online payment method, advanced technical support for website, discount coupons for users, and other similar benefits.
Know your audience
Unless you run a non-profitable business, there is only one purpose all companies adopt: to generate profit. To achieve this ultimate goal, you must either sell your products or services. However, before your business can reach the goal, there are two different stages you should do. First, you should manufacture the products or services you want to sell. Then, for the second stage, you should offer the products or services you have made to your customers. Both stages are important, but there is another thing you should know. You cannot proceed to both stages if you cannot perform this stage. You need to know your target audience. It is mandatory for all businesses because without inadequate knowledge about your target audience, everything your business does will only goes to rubble.
It is necessary to further learn about your customers, but it is not their personal information you should know because it is confidential. Information you should know include geographic, socio-economic, and demographic information. Along with other relevant information, it will give you detailed information about your customers. This information may tell you about their product or service preference, shopping behavior, financial condition, browsing activity, preferred content, and other relevant information. Of course, unless you use this information for your business using an appropriate method, all information you get will turn to nothing.
How good will you grab the market attention?
Today, when e-commerce has nearly become an integrated part of a business; all businesses have the same chance in changing the world business platform. Even a small company from a remote area can compete with fast-growing and huge company from a metropolitan city in USA. Once a business has connected the system with e-commerce, the business owner should understand that since the integration time, his/her business has transformed into a completely international-scale business. It means that the company will face not only competitor from a local place where the office takes place, but also from all around the world.
When your business has reached the global network, international competitors are not the only one you should expect to come. In addition, you should also face with different customers who come from different locations from throughout the world. It means that your company should help different people with different tastes, different currencies, different places, and other different things. Let’s take an example. If you build your business in Dubai, your primary business intention is to serve local people in Dubai, unless you have planned to enter world competition soon after you built the office. However, once you have integrated your business with e-commerce, you should not expect your customers to come from the same city or country. Your customers may come from the different side of the earth. For this reason, you should come with different solutions for different market segment or you can try to make a comprehensive solution that treats all people the same. However, make sure that comprehensive solution will treat everyone in the same way. It simply pays respect to your customer and, therefore, establish a firm relationship.
The delivery cost
As previous part has said to you, once your business has merged with the e-commerce, you are dealing with various consumer segments from different parts from all around the globe. It means that not only you should deal with different currencies, but also complex product delivery.
‘Normal’ economy law explicitly states that delivery or shipping cost remains inside production cost which you can add to your product price. However, when you deal with overseas customer, you can see that the item shipping cost will increase drastically. It can increase up to several hundred percent. There are two alternative decisions your customer will take once they see the price they should pay. First, they may continue purchasing the item they like because they have no problem with the amount you state at your website. At the contrary, as the second option, your prospective buyer will immediately leave your online store once they see that the item price is no longer making sense. So, what will you do?
Shipping charge is production cost you cannot avoid, but it has no relevance in doing nothing. You have two available options: either you choose to keep the shipping cost inside the product price or apply free shipping-charge policy. Of course, in this case, profit is crucial. When we compare both options, you will get less profit if you choose the first policy than if you get the second one. Yes, it is true that everything will finally lead to profit. So, carefully make your decision.
Success only comes when your business honors your consumers. It is about not only selling high-quality items to them, but also honoring them as individual and precious customers by providing high-quality assistance to them. This term applies to all businesses, including when you have merged e-commerce system with your business. Your customers need to contact your company when they found that information you store at your website cannot give solution they expect. In this specific e-commerce case, the best option is to provide them contact information they can use to reach your company. Modern communication methods include e-mail, direct call, and post mail. All these methods are highly useful in helping your customers, but remember that they are not the critical one your customers need. The essential one lies in quick reply from your company. You should give the reply to any issue or question your customers have. It is important because the quicker you give reply, the higher respect your customers will feel. It acts as a relationship bridge between you and your customers.