Every startupper lives on the conviction of making informed decisions and making smart investments, but the reality is very different: about 75% of startups fail within the first year of life and the e-commerce world is exasperating this with a rate of 90% failure. Opening an online store is easy, but making it really work and making it profitable is another matter. The development of an online shop, whether it is proprietary and/or on a marketplace, in fact, foresees a detailed feasibility study: from the analysis of the business model to the choice of the technological infrastructure, from customer care to marketing, from logistics to optimization. So how do you create a successful store? Below you will find out how and above all who to contact to create the best e-commerce for your startup.
Consultancy for opening an e-commerce business: the phases
Let’s start with a question: Why establish an e-commerce business today?
- It is a market at 3% of its potential
- It grows with margins of 15/20%
- You can enter the business without any colossal investments
- Only 11% of the companies sell online
- If structured and planned well, it is easy to raise funds or investments
- You can reach a global audience
- There are many niches still unfilled
- It is an activity that can be taken over and is resalable if automated
But beware: Selling online is complex, it requires time, resources and above all specific skills to stand out among competitors and big players. Whether you are a startup or an e-commerce business that has already started, you will have to make winning strategic choices to be able to emerge in an increasingly competitive world.
Every e-commerce business is certainly unique, but fortunately today there are models and best practices that can be applied in advance, there are scientific principles that can be used to measure and help your site grow and there are common hidden dangers that can be avoided right from the beginning.
Working with an expert e-commerce consultant can help you quickly acquire these skills and experiences, decrease costs, reduce risks and above all avoid the most common mistakes that are repeatedly made by do-it-yourselfers.
A survey carried out by 123Ecommerce businesses revealed five recurring errors that lead an online shop to failure:
- working in overly saturated niches
- not having a clear business strategy
- not foreseeing an investment budget not only for starting the business but also for maintaining it in the first years of life
- thinking that the business success depends on the e-commerce platform
- not knowing or being unwilling to invest in marketing in a structured way
E-commerce is undoubtedly one of the most complete and complex projects in the digital world. It follows that it is absolutely necessary to immediately rely on an e-commerce manager to create a precise strategy and ensure that your online sales project is profitable and has a long life. What are the steps to follow in order to plan and make achievements in an e-commerce project? Let’s take a look at some of them.
Analyze the market
It is essential to start with a complete and detailed analysis of the online market, your products, customers, their needs and capabilities and current and potential competitors. This way you can implement market segmentation and your product will always find its right buyer. By applying the SWOT technique, Porter’s 5 competitive forces and PESTEL analysis, you will have an overview of the entire reference ecosystem. A good e-commerce manager will help you find data from public and private sources, sector reports, online searches, financial statements, and commercial information, or by means of software capable of producing SEO and SEA forecasts.
As you can imagine, it is a very complex analysis and the factors involved are numerous, and that is why an experienced e-commerce manager can help you in defining your target market.
Choice of platform, implementation and optimization
You will then have to select the most suitable CMS to manage your business. You will need to obtain comprehensive information on the advantages and disadvantages of each e-commerce platform for your specific need and then decide whether to opt for open source, SaaS, PaaS or proprietary CMS solutions.
The variables involved in choosing the CMS are numerous and varied, so you will have to ask yourself some fundamental questions:
- is your business model B2B or B2C?
- is your target market a niche or a mass market?
- how many products do you have in the catalog?
- do you foresee configurators?
- do you foresee customizations?
- do you have a competent figure in the company capable of following the project?
- do you foresee a medium-long term business or an opportunity seeker?
- in how many and which countries do you want to sell?
- in how many languages?
- is SEO part of your strategy?
- do you also sell on marketplaces?
You will then have to set up the technological infrastructure to manage internal flows or analyze the one already present in the company to decide on its integration; finally, you will have to devote yourself to the choice of all the software that will allow you to manage your online business in a completely automated way.
As you can imagine, answering all these questions is not easy, that is why e-commerce consultancy can be the key to choosing and creating the right well-structured platform from the very beginning.
Web marketing and marketing automation
The initial analysis of the market, competition and buyer personas determines the definition of the most important element of all: the web marketing strategy. Let’s talk about the plan that contains all the online marketing activities necessary to make your brand and your products known, as well as the channels and tools that are used to generate visibility and traffic to e-commerce, but above all to acquire customers and retain them over time.
In order to implement a marketing strategy you need time, but above all skills and experience, since there are many possibilities, so getting confused and losing money is very easy. The difficulty arises from the fact that there are so many digital tools available. We mention a few just to give you an idea: SEO, SEA, SMM, SEM, SMS, push notifications, Digital PR, Influencer Marketing, Affiliate, Chatbot, Mobile App, etc.
To define which tools and channels to use, with what logic and hierarchy, and how much to allocate in terms of advertising budget on the platforms, the so-called marketing funnel is established, which is the cornerstone of every marketing strategy.
Once you have a good database, you can proceed with the profiling of visitors arriving at your store: in this way you can, in fact, learn about and divide your users into segments based on their personal data, interests, purchases and browsing behavior, thus obtaining a precise identikit of your audience that you can leverage to improve the shopping experience and increase conversions.
This is where marketing automation comes in, that is software for the automation of marketing activities that, if carried out manually, would require a huge waste of time and resources without even being sure of their effectiveness. The goal of marketing automation is therefore to speed up and optimize processes. But how? Just set up automatic workflows that are triggered by themselves when one of your segments carries out a predetermined action (trigger).
As you can imagine, even in this phase only e-commerce experts are able to show you the right path to follow in the complex world of Web marketing and marketing automation.
Measurement, management, optimization
The most successful e-commerce companies make decisions based on KPIs, which are key performance indicators that are a fundamental part of the information necessary to determine and explain how e-commerce is progressing towards its business and marketing objectives.
There are thousands of KPIs you can track, but only a few of them directly represent the health of your business and can be turned into useful insights that help you grow.
There are priority KPIs (CTR, ROAS, CAC, average receipt, CPC/CPL, CLV, business margin) and intermediate KPIs (pages visited, items on chart, return rate, backlinks, banner clicks, etc.)
Once you have generated significant traffic to your online store, you can devote yourself to optimization (usability, advertising, performance, prices/margins, purchases, price lists, catalogs, promotions, offers, customer care, etc.)
An experienced e-commerce manager is able to define along with you the necessary metrics that will allow you to know the performance status of your store at any time as well as the levers to push in order to grow, and also all the optimizations to be made over time.
E-commerce manager: The B-PLANNOW® solution
The B-PLANNOW® e-commerce manager service is designed as an accompanying strategic consultancy for all those who have an online sales activity, whether it is in the startup phase or already started, offering a complimentary service aimed at studying the best strategy and resource optimization.
You are not online yet and want to get started? Do you want to start a new online business and avoid problems and mistakes that inevitably happen to those who are just starting out? With our one-to-one e-commerce opening consultancy, you can do it by letting yourself be guided step by step.
Do you already have an online business started? Is your e-commerce working but you want to reach higher goals? One of the activities we carry out on a daily basis is that of e-commerce consulting for companies to help entrepreneurs like you significantly increase their results.
In order to help you in the initial phase, we have concentrated the experience we have gained over the years with our customers in the e-commerce world and we have decided to share with you the result of our work, that is THE B−PLANNOW BOARD ECOMMERCE®: our shared visual language consisting of 17 elements, which will allow you to really imagine, describe, share and innovate the business model of your startup in the e-commerce world, as well as to design the entire human, technological, logistic and legal ecosystem in a detailed and scientific way.
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Here is a brief presentation of the contents of the 17 blocks:
- Business model: analysis of the business model
- Value proposition: definition of the value proposition
- Market analysis: analysis of the reference online market
- Buyer personas: definition of typical customers
- Competition Analysis: Detailed analysis of online competition
- Team: analysis and definition of human resources
- Choice of platform: analysis and choice of the most suitable CMS
- Software: analysis and choice of available software to implement
- Technological infrastructure: analysis and integration of the technological structure (CMR, ERP, etc.)
- Automation: analysis and choice of the forms of automation to be integrated
- Customer care: analysis and choice of customer service
- Marketing Channels: analysis and choice of the best online sales channels that obtain the best performance
- Marketplaces: analysis and choice of marketplaces
- Method of payment: analysis and choice of payment gateways
- Logistics: analysis and definition of internal, external logistics or logistics in drop-shipping
- KPI: definition of the reference metrics
- Legal: analysis of legal compliance
Now that you know everything about how and above all who to contact to create the best e-commerce for your startup, all you have to do is contact us, talk to us about your idea and bring it online together with us even in work for equity!