7 Ecommerce Tips for New Entrepreneurs

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7 Ecommerce Tips for New Entrepreneurs

7 Ecommerce Tips for New Entrepreneurs

E-commerce occupies a primary position in today’s economy. Every new business is now required to have online presence to ensure its overall growth and survival. E-commerce landscape is highly dynamic and is continuously evolving. In order to make your business more efficient and productive, here are some tips for a new entrepreneur regarding eCommerce.

  • Deliberate Before Going Live: one of the biggest mistakes committed by new entrepreneurs is to launch half-baked products and services. While online business world follows the practice Minimum Viable Product, it is still advisable for new businesses to endeavor to perfect their products before launching them online. Such precautions should be undertaken with regard to the product as well as with regard to the infrastructure required for online launch. Before making your website live, you should ensure that your domain name, outbound links and SEO are all in the right place.
  • Integrate your Marketing Efforts: as eCommerce is fast evolving, the marketing tools are also changing at a fast pace. In such environment, it is therefore important that the marketing mix is designed in such a way that frequent changes may be incorporated seamlessly. E-commerce generally uses email blasts, newsletters and social media. It is imperative that these promotional media are used in an intertwined fashion. New entrepreneur can use these media to cross target their markets and draw synergies.
  • Use Funnel Approach: in simple words, funnel approach implies that you need to be aware of the path taken by your target customers to eventually buy your product or service. The various facets involved in the process of funnel approach is to retain customers and upselling. Further, entrepreneurs may also use subscription based models and cross selling approaches under this framework. There are various tools available for this purpose such as plugins which may be easily integrated with your website to achieve desired results.
  • Keep Your Systems Flexible: it is important that the infrastructure used for running your eCommerce venture is flexible and is able to accommodate your growing business. The backend system should be designed in such a way that it expands with your endeavor. While selecting various elements such as server capacity, you should keep in mind not only the present requirements but also future potential. In case of eCommerce, later upgrades in the system may prove to be prohibitively expensive and tedious. Therefore, it is advisable to anticipate the future requirements and incorporate them into the infrastructure in the beginning stage, thus minimizing the need for later additions.
  • Go Social, Go Mobile: proper use of social media can work wonders for your online business. With a number of platforms available, it is important to ensure that your social media mix offers you synergies, without causing any duplication of efforts and resources. The use of social media not only allows you to provide latest information to your clients but also to keep track of their changing preferences. Further, one of the most important trends is to use mobile access. More and more people are using eCommerce through their phones and tablets. In order to fully harness the power of mobile eCommerce, it is important that you optimize the mobile rendering of your website. Alternatively, you can opt for designing a dedicated app for mobile devices. In order to future proof your eCommerce venture, it is essential that you pay proper attention to mobile segment.
  • Pay Attention to Analytics: as eCommerce changes at a fast pace, the businesses are required to keep pace with them. This can be done by using various analytical tools which are helpful in gathering data. Such data is then analyzed to find trends and predict future patterns. The important data required for such purpose is the number of visitors to the website, the conversion rate and loading time. Such data is then analyzed and the strategies are designed accordingly. In order to design robust marketing and other plans, the use of analytics cannot be overemphasized.

The above given pointers offer simple and fast way to optimize your eCommerce business. It is essential that an entrepreneur ensures that they are constantly evolving to keep their eCommerce ventures relevant and effective.

What is Important for Startups – Products or Sales?

What is Important for Startups – Products or Sales?

Whether a business should focus on perfecting its products or on boosting sales is the eternal question faced by entrepreneurs. The dilemma has given rise to the concept of Minimum Viable Product or MVP where instead of trying to wait until the product is in faultless stage, the business decides to market it and continues with the improvement process. Here are some of the thoughts to help you decide whether your business should strive for the perfect product or for higher sales.

  • Focus on Product: It is believed that a large number of companies fail due to different factors related to their products or services. In many cases, the companies launch products nobody had demanded. In other cases, the product may simply not be up to the mark, that it may not serve the function it claims to serve. Therefore, it is important to understand the market and its requirements. The business should then focus on developing a product which can meet the market needs in an efficient manner. The firm may decide to launch the product with certain key features and then may continue to fine-tune it. For startups, product improvement is a continuous, never-ending process.


  • Work on Value Added Services: As important as it is to get the product just right to fulfill customers’ requirements, it is also imperative that proper attention is paid to allied services such as logistics, after sales care, etc. For startups, liquidity and funds are highly crucial factors, forcing business to release the product as early as possible. In such cases, the enterprise may enhance customers’ utility by providing them with value added services. Empathetic customer care services can lead to higher customer satisfaction by addressing several concerns and issues. With the help of add-on services, the business may be in a position to launch the product at an early stage and still gain loyal following.


  • Business Life Cycle Stage: The decision regarding the product launch is dependent on several factors including the life stage of the business. For a startup, cash inflows are highly important as these enterprises are generally dependent upon outside funding for carrying out their operations. For early stage ventures, it is a matter of survival to get a product in the market so that a steady stream of revenue may be generated. This stream is then used for meeting various expenses of the organization. So, while a mature business may delay the launch of the product till it is perfected, new and fledgling organizations are bound to follow the concept of Minimum Viable Product.


  • Test the Market: As a young business, you might be tempted to get your product out in the market. However, apart from the product and its features, it is also important to gauge the maturity of the market. This implies that the market should be ready for the product. Any product, if launched in a pre-mature market, is bound to fail. One of the biggest examples in this regard is the various early attempts made by technology companies to launch smartphones. However, these launches failed as the markets were not mature enough to accept smartphones. Further, the infrastructure required for proper functioning of the phones was also not available. Therefore, ensure that the market is ready for your product.

The crux of the discussion is that a startup requires both a perfected product and sales revenue. It is the striking of balance between these two goals which ensures the long term survival of an organization.

Launch Your First eCommerce Website : Choosing an Industry, Product and process (Part 1)

Launch Your First eCommerce Website : Choosing an Industry, Product and process (Part 1)

With higher Internet penetration levels, jumping into the online e-commerce bandwagon is fast becoming crucial for business survival. A recent estimate by eMarketer puts the online sales opportunity at over $27 trillion in 2020. Thus, any prudent sellers cannot afford to miss out on digital selling and opt only for the brick and mortar store given the huge market size, cost savings, access to a wide customer base and low barriers to entry in the online route. The e-commerce business is clearly here to stay. In this series, we shall explore the simple four- pronged approach to successfully launch one’s first e-commerce website right from start to finish. After you are through this series of articles, you’d realize that setting up and running one’s e-commerce site is no rocket science at all!

Choosing an Industry, Product and process

The products listed on an e-commerce site are its mainstay. Thus, it is important to zero in on the right industry group, list of product categories to be hosted on the website and the process of delivery to the final customer. The following are useful points to determine what inventory to sell and how to source the merchandise:

  • Research your niche: A good starting point would be to pick a competitive industry and identifying the successful players. This would ensure there is already a sizable customer base with latent demand to tap into. Alternatively, one could pick what’s on popular listing or a category with multiple keywords and trending on social media. Another approach would be to select what’s one’s liking and has experience in. After all the success of a business depends largely on the degree of commitment of the entrepreneur. Its highly likely that one would be more involved in a business vertical that one is interested in.
  • Source products: In case you are not keen on in-house manufacturing, you could also obtain inventory from other manufacturers. There are two options in this- either stock inventory or dropship the products i.e. ensuring direct product delivery from the manufacturer to the customer.
  • Contacting the suppliers: Having decided the products to be sold online, its imperative to find the suppliers of the products. In case one decides to host readymade merchandise or manufacture products, suppliers of the final goods or raw material sourcing is vital. Some popular routes include looking up online directories or searching for suppliers on the websites of trade organizations. For a more personalized approach, it might be a good idea to visit seminars, trade shows and similar events in one’s city to touchbase with potential suppliers. In case one already has contacts in a particular industry segment, it might make sense to go by referrals. Lastly, using social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook one can post an update or requirement or enter discussions in related groups, which might help win vendors.
  • Shortlisting suppliers: Having created a list of potential suppliers, its important to communicate and negotiate the terms and conditions. This would ensure no future misunderstanding as regards payments or wrong product delivery or description. It is also advisable to read supplier reviews on other websites to gauge their service quality. The following are some of the important parameters to be evaluated:
    • Terms of payment: Whether the vendor accepts cash on delivery, net 30 days, net 90 days or advance system
    • Minimum order requirements: Some suppliers mandate bulk purchases
    • Cost estimate: In addition to the cost of the products, vendors would charge for shipping, packaging and handling fees.
    • Insurance cover: Most suppliers insure the products against liability arising from product recall, damage during travel, malfunctioning etc.
    • Non delivery or late delivery: One must be aware of the vendor policy in respect of undelivered orders or late deliveries, so as to avoid souring business relationship with one’s customers.
  • Prepare a viable business plan: Having discovered your niche, zeroed in on the products, studied the profitability and demand potential and sourced the suppliers, its important to study competition and develop a feasible business plan. This would help differentiate oneself from the peers and win sales conversion. The business plan should cover diverse scenarios of base, best and worst case, with strategies to win new customer leads and grow traffic and to have a backup plan to keep the e-commerce business up and running throughout.

Now that you have the broad guidelines of starting an e-commerce in place, its crucial to move to the ‘tech’ aspect of setting up the online portal. We shall discuss the finer nuances of setting up a website and e-commerce platform in the next article in this continuing series.

10 great quotes that inspire me always as a small business entrepreneur

10 great quotes that inspire me always as a small business entrepreneurIt isn’t easy to be an entrepreneur. Those who’ve taken up this uphill journey will tell you that it is a life changing experience. It can take you to the heights of euphoria, pits of darkness, awaken a sense of passion and sometimes drive you insane. It can do all of this on the same day!

Often, when you start living the journey, you look at fellow entrepreneurs around you – those who’ve made it, those who didn’t make it and those who are struggling just like you every day. It is then that a sense of epiphany appears and their world – the collective world of entrepreneurs – begins to make sense. You look for inspiration and motivation and most of all a sense of belonging from this world. Here are 10 legendary quotes about entrepreneurship that will make you look at your own business in a new light.

  1. The richest people in the world look for and build networks. Everyone else looks for work – Robert Kiyosaki

On most days, you want to leave the free fall of entrepreneurship and take up a job that assures a salary at the end of the month. But there is a sense of adventure in that free fall that is a lure. Those who dare take the risk sometimes receive the best rewards. It isn’t easy to be among the elite club of entrepreneurs but it’s worth it.

  1. Karen Lamb: “A year from now you will wish you had started today.”

When the entrepreneurship bug bites it also injects a bit of fear in us. That fear makes us stall and push our entrepreneurship dreams to ‘a bit later’.  A bit later when you have time; when you have money; when you can afford it. A year later when you see another entrepreneur successfully executing your idea, all you’ll have is regrets. Time and tide favours the brave. Take the risk. Fail fast if you have to so that you can learn and move on

  1. Scott Belsky, Behance: “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.”

Many entrepreneurs think that they have landed a goldmine with their million-dollar idea. The key here is that it isn’t the idea that investors pay for. They invest into the entrepreneurs’ ability to make the idea work. They invest into your cumulative experience, you team and your leadership in executing the idea.

  1. Mark Twain: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

As a small business entrepreneur, everyone thinks they have the right to judge you. Advice, often unsolicited, will become a part of your life. But not all of it is great and people can be harsh. It’s best to ignore people whose advice is counterproductive. Keep you spirits high by surrounding yourself with people who share constructive criticism.

  1. Bill Gates:“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

Speaking of constructive criticism, you will get your fair share when you start. And it’ll come from the end user who uses his savings to buy and try your product – a product that hasn’t got the backing of a trusted brand name. It is their criticism that’ll help you evolve faster and learn from small mistakes now rather than big mistakes later.

  1. Warren Buffett: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

If you are an entrepreneur today, you’ll be an entrepreneur for life. What you do today, how you do it and how you treat people on your way up will all be remembered at every critical juncture in life. Be good because Karma is watching!

  1. Rocky (movie): Nobody is going to hit as hard as life, but it ain’t how hard you can hit. It’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. It’s how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”

Failure is a part of entrepreneurship. If you don’t fail, you can’t learn. And if you don’t learn, you won’t grow. If you don’t grow, you won’t succeed.

  1. No matter how educated, talented, rich or cool you believe you are, how you treat people ultimately tells all. Integrity is everything

This quote is one that all entrepreneurs should remember. Those who you meet and employ today (and even the ones you don’t) will remember how you treated them when they were ‘nothing’.

  1. Vivienne Harr, Make A Stand: “Stick with it, even on the bad days.”

Entrepreneurship will have its days. Good ones when you get orders and things look bright. Bad ones when your biggest customer walks away. You can’t have the rainbow without the rain.

  1. Albert Schweitzer: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

This one little word – happiness – is what entrepreneurs tend to forget in the rush. And it is all that matters in what you do. Be happy – everything else will fall in place.

Five Things Every eCommerce Entrepreneur Should Be Ready For in 2018

Five Things Every eCommerce Entrepreneur Should Be Ready For in 2018

The world of business is a constantly evolving one, more so when it comes to the eCommerce businesses that have gained immense popularity over the last few years. The increasing number of online consumers and the advancements in technology has worked together in making eCommerce businesses one of the most thriving ones today. Consequently, eCommerce entrepreneurs also realize the fact that the competition is more fierce than it was ever before, which is why, they need to keep evolving and focus on long-term objectives.

Every entrepreneur starts a new year with renewed zeal to achieve maximum success for their business. For doing that in 2018, here are the top 5 things you should be ready for now if you are selling online.

eCommerce Automation –

To let your business enjoy a competitive advantage, you must welcome the eCommerce automation that is expected to make operations easier. Automation will also save time and streamline the tasks. For instance, you can automate your eCommerce platform to detect the medium risk orders and forward them automatically to the finance department for review. For high risk orders, the same can be automated to be cancelled. This is just one aspect where eCommerce automation prevents chances of fraud. There can be several other ways to improve the overall shopping experience of your customers by leveraging automated techniques.

Mobile Payments and Wallet Apps –

Payment gateway is an integral part of eCommerce business and the smoother the checkout process, the better is the experience. In 2018, you should be prepared to embrace mobile payments and wallet apps, which does not require your customers to provide all of their personal information at checkout. This concept can work wonders in preventing customers from dropping off at the last moment, due to lengthy checkout processes.

Social Media –

Social media has been there since a long time now but as an entrepreneur, if you have not yet utilized it properly for your business, 2018 is the time to make the most of it. Social media channels are predicted to be huge drivers of eCommerce so much so that Facebook, Instagram etc. might let customers shop directly from these platforms.

More Subscription Box Models –

Although subscriptions have always been a part of an eCommerce business and eCommerce shopping experience, you should be ready for an increased emphasis on the subscription box models. A subscription mentality with at least a part of your product inventory will be crucial for surviving in the eCommerce industry. More the subscription box models you adapt, the higher will be your chance of a competitive advantage with regards to subscription offerings.

Professional Content Development –

Most entrepreneurs have already realized the importance of content that is developed with the interests of the target customers in mind. Content marketing is going to have a lot of impact in the ecommerce business scenarios. So, in 2018, you should focus more on personalized, engaging and premium content being developed by experts in the field. Whether it is a video about your product and service or targeted ads on the social media apps or perhaps, blogs and articles on emerging trends and so on, content will continue to create an indelible mark.

While these are some of the most important trends and strategies that entrepreneurs should be ready for in the coming year, there will definitely be many more to join them. The best way is to understand your business and its unique requirements to be able to make the most of the advancements in technology and the way internet works. Also, it is advisable to seek the guidance of expert professionals to enable your eCommerce business to move in the right direction.