Contactless coffee apps swipe dating, and one click purchases – all some of the hallmarks of today’s digital dependence. The latter, however, is particularly important as it’s a symptom of the rise of e-commerce – electronic transactions conducted over the internet. It’s nothing new; e-commerce has been around in one form or another for nearly 40 years. It is the only reason Amazon, now a major powerhouse in the retail world, survived the dot-com bubble of the mid-90s when so many other online platforms went under.
Over the last decade, e-commerce has really taken off. The reasons are many: better portability of personal tech, increased power of said tech, increased connectivity to the internet, a rising standard of living in the west that correlates with spending power, and the birth of social media all have parts to play in the dominance of e-commerce of the B2C (business to customer) commercial world.
The Different Components of an Ecommerce Business
There are a plethora of factors to consider when deciding whether or not to run a business with an e-commerce aspect to it.
- The e-commerce E-commerce business does not work without an e-commerce platform. The e-commerce platform is like an infinite online storefront for your business. It allows you to showcase your goods and/or services. It also gives information on in-process/completed orders.
- Branding and packaging. Branding matters to any company. To be instantly recognisable through your branding is invaluable to a business and allows it to stand out from competitors. Ensuring good quality packing boxes is also key to success for any e-commerce, may it be packing boxes UK or plastic containers, packaging protects your goods and ensures they reach the customers undamaged.
- Storage and transportation. Despite the rise of “just in time” manufacturing and delivery, you will still need somewhere to store your goods. You will also need some form of delivery infrastructure, be it a national post service or private delivery company, to get your products to the customers. Larger companies will be able to afford their own infrastructures, while smaller companies will piggyback the larger ones.
As mentioned, the e-commerce platform is a combination of three main components: the storefront, the payment handling system, and the data management system. The storefront allows you to display your goods and/or services in a searchable manner. Products can be arranged by whichever means suits the business; categories, price, and alphabetic order are all ways products can be listed. The idea is to lay out your storefront in a way that encourages people to buy your goods. Making potential customers wade through reams of menus and text to get to the “buy now” option is a surefire way to lose their business.
The payment handling system is the second part of the platform. There’s no point showcasing your goods if customers are unable to purchase them. There are a variety of different payment systems available: WorldPay, PayPal, and Stripe are just a few examples. Early examples allowed customers to use their credit or debit cards. Modern systems allow for modern payment methods, such as Bitcoin or mobile payments, to make it even easier for customers to make payments. A good payment system has to be secure. A breach in security can mean a loss of customers private details and financial information, which will cause them to lose trust in the business. A loss of trust will directly correlate with a loss of business, something no company wants. Picking the right payment system is crucial to the success of online business.
Business Branding and Packing Boxes
Branding is possibly the biggest part of marketing for any company. Every single global company you can think of possess immediate recognition from their brand. The Nike tick, the golden arches of MacDonalds, the bitten apple of Apple, these are all worldwide companies with instant brand recognition. Although they operate in different areas, there is one common theme among them: their simplicity.
A good brand is one that conveys an image of the company with the least amount of fuss. It should also translate well onto packaging. A packing box is the first physical impression an e-commerce customer has of your company, so making sure it looks the part and represents your business is key to the overall customer experience.
Storage and Transportation
Whether it’s a small back room or a huge storage warehouse, your business will require somewhere to store products. Calculating the right size of storage space and back stock held is a tricky business – too much back stock and you can hit cash flow issues, too little and you may not be able to meet demand. You should always try and find the balance as soon as possible. Time spent worrying about stock management is time not spent on growing the business.
Once orders are coming in, products need to go back out. Finding a logistics company that you can rely on can be difficult, but it’s something that should not be taken lightly. These people handle your goods and safeguard their quality while in transport. Anyone that does not treat your goods with the respect that they should be treating you does not deserve your business, nor do your customers deserve poor quality in any area of the transaction you are providing. Make sure your infrastructure is safe, secure, and efficient, otherwise, there could be problems for your business.