On an E-Commerce/M-Commerce Startup? Some critical challenges and questions you need to ponder on!

Without doubt, Online retail is one of the biggest phenomenon that has been the by product of Web and is already redefining how business is done both from the retailers point of view as well as the customers.

This is what some of the reputed research agencies say about some of their findings in Online Retail:

  • Global Ecommerce sales will reach $963 billion by 2013.
  • Global e-commerce, including travel, will reach $1.36T by 2015—13.5% CAGR over next 3 years.
  • By 2016, there will be 3 billion Internet users globally—almost half the world’s population. The Internet economy will reach $4.2 trillion in the G-20 economies. (BCG)
  • Leading-edge multichannel experiences are becoming the norm in highly developed markets around the globe.
  • Mobile devices—smartphones and tablets—will account for four out of five broadband connections by 2016.
  • Total U.S. e-commerce spending reached $256 billion in 2011, up 12 percent from 2010. Travel e-commerce spending grew 11 percent to $94.5 billion, while retail (non-travel) e-commerce spending jumped 13 percent to $161.5 billion for the year.

In this connected world, where information is at finger tips, well a touch away, how do you redefine your business catering to this dynamism of the new world order? How do you keep yourself among the top brand recalls if someone thinks of buying something related to what you sell, or for that matter, how do you create the demand of your solution in the market when none actively exists (read capitalising on the needs, many times customers do not know what they want.

Challenges and some critical answers you need to search for while embarking on an Ecommerce Business Journey:

1)      What value do you offer to your customers, how are your different or similar than the top three in your category.

2)      If you are a category creator, Voila! You’ve got the idea and you’ve got the guts! But hold on! What is the market of your category/niche? Will you scale and attract investors?

3)      Business is the core: Agility, Backend Ecosystem, how strong is your fulfilment channel? How efficient? How do you plan to develop it?

4)      Technology is an enabler, though if not done right, it can be the bottleneck! And your Achilles’ heel. Your portal speaks volumes about who you are! You gotta do it right! Do it right the first time!

5)      Do you build it yourself or outsource it to a technology expert? do you outsource full or in part?

6)      Choice of Platform: Custom or Framework? Choice is important, as this will define how you will scale, that in turn depends upon how scalable is your business model.

7)      The User Experience, The Usability, ease of Navigation on your portal. If the customers take longer than 3 clicks to find what they are looking for and longer than 3 more to buy and check out! Rethink your site Navigation Strategy! Talk to your Tech partner.

8)      Building Trust: What do you promise to your customers? Do the customers get a Wow experience when you deliver what you promised, first time and every time? This spans right from the time the prospect visits your site to the time his packet gets delivered (Well! If you have to ship your product obviously, not applicable for online content and Tickets, ecoupons etc.)? Yes! How you pack and ship is imp as well!

9)      Marketing: So you have built it! But they won’t come till they know that you are out there and have this value at hand which eases their lives. What is your inbound and outbound marketing strategy? Do you have enough budgets for marketing?

10)   What is your Social Media Strategy? How do you plan to engage with your customers over Social media? How Social media integrated or how social should be your portal?

11)   Connected Devices: What is your mobility strategy? Today customers go to a retail store and compare products on Mobile and buy them online/instore or or via mobile! Or they may go to your mobile store and check for the products and buy it the next day while in office sitting at their Laptop or PC! Or they might check your products during the day time and buy it on their Tablets while sitting on their couch. And O Well! For the sake of repeating what has already been said by many: Mobile is the future! So you need to be there simultaneously while you build your Ecommerce Store! There is no before or after! Its here and now!