Before You Launch Your Ecommerce Business – Things To Know

Recently I assisted a friend, an author who self-published her first book, set up her online presence. While she had her book listed at the usual vendors, she wanted to give readers the option of buying the book directly from her. This way, she could autograph the book on request and keep track of sales an interest. For a one-person operation with limited inventory to sell, the Ecommerce route doesn’t have to be very complicated. If you plan to launch a business through which you hope to sell products via the Internet, you need a plan that covers every aspect from production to customer satisfaction. Leave out on step, and you may encounter difficulties in getting your business off the ground.

It is arguably a common misconception that setting up an online store is the ticket to quick money. While it’s true that many businesses have achieved success in selling products via the Internet, a business is a business. When you are prepared with a financial plan, the means to produce and ship inventory, and quality customer service, you can watch profits soar. Ecommerce works similarly to the brick and mortar store – the only difference is that customers interact with you online.

Take into consideration these points as you devise your business plan.

1) Web support. Your online store begins with your website, and it’s crucial that the provider you choose offers 24-hour support and enough space to hold your data. You definitely do not want to build your store from a free service that forces you to display obligatory ads. The site structure and design must look professional, or else customers may become wary of shopping with you.

2) Shopping cart software. There are a number of options available to you here. You want to choose a program that is reliable and customizable. This program is responsible for tracking inventory and orders, collecting payment, and even collecting e-mail addresses so you can communicate sales to customers.

3) Fulfillment. If you know what you plan to sell, you need to figure out how products will be packaged and shipped to customers. Do you do everything yourself, or hire a third party to warehouse and ship your goods? As you grow, you may need to look into outsourcing fulfillment in order to keep up with demand.

4) Customer service. You may wish to look into an affordable program for providing toll-free numbers to customers. Also, be mindful of returns and similar issues and know what is required to keep customers happy.

These, of course, are just a few items to think about as you prepare your business. Make the plan before you launch, and that way you won’t be caught off-guard by problems.