We’ve all heard of the usual reasons why businesses fail. Maybe it’s a lack of capital. Or perhaps the product execution is poor. Nowadays, too much competition is a fairly frequent excuse. It’s very common to hear about retail stores closing because of competition with online retailers like Amazon. E-Commerce success can often kill brick-and-mortar success stories. But what are the keys to e-commerce success in the long term?
When it comes to e-commerce success factors, the low barrier to entry is certainly a huge advantage. In the last 10 years, software platforms and tools have made it very easy to set up, launch, and operate an e-commerce platform in only a matter of hours – and often for less than 100 dollars.
Think of e-commerce compared to a retail store. With a retail store, so much time and energy goes into finding the right space, remodeling it to fit your needs, hiring staff, and then – maybe most importantly – advertising. With differences like these, it can really make you wonder who would open a physical store when the keys to e-commerce success come at a much lower cost.
While getting an e-commerce store off the ground and running is easier than a physical store, long term success, which means operating as a profitable, ongoing business, is easier said than done.
The keys to e-commerce success are myriad. Luck and timing are crucial for success. But so is a large audience. Along with money for advertising. To be blunt, it’s e-commerce success factors. Plural. It’s not just one thing that leads to e-commerce success. There are several e-commerce success factors. The components that are crucial e-commerce success factors are the same as they were when direct-to-consumer selling was referred to as “mail order.” In this article, we’ll go over just a few.
Product, Product, Product
The first piece of any long-term e-commerce success is the product. This embodies the creation, procurement, fulfillment and delivery of whatever you’re selling. Let’s assume you are only selling well-made, high quality products. Your success will depend on the details surrounding the product.
A huge detail is the finished product cost – or, landed cost. Your finished product cost should not be greater than 30% of your offered retail price. A high margin is crucial, in other words. A 70 percent margin might seem like the path to wealth, but marketing is what really erodes that number. Marketing expenses – including advertising, promotions, and the like – can eat away at margins. Logistics, product returns and customer service can similarly chew up margins.
Consumable products – meaning products that are replaced more often than other products – have an increased chance or getting more frequent purchases, which sets a higher lifetime value for the business. Additionally, subscription box offerings are popular for the same reasons. A recurring revenue stream will stabilize cash flow in your revenue model.
“Logistics” means the collection of processes and components that begin with origins of the product (whether handmade or manufactured), how it is stored before shipping to the customer, and how it is delivered – from the container to the delivery service.
Even the greatest product in the world needs to be priced correctly, have cost-effective shipment, and have logistics that are manageable. But the best product is only one of the keys to e-commerce success, knowing your audience is also important.
When your product and margins are dialed in, and the best logistics are squared away, who will buy the product? You need to have an answer to that question, along with an idea of how big or small your audience is, and how you are going to reach your audience. Think about this: How does your audience like to engage? Where does your audience spend their time online and in the real world?
Maybe the target audience was what inspired the products you are selling. The understanding of how you will talk to the audience and increase sales needs to start with understanding who your audience is and where they are. If you have a product or other items that are “must have” items, you’ll need to use a wide range of tactics. In fact, “must have” items can help you survive in any economic situation. Your product and its value proposition need to attract a group of loyal buyers. Otherwise, you haven’t done your job.
If you are wondering how to take your e-commerce success to the next level, consider working with KitelyTech to achieve your entrepreneurial goals – whether e-commerce or not, KitelyTech has many years of experience working with entrepreneurs in tech, and would love to help make your business idea a reality.