Before we have discussed how e-commerce was established and what the benefits online store could bring to the business, it is time to think about strategy.
As more people are shopping online, it is crucial for a company to have an online platform where they offer their products or services.
But before making your products or services available online, the company should have an e-commerce strategy to run the business smoothly.
Today we will talk about how to create an e-commerce strategy for your business and why it is essential.
Why do businesses need an E-commerce Strategy?
Today, you do not need to have millions of dollars in order to set up an online store therefore a lot of people think that they can open their e-business immediately without any plan.
However, setting up an online shop without any particular strategy might end up into a big disaster.
Without proper planning, your business might waste money and time and also lose the customers’ trust.
If you want to make your business successful, you need to implement a strategy, that will help to reach your business’ goals.
When the company starts to implement an e-commerce strategy, they try to identify, whether their idea will be selling well online, who the potential customers would be, who their competitors are, and what kind of risks they might face.
When the company in a planning mode, they try to identify each step and understand what the final goal is and which way it can be achieved.
Creating a strategy will help a business to adapt to the new changes in the market, which means the company will have greater advantages than its competitors.
Planning an E-commerce Strategy
Before your company starts to implement an e-commerce strategy, the company must know why they want to have an online store.
If the company said that they just follow the way other business works, then it is highly likely that the business idea will fail.
Though it is not hard to set up an online shop, it is challenging to survive in such a competitive online market.
You need to be prepared to spend a lot of time and resources to at least being recognized. So, you must be wondering what you need to do?
Here are 5 stages that must be in your e-commerce strategy.
Stage 1: SWOT Analysis
The first step, that will make you look at the process of opening an online space more objectively is to do a SWOT Analysis.
A SWOT Analysis will assist you in determining the business strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities and threats.
By analysing, you will be more aware of how your business will perform and also help to identify the aspects you have to review for improvements.
Stage 2: SMART Objectives
The second stage is to set business objectives based on SMART criteria. SMART stands for:
Based on this criteria company can determine whether the business objective is achievable and realistic or whether it should undergo some revision.
Stage 3: Inventory Catalogue
Next, we will talk about the inventory. You are probably aware of what you are planning to sell online. It would be a good idea to record the product or service in the catalogue.
There are 3 types of what you can offer online:
- Physical items
- Digital media
If you are selling the physical stuff, you should find a warehouse where you can store it.
Plus you need to have people who will manage the warehouse and who will do shipping.
However, if you are offering things that are digital, you do not need to spend money on the warehouse.
Stage 4: Inventory Catalogue
Budgeting is another crucial stage in the strategy, that company must include.
Though it is cheaper to open an online store, than a physical one, there are still a lot of expenses during the process:
- Web Host (Web hosting service provider)
- Domain name
- SSL Certificate
- Marketing tools
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Staff salaries
- Analytics software
- Storage or warehouse (Depends on the type of the product)
There are likely more expenses than presented above, so estimating the budget would take some time.
When you finish calculating, you will be more prepared and will reduce the risks of wasting money.
Stage 5: Project Timeline/Schedule
Another one of the most important stages is creating a timeline.
You need to make sure that each task in your project planning has given enough time.
This way you will avoid wasting more time and money.
If you are wondering which software to use to implement a project timeline, here are some tools:
- Microsoft Excel: is a spreadsheet developed by Microsoft, which has the following features: calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables and macro programming language.
- Zoho.com: is an online office suite embedded with tools such as word processing, databases, spreadsheets, project management and more.
- Trello: is a list-making application, that helps to keep track of everything.
- Google Sheets: is a spreadsheet program that is offered by Google
Of course, if you find other software that you think is more suitable for your business, it is totally fine.
Overall, the timeline should help you to understand what would be a priority, how much time it will take to finish the tasks and make the process smooth.
Today, we discussed 5 stages of e-commerce strategy and also defined the reasons why it is necessary to have one.
Those 5 stages will help the company to be more prepared before launching the online store and also, will minimize the risks of losing additional time and money.
It is a good practice to have a strategy for every project that your company is planning for the future.
This way, the company reduces the chances of the project’s failure.
Visit The Hash Agency to find out more what you need in order to launch an online store. Book us for 30 minutes of free consultation to start discussing your next creative project now.