The ever-expanding E-Commerce industry can no longer be ignored. With the potential to reach billions of customers across the globe, companies who have not already embraced the internet as a powerful sales channel or who do not have plans to do so, risk being sidelined in this dynamic and vast marketplace.
With lower overhead and personnel costs than traditional “bricks and mortar” retail houses and with internet access costs falling daily, there are few barriers than ever to anyone who wishes to enter the cyber retail world. Especially since internet access is now so easy in most part of the world.
The 5 R’s of E-Commerce:
– Relevance – are your products innovative and suitable for sale on the internet
– Reliability – select a secure and reliable provider
– Readability – make your site stand out and easy to use
– Risks – you will need to understand and handle the risks
– Relax – rely on your providers and use analytics to make a difference
Step 1 Relevance
Define your goals and objectives. Ensure that the products you wish to sell are interesting, innovative and relevant to your selected market place. Ensure that the resources needed to capitalize on the anticipated enquiries and ultimately, the orders, are in place. Technical and logistical support integrated with simple and secure payment mechanisms, will ensure satisfied and loyal customers, who will return to your online store time and time again.
Step 2 Reliability
Select the Internet Service Provider who will provide the computing platform to support your site. The hardware must have the security, capacity and reliability to ensure that all potential customers can reach you at any time – day or night.
Many service providers also offer fully integrated packages, including consultation, web page design, multi-media production and hosting, analytics, tag management, data management platform… Packages are available to suit the needs of start-up companies as well as established organizations. All the above services are mandatory for a good E-Commerce site.
Step 3 Readability
Design the website to be smart, dynamic and interesting. Sites, which are designed to be easy to use will enhance your corporate image and will attract and retain customers. The E-Commerce merchant is the real-world shop-keeper, your web site is your shop window – make it attractive and interesting to maximize the “foot fall” at your door.
In order to optimize your website’s ergonomic angle, most if not all analytics tool offer A/B testing or A/B/C/D testing that will allow real time understanding of which design works better for your customers.
Step 4 Risks
As the global use of E-Commerce increases to levels never seen before, one of the main concerns of potential buyers is payment security. The role of the Payment Solution Provider (PSP) is to provide the enabling tools and importantly – the security required to manage large numbers of transactions. The payment gateway should enable super fast transactions to leading acquiring banks, on line payment systems (such as PayPal) and others, who will accept payments from all major credit cards and in multiple currencies.
Internet fraud has become a growing industry, and is an aspect that causes anxiety and concern for both the e-tailer and buyer. It is therefore important to fully understand and manage the risks involved.
Placing credit card and bank account details in a secure file on the merchants’ server has proven to be somewhat risky and some notable examples of hackers stealing these details have sent shockwaves throughout the E-Commerce community. Today, only high level of data encryption can prevent (to a certain level) hackers and protect from prying eyes.
Step 5 Relax
The benefits of using several providers (PSPs, analytics, Data Management Platforms) who offer the essential tools in real time ensure peace of mind and a win-win relationship with customers.
The journey is a challenge but when you master it, the rewards are big. Today nobody can ignore this trend and when you see Amazon in the US, Alibaba in China, le bon coin or ventes privees in France and many, many others, you know that the only effective sales channel to reach billions of people is the E-Commerce one.