Sounds like a big headline, doesn’t it? Well, actually we are using it to highlight that running a successful ecommerce business requires putting some groundwork in place, hence the pillars.
Online business can be a hard market to crack as there are so many different requirements to making it work. For instance, if you want to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant, it can get challenging, but you still know what you need to take care of in order to succeed – things such as good location, appealing interior design, good suppliers, professional employees, advertising and attractive prices all play their part in making these sorts of websites work. But it’s a completely different ball game when it comes to online business, but if you can crack it then it’s absolutely worthwhile in the long run.
According to United Nations trade and development statistics, ecommerce is worth more than $22 trillion and it is rapidly growing. That is the reason why a good number of online stores are springing up lately.
There’s a lot of profit on the table for any aspiring entrepreneur in order to establish an online store. But, how does one start? It is apparent that products are the backbone of any online business and everyone knows that, so we won’t elaborate on that, but here are the four pillars that will help you to build a brand from its foundation.
An ecommerce platform
There are multiple ecommerce platforms to choose from, but ensure that you are going with the one that is easy to set up and use. Go with something that you’re comfortable with. Design your site in a way that it resonates with your brand goals and objectives.
An ecommerce platform is a software technology solution that allows you to build storefronts online. They host over 325,000 active online shops and with its focus on social commerce and mobile shopping, the platform continues to evolve to meet the growing requirements of online stores.
Some of the popular ecommerce platforms are:-
- Big Cartel
Choosing a right ecommerce platform for your online store is important. While you may be tempted to use the most well-known provider offering you the cheapest and easiest solution, it is a decision you may come to regret later after you’ve outgrown it.
Later on, if you find yourself unable to attract and convert visitors– not by the appeal of your products – but by the limited features of your ecommerce platform, you may wish you had spent more time researching the best solution before you invested your time and money in a low-rate platform. Therefore, make sure you do your research before choosing any ecommerce platform.
Once you choose one, you won’t need to have all the payment options on your site, but find out what would work best for your target audience. It is best to allow the use of major credit cards and to accept bank transfers too, as most people prefer it.
A Well-Functioning Payment Gateway
While choosing a payment gateway, find a processor that will enhance your gateway-user experience that easily integrates with your current platform and has the potential to grow with your business.
If it doesn’t have the scope to be upgraded, you will have to change and upgrade your platform to make use of the new payment gateways. The most vital thing is to get one that works best for you and your customers regardless of their location.
The third and most important pillar is marketing. An interesting fact about online entrepreneurs is that some of them have a lot of in-built skills for marketing, while others spend long hours learning and testing what works.
Either way, your business would not exist in the digital world if you’re not doing absolutely smashing your marketing campaigns.
Below are some of the popular elements of online marketing:
- Link building
- Social media
All these elements are powerful enough to make your business profitable on its own, but they do require a lot of research, testing and time.
Although you don’t have to be an expert in all of them, gaining at least some knowledge about each of these topics is a must. This way you can pick the most suitable one for your needs in the long run.
An Effective Delivery Process
The last and most important pillar that will keep your business firmly in the market is having an effective delivery process. Whatever products you are selling, you need to ensure that your customers are receiving what they are paying for.
Most online shoppers identify shipping speed as a key factor in the decision to shop with an ecommerce brand again. To them, speed is in fact more important than price.
Therefore, find a reliable ecommerce order fulfilment partner so that you not only get your products delivered to your customers on time, but also increase your brand value by fulfilling your order safely and quickly.
In essence, building an online store is no easy feat. But, it is not rocket science either. Work towards building these pillars from the ground steadily and don’t throw in the towel early just because you’re not seeing an immediate difference. The key to success is to develop your skills in all these 4 pillars at the same time.
Think of building an online store as building an ancient structure right from scratch. If you place just one pillar, instead of the required four, your structure will collapse regardless of how well built the first one is. Using three will perhaps keep it standing, but it won’t be stable. Only having the complete set of pillars guarantees a stable structure and so does your ecommerce business.
I may seem like a daunting task but once you start getting into the flow of things, you will find it easy to steer through and will build a business structure that will be standing tall in years to come.
Be patient while working on these pillars as there really are no shortcuts. You do not have to be an expert at building all the pillars as you can seek help from experts like an order fulfilment service provider or marketing agency. Remember, don’t spread yourself too thinly.
You can even do everything step by step. No one is expecting you to build a perfect empire over night, but if you start small and think big, you’ll have that empire in no time.