Challenges faced when setting up your ecommerce website

1. Right Choice of Product Range

If you want to be an e-entrepreneur and set up an ecommerce site, the first challenge is the right choice of products. The range of services or products you provide can usually make or break a deal. Before setting up your store, make sure that you do your research on key market trends, the kind of products that are in demand and if the business is sustainable. It is best if you find a niche- it works for e-commerce sellers who want to start small. An example of a niche can be college/school branded sweatshirts for students. If you are unsure about a niche, then you should build the store around a unique selling proposition. For example, your store may want to sell bundles of products- such as t-shirts, notebooks etc. A one-stop-shop for value purchasing. Of course, it all also depends on your business model and if you are a manufacturer or reseller. 

2. Start with a Small Inventory Size

It is understood that building the inventory equalling the size of Amazon or Cloudtail, is difficult for a new seller. Hence you have to either play on the product or the USP. Some sellers also choose to start with very low-priced items till they get a grasp of the market. Our recommendation? Start small and be innovative. For example, your store may have a limited product range of dresses made from textile scraps. This will appeal to a customer base looking to purchase eco-friendly items. Plus there are high chances of you being covered by the press as an innovative eCommerce website. Once you scale up to other e-commerce marketplaces, you can use inventory management software such as Browntape.

3. Working Capital

If you are planning to build an ecommerce website, you have to think about working capital. One needs cash, not just to buy inventory for the present; but a reserve of two months at least. Depending on your product line, you can either start with funding from family & friends. Another approach is taking a loan from banks or angel investors. For a bank, you might need an underlying asset. Most entrepreneurs underestimate the usefulness of starting right and starting strong, in terms of working capital. So do it right.

4.Promotion of your ecommerce website. 

Another tricky area is the promotion of your online store. Luckily digital marketing costs haven’t increased significantly over the years. Plus social platforms have evolved to optimize promotions such that you reach the right set of customers. We recommend that you should not have all eggs in one basket. Diversify your ecommerce website promotion plan to accommodate SEO (search engine optimization) , email, social media paid ads, and probably medium-scale influencers to push your brand. If you have managed to build a unique product or brand proposition, then word of mouth will probably make your task easier. 

5. Converting Website Visitors into Shoppers

Your task does not end once you get traffic onto your website. It is important that you convert those visitors into paying customers. The first rule of the game is to bring in quality leads. Then your photographs, site user interface, design, product cataloguing and brand equity will do the rest. Entice the shopper with the right communication; one which makes them buy. 

6. Choose the Right Technology and Partners

The growth of your ecommerce website can be hampered if you don’t use the right technology. Firstly, make sure your web-store is hosted on the right platform. Nowadays, freelancers who build online stores are readily available. Choose well-known ecommerce platforms such as Shopify or Magento to host your ecommerce website. They are also known as cart software. Having a strong back-end CRM module coupled with analytics helps. You should be able to do inventory management too. Hence ask the partners you are considering, for testimonials and cross-check these references before you hire someone. Spend money wisely. 

7. Build Customer Loyalty

It is generally more expensive to lure new customers compared to retaining existing ones. Use your customer database as an asset and build marketing ideas that encourage loyalty. The goal is to engage them and convert them to repeat buyers. 

8. Profitability of Your Web-Store

Any ecommerce website needs to make profits to survive and grow. In the beginning, you may have to pay yourself less and reinvest your earnings to grow your business. While the idea of having an online business, there is a lot of grunt work involved. After all, it is a business. As an entrepreneur, you need to work to improve marketing efficiency, reduce overheads, reduce inventory costs and control order returns.

9. Build Trust for Your Site

This is a challenge that every new ecommerce website faces. You may have a great layout and range of products, however first time shoppers will always be hesitant. After all, even in an age of evolving e-commerce, there are frauds and scams. Some measures to improve your trust ratings are a) provide the physical address of your store b) build-in a  secure & well-known payment gateway c) ensure your site SSL certificate is in placed) embed live testimonials from social media onto your site- for example, by clients on Facebook. It helps to see that you have actual living customers and not just fake testimonials.

10. Hiring Help

Most owners of ecommerce websites start as a one-man army. After all, that is what drives an entrepreneur- having the power to make all the decisions themselves. These can range from choosing products, cataloging them, promoting them, and more. This is fine when your sales are small. However, start hiring early. Many entrepreneurs miss out on business opportunities in the zest to save money on manpower. Of course, it goes without saying that hiring right is important. Choose people who match your envisioned company culture and deliver value.

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