How to set up an eCommerce: the 5-step guide
E-commerce is a constantly growing sector. In Italy, the online sales market has grown by 15% compared to the previous year, generating revenues of 31.6 billion euros (according to data from the B2C Observatory of Politecnico of Milano). Opting for an e-commerce store can therefore be an excellent business opportunity. However, to build a successful e-commerce business it is recommended following some steps in order to get started in the best way possible.
1. What to sell online
It may seem obvious, but the first point is to decide which kind of goods to sell on your e-commerce. The choice of the product will determine a series of basic elements such as the name and the target audience. Based on the product, it is important to identify the target audience in order to promote your e-commerce. During this phase it can be useful to start from a competitor analysis for your e-commerce business. This will indeed help you choose the right tools to promote your business, which can be both digital (SEO, Social, Email Marketing) and offline (newspapers, flyers).
2. How to choose the an e-commerce business model
As part of your strategy, remember not to overlook an important point: the choice of the of e-commerce model. There are 4 different models of e-commerce, which can be divided into:
- E-commerce B2C (Business to Consumer): these are platforms where transactions take place between companies that sell to individual buyers. It is the most widespread form of e-commerce, real virtual shops aimed at private users. They have wider targets, a quick purchase process and immediate payment. One of the most popular examples of B2C e-commerce is Amazon.
- E-commerce B2B (business to business): in this case the company that sells the product or service sells directly to another company. The approach to the customer changes radically; the target narrows and the relationships between seller and buyer are based on negotiations. The buying and selling process becomes more complex and payment is not immediate. Among the best structured B2B e-commerce, Rajapack can be mentioned.
- E-commerce C2B (Consumer to Business): this e-commerce model works in exactly the opposite way to the B2C type. This form of e-commerce is quite a new peculiar category. Consumers choose the price they are willing to pay, then they decide whether to accept the offer and proceed with the purchase. This kind of purchasing process is quite common in the travel industry, such as with Skyskcanner, Expedia or Lastminute.com.
- E-commerce C2C (Consumer to Consumer): ): it is a very recent form of e-commerce. In this case, the site manager provides users with a space on their platform to be used for the sale and purchase of products. The website therefore represents a platform where commercial exchanges take place. Among the first C2C e-commerce there is eBay, created for the sale of used items. Recently, also Depop, Subito and Kijiji must be mentioned.
3. How to create an e-commerce platform
It is the most “technical” phase from an IT point of view. It is in fact the online shop window of your e-commerce. You can decide to rely on a specialized agency that directly deals with the creation of your online store, creating a proprietary website. This solution requires a very high economic investment. To avoid high costs you can choose alternative solutions, relying on open source systems such as Magento or Shopify, softwares that allow you to build your own e-commerce independently. There is also a third, less known solution: the so called “leased platforms”. With this system, spaces are rented together with a variable service package, paying a monthly or annual fee.
4. How to define the payment methods
The choice of the payment method is a step that is often left in the background. However, because the ultimate goal is to sell, it is important for users to be able to easily purchase products. Most people are used to paying online using a credit card. It is therefore advisable to accept payments via POS or with PayPal. Also pay attention to new trends! Some e-commerce are opening up to new electronic payment methods such as ApplePay or Satispay.
5. How to deliver the products to customers
Last, but not least, let’s talk about the shipping and delivery of goods. Organizing the delivery system first of all requires a warehouse from which to process the orders. You can decide to organize your own warehouse, managed directly by the retailer, or to use a drop-shipping approach. With drop-shipping, a third-party company is in charge of the storage and logistics of the products Once the storage-method of goods has been chosen, shipments must be organized. Ensuring a successful and timely delivery of products is essential for customer satisfaction. Choosing the right courier is not easy and many variables must be taken into consideration: what is shipped? How much do parcels weigh? What size do they have? And to which countries are they delivered? It should be remembered that not all couriers ship abroad and that the return service must be guaranteed, as required by law. The so-called ancillary costs, such as inventory or cash on delivery payments, must then be assessed. The choice of the courier must therefore take into consideration many variables. For this reason our company San Marino Mail was born: to ensure the customer the most suitable type of shipment, taking into account different parameters such as the product type, the country of destination, and the cultural habits of the recipient. All thanks to the network of over 20 distribution partners across Europe. In conclusion, building an e-commerce requires a thorough study and planning. However, the time invested in these activities has excellent chances of being repaid, thanks to a market that is increasingly oriented towards the purchase of goods and services online.