Category Archives: eCommerce Global
Because of the numerous advantages and benefits, more and more people say they prefer online shopping over conventional shopping these days. It’s important to understand the psyche of the online shopper. Cater to this and you’ll have them flocking to your… er, online store. Here’s what they say are important to them — and here’s how you can get a leg up by catering to these desires and fantasies. Know what the consumer wants and play to it — plug into your thinking all the ways that you can meet these desires, through your competitive intelligence, competitive pricing, customer service, and more. From shopping in their pajamas to convenience for elderly and disabled, the consumer comments below highlight what’s positive about online shopping for them. Also because of wider choice, not subject to upselling or impulse buying, better prices, good for the environment, and more. There are many reasons for online retailers to be sanguine about the future of online retail. Here are some consumers’ reasons for buying online, in their own words: 1) Convenience: Where else can you do shopping, even at midnight, wearing your jammies? You don’t have to wait in a line or wait till the shop assistant helps you with your purchases. You can do your shopping in minutes even if you are busy, apart from saving time and avoiding crowds. Online shops give us the opportunity to shop 24 x 7 and also reward us with ‘no pollution’ shopping. 2) Better Prices: I get cheap deals and better prices from online stores because products come to you directly from the manufacturer or seller without middlemen involved. Many online shops offer discount coupons and rebates. 3) Variety: One can get several brands and products from different sellers at one place. You can get in on the latest international trends without spending money on travel; you can shop from retailers in other parts of the country or even the world without being limited by geographic area… These stores offer a far greater selection of colors and sizes than you will find locally. If you find that the product you need is out of stock online, you can take your business to another online store where the product is available. 4) Fewer Expenses: Many times when we opt for conventional shopping we tend to spend a lot more than the required shopping expenses, on things like eating out, traveling, impulsive shopping etc. 5) [...]
Online retail businesses are a popular option for entrepreneurs with minimal capital to invest up front. What’s more, online retail is a great business to run as a home-based, solo, parent or part-time entrepreneur. It can also be a fantastic outlet for your creative talent or hobby. So you’re asking yourself—what does it actually cost to start an online retail business? We’ve got a real-life example for you: Amy Weaver, corporate refugee and owner of a new online greeting card company. Amy took her creative ideas about a tried-and-true product—greeting cards—and launched her own online retail business. “Your words, not ours” is the humble tag line that sums up the unique niche of Amy’s Whoopzie Daizie Cardz. “I’m a card addict,” Amy explains. “But for me, greeting cards always seemed a little over the top—the glitter and the butterflies and everything else. I just want them to be simple. Maybe start a thought or give a good impression of what the card will be about on the front, and then let me fill in the words.” Amy, a 32-year-old Dallas resident, began thinking about starting her own business more than a year and a half before she taxied down the runway. Her career as an airline property manager left her feeling confined. “Both my parents had their own companies, and I always felt claustrophobic working for someone else,” Amy admits. “So I’ve been attracted to the entrepreneurial lifestyle through experience.” “I was drawn to the card industry because it’s a low-risk industry,” she continues. “Other than printing cards and the other basics, it’s pretty low cost—it’s not like I’m building superconductors.” To finance her startup venture, Amy secured a $30,000 line of credit from a Texas bank and tapped into personal savings to keep up with her regular living expenses. While securing a line of credit is not typical for a startup that has been in business less than two years, many entrepreneurs are able to leverage personal savings, credit cards, friends and family or home equity loans to get started. Amy then mapped out three critical areas on which to focus her financial resources in the initial startup phase: designing a dynamic website creating a top-quality product implementing a strategic marketing program. Let’s take a look at these priorities one by one. Designing a dynamic website “First, I had to have a wonderful website because essentially [...]
As physical, brick-and-mortar retailers contemplate the online marketplace, they should consider their online stores in the same sense as if they were building another physical location. While it probably won’t be nearly as expensive to begin selling online as it is to build another physical outlet, the same degree of planning is involved. The article in the second installment of series where I assist physical, brick-and-mortar retailers migrating online. The first installment, “How Small Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Succeed Online; 4 Keys,”we published last month. Here are five planning tips for brick-and-mortar merchants to consider prior to opening their first online store. 1. Analyze Your Resources If you’re a busy retailer, you’re likely working long hours. It’s tough running a retail business, and the last thing you can imagine is piling more work on top of your plate. So, look around. If you have employees, ask them what experience they might have with computers, design, social networking and advertising. Even those with nothing more than an internship at an ad agency probably picked up enough to contribute. Almost everyone I talk to has a relative that “builds websites.” If you have one of these in your family tree, talk with them about your plans. But before engaging them to help you, emphasis the importance of your objective and ask them for examples of their work, just as you would any outside provider. Also, you have to consider not only the initial creation of your online store; the ongoing operational aspects of running an ecommerce operation means processing daily orders, managing online advertising, answering customer inquiries and updating product information. These are all functions of your current retail operation. Start out by cross-training your current staff to handle the online equivalent of their off-line responsibilities. For example, whomever handles customer inquires should respond to emails from your online customers; the person who manages product marketing in your store could learn how to update your online product presentations. Use the experience and knowledge you currently have in-house. 2. Consult Your Suppliers You may find that not all your suppliers will allow you to offer their products online. Usually most of them will, although they may have stipulations regarding price, presentation and shipping. While the number of distributors who drop ship is growing, there are still many in niche markets that don’t. To sell their products, you will have to maintain an additional inventory in [...]
When the founders of a start-up that sells eyeglasses online, Warby Parker, began investigating why designer glasses cost several hundred dollars, they discovered that everyone in the process was taking a cut: designers, manufacturers, brands, wholesalers and retailers. Warby Parker’s Manhattan headquarters includes a showroom. The company plans to open a stand-alone store soon. But what if they left out most of those people? “I had been to the factories and knew what it costs to manufacture glasses and knew the cost didn’t warrant a $700 price tag,” said Neil Blumenthal, a founder of the company. Inspired by glasses they found in their grandparents’ attics, the founders sketched a few frames, hired the same Chinese factories that make designer glasses and started selling directly to consumers online. By doing so, they eliminated enough of the cost to charge customers just $95 a pair. Warby Parker is part of a wave of e-commerce companies that are trying to build premium brands at discount prices by cutting out middlemen and going straight to manufacturers. They make everything from bedding (Crane and Canopy), to office supplies (Poppin), nail polish (Julep), tech accessories (Monoprice), men’s shoes (Beckett Simonon) and shaving supplies (Harry’s). The result is generally cheaper products for consumers and higher profit margins for the companies. Big retailers discovered long ago that controlling the supply chain benefited their bottom lines, which is why companies like Wal-Mart and Whole Foods sell many products under their own brands. At Macy’s and Kohl’s, such “private label” brands make up almost half of their sales. Start-ups have traditionally struggled to match those efforts. They do not have as much brand recognition as big retailers, and persuading consumers to take a chance on, say, Warby Parker eyeglasses instead of Prada’s can be difficult. “The challenge is, if you’ve never heard of the brand, you wonder, ‘Should I buy it when it’s 20 percent cheaper?’ ” said Raj Kumar, a supply chain consultant at A. T. Kearney. “Or should I buy a brand I trust?” What is empowering the upstarts now is the Web’s ability to reach lots of consumers without the costs of operating physical stores as well as a change in manufacturers’ willingness to work with small brands. The founders of Deal Décor, whose model was to sell furniture directly to customers, worked at Target and Home Depot Direct before starting their company. They said they saw an [...]
Ecommerce sales are growing. Online sales topped $1 trillion worldwide for the first time last year and there are good reasons you should consider selling online now to start getting your share. There are really two kinds of businesses or entrepreneurs that should be considering ecommerce opportunities right now. Small, successful brick-and-mortar retailers that want to see their company grow. Individuals with a passion or interest that translate well into a niche or specialty online store. What follows are four good reasons for these folks — small brick-and-mortar retailers or inspired entrepreneurs — to consider opening an online retail business now. 1. You Can Make Money Selling Online Ecommerce sales for retail goods are growing faster than offline sales for brick-and-mortar stores. comScore, the trend-tracking firm, said that in spite of “continued economic uncertainty, 2012 was a strong year for retail ecommerce. Throughout the year, growth rates versus the prior year were in the mid-teens to outpace growth at brick-and-mortar retail by a factor of approximately 4x.” Separately, comScore noted that online retail sales grew 14 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2012, reaching $56.8 billion in the U.S. alone. The fourth quarter also represented the 13th consecutive quarter of positive ecommerce growth and the 9th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. “It is clear that the online channel has won over the American consumer and will increasingly be relied upon to deliver on the dimensions of lower price, convenience, and selection,” said Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman, in a release. Finally, U.S. retail ecommerce sales represented 10 percent of American retail spending, excluding food, gas, and automobiles, in the fourth quarter of 2012. This is the first quarter in U.S. economic history that electronic commerce represented such a significant part of the total available market for retail consumer goods. The fact that ecommerce is growing will not guarantee success for new online retail ventures. But is does offer an opportunity to make money selling online. Where opportunity exists, entrepreneurs can excel. 2. Shoppers Are Online Already In 2012, Google worked with Ipsos OTX, a market research firm, to survey potential holiday shoppers about their 2012 holiday shopping intentions. One of the key findings was that 80 percent of the 1,500 shoppers queried would research products and prices online before they would make a purchase. Clearly the Internet is the engine driving retail. Consider [...]
Perhaps you’ve heard the term “Responsive Design” and happily nodded along hoping to catch some hint of “what the hell it means.” Well, here’s the brief: “Tablets and smartphones have quickly become a technological staple for consumers” (Uberflip, 2013) and the web has swiftly adapted to this by creating flexible website structures which adapt to the size of screen viewing it. Check out the Infographic below or download it here: What is responsive design? Check it out here.
If anyone had their doubts about it being the “Right time to start your online shop”, just check out the infographic below and any hesitancy will be eliminated. Of course, this highlights e-Commerce in a developed market. So let’s keep in mind that South African and African e-Commerce rates are growing about 300% faster here than in developed markets and now is the time to get your piece of the pie, before someone else does. ;-) This fear factor concept was hugely exploited by GoDaddy, the largest domain registrar globally at the recent Super Bowl Series Advertisement A Kiss You will Never Forget. However, truth be told, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the second best time is NOW. [African proverb, or so I've been told] So begin your online shop preparations today.
Jenn Lisak of Marketing Tech summarizes some of the most crucial points for your eCommerce website, especially if you’re planning on attracting tablet & mobile users as clients. Men are more likely to use tablets and mobile phones to make purchases than women. The #1 frustration for consumers is not having enough product information online. Facebook commerce rises on tablets/mobile phones. Over 50% of 18-34 year olds plan to use mobile devices to purchase this holiday season. And check out the very informative Infographic below.
Seriously, just the best overview of e-Commerce ever. A fantastic overview for beginners and experienced users as well. This explains “What is e-Commerce?”, “The Brief History of e-Commerce”, “e-Commerce Classifications”, “The Advantages of e-Commerce” and finally, “Where is e-Commerce Today”.
Gian Fulgoni lists eCommerce as the number two Burning Issue in his article. What is more relevant to South Africa in the eCommerce context is that the necessary infrastructure to the eCommerce was never around, till now. This the key attribute which makes eCommerce still “the next big thing” in Africa, even after being around for decades in developed nations. The hot selling points for eCommerce and online stores are “lower prices, convenience and the broadest selection of products,” (Fulgoni, 2012) and what may surprise many SMEs, is that selling online is not an expensive venture any more with some of the new ecommerce solution providers, such as CloudSales & OpenCart functionality. Here’s what Fulgoni said in January 2013: 2. e-Commerce Driven by lower prices, convenience and the broadest selection of products, online consumer spending is soaring. comScore data show that in the last twelve months $304 billion was spent via e-commerce in the U.S., with Travel accounting for $110 billion and Non-Travel (aka Retail e-Commerce) pulling in $194 billion. Retail e-Commerce now accounts for one in every ten discretionary dollars spent by U.S. consumers and in Q4 grew 15% versus the prior year, a rate about five times faster than for all consumer spending at retail. Pure play online retailers such as Amazon and eBay have built massive businesses on the basis of e-commerce. Amazon for example, now attracts in excess of 110 million unique visitors in a month and reported North America sales of $7.9 billion in Q3, up 33% over the prior year. But the emergence of e-commerce also means that the physical store is under attack, which in turn means that those retailers who cannot maintain their in-store market share as their category shifts online face increasingly difficult times. Different product categories are shifting online at differing rates, creating particular challenges for multi-category retailers such as big store mass merchandisers. For example, the consumer electronics product category now sees about 30% of sales completed online while consumer packaged goods lags with no more than 1% of sales occurring via e-commerce. This means it’s particularly important for multi-channel retailers to monitor trends in their market share by channel and also by product category so as to clearly understand the nature of competitive online threats. The channel shift to online has also put downward pressure on prices, because the Internet allows consumers to easily root out the lowest price [...]