How to run a successful eCommerce Business Part 1: Suppliers, Website, Shipping and Marketing

Many aspiring entrepreneurs possess a desire to build a business that will eventually allow them to live their best lives. Needless to say, it takes a lot of work to successfully launch a website that will grow and prosper long-term. So, once you decide what type of business you want to launch, keeping in mind that the possibilities are endless, you’ll want to consider objectively looking at the subcategories we’ve highlighted below. 

Suppliers

When you’re first starting out as an e-commerce business owner it’s important to lock in a fulfillment method that works for your business. Essentially, everything coordinates through the network of a supply channel that’s activated when a purchase has been made on your site, so, while this distribution method is decided upon by the business owner, there are elements to consider if you hope to effectively manage your supply chain.

Supply chain management focuses on a range of activities that are needed to plan, coordinate, schedule and control the production and delivery of products to the customer. While it’s the backbone of e-commerce, it’s also a crucial part that contributes to the growth of the business, which means that its efficiency ensures cost reduction and an enhanced experience for the purchaser. 

“Selecting a supplier can be difficult and anyone that’s new to business without a pre-existing supply chain needs to be careful when putting faith in a supplier given that the success of the business may rest on this one aspect alone,” said Feargal Harris, Client Success Manager with Numinix Web Development Inc.  

So, how does supply chain management work, you ask?

Suppliers > Procurement > Production > Delivery > Customers

Before you can decide how you will orchestrate your supply chain strategy, you much first understand how it’s managed. For starters, you must decide where the source of your products will come from. This means that you will need to outsource them from a manufacturer or make them yourself. Then you must decide the fulfillment method. Will you order your items in bulk and store them away as inventory or will you drop ship the customer’s order and seek fulfillment from another company, relying on them to ship the product out on your behalf?  

There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy and depending on what you want to achieve with your business, you will need to ask yourself what business model works best for you. There are factors you will need to consider such as how much time you have, if you have the physical space for inventory storage, if you want to take charge of the packaging and shipping, and how much your volume of sales is? Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be fit to decide your supplier sourcing, whether it consists of using local retailers, directly sourcing from large-scale manufacturers or following the drop shipping model that we explained. 

“This is where a risk assessment will make a lot of sense. You’ll need to evaluate the risk of fronting the cost of goods, so you can distribute yourself in a timely manner, against relying on a supplier with a pre-existing distribution network. There is also a higher margin to be made when stocking your own inventory and fulfilling orders yourself. Just find out if the risk outweighs the reward to you or vice versa,” he explained.

Website

Only business owners who aren’t interested in growing their brand neglect to invest in an alluring, e-commerce website. After all, most consumers expect a digital-savvy way to shop around and it provides a safe space for them to read testimonials, navigate the descriptions of your products and compare prices between similar items. So, while a website gives business owners a way to influence public perceptions, it also increases conversions and allows them to showcase why they’re the best of the best. 

If you’re relying on this blog to tell you how to run a successful eCommerce business, simply keep in mind that no website is ever complete without professional design and development must-haves. However, the bare basics that a business owner must decide upon is which e-commerce platform to use and how much they want to spend

“You can get set up online quite easily with eCommerce platforms like WordPress or Shopify, but you’ll usually only succeed if you stand out from the crowd. Unless of course, you have the best idea in the most niche field, then you’re laughing,” noted Harris.

“I’d expect a company with an existing store and a good customer base to spend around $7-10k for a well-designed website that will entice their customers online and open them up to a whole new market. You could then spend up to $5k per month adding new features and doing basic marketing to ensure the long-term profitability of the site as long as you are in the right hands.”

After the above decisions are made, you move forward to the design stage where you’ll have an opportunity to bring your dreams and desires to the table. Keep in mind that while your website should align with your industry standards, Numinix’s team of designers are happy to break the mold and find a comfort level that suits your budget and brings your business ideas to life. 

Nevertheless, rest assured that innovative, development plugins are just as important as your web design. So, whether you’re excited to learn more about the advantages of an SEO plugin, a speed optimization plugin or some profitable Google Shopping plugins, you’ll be even more surprised to learn just how well these investments do in offering business owners a generous return. 

Shipping

If you’re perplexed about e-commerce shipping it’s always best to tackle this important feature head-on to find a strategy that works for your online store. That being said, keep in mind that in terms of shipping functionality, less is always more. 

Customers enjoy a simplistic shipping experience because they want the best bang for their buck. This means that just because there’s a range of options that are available at your fingertips, doesn’t mean that you need to waste the time and money developing something that may end up frustrating your clientele. This means that you will want to invest in a plugin that easily calculates shipping costs and makes checkout a breeze so that customers are free to proceed seamlessly, without wondering what their desired products will cost them. Also, consider raising the bar by offering options for a quick order fulfillment!

“The best way to manage the customer’s expectations in this regard is to give them the options to receive the best shipping methods you can offer. All major companies like FedEx, UPS, USPS, etc. have plugins for most major platforms that will return live rates to the customer in the cart before they checkout out. You can offer the Next Day Delivery by FedEx, but the customer will have to pay for it. This puts the onus back on them, and they can decide for themselves what shipping they are comfortable with,” he said.

Marketing

While this is a no-brainer, marketing is the most important thing that can assure your business maintains a long-lasting relationship among your niche audience. So, since there’s no one-time way to advertise your products and services, consider an ongoing, engaging strategy to help your online business flourish. 

There’s a range of digital marketing efforts that each serve their purpose and presence in your company’s growth cycle, however, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, blogging, and social media marketing all come with varied opportunities to offer a return on investment. Although all of the above marketing efforts can be done in-house, it’s essential to invest in a professional agency that will be dedicated to your marketing needs. 

“You know when you ask for something to be done, that it will be done to the best of the ability of the person specializing in that field. What more could you want?” explained Harris.

So, whether you’re looking at how to run a successful e-commerce business short-term or long-term, it’s important to consider marketing as a way to sustain your online business objectives and build up a degree of trust with your customers.

Do you have any more questions about the above e-commerce subcategories? Drop a comment below and we can expand over email.

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    How to run a successful eCommerce Business Part 1: Suppliers, Website, Shipping and Marketing – Numinix Blog