Secrets To Build A Successful E-Commerce Business

Take your time; wait until you are fully ready for it

learn more about Amtosh Singh

By Amtosh Singh

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India is currently the breeding ground for constant innovation and technology and the world has had its eyes on us for a few years now. With a population of over a billion, it is an exciting space for startups to execute well thought out businesses.

Talking about entrepreneurship and start-ups, one thing you should know is that it's never going to be a cakewalk and you need to be in it for the long term.

One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is giving up too early because of the numbers in the bank or the difficulties faced during the teething stages.

Before you start, ask yourself these four basic questions:

Why are you doing this?

Is there a gap in the market you are trying to fill?

What is your brand's personality?

Who is your target audience and what's their personality?

Once you've got these answers and you are satisfied, that's half the battle won. Remember not to be biased.

At the most fundamental level, it is important you understand that the following checklist contains 5 tips which will help you in the long journey towards startup success in e-commerce. P.S – These tips do not guarantee success, nothing pays off like hard work & perseverance.

1. Keep it Simple: Right from the brand's name, logo, concept and the promise it aims to deliver, all of its features should come together to help a customer clearly understand what exactly the brand does and delivers. It is a basic yet commonly overlooked aspect for any startup which has a long-term impact in establishing brand recall in the minds of the consumers. While you may understand the mind of your target market, keeping things simple across all means of communication can really enable a startup to achieve a higher degree of response which could eventually prove beneficial in the long-term.

2. Prepare a Well Planned Scalable Business Plan: A well-analyzed and well-documented business plan is the deal breaker between an idea in your head and whether that idea meets the demands of the real world the way it should. A business plan details out the strategy and action you are planning to take to implement your vision in a calculated manner to achieve the desired targets in order to realize your dream. It is important that the plan you set out to achieve as a start-up has genuine scalability too to earn the required profits to fuel the growth of the business. While you may be equipped with the know-how to put together such a business plan, you should not sideline the possibility of involving an expert's opinion and services at this very point or even a mentor to give it a non-biased once over once you have put your numbers in.

3. Keep Your Eyes On The "Price': That is something an e-commerce business should believe in. Establishing competitive pricing is critical for the survival of a start-up especially in a price sensitive market such as India. When the company is deciding on the prices of its products and services, it must consider the existing options available to its customers in the market.

Watching out for these insights, especially at the onset of the business or preferably during the planning stage can make or break a conversion.

4. Make The Most of Social Media Engagements: Another vertical which is very important for a small business is social media. While there are a large number of channels – Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, a lot of brands get social all wrong by communicating purely as a brand. All the communication should always be personal. Create a brand personality and stick to it in your tone of communication across channels. The experience a customer receives while purchasing online is either through the website, social media and/ or a mobile app. It, therefore, becomes important to understand the appropriate mix of responses and engagement that may be required via the available communication channels. These channels are your best opportunity to tell the customer how truly great the brand is and the trust and value you aim to deliver every time.

5. Make Every Customer Experience Count: Whether you are a brand or an e-commerce store – Your customers are your biggest proponents. People underestimate the power of word of mouth. Do whatever you can to make each experience personal and leave each customer satisfied. It only gets real when it gets delivered. Between purchase and delivery, an e-commerce start-up must engage with the customer through the various touch points to keep them in the loop as this cycle progresses until the delivery of the purchased product or service is complete. For an e-commerce business, it is customer service that provides a company with an edge over the competition and helps differentiate one from another. It is important that a team of well-trained support staff who can deal with customers in a professional yet friendly manner are on hand to deal with all issues and queries. Following this simple tip, one can actually aim to convert a new customer into a loyal customer in the long run.

To conclude, everybody wants to be their own boss – but don't rush into it. Take your time; wait until you are fully ready for it. If you need experience, join a company in a similar field to what you want to do. There you have my two bits. All the very best.

Amtosh Singh

Co-Founder, PropShop24

Amtosh's journey with gifting started with his firm, Far Left Retail Pvt Ltd. Realizing the need for off-beat gifting options; he co-founded "PropShop24‟, India's first online out-of-the-box brand that has collaborated with over 500 companies to create a marketplace of unique design led products. During the course of building PropShop24 he soon discovered one of his most tightly held business learnings; “Watch your numbers like a hawk. Orders, customers, cash flow, margins etc; you need to be looking at those numbers carefully at least thrice a week.”

Determined to not let "PropShop24‟ become just another e-commerce website, he pays special attention to the quality and relevance of the products added to the website. Focusing on getting the right brands on board instead of having a thousand brands. They have recently expanded into food, blue label products, beauty and jewellery as well. Attempting to test his brand in the brick and mortar format, he also opened a store at Flea Bazaar Café in Lower Parel.

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