While in 2016, according to BeCommerce, the turnover of e-commerce in Belgium amounts to 9.1 billion euros, what to think of the fact that one in 8 companies abandoned their e-commerce business after to have launched (Retis, 2016)?
If e-commerce is an opportunity to seize, many companies fail to make it a profitable business. This is why it is crucial to start step by step to overcome the vagaries of this lucrative and competitive environment.
1) Evaluate the potential for profitability
Establishing a strategy to retain customers , conquer new markets or stand out from the competition , can not be improvised! The success of an e-commerce project begins with the establishment of a solid organization before starting.
Let’s look at the example of launching an e-commerce site: from conception to launching via promotion, human and financial resources can be important. It is for this reason that it is essential to evaluate and analyze the potential of profitability of your e-commerce project: that is to say to evaluate the investment that the project demands, in comparison with the figure of business that it will generate. The gross margin is the most appropriate indicator to determine an approximation of the profitability of a sales activity . For example, if you calculate a gross margin around 20%, the activity is unlikely to be profitable.
You can choose to evaluate it yourself, or to call on experts who will give you advice through a sharp analysis of your potential e-commerce and will be able to provide you the key figures of your competitors , for compare your potential to that of other market players.
If you diagnose a high potential for profitability , it can be interesting to build an e-commerce team in-house. Competence is advantageous, but it is important to ensure that you regularly organize technical training to prevent the obsolescence of the methods used.
If the potential for profitability is present but relatively low, why not outsource the skill? This approach can allow you to launch your project quickly while testing its profitability and could save you significant salary costs!
2) Test your potential on the marketplaces
If your business plan provides a favorable situation, do not hesitate to choose an existing market place to increase your chances of selling, limit the initial investment or your fixed costs (personal)!
With new services such as Fulfillment By Amazon, you can ship your products directly to the e-commerce giant as soon as they are manufactured. This can help you avoid large storage costs in the event of a temporary or seasonal decline. In this way you are free from all the constraints related to storage (calibration, localization, delivery …) and the support of the first support line: customer service. Amazon’s offer is optimized to allow delivery nationally or internationally.
If this service has advantages, however, we must be wary of commissions ranging from 5 to 20% that Amazon takes on the amount of products sold. The second disadvantage is that Amazon owns the database of customers who have called on you through their platform.
Amazon is an example, there are many others, but it is important to remember that to start it is often more relevant to use an existing marketplace to quickly reach a significant sales volume while limiting the costs of launching your e-commerce site and logistics.
3) Identify key skills
Whether you have already started in e-commerce or not, if you want to develop your digital growth, start by evaluating the resources you need . A successful e-commerce project starts with an adequate team!
Some examples of profiles related to e-commerce:
- E-commerce Manager: He oversees the project and strategy. He is the CEO of the company, or part of the decision-making power of the company.
- SEO / SEA Expert: It is in charge of generating traffic to the website via web referencing, and the purchase of advertising space on the internet.
- Business Analytics Manager: It analyzes the performance of the website via tools such as Google Analytics and offers suggestions for improvement.
- User Interface (UI): The Customer Experience Expert manages customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving usability. The expert user interface is its complement it manages the appearance, the presentation and the interactivity of the site.
- Content Manager: Creates and distributes relevant content to attract and retain a defined audience. This can result in the development of posters, articles, hangers to promote branding.
- Customer Relationship Manager: Accompanies customers and advises them during all stages of the purchase journey.
- Logistics Manager: Oversees order preparation, shipping, delivery and returns management. This is a key skill for the company if it has its logistics in-house.
- Data Scientist: Analysis and interpreting complex data (database, customer segmentation …)
- Web Security Expert : Responsible for site security, web applications and web services.
- Web Developer: He is in charge of creating, modifying and optimizing the website and the various internal tools (backoffice) to best meet the expectations of customers.
- Coordinator: He manages the organization of everyone’s roles in the e-commerce project.
4) Identify and track key indicators
To monitor the activity of your potential or current customers , there are KPIs ( Key Performance Indicators ) to be monitored daily. Here are some examples:
- The CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) is an indicator that evaluates the average amount spent on acquiring a new customer. The goal is that it is as low as possible: if the CAC is less important than the turnover per customer, it increases the revenues of the company.
- LTV (Lifetime Value) quantifies the expected turnover for the duration of a person’s business life. It is used to quantify the amount the company can spend to acquire new customers.
E-commerce presents an opportunity for business profitability, but today more than ever, the consumer is demanding and competition is increased. To understand how to increase your profit potential, it is important to identify your strengths and weaknesses and to analyze the market players. Inoopa offers 2 types of reports: an introductory report to analyze its e-commerce potential, and a detailed report for more established companies