The ICT age has brought forth a lot of disruptive innovation. Who in the 17th century will believe that with just a click, you can transact online or have your goods delivered to your doorstep; that is the power of the 21st internet.
One of the areas that were not left out with respect to the innovation of the 21st Century is the “the traditional market” and “our traditional way of carrying out transaction”. The introduction of the e-commerce has disrupted our traditional way of carrying out a transaction and with the rate at which it is growing; our traditional market will soon fizzle out. If you are planning to join the e-commerce sector, you are on the right track.
E-commerce is a process of carrying out the transaction of buying and selling online. It draws on technology such as mobile commerce, electronic fund transfer chain, supply chain management, internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange, inventory management system and automated data collection system (source: Wikipedia.).
The following are the basic things you should have in mind while setting up an e-commerce business.
- DETERMINE THE STRUCTURE YOU WANT YOUR E-COMMERCE BUSINESS TO EMPLOY.
- Business to Business
- Business to Consumer
- Third Party Retail/ Classified Listing
For you to successfully run an e-commerce site, you need to determine the necessary structures that your e-commerce will operate on. Now let us go through the above-stated structures.
BUSINESS TO BUSINESS
This involves a transaction carried out between two businesses. For your e-commerce site to successfully run on this type of structure, you must make room for or have access to a large listing of businesses that you will sell to and of course know the market segment that you will serve. A typical example of a business that runs on this business model is Alibaba.com, the Alibaba website serves a medium through which major businesses both SMEs and Big businesses meet to transact.(individuals can also make use of this website for personal reasons).
CHALLENGES POSED BY THIS STRUCTURE:
- Attracting Credible Businesses to join your platform
- Targeting Classified buyers
- Efficient Delivery.
BUSINESS TO CONSUMER
Majority of the e-commerce site around the world runs on this type of structure. The transaction is carried out between the company and the consumer. A retailer can also serve as a middleman in this type of business. Jumia.com and Konga.com run on this type of structure.
THE THIRD PARTY CLASSIFIED LISTING.
This type of structure is mostly used for a classified listing website. These are sites that give users the opportunity to post any form of goods (ranging from used to vintage and new product) for prospective buyers to see.
Sites that run on this type of model includes, Olx.com.ng, Jiji.ng.
- CHOOSE A NICHE-DO NOT COVER ALL.
When Amazon (which is now known as the largest online retailer) was started in 1994, the founder Jeff Bezos, focused primarily on retailing books, but as they progress, Amazon began to add other products.
This is a good way to kick off. Be known for one thing until you achieve a certain standard in that area. This is the key to Amazon’s success.” From an online retailer that sells books to the world largest online retailing company that has many catalogs of products.
- CONSIDER FOCUSING ON A PARTICULAR GEOGRAPHIC REGION .
This is the most valuable advice I received when I was started my first e-commerce site(Agronob). We started in a particular geographic area and now we are expanding to other regions. This is a gradual process but it is worth it.
- SET UP A GOOD DELIVERY SYSTEM.
The business of the first 21st Century is based on speed. A good delivery system will help you serve your customer and of course, give them a maximum satisfaction. If you find it hard setting up a good delivery service, you can opt-in to make use of a third party delivery service.
- BE READY TO RUN A TARGETTED ADVERTS TO YOUR MARKET SEGMENT.
With the rate at which Startups is been launched every day, it is advisable to run an ‘impactful’ adverts to your market segment. This will help distinguish you from your competitors. It is also advisable to make a deep research about your target segment in order to know the type of advert that will appeal to them.
E-commerce is one of the best disruptive innovation that mankind has witnessed. With just a click from your desk, you get your goods delivered to your doorstep. In the future, there may not be need to set up a retail shop, just a warehouse and an e-commerce site will do the magic.