E-commerce is more complex than having a product and distributing it online. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of any online business that sells a physical product, both on the technology end and the physical product end.
Here is just a sample of complications to consider when building an e-commerce business:
- Having a flexible shopping cart
You want to be able to manage deals and promotions so that you can incorporate free shipping, percentages off, or dollars off of product if you are doing something special to boost sales or increase loyalty with returning customers. This is especially important during holiday seasons when people are scouring the web for great gifts at discounted prices, and if you’re one of the few e-tailers sticking to retail price, you probably won’t see the sales volume of other e-tailers who are all slashing prices in the spirit of the season.
- Managing technology and a physical product
Product design, product management and quality control. You have to build a usable interface for your customers to shop on, making their online shopping experience seamless and perhaps even fun. But while you have to spend a lot of time and money building a great online product, the physical product they finally purchase which you ship to them should be equally impressive because that’s the thing that they paid their hard-earned money for and they don’t want to feel stripped of value, so you need to build a strong supply chain that can produce an impressive product that will be worth more than your customers are paying for.
- Handling complex logistics
Did we forget about shipping the product? Logistics management is especially important if you are producing products abroad because that adds to lead time and limits how much control you have in the handling of the product as it’s shipped from the manufacturing facility to the customer’s doorstep. This can be one of the more difficult things to manage for an e-commerce business because you want to make sure the product is delivered on-time and unscathed, otherwise you have an angry customer who’s wondering why their product is late and partly defective.