Young Upstarts

All about entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, ideas, innovation, and small business.

5 Pillars Of A Successful E-Commerce Enterprise

One of the most appealing business opportunities for young entrepreneurs is starting their own e-commerce enterprise. The global connectivity, systems productivity, and increased affordability generated by the internet have made opening a store online easier than a brick and mortar alternative, not to mention cheaper and more likely to lead to success.

With that said, an e-commerce enterprise will not triumph by simply setting up a couple accounts across the leading sales points like Amazon and eBay and posting items for sale. It’s a business like any other, and entrepreneurs involved in e-commerce will need to rest their venture on top of several central pillars. Failure to do so will almost certainly lead to eventual collapse.

Here are the five pillars of a successful e-commerce enterprise:

Shipping.

One of the things which historically got in the way of anyone trying to launch a mail-order company was figuring out how to provide affordable, fast shipping. If you’re old enough, you may recall a time when goodies in magazines were sold cheap but the shipping was double the product price. Those days are over thanks to options such as optimized less-than-truckload freight shipping, or LTL freight.

What is LTL freight? Well, as the name suggests, it refers to the fact that an individual company is only buying a part of a tractor-trailer’s available space. The result is cheaper, faster shipping, something every e-commerce enterprise will want to offer consumers.

Packaging.

There is a misconception shared among many e-commerce entrepreneurs wherein packaging doesn’t matter so much when a product is bought and sold online. While it’s true that products online aren’t as dependent on packaging to be sold as those in traditional stores, many of the point-of-sale elements remain the same. For instance, we all tend to examine photos of a product available online prior to purchase, which will typically include an image of the product in the box. The visual power of packaging is still there, even if the tactile factor isn’t. This and other benefits of great product packaging makes it an important part of e-commerce sales success.

Marketing.

The catch to e-commerce becoming more accessible to aspiring entrepreneurs is that competition has increased almost as fast as the online market has expanded. To stand out, an e-commerce startup will need to craft and execute an effective marketing campaign. This means hours of consumer research, competition reconnaissance, and other essentials of marketing planning before launch.

Accounting.

It’s a no-brainer to some but an afterthought to others. Whatever your thoughts are on accounting, it’s a crucial part of any business where inventory plays a central role. More so, reliable accounting lays the foundation for the ability of a business to turn a profit. It’s therefore imperative for e-commerce ventures to utilize the best accounting software for small business or outsource accounting to a certified professional.

Troubleshooting.

Lastly, those getting involved in an e-commerce enterprise will need to be able to think on their feet and roll with the punches. No matter how much of the business is placed in the hands of automatization and seemingly predictable outside systems, there will always be unique problems to solve. Running away from them or putting them on the backburner only intensifies their impact on your business. Whether it’s a defect with recently shipped out items or an issue with your payment gateway, make a habit of taking on problems head-on, rather than avoiding them.

The siren song of e-commerce is one which attracts many aspiring entrepreneurs. Yet before you decide to open up your own online store, it’s necessary to ensure the aforementioned pillars are in place. Otherwise, your e-commerce enterprise could find itself on shaky ground.

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Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

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