As new online sales platforms and Web design tools continue to emerge, becoming an e-commerce entrepreneur is inexorably becoming an attainable goal for many aspiring business owners.
This is according to Dieter Febel, MD of SA Gateway, one of the leading ISP companies in SA, and the sister company of Esquire Technologies.
He said that while it is fairly easy to launch an online business, it takes a dedicated person, or company, to succeed in this venture. This, for instance, means staying abreast of current marketplace trends and issues.
There are a number of trends to watch. One is the importance of multi-channel selling. As customer shopping behaviour becomes more fragmented, small online business owners need to understand this, latch onto it, and ensure that they can engage with this “fragmented shopping behaviour”.
“The bottom-line is that just owning an e-commerce site is no longer enough. Small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) need to start looking for efficient ways to expand their presence. This includes integrating with various shopping feeds and other outlets that can reach more consumers,” said Febel.
There is also an increased dependence on data. As smaller online businesses continue to expand their presence across various channels, the need to turn to performance data from both a channel-specific and holistic standpoint becomes even more important.
Google Analytics is a good tool for this. By harnessing this tool, business owners can measure their site traffic from multiple devices and referral sites.
Access through smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices is another important trend. E-commerce usage of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, especially during the holiday season, is on the rise.
Small businesses should have a mobile version of their website, with mobile-optimised checkout to help facilitate a better mobile experience. Small retailers should also look at their site across multiple mobile devices and pay attention to new technologies, such as smart watches.
Another important factor is the need to display all products on the web-site, in real-time – allowing the end user to shop from your site at his own leisure. If the end user’s shopping experience is tedious, he will quickly move off to another site.