The following are some of my opinions on why some e-Commerce business succeed while others do not. I wouldn’t say e-Commerce really succeeded in Singapore. For starters, there isn’t an Amazon-equivalent website in Singapore. But for certain, small online businesses are quite plentiful available. These small e-businesses usually come in the form of blogs. Thus known as “blogshops”. So how do these small e-businesses keep themselves viable?
The following qualities such successful e-businesses possess are as followed:
This is definitely the most important reason and quality a good blogshop possesses. If you deliver your goods as promised on your blog, in terms of quality and after-sales services (entertaining post-purchase queries from customers), you will most likely earn the favor of your customers.
Word of mouth advertising
You can pay tons of money on adverts and still not able to generate customers to your website (think MOCCA.COM for their sleasy ads). The most effective form of advertising actually doesn’t cause much. Word of mouth advertising really works wonders with the buzz it creates. When customers are satisfied with the shopping experience (good customer service) on your blogshop, they will naturally recommend it to their friends and colleagues. Next thing you know, you have a loyal band of customers that help you advertise your business.
Another thing to notice among successful blog businesses are that they have a mailing list. Which works in sending out the latest information (i.e. newest products or upcoming sale) to its customers. This helps maintain communication with past customers and hopefully might encourage future purchases from them.
Now, setting up a blog business selling toothpicks isn’t going to bring in the dough. The reason is simple, the product is too commonly available and insignificant. So carefully selecting what products to sell is important. If you sell a product that is unavailable in retail stores or on other blog businesses (i.e. Cuisinart’s soft-serve ice cream maker), customers looking for this product will flock to your website.
If the products sold are marked up lesser, this also encourages more customers to shop at your website as compared to “more expensive” competitors.
By definition of good website would be one with smooth graphics and relative ease for customers to navigate around. The simpler (i.e. less cluttered) the website is, the more visually pleasing it will be.
Keeping on the edge
Technology is constantly improving. To ensure that your online business maintains good business, it has to be on the fore-front of not only product trends but also technology. No one would be impressed with a blogshop that runs on glittery neon background, corny music on infinite loop on web 1.0 html (GASP~).
Sometimes keeping to your niche product forever can be disastrous, especially when the trend for it is in its sunset. For example selling VHS cassettes instead of the more popular DVDs. To reinvent yourself is the way to survive changes in product trends and tech advancement.
Maximising social media outlets
Social networking websites are another place to advertise your products and e-business. Blogshop operators have generated fan-following to their businesses by creating a page of their business via Facebook and Myspace. In a way, such websites allow the proprietors to advertise their products to their friends and extended network for free, thus generating word-of-mouth marketing with minimal effort.
Promote more viewership by subscribing to blog directories
Syndicating your blog’s newsfeed to blog directories (specifically blogshop directories) help in generating the right viewership to your website. Some directories also provide a review of your blogshop, which in turns helps publicizes your business.
A successful blogshop or any e-Business is not built in a single day. E-businesses are no much easier to maintain as do an offline business. Thus you must be willing to work more than 8 hours a day, 5 days a week on your e-Business and not be too disappointed when you don’t see success in the short run.
Then again the definition of a successful e-Business is hard to define. The success of social networking site, Facebook, is undeniable. However, even it failed to break even, financially.