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Craig Greenup 04/03/19, 06:31
Starting a new ecommerce venture is an exciting time, but one that can be fraught with pitfalls. Some startups will see their efforts rewarded with a healthy growth trajectory while others seem to never really get off the ground. So what determines whether an ecommerce startup will be a success or not? The answer to this question might seem straightforward at first. You might think about having a high quality product or service, or perhaps having an ironclad marketing plan and an awesome website with all the bells and whistles.
Dig a little deeper and you’ll see that while these are important there is actually a huge set of complex and inter-relating factors that can help predict the success of your venture. Of course there is no way to guarantee smooth sailing as there are so many factors involved, but we have whittled the list down to the most critical ingredients for startup success.
This is such a fundamental thing that it probably deserves a whole article to itself, but for the sake of simplicity we will cover this as briefly as possible. The people you choose to employ at your startup will help direct your business while it’s still in its infancy; they will be helping to bring your vision to life. This means that anyone joining your team should have a good understanding of your vision, and should be working towards your shared goals. This does involve an aspect of trust; if you are seeing attitudes and habits in your applicants that you don’t fully trust then it’s usually a much better idea to keep looking rather than hire someone who is giving you second thoughts. You should also look out for team members who are highly adaptable. The nature of startups mean that team members may sometimes have to take on roles which change and develop over time, and your employees may have to cover certain tasks which are not necessarily in their remit on occasion.
Scalability is something that you need to bear in mind at all stages of your business development. Having a scalable short and long term plan which accounts for uncertainties you might face allows you to make the best possible decision in a timely fashion. For example, you may create a plan which assumed a certain rate of growth but in reality your growth rate may be much faster or slower. A scalable plan will allow you to account for these variations based on the benchmarks you laid out in the very beginning and this helps to prepare you for any eventuality. Take into account things like your sales model, when you plan to hire and grow your team, how much you want to set aside for things like marketing, and when you might want to rebrand or branch out in the future.
In order to give your new business the best chance possible you will need a well-designed, practical website. Websites come at a huge range of price points from the very basic through to huge, complex sites with bags of functionality. There is a fine balance to be struck between having a website which will be suitable for your needs in the short and medium term as well as being cost effective. Most businesses will have a couple of sites built from scratch over the course of a few decades, but knowing what level to come in at can be difficult – especially if you are a startup. This is where the expertise of your web developer will come in handy. A good web designer or developer will take the time to understand the needs of your startup and will design a site which takes into consideration your current funding and your commercial goals.
Ensuring your startup has a robust support structure in place before launch can be vital to its success. This goes for all aspects of the business. If you are setting up an ecommerce site, for example, you will need to think about how orders will be fulfilled if some of your team are away from work with sickness – this can be a serious obstacle in an ecommerce startup’s early days as the team size is likely to be on the smaller side. You will also need to think about technical issues such as how will your website be updated with new content, products, images and information. Some startups try and manage this in-house, but it can be a little risky if you’re not experienced in using a CMS. An experienced web design agency can alleviate a lot of the stress involved in managing your website, allowing you to spend more time focussed on the bigger picture of growth and development. Another vital support system can come from friends and colleagues in your industry. You may be surprised by how happy they are to share their knowledge and experience in order to help you get the most out of your venture. It is also worth spending some time building a professional network or joining a civic organisation such as the British Chambers of Commerce.
Branding helps your customers recognise you in an already rather saturated market. The more you invest into growing brand awareness the more you will inspire loyalty and repeat custom. Bear in mind that branding is a dynamic process and your brand identity will more than likely undergo several transformations over the years. This is important because rebranding allows you to stay ahead of the curve and helps your business to stay fresh and relevant within the market.
Radical Web Design are highly experienced when it comes to helping businesses both large and small to meet their goals. Whether you are planning your first ecommerce website or your fifth, Radical Web Design are always on hand to offer our knowledge and expertise. Give us a call on +44 (0) 161 818 6861 to discuss your ideas.