9 important points to open an e-commerce
In the current economic scenario, opening e-commerce is an excellent alternative. This is a business model with lower costs and a wide capacity to sell to different parts of the country. So much so that the number of companies that, despite having good physical locations, decide to invest in e-commerce to expand their operations is growing.
To get an idea of how attractive this market is, the 42nd edition of Web shoppers, by E-bit/Nielsen. This indicates that in 2020 Brazilian e-commerce grew 47% in the first half (compared to the same period in 2019). It was the biggest rise in the last 20 years. Revenue growth was driven by a 39% rise in the number of orders – which reached 90.8 million in the first half. The result, of course, was influenced by restrictions imposed on physical stores, due to Covid-19, but the trend is that the gains for the sector are permanent.
A total audience of 41 million people was accounted for e-commerce, 40% growth compared to 2019. Of this total, the study indicated that 7.3 million people made their debut in online shopping. The scenario, therefore, is promising for e-commerce. But opening e-commerce requires attention.
Before making your plans, it is necessary to understand very well how the digital world in
general and the virtual store market in particular work, because this is a business that goes far beyond a
website to sell your products or services.
Below, check out 9 important points that need to be very well evaluated when opening e-commerce!
1 Business plan
It is necessary to study your market niche, check competition, SWOT (identify weaknesses and strengths, opportunities and threats), structure the business and plan investments and income. This is usually the most tiring and distressing phase of any endeavor, requiring knowledge in administration and a lot of discipline.
If you already have a physical business and you haven’t opened your e-commerce yet, it’s important to understand how to make all channels work together. Some tips for a truly functional e-commerce business plan are:
- Create a schedule, which must include important dates for e-commerce (Black Friday, Christmas, etc.) and establish the goals to be achieved, monthly, quarterly, and so on;
- Make a financial plan that includes the cash flow, investments to be made, operating costs, and other fixed expenses of the business;
- Set up a database with strategic information on customers and potential customers;
- Develop a quality control program for the production of products (if your company is responsible for this part);
- Plan digital marketing, including here paid and free tools and the hiring of partners to take care of campaigns;
- Map the main events in the sector and choose which ones will be useful for the company to be present;
- Develop an annual target plan, based on the results of the previous year.
2 Digital environment
It sounds redundant, but it isn’t. E-commerce is an important part of the digital ecosystem and produces many of the innovations — in payments, security, logistics, and operations — that we see scattered elsewhere. In addition to systems, servers, cloud computing, administration, and communication.
E-commerce also requires stores to understand communication, social media, laws, and privacy and security issues — all constantly changing, requiring collaboration, innovation, and creativity. Consumer behavior also changes ever more rapidly, which requires a strategy to follow and understand how it influences your results.
No store exists without a platform. This is the central tool to show the world your business plan, your products, and your character. With it, you can appear on Google, make promotions, put your business on the air, etc. Study your needs and your growth plan, checking if the chosen tool will follow your ambitions and goals. It is also ideal to check integrations with payment platforms, information security, and the language used.
Understanding a little about how systems and the internet work helps a lot at this point, although it’s not a prerequisite for success. There is a range of features that must be present in a high-performance platform: a good shopping cart; simple and intuitive order closing to ensure conversions; product creation and maintenance; simple feed of information about them; features for creating promotions and landing pages are just a few.
4 Operating systems
The back-office, or ERP, is the system that will help your e-commerce to carry out its day-to-day operations. From invoicing to accounting, issuing invoices, and collecting taxes, these are the systems that guarantee the existence of e-commerce. Running this business is a complex operation that requires intelligence, data collection, and reporting analysis — and the foundations for success are created when stores already have a well-designed.
The process can be changed and open to employee input. Automation brings great gains to e-commerce, as in the case of chatbots and other technological resources. This is used in order to optimize operations and reduce the time required to carry out each activity, all with a considerable reduction in costs in many cases. Pay attention: when choosing your e-commerce platform, check if it allows the integration with ERPs because this will facilitate the operation’s management!
5 Operation and logistics
To have or not to have a distribution center? Who will deliver: carrier, courier, both? How will your customer service work? What are your differentiators? How will your products be packaged?
The e-commerce operation has diverse and interconnected flows that must be designed, from the beginning. To serve your customer very well. Offering a good delivery experience is a factor with a high impact on your business and, often, a premise that helps to retain consumers, after all, it generates trust.
In addition, good inventory management helps to qualify the process and avoid possible logistical errors. It is important to define which type of stock your business will work with and, if you have more than one of them, define a specific management strategy for each one. The four most common types of stock in e-commerce are shared (ideal for those who have a physical store and e-commerce), own, outsourced (stored elsewhere), and decentralized (divided by regions).
Another very common modality that does not require the creation of a stock is dropshipping. In this format, the sale is carried out through its virtual store, but delivery is made by partner companies. They address the product with their name and do all the shipping logistics for the customer. It is a model that can be applied to e-commerces of any size and stands out for its low cost and wide capacity to increase the portfolio of products offered.
Integration with payment methods, use of security layers, and non-archiving of customer financial information are some of the details in terms of payment. The market has several good solutions, which, in general, integrate seamlessly with the best e-commerce platforms.
There is an administrative issue as well. Each form of payment (bolero, credit card, deposits, etc.) has an impact on cash flow, due to different terms and service fees. The recommendation is to offer as much as you can.
7 Fraud Control
E-commerce is the biggest target of fraudsters. The chargeback (non – payment of products already delivered to customers) is a permanent source of concern. This could derail your business as no company wants to join the club of “businesses that close in 1 year”. It is good to hire a risk analysis and fraud prevention service. This is to analyze the behavior and create processes that avoid fraud and chargeback, thus approaching the team of major players in the market.
In e-commerce, there are diverse needs in marketing. Attract traffic to your page and generate sales; permanently seeking to increase the conversion rate and the average ticket value; Engaging the customer and promoting their return are key aspects—because of the high price for acquiring traffic. You need to take care of the brand, know your customers well, maintain campaigns, and keep up with the retail date calendar. Here are some points that need to be present in a marketing plan for those planning to open e-commerce:
Create a persona
Defining the target audience is essential, even if your e-commerce works with several niches. It is possible, for example, to create more than one persona and make specific campaigns for each one of them. What cannot be left out is the study of consumer behavior and understanding what their preferences are. This is what is the most effective form of communication with this persona.
Mapping your competitor is important to understand how they are interacting with the public and what their actions might be objections to your business. Being aware of how the market moves are to obtain more resources to create a favorable position and find ways to create actions that bring competitive advantage.
Working SEO on your website
Organic traffic is an important source to generate more sales. As much as it is a short/long term strategy, every effort is worth it for the recurrence of visitors that can happen through well-designed SEO actions. It is recommended to have specialized help from an agency, in order to shorten this path, as the experiences avoid possible mistakes and, in this way, it is possible to reach the defined objectives more quickly.
Harnessing the power of social media
Social networks are great for e-commerce to interact with customers and also to be a sales and service channel.
Knowing how to mix well the achievement of each of these purposes, your e-commerce has a lot to gain. For example, it is often necessary to use more informal language in posts in order to get closer to the public.
In response to customers, especially through chat, it is important to be more formal.
Understanding how to act in each situation is critical, and mastering this will make your company better enjoy the benefits of social media.
Invest in paid traffic
To open e-commerce and stand out, it is necessary to become known, which requires, among other things, investing in paid traffic. Whether on social networks or search engines, creating campaigns helps to bring visitors and, more than that. It attracts people with great chances to buy your products. Here again, comes the need to segment the process and define the target audience, an item of great importance for choosing the best keywords and, therefore, finding the most suitable ways to attract the desired audience.
Use email marketing
Email marketing represents a very valid strategy to go beyond “one-time sales”. Settling for one-time sales to the customer is a very common mistake. Of course, it is important to seek out new customers, but retaining the old ones is cheaper. And this ensures the creation of a solid portfolio. The factor that will contribute to the long-term financial health of the business.
9 Legislation and taxes
E-commerce is subject to the Consumer Defense Code. This needs to comply with specific ICMS legislation, the LGPD, and various other legal requirements. This knowledge, although public, requires a lot of planning for the company to be able to fulfill its obligations and maintain financial health. A few simple steps help to avoid legal problems. One is to create a transparent exchange and returns program. It is also important to respond to customers quickly. Thus avoiding giving the impression that the company is disorganized or does not care about their demand.
Product descriptions are another important element. The clearer it is, the better, as transparency helps avoid problems such as buying by mistake or purchasing an item. It will not be of much value to the consumer. With these tips, it’s easier to know what it takes to open e-commerce. And take the first steps safely and efficiently.