There are very few business or should I say companies today that don’t use technology…
Functional Elements Of An E-Business
Electronic-business refers to the kind of business that is able to carry out its operations primarily or even completely through the use of the internet. If you are a business owner that has grown their businesses as time goes by, then it is very important for you not to overlook some very important steps especially if you want a very successful business. But if however you already have a business that skipped some of these fundamental elements in your e-business then you should be aware that it might really be risky because you don’t have all the things that are required to make your business very real. Don’t get me wrong, am not trying to trash your efforts so far but my point is that in most cases majority of such businesses fail within the first 3 years and if your business has survived longer than that…then you have really done a great job. However that doesn’t stop you from taking stock and then going back to the very fundamentals that are required for running a real and safer business. If you are an online entrepreneur then you can get ready to enjoy a lot of success through understanding some of these e-business fundamentals and then go ahead and apply them effectively. Believe me, with these basics, you will be able to develop some conversion policies and then be capable of tapping into a billion-dollar customer base.
- Have a strategic business plan: from the very start when you get the business idea and would like to implement it, you should have a strategic business plan. This will have to include from the very beginning a solid foundation for your business that will involve things like its vision as well as a strategic plan on how to implement that vision. This therefore will be able to provide you with the essence of all the things you require to have a sound business strategy. At the same time, this will also mean that you as an entrepreneur are able to make good strategic decisions about the business at all times.
- Product development and sourcing: What you should know is that the kind of e-business you are operating might have a lot of competition like other entrepreneurs selling the same types of products whether be it financial products, consumer goods, information or intellectual property. However if you have a business that is able to produce its own items for sell then you should endeavor to address the logistical concerns that are regarding the development as well as manufacturing of your product in the same way that any other business does. This usually will include things like buying or renting an area that is particularly for the production or the manufacturing of the products and the hiring of the employees that will work there. However if your business is different from that like you plane to use an online store to help you sell products that are made by other companies then you must get in touch with the manufacturers and then after that make sure to sign purchasing deals with those manufacturers.
- Establish systems and procedures: another fundamental element that is required in an e-business is through the establishments of systems and procedures. As an entrepreneur, you will have to create systems and procedures that are to help safeguard as well as improve your business and be able to document all these. This is very important because it will ensure that all the things contain a process that can be easily followed. This is a very priceless asset that you can have in any business and it will provide an additional value especially when it comes to time to sell your business.
- Warehousing and Drop shipping: when you are dealing in e-business, it means that you don’t really need the rental or maintenance of retail space but at the same time you will need either someone else or yourself to store your inventory somewhere. Now when you are just starting on an e-business, you will easily get away with any small storage space that you only rent by the month without even having to sign a contract. After a while you might have to move to a storage space that is larger because you are now more successful than when you started. But you should be knowledgeable that your warehousing efforts must be able to incorporate the order of fulfillment procedures in which your employees and you will find the products and package as well as ship them to the buyers. Now, if you want to avoid all these costs that are involved all together then you will have to resort to drop shipping instead. But first you might be wondering what drop shipping is and it is basically a business agreement in which drop shipping company purchases and then stores large amounts of products. Now this works in a way that your business being a client to the drop shipping company will have to display the products for the drop shipping company on their website and then they don’t actually buy the product until someone purchases it. When they do so, then the client company will then contact the drop shipper and the drop shipper will send the product directly to the end buyer. However this drop shipping has a disadvantage in a way that through adding an extra step in the process, the profit margins are reduced.
- Usability: when you are doing business online, it means that you will have to have a e-commerce site that is able to easily guide the users to what exactly they are looking for with few very clicks like three clicks only or less. This is because if it’s not easy for the clients to gain access to what they are looking for then you will face the challenge of losing out on most of the customers especially to the dreaded ‘back’ button. The majority of the people that shop online only hit sites with a specific goal and they wouldn’t like to waste a lot of time. Some of the things that comprises of usability include the simplicity of the content, the workflow and finally the site layout.
- Marketing: there are various approaches that incorporate marketing in an e-business, but despite all that, the main goal which is very important is to drive the website traffic. This is because the high levels of website traffic mean that there will be very high revenue. Up to today, one of the most effective ways of spending less while you are driving a website traffic is through making use of the search engine optimization. In other words search engine optimization can be best described as the act of creating a website in a way that it will appeal to the algorithms of popular search engines that will therefore land the site on the first page of the internet searches used for the key words. Another important aspect of e-business marketing is through advertising. It is very simple and also highly effective especially through making use of the pay-per-click advertisements on the search engines.
- Have your cash flow sorted: as an entrepreneur that is dealing in e-business you will have to make certain you have a cash flow system that is able to forecasts weeks in advance like particularly approximately 7 weeks in advance. Through this, you will be able to easily recognize any bumps that could be in the road way before you are able to reach them. Then you can be able to address it in advance to avoid those challenges. This is important because it will go a long way to creating the uncertainty in the cash flow and then eliminate any chances of bad surprises.
- Customer service: one of the fundamental elements that have the ability to divide the upper-tier and the lower-tier in the e-businesses is the customer service. Some of the ways in which you are able to provide customer service in your e-business is through things like telephones, emails or live chat. But first you will have to draft a plan on how to deal with some of the issues that may occur especially like buyers who are not satisfied with their products and they would like a refund or the ones that order for their products but never receive them. There are some companies you will come across that do provide third-party customer service help doing so through employing professionals that are able to answer telephone and emails or even carry out online chats on their own behalf. Another concern about the customer service is that you should also make sure that they do pay in time and you can only do that by becoming tough on them. You can do this through having a clear policy or even procedures that should be followed.
- Security: during the 2010 statistics from the Canada report, it was stated that internet usage and e-commerce suggested that up to 19% of all the abandoned orders online were basically due to the big security concerns. With that said, as an entrepreneur dealing in e-business, you should endeavor to make sure that you provide your users with a very reliable as well as recognized mode of payment. You shouldn’t only stop there but go ahead and push your commitments to security with an up-to-date layout that will endorse legitimacy as well as a linear workflow. This way you will obtain a customer base that is not afraid of making payments directly online when purchasing one of your products or services.
- Information technology: information is very important when it comes to e-business and that is why information technology is one of the fundamental elements of e-business. Remember your website is basically like a hub for your entire business and so you must endeavor that your website looks very attractive. It is one of those effective tools that are able to convey a sense of confidence in the same way a storefront would do for a traditional business. Now, in order to make certain that your website is able to accomplish this particular purpose, it means that you will require an informational technology expert to assist you be able to build, maintain and then update it.
- Payment gateway: it is very important for you to have a clear payment gateway in your e-business as a functional element. A payment gateway basically refers to the ability for you to be able to receive payment through the internet and it is very imperative for every kind of online business. So in the very beginning of the business, you will have to pay for a merchant account service that will let you be able to directly receive the payment from main credit card companies. Furthermore you will also have to provide a button on your website for a particular online payment gateway like for instance PayPal, WorldPay or Payoneer.
- User friendly: you should be informed that all kinds of users are going to click or would want to view your website. It is very important that you make it very accommodative for each one of them. There are some users of which are the majority that will come to a particular site with a specific purchase in mind and so you should therefore be able to prepare your site to accommodate such so it’s easy for them to get what they want. Then, there are also those other users that are like first time online shoppers, category-browsers, bargain-hunters and then the window shoppers. As a fundamental element, you will have to make sure that your account log-in a long with the registration process is very easy. You can make this possible through developing an effective search function for the users that are not sure of the make and the model of their preferred product