This year, I took my annual break from teaching to form a small online retailer called Dingle Industries. I launched in early April, and in November, we spent a few weeks processing our very first orders. In some respects, I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. Our prices are competitive, our suppliers are excellent, and we’ve caught a number of talented folks who otherwise would have gone to waste.
The last thing I wanted to do was rush into ecommerce at a high level of skill. Right now, we’re a lab to get the kinks out, and we’re constantly adding new employees. The three things that we’ve learned so far—many other things have also been important—are very related:
Big Ecommerce Orders Can Lead to Turbulence Despite a Fine Starting Point Telling a customer on Amazon or anywhere else to “follow the link to checkout” isn’t necessarily enough; something like 80 percent of all online purchases fail to accomplish this—at least, not with repeat purchases.
This presents an interesting opportunity for a specialist in filling out an order form, making the final cash payment, and having the goods shipped to a customer’s house. I propose a brand that combines a robust ecommerce platform with a well-stocked shop. That way, the customer doesn’t have to build the order by himself, and each time a new customer is added, the shop automatically fills out the request and communicates with the customer about the shipping address and the free shipping policy (if any).
That custom isn’t always going to be perfect, but it’s the best I can do right now. Make Custom eCommerce a Better Process for Everyone In my experiments with content, I’ve found that providing, and helping readers decide, what content is included in a magazine is very, very hard. I’ve learned that this problem applies to any number of other information and entertainment outlets, and the reason is that it’s hard to do custom content. Take example: What should the shoes look like? How does the cover photo fit?
If I start to design a coffee table book about Star Wars, the situation is even more complicated. Providing custom stuff requires finding the ideal solution for all the details, so the project doesn’t get mired in back and forth. When the project is set in stone, we give it lots of time to find its feet. Build with a Plan It’s important to structure those contingencies that you’ll be implementing in advance.
Here’s the thing about ecommerce: because there are a million competing buyers—the visitors to an online store are, by definition, demanding a certain level of convenience and responsiveness—an order that’s accepted doesn’t just have to go through. By setting up a system that organizes items and schedules shipping in advance, we’ve been able to keep things going smoothly even as we’ve encountered serious technical issues, inelegant solutions, and considerable drama. Providing you with solutions for those problems makes the process more successful, and it speeds up those interruptions, which is no small feat.
Create a Point of Convergence Often with a new business, you’ll get overtaken by problems caused by a deficiency in one or more “frontiers.” No entrepreneur wants to build a business that loses money or gives unsatisfactory customer service, but an initial category is always going to have problems—and the solution is simply to strengthen the frontiers.
We had a few surges in book production that made it impossible to ship our orders, which put our balance sheet under serious pressure. With our sales rising, our expenses were also increasing, so it became impossible to continue building our bookstore without taking money from our operations fund, though it was otherwise easy to meet payroll. The answer: Going forward, we’re going to close our backbook initiative and build our ecommerce operation in parallel.
We’ll have a partnership with a well-respected consultant who will help us unify our brands. And we’ll, as I said, have a dedicated staff to fulfill orders and communicate with our readers, as well as our customers. If you are looking for seriously branding for ecommerce website design and development contact web design city.