E-Commerce – maximize your potential to growth

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Part-I: Critical success factors of online shopping websites

Now you are in the future. The world is already experiencing a big paradigm shift in the field of commerce. E-commerce is growing exponentially, in terms of scope, volume and value. It is growing because it is offering opportunity to businesses to reduce the influence of geographical and other barriers. They can heavily cut down their overheads and operational costs and expand their limits. However, in order to be successful in launching online business initiatives, they must consider some factors which are critical to the success of the online-shopping businesses:

Management of uncertainty in the quality of products: Here tangibility is missing at the time of shopping. Resultantly, quite often perceived and expected a quality of the products being purchased differs considerably from their actual quality. Marketing professionals strive to project the quality of a product with the simple aim to attract the customers. However, many times such initiatives lead to somewhat exaggeration of the features of the product, which raise expectations of the customers unnecessarily. It, consequently, negatively affects the satisfaction of the customers. However, if a customer turns out to be satisfied in terms of quality, price and convenience then the tendency of the person to go for more online shopping tends to increase.

Management of visibility: Visibility of the product is another critical success factor. There are two dimensions of the visibility: external and internal. External visibility refers to the prominence and projection of the website on the social, electronic and print media, while the internal dimension of visibility refers to the projection of products on the online shopping website. Most of the online shopping websites are cluttered with so much stuff (especially advertisements of other companies). Overcrowded websites leave very impression and impact.

Website’s design/layout: Poor layout of the websites reduce the visiting-customers’ interest in the products placed on the website. It must be attractive. However, the definition of attraction (especially preference of colours) varies from one culture to the other. Whatever the colour scheme you choose, it must have a soothing effect.

The ease of use: The website offering services of online shopping must be simple to use. It should not be heavy so that its pages open up in no time, otherwise, the customers will end up in frustration and may decide not to come back.

Ease of product search: If it is easier to search products of choice, the likelihood of online shopping success increases. Hence, proper customer friendly classification of the products is crucial.

Pricing: Online shopping is more cost effective as it does not require you to hire a physical shopping place and pay for the rents and other associated costs, hence, the online shopping websites are expected to have prices lower than the market rates. Most of the customers (rationally ones) are price-sensitive.

Discounting policy: In some countries discounting policy is a norm. Irregular special days offerings also make high impact.

Mobile apps: Those online shopping websites which have the provision of mobile-apps for their business, it creates a healthy impact. While designing such applications, preferences of the customers for the devices for accessing the websites should also be considered. According to Criteio report of 2016, in countries like South Korea and Japan use of mobile phones for online shopping is very high. For example, in Japan, the chances for the use of mobile phone for online shopping is 45 times higher than that of tablets. On the other hand, in Western Europe (especially UK, France, Germany and Russia) use of tablets is slightly higher than that of the mobile phones.

Use of social media: People are becoming increasingly more socially connected. PWC’s Total Retail Survey 2016 highlights that social media has a big influence on the online shopping. Hence, efficient and effective use of social media platforms can potentially make a big impact.

Target group: Youth has the higher tendency to go for online shopping. A study of online grocery shopping, carried out by Nielsen (2015) sows that Millennials and Generation Z reported having higher tendency of only shopping (see Figure 1). The study was based on the responses collected from respondents (having online access) from 60 countries. The study further points out that soon Generation-Z will join the workforce and will bring a big change towards the tendency of online shopping. The on-line businesses may prepare their platforms to tap the opportunity.

Customer support: A good website supported with an agile customer support help establishing a good rapport with the customers. Otherwise, the customers having one single bad experience might not come back – rather he/she might create negative marketing.

Figure 1 Online shopping behaviour
Figure 1 Online shopping behaviour

Attractions for the retailers: Ideally the online shopping website must have provisions for the retailers.

Monitoring of the product sale: Online shopping allows the online shopping companies to get rich real-time data about customers’ preferences which they can use for planning. All shopping websites if contain the provision of such analysis will have the higher probability of success.

Part-1 of this article highlights the critical success factors and the next part will cover the technological aspects of the online businesses.

References

Criteo (2016). E-commerce Industry Outlook 2016. http://www.criteo.com/media/3588/criteo-ecommerce-industry-outlook-2016.pdf

PWC (2016). They say they want a revolution: Total Retail 2016. Retrieved from https://www.pwc.ie/media-centre/assets/publications/2016-total-retail-they-say-they-want-a-revolution.pdf

Nielsen (2015, April). The future of grocery e-commerce, digital technology and changing shopping preferences around the world. Retrieved from https://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/nielsenglobal/vn/docs/Reports/2015/Nielsen%20Global%20E-Commerce%20and%20The%20New%20Retail%20Report%20APRIL%202015%20(

 

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