With the world full of entrepreneurs, increasingly adopting web based business ventures, a key issue to discuss becomes what is the long term business strategy? Many of the firms, after a promising start are succumbing to the death trap, and fail to grow to a level to sustain the investments made on them. Is it a dogma that haunts them and limits their growth beyond a certain level? Stagnancy in start up ventures is a major concern for most new businesses. Indeed, beyond a point, businesses fail to extend their initial aspiration to compete at a larger level. So what makes some of the firms succeed and sets them apart from the rest. Do we really know what makes the super stars click?

(Tip: If you seriously want to start a web based business venture then you might want to consult with a start-up expert like SunDoc Filings, who can advise you on all the legal ramifications associated with start-ups)

While most of these firms are operating on pure click models, some of them even have a tangible existence of a brick & click model.  So why are many of these ventures failing while others are making a progress at a level exceeding 100% YOY growth. Let us examine some of the major issues of some of these portals closely.

  1. Many of these portals, which are attempting to sell a product or a service do not have a proper facilitating gateway to make payments. In the web, it is important to understand that the buyers are limited to pay for your service or products, by the way it is allowed within their nation. Not all countries allow Paypal, not all countries have VISA credit cards. Keeping more than one option for payment is absolutely crucial.
  2. Many of the portals do not have visibility on the web. To be able to sell a service on the web, it is crucial that you appear on the first page of every major search engine when someone searches for that product or service. While launching a website like that, it is imperative to have the best search engine optimization strategies in place. Sometimes it is good to take consultancy from professionals about how to go about it, if you are not sure. A small investment in the early days can take you a long way.
  3. A major problem for these start-ups is that often they have no clearly defined target segment, and thus there is no fixed positioning of the web-site. So the same site may be used to sell two very different  product category (Say t-shirts and video games) and yet it is definitely not a generic e-shop or e-market. So web search engines tend to get confused from the tags that are built for search engine optimization.
  4. Most of these portals do not attempt to cross-sell or up-sell new products or services to existing or new customer. It has been seen that cross-sell or up-sell buy value can be as high as 100% for an existing customer, and sometimes even higher. An easy way to achieve this is through the application of recommender systems in the e-commerce portals. There are many popular recommender systems and engines like Avail Intelligence, Baynote, Certona, Omniture and RichRelevance. All these engines can provide the customer other product options based on his preferences at the point of sales conversion.
  5. Finally, another grave strategic error that one encounters in such sites are the lack of well developed graphical user interface, that will enable a good surfing experience for every potential customer. Today when there are so many free blogging engines like WordPress and Bloggers, it becomes too easy to create a website. Choosing a proper theme that will facilitate the browsing and thus the shopping experience in your portal, is key to your success. While using a paid premium theme is always advisable to get a custom look and feel of the theme, if the pockets are really shallow, using a free theme is not too bad for a start. Then, when the sales start rolling in the Moollah, it would be a good decision to switch to a premium theme.

Please do let me know how you are faring after following these simple steps. There are many intricacies in managing an e-commerce portal, but I will discuss more on that later.

By Kar

Dr. Kar works in the interface of digital transformation and data science. Professionally a professor in one of the top B-Schools of Asia and an alumni of XLRI, he has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research in reputed institutes. He is a regular contributor of Business Fundas and a frequent author in research platforms. He is widely cited as a researcher. Note: The articles authored in this blog are his personal views and does not reflect that of his affiliations.