The eCommerce industry has been witnessing genuine action from big-ticket eCommerce players like Amazon. But ambitious eCommerce entrepreneurs are still struggling to carve a niche for themselves.
Not knowing fully-well what certain debased business ideas can amount to, many eCommerce enthusiasts invest money, time and resources only to pile up untold losses.
We have created this article to provide insights on how to build an eCommerce website from scratch and help entrepreneurs in their eCommerce journey. Let’s get started.
Business Idea Validation
When you validate your business idea, always uphold the sanity of logic and research. The following factors should be considered:
- Market Size of the idea
- Feasibility of the idea
- Compounded Annual Growth Rate
- Intensity of competition
- Costs involved
- Fixed costs
- Variable costs
- Direct costs
- Indirect costs
- Opportunity costs
- Key stakeholders involved
- Distribution channels (Ex: Wholesalers and Drop shippers)
- Skillset required
- Cash flows
- Revenue Model
- Business Model
Conduct a market research. Interview the possible stakeholders of your business/product idea. Get to know their expectations. Do both primary and secondary research.
Primary research is essentially about soliciting opinions from your target would-be customers, audiences, friends, family members and co-workers through a variety of techniques such as interviews, focus group discussions, panel study etc.
Secondary research entails going through reports, newspapers, blogs, white-papers written by industry influencers, opinion leaders, and experienced professionals.
It may take weeks and sometimes months to validate business ideas. It would be an absolute shame to create a multivendor eCommerce site without validating your business idea.
Business / Product Idea Implementation
Once you are done with the process of business idea validation, the next step is to implement it on a multivendor eCommerce platform. Nobody wants to hire web developers, full-stack technology programmers, and testers. The key is to look for a turnkey marketplace software which is endowed with the following features (list is not exhaustive):
- Social Logins: Sellers and customers do not have the patience to create lengthy profiles. It is also futile to remember multiple login credentials. As a matter of fact, social logins increase sign-ups. The best thing is to look for a multivendor eCommerce marketplace platform which is equipped with this feature.
- Payment Processors: Payment gateways or payment processors are necessary to facilitate transactions. Stripe, Authorize.net, and PayPal are the three most popular payment gateways.
- Dispute Manager: Misunderstanding between sellers and buyers may arise due to a multitude of reasons. Dispute Manager will come handy in such troubled situations.
- Prime Delivery Channels: This feature can be availed by customers who want their ordered goods to be delivered within a day or two. Sellers should be entitled to extra margin.
- Geo Products Lister: Not every seller is capable of catering to the requirements of global audiences. Low budget sellers often target local customers within their geographical vicinity. Visibility of the store increases when Google Maps API is integrated with Geo Products module.
- Shipment Tracker: It is important to keep customers posted about the dispatch status of the ordered items. Shipment tracker module will help sellers notify the customers about the shipment status.
- Commission Tracker: Don’t you think it would be in your best interest to track commissions on every sale made and the amount you owe to sellers? This feature is an absolute must-have.
- Dashboard: Every seller should acquaint himself with precious information such as net sales, commission earned, expenses incurred, etc. Business owners too should keep themselves abreast of key performance indicators.
- Open Source marketplace software: Technology stack may become obsolete. It is therefore imperative to upgrade your multivendor eCommerce website. If you intend to do so, your platform provider shouldn’t charge you. Free lifetime upgrades are desirable. Thanks to open source software, you can enjoy the liberty of moving to your own server at any point in time and subsequently do your business profitably.
- Pricing: Big-ticket ventures like Amazon were started with smallest of budgets.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that affordability is an unmissable trait. There are prominent multivendor eCommerce marketplace solutions available in the market today offering excellent customization and scalability.
To help you make your decision easier, here are the top 5 multivendor marketplace solutions with their pros and cons.
1. Multivendor eCommerce: WooCommerce
WooCommerce is essentially a meld of a brilliant eCommerce platform and WordPress ecosystem. WordPress is known for its colossal collection of plugins and extensions.
This means that your eCommerce store can run easily on any website without any hassles.
WooCommerce gives its developers the flexibility of optimizing the platform and subsequently tweaking it to build an online store.
- As it costs zilch, eCommerce enthusiasts can save precious dollars and build a feature-rich store
- WordPress has a huge community of developers
- Multiple marketing models such as email marketing, discount codes etc., make it look great.
- Works only with WordPress unfortunately
- Upgrades are premium. If you fail to upgrade your store, you will lose your customers to your competition.
- Doesn’t have the features of a Node JS eCommerce software
Magento enjoys a luxurious market share of 25%. It has been in the good books of eCommerce community for its fantastic features such as user-friendliness, flexibility, scalability etc.
It is available in three variants: Enterprise, Enterprise Cloud, and Community
- Very user-friendly
- Huge collection of templates
- Multiple secure payment gateways integrated
- Customization is not that easy. Customization requires a certain amount of technical expertise
- Very expensive
- This multivendor marketplace platform is hosted on its own server
If you are keen on building a brand new eCommerce store that looks stunning and elegant, Shopify is your go-to multivendor marketplace platform.
More often than not, people who already own a physical store and look to dominate the web avail the services of Shopify platform.
This multivendor marketplace has hogged the limelight for streamlining the check-out process.
- Easy and remarkably smooth check-in process
- Design templates are professional, gorgeous and stunning
- Round the clock support
- 1500+ apps in Shopify app store
- It is mandatory to have expertise in Shopify’s template language – Liquid
- Significant transaction fee for every sale unless you choose Shopify payment plugin
- Not all integrations are free. Many cost you a fortune
No article is complete without mentioning the brilliance of BigCommerce.
BigCommerce is known for its revolutionary and out-of-the-box social channel integrations and eCommerce tools. Its mobile friendly theme collection BigCommerce Next is a class by itself.
If you are looking to build a website from scratch, BigCommerce is certainly a great choice.
- Awesome themes
- Extra-ordinary eCommerce tools
- Brilliant social channel integrations
- Not more than 7 templates to choose from without signing up
GenStore is a new Node JS eCommerce multivendor marketplace platform built on MEAN stack. For your information, MEAN stands for MongoDB, Express JS, Angular JS and Node JS.
This technology stack is widely used in tech companies such as Google, Facebook and IBM.
- Integrated with Facebook Messenger Bots
- Robust Admin Panel
- Unique Seller Dashboard
- SEO friendly elegant themes and templates
- Effective Dispute Management System
- Multiple Revenue Channels
- Native Android and iOS apps
- 1-year free support
- 1 free domain and 75% off on hosting
- 100% source code and IP rights
- Downloadable web software
These solutions and ideas can get you started on building your eCommerce website, which is the heartbeat of an eCommerce business.
With the eCommerce industry booming this year in 2018 and the years to come, every aspect of your eCommerce business counts in to build a successful eCommerce business.