Every entrepreneur building an online marketplace aims to develop his ecommerce affair, till it grows into a prosperous business that brings big bucks to its owner. Quite a natural desire, isn’t it? The question is, how to reach this goal, that seems so close but difficult to get. It goes without saying, that creating of an e-mall demands much preparation and investigation work beforehand, a definite and realistic business plan, some financial and especially time/effort investments. A comprehensive and reliable selling platform is the heart of any flourishing multi vendor website, so it’s vitally important to study carefully and try several ones before making a definite choice. How to choose the best shopping cart system that suits your needs and will serve you for years – that is another topic we’ll touch on some other time. Today we’ll talk about typical threats that any e-mall owners are most likely to meet with.
First and foremost, never forget about your competitors. Competition among web marketplaces constantly grows, and you should invent something special, that differs you from others. Something that will convince prospects to tilt toward your website and abandon the others. You own spice. Unfortunately, it doesn’t guaranty high popularity and rating. In fact, nothing can guaranty it and sometimes it’s just pure luck.
It’s very important to remember that your target is customers, and they’re humans. And as all humans, they want attention, care, comfort and respect. They want to feel their own relevance, and for that reason they’re also looking for high quality service, not just products. Customer loyalty is the best (and the surest) way to a successful e-marketplace. And the fast track to do that is to contact customers directly – through social networks and emails. Think of them and their pleasure, and they’ll pay you back in your own coin.
Moreover, to get as many customers as possible, your online marketplace should be safe, easy-to-use and especially accessible at any moment, 24/7, and worldwide. Occasional website overloads, particularly in popular market areas, can make e-mall visitors think that your platform isn’t secured and powerful enough to receive all curious prospects and customers at a time. They may think that they aren’t welcome – the worst thing for any ecommerce business! The solution is simple and evident – to look for comprehensive software capable to evolve together with your business.
Another potential threat originates in unfair competition. Your online multi-vendor marketplace starts gaining pace and draws more and more attention of customers, as well as competitors. One day your unscrupulous rivals can think you’re stealing their clients, and take advantage of some malware to bring viruses into your website structure, or even grab your trade secrets. Today hackers are so smart that it’s nearly impossible to seize them. It’s much easier to prevent such problems and protect your online mall with a reliable data protection system. For the same reason it’s more secure to attribute a separate business panel to every vendor. It will help him to protect all sales and financial operations, as well as private customer information.
Chances are customers will find bugs and errors in your online marketplace website operation. In most cases they’ll leave negative feedback on the e-mall forum, or send it to you directly by email. Many e-mall owners get confused because of that – they don’t want other visitors to read negative comments that can, probably, restrain prospects from buying. If you’d like to avoid this kind of problem, just add client services to your website to improve its performance. You’d better bear in mind that you’ll have some negative feedback anyway, even if your website works well. It’s just because buyers are humans, as all of us, and have their mood swings. Anyway, don’t try to build a perfect e-marketplace, as the concept of ‘perfect’ is totally subjective. If you consider that it works correctly, that’s highly enough.
Finally, you’ve managed to build a flourishing web marketplace with a strong network of loyal customers and ambassadors. People know your brand name and website address by heart. You handle hundreds of orders daily, and earn good money. One day you wake up and don’t know what to do with your e-commerce business. As a matter of course, you should develop it more or less constantly to avoid stagnation. But now, after all these years of growth, you haven’t got a slightest idea which way to evolve. When you face this kind of growth crisis, take a break and turn to third-party experience. In fact, you aren’t the first businessperson to across the similar problems – the others have already passed this way and found numerous appropriate solutions. All you have to do is just learn from their experience and adapt it according to your business needs. Spend your days in reading and studying of new trends. Perhaps, it’s high time to draw new customer groups – youngsters, or just the opposite – elderly people. New customer group demands new vendors with new products – a serious challenge and a great step forward for any marketplace. Generally, product diversity is a good business strategy that pays steady dividends. Moreover, customers prefer buying various products in a single web mall instead of visiting several ones and paying delivery fees every time. They’d like to save their time and money, and here you are, with your user-friendly and powerful online marketplace – in the right place and at the right time.
Nicolas Fincher is a marketing and PR manager working for the CS-Cart ecommerce software company, which offers the comprehensive range of multifunctional shopping cart tools, including CS-Cart and Multi-Vendor software.