In the ever-evolving business landscape, the David versus Goliath story is one that remains consistently relevant.
Businesses, regardless of their size, often find themselves navigating a competitive landscape where resourcefulness and innovation are paramount. Just as their tale proves underdogs can emerge victorious, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can too. However, achieving success is not easy, particularly when the tools and services seem tailored to larger players in the industry.
The Australian business landscape reflects this challenge, with data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics classifying 97.5% of businesses as small businesses and an additional 2.3% falling under the category of medium-sized businesses. According to figures from Ibis World, the ecommerce sector boasts over 90,000 businesses, employing more than 93,000 individuals in Australia. These figures clearly show the prevalence of SMBs within the industry.
Despite the virtual nature of online stores, the notion that they inherently have lower overhead costs than physical stores is being gradually eroded. As inflation continues to rise, so too do the overheads that online retailers have to absorb – this comes down to the running of their ecommerce site and the costs associated to create seamless shopping experiences for customers. And this is hitting the SMBs the most, eating into their already slim margins.
In light of these challenges, how can businesses build a successful ecommerce platform, especially given the additional costs? Here are the things they should consider when starting out or looking to migrate to another platform.
Prioritising features and customisation capabilities
In the world of ecommerce, first impressions matter. Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, where human interactions can mitigate initial shortcomings, for online stores, instant connection with visitors is a necessity. Achieving this unity between brand identity and user experience hinges upon the look and feel of the website.
While various ecommerce platform providers offer straightforward store setup procedures, they may not enable the look and feel, or experience you dreamed of. And where this may be the case, there’s often extra costs involved. Unfortunately, many businesses find themselves locked out of these features and apps which are essential to help build your ecommerce brand, connect with customers and ultimately grow revenue.
To navigate this challenge, businesses entering the ecommerce sphere or contemplating a platform migration should look at partnering with providers that offer a more comprehensive range of features and functionalities. This includes getting an understanding of any associated supplementary costs linked to website customisation or the integration of premium features available on alternative platforms.
Seamless integrations and tech stack synergy
As the retail landscape continues to evolve, businesses must periodically reassess and streamline their tech stacks in alignment with operational needs. Over the years, online businesses have built a diverse array of tools within their tech stacks, however, too much money is being wasted on underutilised tools.
Businesses must prioritise platforms that aren’t only cost effective, but also boast expansive feature sets and customisation capabilities, alongside seamless integrations. There is so much tech out there for businesses but not all of it talks to each other. Integration will help reduce costs and streamline business operations.
Choose partners and vendors – like Shopline – that speak the same language and connect seamlessly. Explore partnerships that have seamless connections with chosen shipping partners. If you have a physical store, emphasis should be placed on partnerships that unify online and offline aspects of the business, enhancing customer experiences while reducing overheads.
Mitigating unforeseen expenses
At the end of the day, David can triumph over Goliath. To do this, businesses must arm themselves with the knowledge on where true value lies. Those that can peel back the hidden layers of surprise costs will have better foresight with the partners they choose to work with. By dissecting the features, integrations, and insights required to empower an online store, businesses can effectively position themselves to compete with industry giants. Collaborating with partners who acknowledge these needs and refrain from shortchanging their clients becomes imperative.
While the inherent challenges of carving out your niche in a competitive arena might be daunting, by addressing these key considerations when looking to start or transition from ecommerce platforms, businesses will be setting themselves up for success.