How to Start Successful Ecommerce Business – from Launch Roadmap to Investment

How to Start a Successful Online Store - ScienceSoft

Since 2003, ScienceSoft has been a consulting and implementation partner to e-retail businesses leading them to ecommerce success.

Ecommerce market

The ecommerce market maintains sustainable growth with global e-sales amounting to $3.53 trillion in 2019 and predicted to reach $6.54 trillion by 2022. The market penetration is geographically diverse and is higher in the countries with decent consumer digital maturity. Estimating the share of online against total sales, the fastest growing product lines in ecommerce are consumer electronics and household appliances, apparel, personal care and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.

How to start an ecommerce business: a launch outline

1. Identify the target market.

2. Design a business model.

3. Analyze competitors to prepare a competitive business strategy.

4. Formulate a brand mission, values, a brand voice.

5. Organize and prioritize software requirements.

6. Plan an ecommerce solution and agile iterations for development.

7. Design a website.

8. Integrate technologies for business processes organization (supply chain management is of top importance).

9. Plan customer lifecycle marketing: acquisition, conversion and retention.

Business models for the midsized and enterprise ecommerce market

Early at the stage of elaborating your business concept, decide on your target audience and source of supply, and follow the best practices of the selected business models.

Business and technology specifics determined by a target buyer

A B2C model
  • Business sells to individual consumers.
  • Emotions are one of the key drivers of a decision-making process.
  • Impulse buys are likely. Customers are technology-savvy.
Check out the technology specifics

Focus on:

  • Website responsiveness.
  • Personalized user experience.
  • Marketing automation.
  • Visually appealing design.
hide
A B2B model
  • Business sells to business.
  • A buying process may involve several decision-makers.
  • Rational buying decisions.
  • Dynamic pricing.
Check out the technology specifics

Focus on:

  • Role-based access to a corporate account.
  • Facilitated bulk ordering.
  • Customer segmentation and tiered rule-based pricing.
hide
A B2M model
  • Business sells to both individuals and business buyers.
  • Business resiliency is ensured via long-lasting B2B relationships and ongoing B2C marketing.
Check out the technology specifics

Focus on:

  • Multi-store functionality.
  • Two UX strategies to implement.
hide

Business and technology specifics determined by a source of supply

Warehousing
  • Full control over supply and shipment processes.
  • Best for food line, e-retailers with own production.
Check out the technology specifics

Focus on:

  • Ecommerce integration with supply chain systems.
  • Warehouse automation.
  • Inventory tracking and planning.
  • Fast order fulfilment.
hide
Drop shipping
  • The stock and order delivery is managed by a manufacturer or a wholesaler.
  • High competition.
  • Low profit margin.
Check out the technology specifics

Focus on:

  • Digital user experience.
  • Automation of order transfer to a dropship supplier.
hide
Private labeling and manufacturing
  • Product design is exclusive, manufacture is outsourced.
  • Products are sold under your brand.
Check out the technology specifics

Focus on:

  • Competitors’ analysis and target audience research.
  • Manufacture planning.
  • Brand building.
hide
White labeling
  • No product research and design.
  • Manufacture is outsourced.
  • Products are sold under your brand.
  • Fast time-to-market.
Check out the technology specifics

Focus on:

  • Brand building.
  • Digital user experience.
  • Multi-manufacturer supply chain management.
hide
A multi-vendor marketplace
  • Vendors source their products and manage orders.
  • Commission-based revenue model.
Check out the technology specifics

Focus on:

  • An optimal ecommerce platform for a multi-vendor marketplace.
  • User-friendly experience for vendors and end customers.
  • Marketing automation.
hide

Technology aspect: core ecommerce functionality to have

A successful ecommerce business depends on how well it puts customer expectations at the heart of the digital experience provided. Ecommerce businesses should rely on empathy and business sense but not overlook the opportunities offered by modern technologies.

When choosing an ecommerce platform to run your online store, you should seek the following features to enable a converting and customer-friendly experience.

Convenient search and an informed product choice

  • Layered navigation.
  • Product labeling.
  • Customizable product pages.
  • 360-degree rotatable product images.
  • Product videos.
  • Product configurators.
  • Downloadable product files.

Assisted shopping

  • AI-powered product recommendations.
  • Upsells and cross-sells.
  • Configurable, grouped and bundle products.
  • Self-service knowledge base.
  • Live chat.
  • Customer reviews.

Personalized experience

  • Customer analytics.
  • Customer segmentation.
  • Onsite and email personalization.
  • Loyalty programs.
  • Personalized promotions.
  • Wish list.
  • A/B testing.

Frictionless order placement and payment experience

  • Registered and guest checkout.
  • Flexible payment options (e.g. credit card payments, PayPal)
  • Automated tax calculation.
  • Order tracking.
  • Abandoned cart reminders.
  • A reorder possibility.

Stable website performance

  • Page caching.
  • On-demand performance scalability.
  • Fast indexing and incremental index updates.
  • Order archiving.
  • Performance measurement and optimization toolkit.
  • Separate databases to store different types of business data (e.g., products, orders).

Compliance and data safety

  • Data encryption.
  • Security patching.
  • PCI DSS compliance.
  • Secure admin experience.

Important integrations for your business’ digital maturity

Cross-systems integrations are needed to automate data transfer between systems, reduce manual involvement and increase data accuracy. The importance of integrations grows if you have several information sources and distribution channels.

Important integrations

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) integration

  • Automated centralization of sales data from multiple channels in ERP, no data inconsistencies frequent during manual transfer.
  • Increased staff productivity due to eliminated redundant manual tasks.
  • Inventory control with minimum human involvement.
  • Procurement planning based on sales trends and demand patterns.
  • Fast and accurate delivery.

 

ScienceSoft recommends: Microsoft Dynamics 365, SAP, Acumatica.

PIM (Product Information Management) / DAM (Digital Asset Management) integration

  • Consistent product information across channels.
  • Pricing agility achieved via complex pricing hierarchies.
  • A cohesive brand image and messaging across channels.
  • Up-to-date and accurate product data across channels.
  • Informed purchasing decisions and reduced returns.
  • No knowledge silos and miscommunication across departments.
  • Product information can be localized to certain markets.

 

ScienceSoft recommends: Akeneo, Pimcore.

Marketing automation

  • Larger order value driven by relevant product recommendations.
  • Customer preferences analysis for rewarding re-engagement tactics.
  • Higher conversions from personalized emails.
  • Effective tracking of marketing results and quick strategy shifts.

 

ScienceSoft recommends: Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Dynamics 365 Marketing, Nosto, MailChimp.

Customer service software integration

  • A variety of communication channels for customers.
  • Fast responding and resolution of cases initiated by customers directly and via social media reactions.
  • Personalized customer communication.
  • Less time spent to answer repetitive questions with an ever-expanding self-service knowledge base.

 

ScienceSoft recommends: Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Salesforce Service Cloud.

Make your online business competitive: strategic and technology levels

Plan a market presence
  • Investigate the competition in your target delivery area.
  • Set the requirements for customer experience on the income level of your target audience.
  • As an option, target a niche demand exclusively.
  • Analyze shopping behavior within your product vertical with a focus on customers’ doubts and address them in UX design.
Use technology advances
  • Use customer data management and AI for customer experience personalization.
  • Use AR for real-life shopping experience.
  • Offer voice-assisted shopping if you sell essentials and expect a high repeat order rate.
  • Provide instant customer support with a chatbot.
Enter the Ecommerce Competition with Expert Help
Starting an ecommerce business, you gain full consulting and development support from ScienceSoft and leverage our 17-year domain experience.

Why choose ScienceSoft

17 years in ecommerce consultancy and development.

Capable of delivering complex technology-driven ecommerce solutions.

Market-entry and business strategy consulting.

Partnership with leading ecommerce software providers.

The cost of launching ecommerce from scratch

Small business

An approach can also be used as an MVP for growth-oriented companies

  • Entry-level ecommerce functionality.
  • Hosting setup.
  • Limited design flexibility.

From $25,000

Mid-sized business

The focus is made on custom website design as a competitive advantage

  • Target audience research.
  • Custom business logic.
  • Unique custom-built website design.

From $55,000

Large business

For calculation, ERP is taken as an example of an enterprise-level system

  • Research-based custom website design.
  • Two-way integration of ecommerce solution and ERP.

From $200,000

2 scenarios to optimize your upfront investment

Headless ecommerce development

PWA development

Prerequisite
Business requirement
Cost

You have unique design ideas and plan custom business logic to gain a competitive edge.

Full design freedom and flexibility in implementing changes on the go, which normally entails heavy investments in front- and back-end development.

From $50,000 (if built on top of your CMS)

From $100,000 (if built from the ground up)

You sell a product line where frequent repeat orders are likely (grocery, pet food, healthcare, etc.).

Shopping experience optimized for all kinds of devices (with a particular focus on mobile to allow for convenient buy on the go). Investments double with both web and mobile development.

From $85,000

Make your first steps in ecommerce with ScienceSoft

With 17 years in ecommerce consultancy and development, ScienceSoft’s ecommerce team will be happy to help you set up your ecommerce business as your consulting and development partner.

Ecommerce consulting

  • Analysis of market entry barriers.
  • Ecommerce technology choice.
  • Ecommerce solution design.
  • Investment calculation: cost and time.
  • Risk-free launch.

Ecommerce development

  • Ecommerce website design and development.
  • Customer experience personalization.
  • Ecommerce integration with business systems.
  • Omnichannel retail setup.
  • Ecommerce solutions powered with advanced technologies.

About ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft is a digital success provider with a total of 31 years in the IT business. For 17 years in the ecommerce consulting and development domain, we’ve praised the importance of long-term partnership, which gives us an advantage to know the customer’s business well and drive its KPIs high with the right solutions.