6 Issues to Resolve before Starting an eCommerce Business

Petro Dubno, Software Developer at Bitcom Systems on 2019-11-22

There are many options available out there to build your eCommerce website. You can use the existing solutions, which offer commonly used components. Or you can opt for custom development of your webshop, if you want to sell specific products and offer unique features for your customers.

If you want to make an informed decision on the development approach, we recommend you to consider the following issues. Answering these questions will narrow down your choices, which will better fit your expectations.

We have collected several tips for you to start with.


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1. Define your target audience


Depending on the products you want to sell, the scope of anticipated order, average check and other factors, you will want to define the audience of your platform.

By entities, the eCommerce business can be divided into the following main categories. You will focus primarily on one of them.

Business-to-business (B2B) - operations done between companies and businesses, usually over the Internet. B2B eCommerce covers interactions like selling products, placing orders, monitoring their execution through supplier databases, etc. The B2B sector is developing particularly rapidly - many companies and their supply departments are using B2B systems. Inside the company, these departments are integrated with the sales systems.

Business-to-consumer (B2C) - selling goods and providing services to the buyer, who is the end consumer. The most typical example of this eCommerce trend is retail (online shopping, ticket ordering, etc.), which is aimed directly at consumers.

Consumer-to-consumer (C2C) - sales are between private individuals. This type of eCommerce is characterized by the growth of e-markets and online auctions, especially in the vertical industries.


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2. Define your business strategy and operations requirements


Based on your target audience you will shape your business activities differently.

If you choose B2B segment, you will need to get ready to its specifics. For instance, in B2B products are usually sold in bulk. This requires the platform to be able to handle bulk transactions. B2B customers will carry out large orders, sometimes from a catalog and sometimes via product code number. The overall shopping experience can be enhanced by adding a simple, intuitive way to place big order on their website.

Another thing to account for is the average income that your target audience can provide. B2B companies tend to make large sales to repeat customers, so they generate a lot of revenue. A B2C business would need to sell more products to more customers in order to achieve the same average income as a B2B business.

As B2B businesses sell products in bulk, they will need to constantly replenish their inventory to be able to fulfill large orders. B2C businesses, on the other hand, do not need to replenish their inventory as often.


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3. Classify your clients and profiles by groups


Consider classifying your customers into groups. This will allow you to set pricing, minimum order requirements and specific content for a group, for example (shipping, promotions, and payment options) for each segment.
Based on profiles, you can group B2B clients, including:

  • Selecting a directory
  • Geographical location
  • Number of goods ordered
  • Order volume
  • Frequency change order

And by segmenting them into specific customer groups, you need to customize their shopping cart before choosing a profile. Website content filtering, pricing, payment and shipping options available to them.

B2B organizations may sell at different prices depending on the type of customer or group of customers. Although you only segment your customers to personalize your shopping experience, you will often have to offer special product prices to your more demanding customers.

With the ability to provide customer-dependent pricing, there is a need to create a customer-specific product catalog.

When you have your customer profiles at hand, you can offer them a quick one-click reorder function. This will save them time, if they can access their order history, and copy some of their previous orders.

You might also consider limited access to your eCommerce website for pre-registered customers. It will add security and even exclusivity to their shopping experience.


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4. Define your pricing and discount policy


Usually, B2B buyers buy the goods in bulk, and although your products may be listed, you should still offer additional tiers of discounts based on the total amount that customers order. Your eCommerce platforms may contain several levels of ordered product, allowing you to offer bulk discounts.

If the amount of discounts corresponds to the price level set by the client, you will be able to specify different levels of discounts based on the customer groups assigned to your client base.

Along with pricing and discount policy you may set a minimum order quantity (mostly for B2B cases) for a particular product that the store is ready to sell. In most cases, this is used for bulk purchases, where you usually need to reach a certain amount of goods before you can place an order.


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5. Determine payment options


For B2B and B2C clients, it is equally important to receive payment for customer orders. But in the B2B world, customer relationships already exist, and not every business order can or should process payments online.
For more convenient payment for your B2B customers, you should integrate payment methods such as:

  • Purchase Orders
  • Corporate Accounts
  • NET 30 (60 or 90)
  • Checks

In case of B2C or C2C online payments will prevail. You will need to equip your webshop with common payment processing gateways.


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6. Define the components you want to integrate in your platform


Finally, you should think about features, which are necessary on your eCommerce website.

The most common operations that allow the eCommerce to perform are the following:

  • establishment of commercial contacts and exchange of information in the process of business cooperation;
  • information support for goods and services - providing detailed product features, documentation and answers to consumer questions;
  • direct purchase and sale of goods and services;
  • electronic payment of bills and orders, including through electronic payment systems;
  • distribution of goods that can be transmitted by electronic means, as well as monitoring the execution of orders for physical goods.

Summing up

eCommerce has already seen a huge rise of business interest and is yet far from reaching the ceiling.
Starting an eCommerce business requires comprehensive preparatory investigation. Of course, our list of advice is not exhaustive, but we hope our tips will help you find the right direction.

If you are ready with your eCommerce concept, we’ll be excited to discuss it, and offer the implementation options.

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