I’m giving away the internal process we use to structure a successful eCommerce business today. Strap yourself in.

But first, a little back story –

When I closed down my first company, Trefiel, I spent close to 12 months freaking out about what I was going to do next. Because I didn’t have a plan and freelancing giveaway campaigns and email marketing to small eCommerce businesses was not floating my boat.

I knew I wasn’t ready to start an eCommerce business, but I also knew that I desperately craved the feeling of running a business again.

So, like most people who can’t figure something out, I spent much of the 12 months procrastinating. I say procrastinating, but now that I look back on it, it was really research.

I was studying the biggest eCommerce businesses in the world and those who were using business to drive change with every spare second I had.

What I learnt in that time is the basis of how we launch eCommerce businesses as part of my eCommerce consultancy, Business 2iC, and how I’m building my new eCommerce business, Matter Skin Care.

Okay, back story established – let’s get to the value for you.

The 4 Pillars of a Successful eCommerce Business

If you’re building an eCommerce business, these are the four parts of the business that I would personally recommend you focus on fleshing out deeply –

  1. Product
  2. People
  3. Process
  4. Profit

Sounds simple, right?

Let’s take a closer look at each so you know what each of those means.

Product

We all know a successful physical product business needs a great product. But what I’ve seen in my market research and what I know to be true from a consumer perspective is this –

People want ethical products.

They may not align with a sustainable lifestyle, they may not even be vegan but they do want to feel good about the products they buy.

So wherever possible, your product needs to align with that desire – as far as the materials or ingredients it uses, the packaging you choose and the processes that you have internally to make the product.

The better it is, the more people will enjoy buying it.

People

Speaking of people, who are your people? What we noticed in successful businesses and what we’ve seen time and time again in building our client’s businesses and our own eCommerce businesses is a deep understanding of your customers and a very specific niche.

Coming up with your niche actually has a surprising amount to do with you, the Founder, than you would think. As business owners, our business becomes a reflection of ourselves – especially in the early stages of the business where you’re doing all the work.

So, who are you as a person? Why did you start the company? And who’s going to resonate with that?

Because that Founder story must be a part of the 6-month launch roadmap and it’s critical to understand who is going to resonate with that.

Process

This part is really about the culture of the company and how you run your business. Ultimately, this is service design and it’s thinking about how you can enhance the experience of your customer, who may never had this level of service before (if you do it right).

So at each touch point for the customer, designing how you handle their experience is key to giving an overall feel of the brand and also for embedding yourself into your customer’s life.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself –

  • How do you do business?
  • What are your rules of being in business?
  • How do you handle negative situations in business?
  • What are your processes in refunds, returns and exchanges?

Profit

While this isn’t a mandatory choice, we are noticing and seeing the power of eCommerce harnessed for good. Not only in that businesses are capable of making very real change with a percentage of their profits, but they’re able to align their profit philosophy with their customer’s own interests and desire for change.

This has been by far the most powerful addition to our eCommerce pillar framework and what I think helps all physical product businesses stand out from other businesses which do the exact same thing.

That’s all you need to do to build a successful eCommerce business!

Okay, just kidding.

There’s quite a bit more to it than that (which you already know if you’re reading this). But these four pillars will be the foundation of creating a business that consumers give a damn about. And that is easily one of the hardest parts in today’s saturated world.

If you want to dive deeper into how you need to develop these four pillars to make your eCommerce business successful, you can book in a free 60-minute call below with our Director, Lucy Bloomfield, to chat all things eCommerce.

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