The market dynamics and competitive strategy have changed a lot in the ecommerce ecosystem. Big companies like Amazon and Alibaba dominate the B2C and B2B segment respectively, leaving less space for entrepreneurs establish their ecommerce startup.
According to BigCommerce, 40% of Americans in rural areas have shopped at category-specific online stores. The rise of niche or category-specific ecommerce businesses means that entrepreneurs have a chance to turn their ecommerce business idea into reality while facing minimal competition from big companies.
Aspiring entrepreneurs thinking of starting an ecommerce business should devise strategy to satisfy the demands of their target customer – the local audience and focus on a specific niche. However, to build a winning-strategy for local audience, you need to research competitors, focus on providing better user experience, etc.
To help you start your ecommerce business, we have compiled following steps, which you should consider before starting an ecommerce website for local audience.
Know what works locally
Segment your customers based on various criterias such as:
- The products they buy
- Their household income, etc.
Knowing such vital information about your target audience will form the base on top of which you can devise better strategies. Such knowledge can benefit your ecommerce venture by converting one-time buyers into repeat customers.
This will also give you an idea about which niche ecommerce business you wish to focus on. There are many options, such as:
- Health products and fitness equipments ecommerce business
- Luxury organic clothing ecommerce website, etc.
Looking for an affordable yet feature-rich ecommerce marketplace platform?
Know your competitors
Conducting an in-depth competitor analysis can help boost profits by devising superior marketing, product, and business strategies. However, before you dive into conducting competitor research, know how competitor research can help you build robust strategy for your ecommerce business.
There are plethora of benefits, which you can take advantage of by conducting an in-depth competitor research, such as:
- Sell products at a competitive price
- Know which product is being preferred within the community
- Know the keywords used by your competitors for ranking in search results
Select a Business and Revenue Model
After you have analyzed most sold products and competitors in your community, it is time to choose a business model and sources of revenue.
Depending on the resources you have at your disposal and the analysis done, you can choose an appropriate business model – B2B or B2C.
Another important thing to consider beforehand is whether you want to open a multi vendor ecommerce website or single store.
Multi vendor Ecommerce Marketplace – Multi Vendor marketplaces are easier to manage as delivery and product management is handled by seller.
- Easy to maintain and scale
- Less investment and more profit
Single Store Ecommerce Website – For entrepreneurs, who want to sell their own products. Being the owner, you will be responsible for listing products and handling other operations as well, such as delivery, website content, etc.
- Gives more control over business
- Owner can choose which products to make and market
Selecting multiple sources of revenue is important as one source is not sufficient to drive profit at community level. To make an informed decision, it is important that you research available revenue streams being used by ecommerce businesses.
Choosing an Ecommerce Website
Selection of Technology
While choosing the technology, which you wish to build your ecommerce marketplace/store with, will largely depend on the following:
- The budget you have
- Availability of technical expertise
- Time to deploy the product and make the business profitable
You should take technical expertise seriously as building an ecommerce website for local audience will require different features, such as:
- Rating and reviews
- Rewards for loyal customers
- Discount coupon feature, etc.
Almost all of the above-mentioned requirements can be fulfilled with php as it provides flexibility and security. By using this open source technology, you can also benefit from the availability of professional help at affordable price as well.
Choose the Right Solution Type
Depending on the budget and availability of time, you can choose between two different types of solutions – hosted, self-hosted, and custom.
Hosted Ecommerce Marketplace / Store – If you don’t want to spend months build an ecommerce website and prefer to start your ecommerce business within few days, choose hosted ecommerce solution.
- Entrepreneurs who want to test the market first without spending too much
- Entrepreneurs with less technical know-how
Self-Hosted Ecommerce Marketplace / Store – If you want a ready-to-use ecommerce website and have the technical know-how to modify it, choose a self-hosted solution. The ecommerce website will be hosted on your server, giving you access to the source code as well.
- Techno-entrepreneurs, who want access to source code
- Who want more control on ecommerce website with own server
Custom Developed Ecommerce Marketplace / Store – Ecommerce businesses or offline business that already have an established business.
- Sellers with established business
- Entrepreneurs, who want to provide better user experience
- Improved branding and custom features to engage local audience
Starting an ecommerce business for local audience means, you have to pay special attention to people near you. It can include giving loyalty benefits, rewards, etc., to customers. However, there is a lot more you need to consider before starting your ecommerce business and the above-mentioned points will help you make a better decision.