Want to run a successful, long-lived eCommerce enterprise? Having business acumen is a good start, and so is working hard in pursuit of your goals. Unfortunately, navigating the path ahead demands more than random luck or mere motivation. Although 2019 is full of opportunities for eCommerce businesses, you need to work hard to avoid mistakes.
What’s the one sin that you shouldn’t commit with your business? It’s failing to have the right product suppliers and manufacturers in place before opening your virtual doors. Here’s how a disjointed supply chain might cripple your fledgling business. Then, learn some ways to ensure you don’t drop the ball.
Learning From Failures
Although it may seem obvious that you need a dependable supplier for business profitably, there are hidden facets to your final decision. eCommerce firms with otherwise promising business models often fall short in this area. The companies that are meant to make dreams reality often miss the mark.
Not convinced? Look at what makes other companies fail, and you’ll realize how an improved supply chain will solve your problems. According to Entrepreneur magazine, there are several main reasons for poor eCommerce performance:
- Poor quality product images and descriptions have a tough time convincing consumers to transact. Working with a reputable, timely supplier gives you more leeway to focus on other processes. You need time to generate engaging sales copy and create attractive listing images to help shoppers decide to buy. While you should never simply copy-and-paste a supplier’s product description, using their literature for inspiration can help you identify differentiators that serve as the cornerstones of marketing campaigns.
- Hidden fees and unreasonable prices can instantly turn your greatest fans into your biggest haters. Consumers want to know what they’re paying up front. Your prices also need to hit a certain sweet spot to prevent people from perceiving your goods as overly costly or cheaply made. Established manufacturers with steady outputs may facilitate more consistent product marketing by empowering you to set firm prices and experiment with events like flash sales.
- Targeting uninterested audiences is a common mistake that routinely sets companies back to square one. Since there’s no substitute for real consumer feedback, you should seek out supply partners that are willing to hook you up — Free samples, research models and mockups are integral to the research and development processes that precede a lucrative product launch.
While these are just a few of the errors that might hamper your eCommerce dreams, they go to show how your supplier choices can impact every aspect of your firm. Imagine that you’re operating a drop-ship business. If your spotty vendor makes it impossible to pick core products to focus your brand persona around, you’ll find it impossible to distinguish yourself from the competition.
Supplier problems may be even more pronounced for companies that sell their own original tech. A firm that sells smart home accessories might go with the cheapest embedded microphone technology vendor it can find, but if this choice exposes consumers to identity theft and hacks, the brand could suffer irrecoverably. No matter whether you’re reselling products made by others or trying to wow the world with your innovative designs, it’s critical to select your supply partners with care.
How to Choose a Company to Make Your Product
What makes a particular supplier dependable, cost-effective and fun to work with? Finding a company to make your product, requires you to take an introspective look at your business model. When judging different manufacturing companies and component suppliers, consider the following questions:
- Will the supplier modify their existing products to include your branding and broaden your advertising footprint? Can they create variations according to your specifications and feedback, such as by building models in different colors or producing special seasonal styles?
- Does this supplier offer billing discount programs or let you purchase on revolving credit?
- How long will the vendor’s manufacturing lead times be? Is the company resilient enough to work with your schedule in case you need to place a rush order? Remember that choosing an overseas vendor might increase product wait times.
- Does the company have a track record of successfully making similar products in the past?
- If you’re fabricating something from the ground up, how many free do-overs is the vendor willing to accommodate? It may be more profitable to keep some of your preliminary development and testing work in house.
- Can the supplier work with your drop-shipping partners and supply chain to make it easier to get orders out to consumers?
Evaluating Your Supplier Choices
Always approach these problems in the context of your business model. For example, if you generate buzz via social media and influencer partnerships, you’ll need to work with a flexible company. Find a supplier that’s flexible enough to produce items in small batches as well as large runs. If you’re selling low-cost household goods with a focus on volume, then you might benefit from finding a supplier that can connect you with fulfillment companies and existing distribution networks.
Consumers love eCommerce because it’s straightforward and easy. You should apply that same philosophy of convenience behind the scenes. In other words, your supply partners need to adapt to your business model instead of asking you to move heaven and earth to suit theirs. Even though there are situations where you may want to shift your stance to accommodate others, don’t. When a vendor offers you a discounted rate for making a larger purchase, you might want to make an exception.
The Worst Transgression of Bad eCommerce Supply Strategies
eCommerce appeals to business owners who prefer to do things their way. The same technological marvels that make shopping a more enjoyable experience for customers can revolutionize your outlook on running a healthy firm. From secure payment systems and advertising to shipping and customer engagement, eCommerce platforms give entrepreneurs the tools to go further with their businesses.
Above all else, ensure that your supply partners can keep up with your online company’s growth. Seek out manufacturers and suppliers whose practices align with yours. You will find them much easier to work with as you scale your operations.
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