How to Get Started Online
There’s not always a need to reinvent the wheel. Martin Newman
Retail expert Martin Newman of Practicology answers your starter questions.
1 What’s my starting point?
Decide your customer value proposition. What are you selling? What competition is out there including established stores-based retailer? Why should customers come and buy from you?
2 Do I need a business plan?
A plan will help you document what you’re trying to do and work through your customer value proposition. It will help you work out the costs, how you will promote and market your product and what the opportunity is.
3 How will I know if I have a good proposition or not?
Gut instinct is normally the best barometer but also do your research. Talk to family and friends. If you encourage them to be, they’re likely to be the most open. You could also ask your own social media network if you’re happy to do that.
4 How much time will I need for planning?
That depends how you’re funding it. If you’re going to the bank, you will need to spend more time and put more rigour around the planning process. If not, you can be more fleet of foot and make decisions more quickly. You’ll probably need a good month or two to do a decent amount of planning.
5 Do I need to find a niche to be successful online?
Not necessarily. There’s not always a need to reinvent the wheel. Look at AO.com, it worked out there is a new and better way to buy an electrical product online. Could you come up with something similar for another retail sector?
6 How do I choose an ecommerce platform?
Think from a customer point of view. If you were buying, what customer functionality would you like? Try and buy products from other websites to give you a feel for the type of experience you want to offer.
7 How much will it cost?
There are lots of cost-effective low-cost ecommerce platforms and solutions that can deliver against the experience and get you up and running for under £10,000. One mistake is to try to build the technology yourself. My view is it’s better to use what’s already been developed for the market.