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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

How to launch a sustainable online store ?

Are you boarding the Digital boat? – a necessity for business 

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How to launch an online store 


Currently standing as one of the top 10 largest markets for e-commerce by revenues, Australia is perfectly poised for a steady growth in the coming years. Also according to Statista, the User penetration is expected to hit 89.2% by 2023 relative to 80.8% in 2019. With stage set for a major shift in the customer preferences, the key question that remains in this context is are we (as business) catching up with our customer expectations? Personally, I have experienced the shift in the mindset of business owners, because in the last 5 years I have been helping home-grown brands setup a digital shop or fine-tune the existing one. Hence, avoiding the digital boat would be an impediment to the business growth. In this regard, I would like to dwell on the cost-effective methods that aid brands to move swiftly on to the digital platform.

Why not start on Amazon or e bay?

Well, given the size of the business, registering in marketplaces is one of the easiest ways of starting digital platform. With plenty of user and seller base, these platforms become the obvious choices for brands to start an online store and moreover, the upfront capital cost for building an own store is minimized in this case. Besides above, the biggest advantage in this set-up is that the operational chores are handled by these 3rd party marketplaces resulting in using the time efficiently for the business owner. 

On the flipside, the disadvantages in this model are high commissions, lack of customer insights and mad competition would create bitter experiences for starters. Having said that, if used strategically it is a good place for brand exposure, new product testing for businesses. Learn more about the new seller registration process here. Let’s explore the options of building an own store

I would like to have my own store in place – That is also a good option if you have resources

As we move towards the standardization of E Commerce sector, there are plenty of options for quickly launching own site. However, it is important to do the math before going for any of this option i.e. deciding before gauging your resources with respect to time, money and manpower. Once the future returns are promising, working on this solution would sound wise. Subsequently, creation of website with content and hosting needs to be planned. Well, there are many CMS tools (Wordpress, Confluence, Joomla, Wrike etc.,) that makes the life easier for the development team, however there is also an option to build the site ground up. I would recommend going for CMS suites as there would be plugins that are efficiently designed by fellow develops. This would reduce the effort exponentially by not reinventing the wheel. With regards to hosting (godaddy.com, woocommerce etc.,), there are plenty of plans available for hosting the developed site with options like upgrade options, add-on domains, support, control panel and server responsiveness. Besides above option, there is an option to select online store solutions one can look at as detailed below

Is going for online store software the best solution? – Leveraging COTS solutions for the launch

Business decisions like size, growth and products play a key role in selecting the launching options. While it is a business centric decision and depend on business variables, I personally recommend brands of decent sizes to go with this option primarily because of the following reasons 

1. End to end application solution and support  
2. Effective features 
3. Best price

There are ample solution providers in the space and few like BigCommerce, Shopify, Volusion etc., standouts based on the reach (clients base) and completeness of the e-commerce functionality. Features like Themes, Responsiveness, Hosting, Customer information, Payment processing, Analytics, CMS, SEO and support increase the propensity of the customers to go for these options.  Hence, it is a very profitable model for businesses to launch the online store on any of the above platforms for effectively handling the sales and finally for building a sustainable online selling business. 

I conclude this article by letting the readers know that in the coming days, I would like to share my insights on the functioning, features and implementation of online store software solutions that helps business owners to sail the digital boat steadily i.e. integrate the traditional store into a profitable e-commerce platform.


Phani Kumar is a solution architect for E Commerce entities. He is currently providing technology consulting to homegrown e-commerce brands of Australia. He resides in Melbourne and has great appetite for new technologies and start-up companies. He is open to discuss business ideas, technology updates and networking. He can be reached at phanikumar_rentachintala@live.com

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