What products should you offer when setting up an e-commerce shop? PChome Chairman Hung-Tze Jan answers this and other questions
Have you ever imagined the likes of Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Jack Ma of Alibaba, Hiroshi Mikitani of Rakuten speaking live in your local conference?
Even though none of them have ever spoken officially in any event in Malaysia, we are equally lucky to have another charismatic e-commerce leader from Taiwan - Hung-Tze Jan (詹宏志) who is the Chairman of PChome speaking here not long ago.
Jan, who is also the President of Taiwan Internet and E-Commerce Association (TIEA), had brought a group of successful internet entrepreneurs to share their experiences and tips at recently held Malaysia-Taiwan Internet Business Summit 2014.
The tips do not apply just to Malaysia, but are also applicable in developing e-commerce countries in Southeast Asia. Before we start, take a look at Jan’s thoughts on how to wow customers like Yunye Meat Curd.
Starting your e-commerce business
Don’t keep asking “how” before you start; open an online store first, then only start asking. It is not advisable to spend too much time researching on how to start your e-commerce business, there are so many dynamics to learn, solve and grow after setting up your online store.
There is no doubt that e-commerce is one of the best routes for entrepreneurship. It is also the best business expansion strategy for brick and mortar.
The whole e-commerce environment and infrastructure is growing fast with plenty of opportunities; so, do you prefer to stand aside, or jump in, learn and grow?
There are even more encouragements if you are an entrepreneur, or a small and medium business. This is because the big retailers are usually too slow to adapt to e-commerce.
Choosing the products or services to sell online
The most straightforward option is none other than the existing products or services that you are currently offering.
However, the most important question that you need to ask yourself is whether people need your products or services online now, and in the future? If the answer is no, try to think of something new rather than just transforming your existing business; start afresh and forget about what you currently have.
For brick and mortar retail, many still having concerns on how their online store will affect their physical outlets. You have to plan and execute your online store separately from your existing retail business (which of course, is important for you now), but you should also prepare for the future of shopping.
Think of something that you have or believe, and how you are able to deliver value to the consumers.
Appreciating your customers
The customer journey starts from searching and discovering products to overcoming the trust barrier — buying from new seller, paying online, and exposing their personal details.
It is definitely a much more complicated process if compared to just walking in to a retail outlet.
This is a relationship which is not easy to come by. As a merchant, what’s the better way to reward them by keeping your promise, springing surprise and providing excellent service in return?
Building your e-commerce operation framework
Having said that, it is not only the speed of service that you need to strive for.
It is more important to acquire traffic to your online store, build word-of-mouth and optimise the operation framework, which includes product sourcing, warehouse management, fulfillment process, etc.
Doing e-commerce is all about accumulating your knowledge, experience, workflow in order to optimise the experience for your customers.