Ever since the first online transaction happened over 20 years ago, the business of online shopping has not stopped growing, and online trade volume is only going to increase going into the future. Online auction platform eBay and Amazon will always have a first-mover advantage, but that is not to say that the field of e-Commerce does not welcome new players. Over the years, sites such as Taobao, Qoo10 and Lazada have emerged as competitors in online trading. Businesses also continue to create new sites of e-Commerce based on the success model of its predecessors to market their products. With that many e-Commerce portals floating around the web, businesses will have to differentiate themselves if they want to be able to take home a slice of the B2C retail e-Commerce pie, which is predicted to expand to US$1.15 trillion this year.
Here at Script Consultants, we believe that with the right formula, any business can run its own e-Commerce website successfully.
Each completed transaction on eBay allows the user to give a single rating – positive, neutral or negative – and comments about their trading partner. While sites such as Carousell follow this tradition, Amazon uses a scale rating in the form of stars on the products rather than on the buyers and sellers. Regardless of the type of feedback systems, they serve as a visually identifiable online reputation of either the user or the product, allowing buyers and sellers to quickly determine if their trading partner is likely to commit fraud or if the product in question is suited to their needs, giving customers a boost of confidence to carry out and complete their transaction online. Business owners can also use the feedback provided by their customers to find out what customers want.
In its Selling Practices Policy, eBay spells out clearly what sellers are expected to specify in their product description and how they should carry out transactions. If an item violates the law or any of eBay’s policies, eBay reserves the right to remove the item from its listing. While eBay and Amazon only provide rough guidelines on how items should be listed, Lazada goes a step further by regulating that all photos of items uploaded to the site have to have a white background, and that certain information fields have to be filled in. Well-established listing guidelines helps to ensure that items listed on the site have photographs and descriptions which are accurate, complete and easy to understand. They also make for easy sharing on social media by both the business and its customers.
Great Customer Service
Amazon willingly trades off short-term profits for long-term customer loyalty. This online shopping site was unprofitable for a good ten years before it finally earned a full-year profit. eBay also works to minimise fraud and offers Buyer Protection Shield to protect buyers who use their service, ensuring satisfied customers who continue to return to do their online shopping with them. More recently, brands have also begun to service their customers through social media interaction, providing them with quick and thoughtful replies to show off their customer service standards publicly, as well as dishing out promotions to increase their number of followers.
Unless the aim of your business is to overtake eBay and Amazon as a global online auction platform, most companies should be able to successfully run small-scale e-Commerce programmes simply by emulating the customer-centric strategies carried out by the bigger players.