Owning and operating your own ecommerce site is an exciting experience that puts you in control. But not all e-stores are built the same, nor should they be. A successful ecommerce vendor knows how to best appeal to their target audience; whether it be through branding, an active social media presence or stellar marketing.
Yet another way to establish a loyal following is to employ an ecommerce model that works for you. Will you sell your own products, or someone else’s? Various e-store builders offer ecommerce business resources to help vendors determine the best structure for their products and their target shoppers.
Below are a few different models to consider when creating your virtual storefront.
Business to Consumer
The B2C model is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of ecommerce. A brand develops its own products and sells them online. Simple stuff, right?
There are pros and cons to the B2C model, of course. While startup brands have almost perfect control over the consumer experience, they also carry all the burden. Not to mention, it can be very difficult establishing yourself as a new comer in an already crowded market. To make this work, you need to ask yourself how to draw in new customers and inspire loyalty.
Retail ecommerce, on the other hand, host products from a variety of brands (often bought wholesale) and then resells them for a profit. If you curate your offerings, you can establish your brand as ‘the one stop shop for everything cool,’ even if you don’t sell your own products.
But obviously, this model isn’t perfect either. Since you are reselling other people’s merchandise, you might suffer from manufacturing mishaps, product deficiencies or inventory hiccups that are outside of your control. This isn’t a death sentence. It just means you need to communicate with your suppliers and make a little extra effort to appease frustrated shoppers with exceptional customer service.
Subscription or Box Model
Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you have a set number of returning customers each month? Introducing the subscription or ‘box’ model. Consumers pay a recurring fee for products on a consistent basis. There is a box for everything now, including snacks, shaving products, seasonal goods, art supplies and more.
One drawback of the box model is that it is very hard to upsell. Instead you have an average order value that is pretty much set in stone, unless you sell peripheral goods, which involves accessories that help enhance the primary product or service but are not necessary.
Drop Shipping Model
Drop shipping has grown in popularity in recent years because it eliminates the need for in-house inventory management or fulfillment. Instead, a shopper buys something from your online store, the order is sent to distributors, wholesalers or manufactures, and then ships to the buyer.
This might sound like a godsend to some e-store vendors who want to remove themselves from the process while still turning a buck; others may feel too removed, preferring the hands-on models above. It’s really up to you.
The ‘try-on’ model was built to eliminate one of the biggest drawbacks of ecommerce. Namely, the inability to try on or physically examine products before you buy them. This typically devolves into numerous purchases and returns to find the right size or products, which can be very frustrating for vendors and consumers.
Instead, the try-on model sends customers a few items to get acquainted with before purchasing their favorites. Warby Parker is a classic example of this technique, and it’s elevated them as one most innovative companies in the world.
However, there are some difficulties to this method including inventory management and high shipping costs. So, this may be best reserved for small fashion accessories or ritzy e-stores.
Have you found a solution that matches your stated goals? You can always mix and match these technique for even greater success if you are willing to put in the work. No one said ecommerce was easy, but with a little experimentation it can be very rewarding!
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