Everyday we receive an inquiry of some young entrepreneur who wants to make the next Amazon-like or Facebook-like website. They all have big dreams and are highly ambitious, which is a really amazing thing. In fact, even our colleagues and impaneled web developers get such inquires regularly. But more than 90% of such online entrepreneurs are not able to take their businesses off the ground for a long period of time. In fact, some ecommerce websites are not even able to survive till their next renewal date. One of the main reasons which we noticed is because they refused to start small or have a scalable plan. Everyone wanted to start big overnight, but the problem was that they were gambling on other people’s money. This article explains why it is most important to do a test run of your ecommerce website, before you put it into a production environment.
Knowing what hardware your website requires can be determined only when you have a live website with real users using it. This may be simulated before you push your site into a production environment, using various benchmarking tools. Else you may want to push your site into a production environment and test it out live, with real products and services. A Test Run of a live website on a small scale is ideal for any type of business or website. Hardware like RAM, CPU, Processing Power etc. are all dependent on the type of website you are going to host. You also need to know how much content each user will pull and for how long. If you are offering some online service, like audio or video streaming, you may not fit into a shared hosting plan. Similarly, if you are hosting a small ecommerce site with only a couple of products, investing in a dedicated or VPS Server maybe a waste of money.
How many people do you need to man your ecommerce website? Will all the automation in your website help you reduce your actual work force? Or will you still need supervisors and managers? This depends mainly on the real experiences that you will have and how well your team will be able to handle the load. This is exactly the reason why you need to start testing with a small manageable website and then scale up to whatever size you can afford. The whole purpose of having an ecommerce website and not a brick and mortar store is so that you can sell your products globally, without much human intervention. Everything should be automatic and systematic.
If you thought that setting up an ecommerce website is as easy as putting a blog together, you are wrong. An eCommerce site has several different intricacies which you need to deal with in order to gain satisfied customers. Choosing a payment gateway, choosing a courier or delivery company, storing the goods, labelling and packaging are all part and parcel of selling products online. All companies attempt to cut costs by optimizing these “aids to trade” and reducing any wastage in the distribution channels. You can try and test various vendors and various allied services extensively, when you have a website. This way you wont burn your fingers (very badly) and will be able to test the waters of your industry before stepping up your operations.
Although you may have pre-decided on whom your target audience should be, you will realize that things may change over time and you may have to change your own perception about your business. For determining successfully, which Socio Economic class of persons you should target and which geographic location should you market yourself to, your website statistics will play an important role. The only limitation in determining this is that you need to have a live website to test-launch your product or service. This is where the test website plays an invaluable role. Within 6 months of running the test website, you should be able to determine exactly how your campaigns and marketing is working out and whether it is bringing in the desired revenue or you should fish out greener pastures to hunt for clients.
A website can be a game changer for your market or industry and you maybe able to break many psychological barriers with a successful website. But how should you market your product? Is online advertising working out for you? You can find this out only when you have a website up and running. But you can’t necessarily take a chance with a full scale website, which depends on the money of many investors. Instead of taking such a huge risk, you might as well start small and build on your website swiftly. This will allow you to gauge the pulse of the market and help you understand new trends and techniques which are helping you get customers. Unlike selling offline, ecommerce websites have the ability of tracking and determining exactly how the customer came to your website and what influenced his decision to buy a product or leave your website.