With the advancement of online (web) applications, starting an e-commerce website and selling products online has never been easier. The best part is it sounds easy and it IS easy. So what do you need to start an e-commerce business today? I’d say, around RM10,000 or USD3000 for the investment.
And I wasn’t kidding about the figures. If you’re asking, why are the figures so high? It’s because I’m talking about professionally designed, real search engine optimized, online advertising and marketing type e-commerce businesses. If you’re still saying; but you said it’s so easy to start selling online today, yes I did say it but easy doesn’t always equal to cheap. Let me give you a quick breakdown of where the investment would and should go if you wanted to start an e-commerce business.
Here are the essential items you’ll need to start an e-commerce business today:
- E-commerce website design
- E-commerce online application
- E-commerce payment gateway
- Search engine optimization or marketing
- Online advertising
I didn’t include any figures because price is subjective. Especially in this dog gone saturated website design and development market in Malaysia. But I’ll explain a little why these are the essential items.
E-commerce website design
If you’ve read about the perfect e-commerce layout, you would understand why this should be an investment. If you hadn’t, then picture yourself in a supermarket where you want to purchase an item you have never purchased before but need it now. If you’re alone, the packaging design is one of the first to influence your purchase decision.
E-commerce online application
If I added a product to my shopping cart, it goes into my shopping cart list. The online application part is for you to manage your products easily ad track your sales. A well-planned and well-built online e-commerce application is one you would find easy to use. And I dare say, require little to no training on how to use it.
E-commerce payment gateway
You need this! It’s the tool used to process online payments. The cost of it may not be expensive but remember to calculate in the setup and monthly maintenance cost.
E-commerce warehousing and logistics
Instead of keeping goods in your room and digging for the customer’s product, there are available warehouse solutions which cater to e-commerce store owners. Some have solutions which are linked up with a picking and packing system to get their products faster. One of the solutions I found was like; Schaefer Systems.
Search engine optimization (SEO) or Search engine marketing (SEM)
Besides keywords and key phrases, a reputable company who specializes in this will help your website improve a lot in the search engines. Plus, I’m not talking about the ones who throw the guarantee marketing pitch in your face. Those are false claims if not done in methods which may get you banned.
I’ve had a hands-on experience finding out offline advertising is still required in Malaysia if you want to tap the demographics here. Due to our mediocre (if not, lousy) Internet penetration and usage in Malaysia, most users visit a website after seeing the print advertisement or video commercial. Also from what I heard, newspaper advertising costs a bomb.
So yeah, starting an e-commerce business in Malaysia is easy. If you want cheap, you will get cheap and find yourself spending more down the road. If you invested enough, you would kickstart your online business venture with less worries and with less future spending.
Anyone else would like to add to the above or have any comments they’d like to share? I know you do so let it be heard or read.