How to Maintain Product Range in e-Commerce
In the 21st Century it’s incredibly easy to launch an e-Commerce business. In fact, if you have an account on a website like eBay, you’ve engaged in e-Commerce whether you thought of it in those terms or not. e-Commerce is so mature and well-developed because while it might seem like a modern development, it’s actually been evolving for decades.
The roots of modern e-Commerce go back to the 1960s with the introduction of the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). This financial transaction system freed businesses around the world from paper;. Previously everything had to be done via post or other hardcopy transmission. The EDI laid the primitive infrastructure necessary for e-Commerce to begin setting out roots.
In the late 1970s and 1980s, networked computers became a slow reality, with Arpanet in the USA and Minitel in Europe coming a little before the curve. Minitel came closest to true success; by the end of the 1990s it had nearly 25 million users. But the system peaked in 1991, a few years before the advent of the true ”œkiller App”� of e-Commerce: The World Wide Web. The World Wide Web brought visuals to networked computers, and the modern, easy-to-enter age of e-Commerce was born.
Challenge of e-Commerce: How to Maintain Product Range
But the low bar for entry into the field of e-Commerce doesn’t translate to simplicity of success; as many people find out every day, launching an e-Commerce business is easy, but being successful at it is not.
One major challenge for people in e-Commerce is choosing and then learning how to maintain product range. Even when people take the time to perform with due diligence and narrow their product range to a niche line that performs well with keywords in search engines and makes management theoretically easier, it’s still often very challenging to maintain the product range effectively, even if they are able to employ e-Commerce Data Entry Operators for the task. There are a few steps that every e-Commerce business, large or small, must take in order to ensure its product range is properly maintained.
Steps to Maintain Product Range
- Gather Customer Feedback:Â There is always a gap between expectation and performance. Sometimes the products in our product range that seem the most likely to explode and become successes, sell weakly. If you wait until sales performance is obvious, you’ve wasted a lot of time when your customers will tell you, in real-time, exactly what they think of every product you offer. Ask them, and give them the tools to let you know.
- Track Sales:Â This is obvious, and yet many e-Commerce businesses miss out on this golden opportunity to see what’s happening so you can properly maintain product range. You’ve done your sales projections, and unless you expect sales to explode in the final week of the quarter for some mysterious reason, you should be able to lay your plans for next quarter in the early goings.
- Capture Time Metrics:Â Sales and volume are one thing, but you also have to consider how much effort and how many resources go into each sale. If you and your sales team have to devote money and time to each and every sale, it erodes your profit margins and takes resources away from the rest of your product line. Part of working to maintain product range is identifying products that don’t have a good ROI and eliminating them despite strong sales ”“ or finding ways to sell them with less effort.
- Review the Optics:Â Before you decide to eliminate a product, consider whether you can rectify identified problems. In addition to responses to customer feedback and other considerations, packaging and marketing may be a factor. A regular review of both combined with customer feedback can be incredibly powerful in the battle to properly maintain product range.
Your business is your products. Maintaining your product line is an essential part of long-term success. E-Commerce may be easy to break into in the modern age, but the traditional, old-school best practices in business haven’t changed much.
– Data Czar @ DEO