E-commerce basics

In e-commerce entrepreneurs get very excited about the opportunity, but like all retail, it is about the detail of execution that can make the difference between success and failure.

So here is my view of the absolute basics you need to get right (it is my view and not totally extensive!)


Having products in stock when a consumer arrives at your website is pretty basic, but even large retailers struggle with availability. Recent J Sainsbury’s results show that having a complete basket for customers can create a massive advantage compared to competitors.

Speedy delivery (actually certainty of delivery)

A no brainer to me, if you buy the goods then get them to the consumer quickly, linked obviously to availability but so important. Next Day delivery is really a prerequisite of happy customers in my book, but if you can’t offer next day then being specific about the delivery day and making a commitment to the customer to deliver on that day!


Make the purchase process simple, from any device.

If you can get these few things right, you are in a good place to sell online. Forget the techie mumbo jumbo about SEO, apps etc – retail is about detail – no matter if it’s offline or online.

Now if you can get these things working then you are in a great position against most of your competitors, so you should be able to grab market share from them. By becoming good at the basics you will get fantastic word of mouth referral, happy customers, low returns and repeat orders.

I buy most everyday items from Amazon because I trust that they will get these things right (I am an Amazon Prime member so they have also locked me in).

Notice I haven’t talked about price yet, you can grab share with price promotion but if you fail on these basics the customer won’t stick around.

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