If there is any area that the coronavirus pandemic has brought an increase in, it is undoubtedly e-commerce. Even before the pandemic, the Czech Republic was one of the five largest European e-commerce markets. In 2019, the turnover of this segment exceeded 155 billion Czech crowns. Slovakia is not far behind either, where in the same year the turnover of e-commerce increased to 1.36 billion euros. In 2020, e-commerce made a huge boom, because the pandemic situation that occurred caused the area to grow much faster than it was in 2019.

"According to estimates, the year-on-year growth in turnover in Czech e-commerce in 2020 will reach a value of up to 25%. In the Slovak market, for example, in March 2020, the volume of online sales increased by up to 54%," says Štěpán Mrázek, CEO of oXyShop, a company specializing in e-commerce. At the same time, he adds that this is not a short-term phenomenon and we will probably never return to the initial situation before the pandemic broke out. Therefore, if you are considering entering e-commerce, right now you have the ideal opportunity to jump on an imaginary train.

Build the e-shop on a solid foundation

The first phase is to determine the demand. As mentioned above, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are e-shop countries and therefore there is no shortage of interest. The gap between small and large e-shops is opening up more and more on the Slovak market. Here, especially the larger ones may have problems standing out among the competition. But this situation can be a great opportunity.

In this situation, small e-shops have the advantage of greater flexibility and dynamism, as they are able to adapt significantly to the circumstances. With a properly set marketing strategy, you can, so to speak, play the game according to your own rules.

The good news in this step is that you already have the basics done from the past and you don't have to start from scratch. Although financial investments will be needed in the beginning of e-shops, they are usually smaller than, for example, in brick-and-mortar stores. The reason is clear - you have the supplier, goods and processes ready, as well as the essentials of the brand.

As for customers, you probably already have them. It is therefore enough to think about what customers most often solve when shopping online, what they like about e-shops and what, on the contrary, reliably discourages them. Turn the same thought effort inwards. What does your e-shop bring to customers, and why should they buy from you? Then set your marketing strategy according to the answers.

Definitely do not underestimate the investment in a quality ERP system

With the finished basics, you can move on to the challenges and needs that are associated with the e-shop itself. "First of all, it is necessary to consider the selection of a suitable e-shop solution and related operations, ie hosting, domains and administration. Here, the price and the offer vary depending on whether you choose a ready-made box solution, or you go the more complicated and long way of your own choice, "says Slavomíra Vígová, Money ERP sales manager from Solitea Slovensko. It is also necessary to keep in mind that the e-shop is not a one-time investment. Money will need to be spent on the development of the e-shop, in its marketing support, because trends and competition are changing from year to year, and technologies are also moving forward.

With the transition to e-commerce, the importance of warehouse logistics and transport will increase. Here, for example, it is necessary to prepare enough space, material and time for packing goods - something you probably didn't have to deal with so far. Brand new cost areas are also waiting for you, in particular freight transport and payment administration. In particular, the latter area must be prepared for the fact that e-shop sales usually increase the volume of refunds and claims.

The smallest e-shops will suffice with a pencil and paper, or a spreadsheet in Excel. However, if you plan to develop an e-shop and a product portfolio, the old ways of organization may not be enough for you in the future. Here is a good time to look at a suitable ERP system (Enterprise Resource Planning).

As Slavomíra Vígová from Solitea Slovensko adds: “A suitable ERP system will be able to significantly streamline warehouse management, accounting and transport. At the same time, it automates a number of routine processes, reduces shipping errors and unifies everything needed into one clear system. In addition to saving time and money, the salesperson will also speed up all processes of his business. "

While investing in an ERP system may seem unnecessarily high at first, in the event of a rapidly growing business, such software covers the entrepreneur's back and helps him maintain the system and visibility in a large number of processes. And just a rapid increase, but insufficient preparation is often the point where a number of e-shops collapse despite the fact that they had a decent future.

Source: // Systémy logistiky