Not all eCommerce businesses are the same, and not all successful eCommerce businesses are the same. However, all the successful ones do fit into similar moulds.
By consciously building your business based on one of these structures, you will build a better business faster.
I have identified that successful eCommerce businesses follow one of seven business structures:
- Online Only – the only way to see the products is online
- Mail Order – a transactional website plus a printed catalogue, and possibly one or two physical stores
- Big Bricks and Clicks – lots of physical stores and an eCommerce website
- Boutique Bricks and Clicks – just one or two physical locations plus the eCommerce website
- Mainstream PiggyBack – using the likes of Amazon or eBay to market the products, with no website of their own
- Niche PiggyBack – where sellers of similar products come together to market more easily, usually retaining their own blog or eCommerce site elsewhere too. The craft world (Etsy, Folksy), Hotels (hotels.com, laterooms.com), jewellery (Boticca), and Books (abebooks.co.uk) are just a handful of examples.
- Full Multichannel – Using multiple shops, catalogues, and eCommerce – by far the most complex and most difficult to achieve and run (e.g. Bravissimo, Crew Clothing, Next).
If your eCommerce business is to be successful it needs to fit into one of these seven structures. Over the years it may progress between them – so you may start on a Niche PiggyBack structure, move to an Online Only, and finally a Boutique Bricks and Clicks.
You can find a case study for each by clicking the links above – or for the full information get your hands on a copy of eCommerce MasterPlan 1.8.