To Begin an Ecommerce Business, Solve Problems

There’s a mantra of sorts in entrepreneurial circles which says”do not simply begin a business, solve a problem.” If you solve someone’s problem and generate a must-have merchandise or service that does something more readily, better, less expensively, or simply faster than existing solutions — the thinking goes — you ought to be a success.

This approach isn’t perfect, but it can be a fantastic place to start when you are contemplating launching a new company. Unfortunately, the approach might also be more difficult to execute than it sounds.

There’s a mantra of sorts in entrepreneurial circles which says”do not simply begin a business, solve a problem.”

Lately, a would-be entrepreneur whined because he would read a 2013 Practical Ecommerce post,”4 Tips for Finding Your Own Ecommerce Niche,” but hadn’t really been able to create the tips work, especially the second one,”Solve Your Own Issues”

Just how do you go about identifying problems and creating good, sellable solutions?

Even though it seems a bit cliché, the answer might simply be,”It depends.” Circumstances, financing, technical capabilities, as well as one’s perspective, if you will, of this marketplace can affect an entrepreneur’s ability to spot problem-solving market opportunities.

Nonetheless, in an attempt to help people who are having trouble locating problems to resolve with an ecommerce company, here are three suggestions to help get people thinking in the appropriate direction.

You Don’t Need to Have a New Idea, Just a Better One

Sometimes solving a problem isn’t an issue of creating something entirely new, but instead just doing something slightly better.

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One frequently cited example is Google. Google is a truly multinational Internet services business today, but in January of 1996, it was a research project built not to formulate Internet search, but enhance Internet search.

The very first online search engine was likely a program named Archie, which a trio of postgraduate students at McGill University and Concordia University in Montreal composed in 1990 to index PDF documents. Archie and its ancient successors looked at keyword density to rank web pages and determine what outcomes to show to users. However, Google’s founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, believed there was a better way to address the site position problem, and considered the relationship between pages, instead of just how often a keyword was stuffed into the page’s backup.

Google was a massive success, of course, but, interestingly, it may not even happen to be unique in its own solution to the search engine issue. Robin Li, also working in 1996, developed a similar approach to grading and ranking web pages. His algorithm, known as RankDex, helped Li found Baidu, China’s most popular search engine.

Ecommerce entrepreneurs seeking problems to solve do not necessarily have to be revolutionary, they just have to be a little bit better. For instance, consider how websites like Manpacks or Trunk Club have solved shopping issues for men.

Truck Club simplifies searching for men, which makes it easier for them to be trendy.

Search for Opportunities Close to Home

It could be easier to find market opportunities or issues needing a solution close to home, if you will.

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Here the idea isn’t to attempt to solve issues you don’t know anything about, but instead try to solve issues that you have.

Some consumers pay just about all their bills online and may not have the need to mail something — through the postal service — quite often. When they do need to mail something, they must find an envelope, find a stamp, and receive the subsequent letter to the postman. Is there an opportunity for an ecommerce service that could print and mail letters for a small fee? Maybe. If finding a postage is an issue which you have, you may attempt to find your own solution and promote it.

Look first at the issues or challenges that annoy you, and see if you can solve them.

Look for Opportunities Far Way

Another way to fill gaps and locate problem-solving solutions would be to look abroad.

Create a list of your interests and search for ecommerce companies in Europe, Asia, India, or where that have come up with a creative solution to a problem. Ask yourself whether you can adapt their solution to your area?

For instance, FirstCry, one of Asia’s largest online retailers of baby-related clothing and items, sells brick-and-mortar franchises. Can FirstCry’s franchise program be a solution for the ecommerce transport issue?

Imagine a similar American ecommerce company that sells physical shop franchises.

Local franchised stores could fulfill online orders within their region. The franchise owner would earn money from its share of the online sale, and may bring in nearby shoppers to the store with a coupon or special offer in the box. The online shop, due to its many franchised locations, would have the ability to give free two-day or free next-day delivery, since orders could be transmitted from local shops not warehouses or hubs. The ecommerce company might even offer you free in-store pickup — click-and-collect, if you will.

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Look at what overseas ecommerce companies are doing to find problem-solving solutions.