eCommerce exploded in 2011 and the exponential growth triggered a wave of new retailers to set up shop online. Large players like Myer and Harvey Norman have begun flexing their muscles, while innovative start-ups like OZHut and Shoes of Prey have quickly established themselves in the industry.
With such heavy competition that’s likely to only grow more intense, Lim offered up some tried and tested advice for aspiring entrepreneurs keen to break into the eCommerce game. The Vinspi founder told Dynamic Business that aspiring online entrepreneurs must be creative and offer customers more than just a ‘click and buy’ store.
“Just having a well-designed site isn’t good enough anymore. eCommerce is maturing so rapidly that start-ups only stand out from the crowd if they offer something different and fresh” he said.
According to Lim, entrepreneurs need find ways to carve out a niche for themselves instead of playing the same game as the established players.
“Start-ups don’t have the resources of big retailers to sell in competitive markets like consumer electronics. What we do have is agility, and the freedom to focus on selling niche products and bringing something unique to the market” he said.
Vinspi is a good example of a start-up that’s leveraging this niche and unique mindset. The online retailer allows men to custom design their suits to be handmade to their exact measurements. Instead of buying expensive off the rack suits, Vinspi offers men premium tailored suits beginning at $419, with free 2-week shipping.
“eCommerce is an ideal ground for entrepreneurs to be niche and try out a new concept, because start-up costs can be very low. By virtue of being a niche business, getting in front of a target audience and spreading your idea is doable on a low budget” Lim added.
Lim has two tips to help entrepreneurs differentiate their offering. He suggests start-ups either create a new way to shop for existing products, like the group buying industry, or introduce unique products, as Kogan and Gift A Ball have done.
“eCommerce is all about innovation and pushing boundaries. Start-ups who want to succeed long term in this space need to offer something fresh and new. It is time to be different, not the same.”