The digital age we live in has made the world a smaller place, allowing us to share experiences with people all over the world. With everything at the touch of our fingertips, it has become common to expect everything to be within the grasp of our hands in terms of variety and quality. It is these demands that created the increasing need for e-commerce companies.
In the second session of SIM-YEN’s Fireside Chat Season 1, E-commerce companies Café Bond, IUIGA and The G.A.S Station shared their successes and struggles with all present. Representing each of the companies were Keyis Ng (CEO and Co-founder) from Café Bond, Lai Xin (COO and Co-founder) from IUIGA and Betram Ong (Founder and Student Entrepreneur) from The G.A.S. Station.
Without a vision, sustaining in this ever-changing global market can be a struggle. Insight from these 3 companies helped shed some light on the determination needed to face common hurdles that an upcoming e-commerce entrepreneur may have to face. Each company shared the inspiration that struck and eventually conceptualized the company they are running today. Despite the difference in industry, the common factor between the companies was that they found an edge, something unique that differentiated them from their competitors.
IUIGA prides on the transparency they provide to their customers – every customer will know the exact cost breakdown of the items they purchase all the way till manufacturer.
Café Bond has created an opportunity for coffee lovers to have a range of choices of coffee beans from different countries freshly ground to each individual’s coffee needs, shipped directly to their house.
G.A.S. provides the option of custom made guitars for musicians, tapping on boutique brands that have not been explored by the bigger music merchants and allowing for prices to be more affordable.
Participants of session asked the representatives some questions after the sharing session, that may be relatable concerns to all budding entrepreneurs. Here are some views that were shared.
What is your view on bigger e-commerce platforms?
Cafe bond: It is important to gain a strategy of defensibility, with the aim to keep the business model moving faster, to keep competitors behind. Another approach that can be taken is to work with these bigger brands, to leverage your own company. Instead of looking at them as competition, work on building collaborations that will benefit the success of your company.
IUIGA: The edge the larger companies have is that they are able to accommodate live feedback, and to engage in two-way communication. By allowing free-exchanges if a product is considered unsatisfactory, you can make up for the fear they may have about purchasing a product online.
G.A.S.: Mainstream brands are not always a challenge where the focus of the product is different from what the usual brands are selling.
Why choose you versus another company?
Cafe bond: By giving customers the option to buy coffee online, we help them save on 2 things. Firstly, they save on time – they won’t need to go down to a store to pick out the type of coffee they want and can choose from the selection they provide online. Secondly, customers save on shipping costs by purchasing these custom beans from us and not from somewhere else.
IUIGA: What sets us apart is our transparency. Customers are able to see exactly what they pay for in an 8-stage process, exposing all the costs involved and allowing customers a full view of what the money they’re paying goes towards.
G.A.S: Low cost of production for a customizable product allows for a value-added product, with cost savings.
Essentially, the process of running any business requires a can-do attitude. The approach should be one of problem solving and constantly improving your company so that it reaches its fullest potential. The representatives were in agreement that it is important to be aggressive and to work hard to see that success of the company. There will be many who put your ideas down and claim that your idea will never be successful. Nevertheless, it is important take criticism constructively and proceed with confidence in whatever venture you choose to work on. It is important to find a supportive team consisting with like-minded people. Even if each person’s approach to tackling an issue may be different, it is important to keep the same goal in mind, respect each other’s instincts and move forward.
E-commerce is a thriving arena to enter as a budding entrepreneur. Be determined and keep looking for ways to build your ideas and one-day you company may become the next big thing!