E-commerce business is gaining more and more popularity all over the world – by the time you finish reading this article there will be probably yet another hundreds of online stores. And guess what? There will be your new competitors too.
You can’t argue with statistics
Statistics says that every second Magento store owner has done a thorough market research before starting a new business. “It’s a common practice”, – you say, – “and actually a great example of how a promising young entrepreneur should act. I’d do the same thing!” Well, I’m with you on this one.
However, one more interesting thing statistics says – in 99% cases a new businessman bases his opinion on whether or not to open an online store from data gathered from competitor’s stores. Everything counts: assortment, pricing, shipping, reviews, order numbers, customer support. While some info like assortment or terms of shipping and payment is obviously easy to access and impossible to hide from your customers, the other half can be collected by your future competitor not necessary from buying from you, but even pretending to be a customer will do the job.
In case you’re wondering, it is called a competitive intelligence and it’s an ethical and legal business practice. E-commerce business is more vulnerable to CI methods because of a general access to your store and ease of launching your own Magento trade platform. Unfortunately, there is no need to be a genius or a hacker with all those tutorials like “How to spy on your competitors order volume” or else, floating all over the internet.
Now, that you are aware of CI, let’s see what you can do about it. You can avoid being spied on just following simple and basic precaution steps.
A few simple tips to secure your business and keep it private:
#1: Stay polite and friendly –
paranoia is not an option – sometimes even your competitors come to you in times of need and with pure intentions – so let them buy and treat them like everybody else.
#2: Give away no less, no more
provide your clients with all the necessary info about goods and services you sell, but remember that they don’t need to know extra details, like a personal cellphone number of your one-time contractor. Ideally, you should sit and think what info can potentially hurt your business and better be hidden from public. Although, stay rational, so your customers won’t think you keep something back and not being honest.
#3: Keep info about your orders private –
it’s quite easy for your future or present competitors to count your profit and sales revenue from URLs or order numbers if you’re using the simplest system like 1, 2, 3. Be creative about it!
#4: Use tools –
it’s not embarrassing to rely on automatized helpers. For example, you should consider looking into Magento extension that generates custom order numbers – it makes impossible for “spies” to track your business statistics.
#5: Teach your staff to do things right from day one –
if you work with a team, it’s important to share your philosophy with them, so there will be no accidental leaking of your financial and accounting details.
So, what’s the difference between you before and now that you’ve finished reading this article and there are a hundred stores more in the world? Now you’re aware of potential risks for your business and have clear instructions how to protect your store with common sense and some tools like extensions to customize order numbers.
Just remember, while private information about your business is out there and you are giving it for free, you create your competitors with your own hands.
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