What are the first things to consider when launching an e-commerce company?

Entrepreneur Michal Bohosiewicz is an expert in e-commerce Former Amazon employee, his beekeeping apparel brand Humble Bee is one of the top three players in the industry.

Choose your selling channel(s) depending on your product. What product are you offering? Are you distributing someone else’s product? Is the product already distributed in the market? Or are you the manufacturer or brand owner? That’s the first question.

The second question: What is the complete retail package? We tend to ask this question a little too late. This should be addressed before the product is even designed. When you sell a product online, that is going to make a huge difference. For example, if you shorten the shipping box by 1cm, you could save 50 percent on the shipping costs.

Having worked a few years at Amazon, I can tell you that there is no special trick, no system hack. There are certain products that are excellent to sell on e-commerce platforms due to their volume/price ratio, and others that prove more difficult. It’s that simple. But you should definitely explore various platforms, especially if you manufacture your product. Amazon comes with a huge customer base as do Ebay and Rakuten. It allows you to get to a certain volume of products.

Next, how do you run the business? It’s fairly straightforward: You make the best products, and you offer the best service. I think the quality of service in Europe is just ridiculous. We have gotten used to it to a certain extent but we shouldn’t be satisfied. We should expect more. If a customer buys my product and is not happy, I don’t care what the circumstances are, he will either get a replacement or his money back. There is no other way. At the end of the day, it’s all about quality: quality of products and quality of service.

Your customers, however, are not the only ones you should be thinking about. You will also have to deal with manufacturers, quality-control companies, logistics companies, freelancers and so on. Organization is key.

And last but not least, I recommend not going it alone. If you can, work with a business partner whose skills are complementary to yours. You don’t have to be best friends. My partner and I usually don’t agree on things initially. It takes some analyzing and convincing before we get there. But it’s fantastic and it really helped our business. Also, don’t work from home: You will need people around you to challenge you, to inspire you or just to have a friendly chat. Coworking spaces are great for that and if you are based in Luxembourg, I recommend nyuko. I couldn’t have had a better experience working there.

This article was first published in the Summer 2017 issue of SILICON magazine. Be the first to read SILICON articles on paper before they’re posted online, plus read exclusive features and interviews that only appear in the print edition, by subscribing online.

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