Assessing e-commerce readiness

What is an e-commerce readiness assessment? 

An e-commerce readiness assessment is a tool that evaluates business capabilities to engage in e-commerce activities and sell online. It helps firms evaluate their strengths, areas to improve, and weaknesses in interacting with customers, suppliers, and business partners through digital channels. E-commerce readiness assessments offer insights for launching e-commerce sales channels, such as investments in market research, online payments, customer services, and logistics. 

What is the structure of an e-commerce readiness assessment? 

E-commerce readiness assessments may have five sections: 

  • E-commerce planning: This allows for assessing whether companies have defined their value proposition for target customer segments and if their products and services comply with regulations and requirements in target markets.
  • Online presence: This identifies whether businesses own a website that lists products and services in marketplaces and if this website is engaging for customers.
  • Digital marketing: This looks at the extent to which businesses use digital marketing to promote their online sales and monitor digital goals and key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Shipping and inventory: This evaluates business capabilities in offering shipping options to customers, meeting import duties and other charges, and managing inventory systems. 
  • Customer service: This assesses the ability of businesses to interact with customers and clients by building relationships and offering interactive information about products and services.

How can an e-commerce readiness assessment support my business? 

Selling online has advantages over selling in traditional stores. Businesses can reach customers worldwide and enter new markets because geography no longer creates the same physical barriers to trade. E-commerce readiness assessments are a starting point for businesses to design an online sales strategy. They guide businesses to identify in-demand products and services, identify competitors and offer appealing shipping options to customers. They are also useful for mapping out additional costs and benefits that could come from e-commerce activities, which then helps your company develop a profitable business model that matches entrepreneurial skills with online market needs. Learn more at the International Trade Centre website.   

Where can I learn more? 

Businesses can assess their e-commerce readiness and identify online sales channels through the following resources: 

  1. ITC E-Commerce Readiness Quiz: The International Trade Centre provides a short quiz that assesses e-commerce readiness in five areas: planning, online presence, digital marketing, shipping and inventory, and customer service. Access their  ecommerce readiness assessment.
  2. ecomConnect: This is an e-commerce online community that connects entrepreneurs, business owners, and individuals seeking digital business opportunities. Visit ecomConnect.