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Identifying your eCommerce Business Structure

Chapter 1 & videos of the book eCommerce MasterPlan

If you're looking to plot your fastest, easiest route to success you need to decide which eCommerce Business Structure you are going to embrace. And stick to it.

The 7 eCommerce Business Structures

Not all eCommerce businesses are the same, and not all successful eCommerce businesses are the same. However, all the successful ones do fit into similar moulds.

By consciously building your business based on one of these structures, you will build a better business faster.

eCommerce Business Structures

The 7 eCommerce Business Structure were created based on wide experience of eCommerce businesses. Whichever one you are fundamentally influences ever facet of your business, so if you want to succeed fast you need to pick one and stick to it.

  1. Online Only – the only way to see the products is online
  2. Mail Order – a transactional website plus a printed catalogue, and possibly one or two physical stores
  3. Big Bricks and Clicks – lots of physical stores and an eCommerce website
  4. Boutique Bricks and Clicks – just one or two physical locations plus the eCommerce website
  5. Mainstream PiggyBack – using the likes of Amazon or eBay to market the products, with no website of their own
  6. Niche PiggyBack – where sellers of similar products come together to market more easily, usually retaining their own blog or eCommerce site elsewhere too. The craft world (Etsy, Folksy), Hotels (hotels.com, laterooms.com), jewellery (Boticca), and Books (abebooks.co.uk) are just a handful of examples.
  7. Full Multichannel – Using multiple shops, catalogues, and eCommerce – by far the most complex and most difficult to achieve and run (e.g. Bravissimo, Crew Clothing, Next).

If your eCommerce business is to be successful it needs to fit into one of these seven structures. Over the years it may progress between them – so you may start on a Niche PiggyBack structure, move to an Online Only, and finally a Boutique Bricks and Clicks.

Want to understand what this means for your eCommerce Business?

We have a free course with everything you need to identify your eCommerce Business Structure, AND make it work for your business. Including the Chapter where the concept was created and training videos.


Best Selling eCommerce Author Chloe Thomas


Chloë Thomas
Chloë Thomas

Chloë Thomas has been working in eCommerce since 2003, and running her own businesses since 2007. Throughout her focus has been on learning how to increase orders, up customer retention, and recruit new customers cost effectively.

Chloë advises retailers of all sizes, from multichannel operations with sales of many millions, to brand new startups looking for those first 100 customers. Her primary focus is on working with businesses who have sales under £1 million to help them take the leap from 0->100 customers, from 100->1,000 customers and on.

  • Power Retail (Australia) named Chloë as one of the top 10 eCommerce commentators in the world.
  • Within 6 months of launch Chloë's eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast was the top eCommerce podcast in the UK.
  • eCommerce coach, mentor and consultant at eCommerce MasterPlan since May 2012.
  • Chloë has published 4 books on eCommerce, including the best seller Customer Persuasion
  • And she is an in-demand as a contributor to events and publications such as Internet Retailing (Australia), eCommerce Expo, Internet Retailing Expo, Internet Retailing Conference, Direct Commerce Association.

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