Most e-commerce businesses are easy enough to start, but not necessarily easy to succeed in. Although an online business, it’s still a business and needs to be run accordingly. Common but avoidable mistakes include not have a basic business plan or that it’s as easy as setting up a website with little or no additional effort. Learning from these mistakes by others can help your e-commerce business not only survive but thrive.
1. Getting in over your Head
Hopeful business owners enter into the ecommerce field with the intention of easy or fast money. They think that all they will have to do is take orders and ship their product. While ecommerce businesses seem like they take care of themselves, they still need a significant amount of attention, learning and physical effort to thrive.
One way to conquer this is to outsource certain elements of the business, while retaining control and visibility. It’s important to understand and get into the mindset that you are setting up a business and it just happens to be online. Succeeding will be more likely if you take a hands on approach.
2. A Business without a Plan
No need for a detailed 40-page document that tries to predict and solve every possible business issue before it happens. Rather, considering and addressing some of the following issues can help decide the direction of your e-commerce business:
- Understand what you’re selling and your target customer group.
- Know what their problem is and present your product as a solution.
- Understand your competition’s strengths and weaknesses.
- How to capitalize on your competitors weaknesses.
- Decide if you will be competitive based on price or position.
- Ensure that your online presence emphasizes your point of difference.
3. Weak or No Marketing Strategy
Getting an ecommerce up and running is only the beginning. You need to ensure you have a plan in place for how you will actually get website visitors and to keep them coming back for more sales. If you are just starting or don’t have large budget for marketing, understanding some basics can help your business go in the right direction:
- At minimum place a basic ecommerce analytics and tracking system, such as Google Analytics.
- Understand the difference between SEO and PPC.
- You must understand the value of social media.
- Research affiliate marketing and selling through established, third-party platforms.
It’s important for e-commerce business owners to understand online marketing but there are areas that you will want to outsource to experienced professionals, especially in the areas of SEO and PPC.
4. Using the Wrong Ecommerce Platform
What makes a wrong e-commerce platform? One that is unsuitable for your needs, outdated, underdeveloped and not professionally supported. If you choose the wrong platform it can make the whole experience incredibly frustrating for your customers and for you to control. Your website should ensure an easy user experience from the home page right through to checkout.
5. Poor Showcasing of Products
Very few things doom an e-commerce business than poorly displayed products. This is not the place to skimp. Include high-quality, good-sized photos for all the products you stock and excellent product descriptions that include essential information that will entice a customer to make a purchase. Engaging product information heightens the experience of shoppers and greatly increases the chances of a sale. You get one chance to present your product to a visitor, so take the time to create stunning and inviting product pages.
Ecommerce is a great way for dreamers to start a great business. Keep in mind that Amazon.com was a little ecommerce store when it started. It is definitely worth the effort to setup an online store methodically and prepare to build it with the goal of making the customer experience easy and gratifying to ensure repeat and continued sales.