Post Menu and Details.
- Mistake #1: A lack of research into your industry
- Mistake #2: Poor website usability
- Mistake #3: Overlooking the importance of a marketing strategy
- Mistake #4: Selling the wrong products
- Mistake #5: Not focusing on customer service
- Mistake #6: Ignoring the analytics
Reading time: ~4 minutes
Starting an ecommerce business is exciting. It’s also difficult to traverse this minefield. To help you on this journey, here are six mistakes you must avoid.
Mistake #1: A lack of research into your industry
Research needs to be the basis for any planned business. Fail to analyze the target market, product options, competition, etc., and this is setting you up for failure in general.
As a result, never rush into starting an online store without putting in sufficient research. This research reveals a lot of pertinent information, the type you will need to make informed and intelligent decisions.
In terms of how to conduct this research, there are various approaches available. The easiest way is to use existing data. Competitor research, for example, is possible by analyzing everything from product ranges to the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. However, proactive research methods – think interviews and focus groups – are key in revealing if your planned business is making the right steps upon launch.
Mistake #2: Poor website usability
Assuming you won’t be exclusive to external marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, a website will be the foundation for your ecommerce journey.
The creation of this website is not something you can neglect. You might think it’s a simple case of selecting a platform builder like Squarespace or Shopify, whipping up a site within hours, and boom, you’re off to the races. However, a lot more work and care are necessary for this part of your business.
Usability is imperative when designing your website. You must carefully consider the following points:
- Site speed: Users hate a slow website. Ensure you take the steps to optimize site speed, which includes picking a reputable, high-performance host provider.
- Clear navigation: Navigation should be effortless for those exploring your website. Make sure your navigation bar is clearly labeled and includes your main site pages. A search bar should also be included.
- Keep pages clear: Pages should never be too cluttered. Too much text, widgets, a lack of formatting – these are all aspects to avoid with your pages. Make use of white space and remember that, for ecommerce sites and product listings, less is often more.
- Responsive for all: You likely understand your website design has to be responsive. However, it’s important this responsiveness is spread across all browser and device types. Your site should be just as functional and easy to use on desktop as it is on mobile.
Mistake #3: Overlooking the importance of a marketing strategy
You understand that, for your products to sell, they need to be promoted. Yet it’s all too easy to overlook the amount of work required in that regard. A quick pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaign or social media post here, and there isn’t going to cut it. It needs to be a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to maximize visibility.
Due to the amount of time and resources required for a strong marketing strategy, it’s recommended to outsource this aspect of your business. When starting out in the world of ecommerce, it is difficult to dedicate enough to marketing in-house.
You don’t want to select a general marketing agency. Looking at Nuanced Media as an example, they have a specific focus on ecommerce marketing. This is important because specialist skills and knowledge are required to successfully promote an online retailer, especially when it comes to using platforms like Amazon.
They also know how to utilize multiple strategies and marketplaces, which is key to promoting your products to as many potential customers as possible. After all, stick to only selling and advertising via your website, and this will constrain your reach.
Mistake #4: Selling the wrong products
This is a point that should be self-explanatory. Nevertheless, it’s not uncommon for an online retailer to be stuck with products that you simply cannot shift. This situation is inevitable. With that said, you have to try and limit this as much as possible.
Understandably, this is imperative when just starting out. It’s not too much of an issue if you already have many other products being sent out to customers. You can take a hit or two. When you’re an ecommerce newcomer, however, you have to get off to a strong start. There’s no room for any major errors.
Avoiding this mistake is all about knowing your target market. With the right level of research into your industry and competitors, as well as asking potential customers directly, you will have a strong idea about what your audience desires – and importantly, what they’re willing to pay for with their hard-earned cash.
Mistake #5: Not focusing on customer service
Be honest: how much thought have you actually given to customer service?
You might have thought about setting up an email address or contact form, but that’s probably about it. That is a big mistake. Customer service should be a central focus of your online store. Without it, you could lose a lot of potential sales and loyal customers.
What makes up quality customer service? Being easily reachable is vital, but you also have to be instant in responding to questions and inquiries. The problem: resources are limited when starting an ecommerce business. The solutions: automated email responses and chatbots.
Of course, it’s not simply a case of sending out quick responses. There needs to be substance behind your messages.
If a customer has a complaint, respond in a reasoned, professional manner. If a customer wants to return a product, make sure to facilitate this request as much as possible. Basically, you need to put the customer first.
Mistake #6: Ignoring the analytics
Once your ecommerce store is up and running, there’s a new element you gain access to: analytics. These analytics cover website impressions, clicks, sales, average time on page, and so much more. Seriously, there are countless real-time stats available.
This data is incredibly valuable for any business. It highlights what is working, what requires tweaking, and what has to be left behind in the future. The result: it ensures you’re able to continually refine and improve your offerings.
Thank you for reading!