Jumping head first into the online world of ecommerce is a rewarding journey. With so many people finding success in the online world, it's tempting to assume that it's an easy business venture to get involved in. Just like starting any company, there are ups and downs of running an online store from your home and at times it can be challenging. Setting up an ecommerce store is easy; it's making it successful that's the challenge.
Countless ecommerce entrepreneurs have opened their own stores and failed miserably because they did not come up with a concrete business strategy, or didn't think of the customer experience in enough depth. Here we have the five cardinal sins many ecommerce entrepreneurs make when embarking on their new business venture, and how you can learn from their mistakes.
Lack of Promotion
Never underestimate how important promoting your new business really is. It's the best way to reach your audience, engage with customers, and build up your online presence and branding. Because you are an online store, you need to tap into your online audience in order to increase traffic to your website.
- Social media platforms are essential for promoting your ecommerce store because you can advertise your products and any special offers or deals to your customers. As well as frequent posting, invest in some social media advertising to help boost sales from day one.
- That being said, be careful not to go overboard with social media. Using every single social media platform can actually be damaging to your ecommerce store if they're not suited to your niche or products. You will waste time posting content on social media platforms that are useless for your store.
- Social media can seem easy enough to use, but branding your new business on social media can be a challenge because you need to build up your reputation fast. It is essential that you have a social media plan for your new company to build followers.
- Promoting your ecommerce site does not only mean advertisements and social media accounts. It also means brushing up on your SEO skills in order to optimize your website. With so many websites being created every day, how will your customers be able to find your website if it shows up on page 20 of Google? Find out more about SEO, how to measure it, and whether you should outsource it.
Focusing on Sales Over User Experience (UX)
Of course, opening your ecommerce site requires sales. But what many ecommerce entrepreneurs forget to focus on is user experience - a fundamental cog in the online world.
User experience is what makes customers come back to your site, time after time. It's worth investing time and money in UX as you'll see immediate returns in conversion rates and sales revenue. An easy to use site will generate more sales.
- Design your website and its features with your customers at the forefront of your mind. Things like "can we help" boxes and easy checkout pages will ensure visitors have a good experience on your site.
- Don't go overboard and cram your website full of unnecessary or nuisance features that bombard your customers. The key is to help your customers get to their end goal as quickly and easily as possible.
- Know your audience and cater to their needs as much as your can. Always optimize your website for mobile use. If you're in a techy niche consider introducing VR-ready content so customers can view your products in their own home.
Commissioning an Expensive Web Build
Months and months and an expensive web build later and you're still no better off? Don't assume that custom web development is the best way to go for your first online store.
- Spend your time more productively and set up your ecommerce site using an ecommerce platform. Open your online store using a template so you can focus on the more important things like your customers and your business strategy.
- If you are thinking about braving it alone and creating your own ecommerce website, you might want to invest in some technical support. They can take on the technical bits of opening your store, while you can focus on other aspects of the business.
Focusing on Irrelevant Features
Get the basics right first.
Many ecommerce entrepreneurs make the mistake of focusing on snazzy features and unnecessary design ideas rather than a solid and concrete business strategy.
- Just because your website looks sleek and beautiful doesn't mean your job is done. Put time and effort into structuring your business strategy and how you will make your products sell. Come up with a 12 week plan for your business and really focus on innovative ways to make your brand stand out, what your competitors are doing and how you can beat them, and what need you fulfil within your niche.
- Know that gimmicks and fads won't keep customers happy - but good products and great customer service will. Don't let your business suffer because you got excited over the latest shiny toy.
- Focus on your value proposition - that's always a solid investment in your store's future.
Data and statistics are your best friend. Numbers will tell you everything you need to know about your business, your audience, and how well your website is doing.
- Take the time to understand and analyze all the data you can get your hands on. Analyzing data lets you see what your website is doing well and what you can change to make it better. React to sales data and web traffic trends and try to optimize your store around how people are actually using it, not how you want it to be used.
- You can use social media analytics to see engagement rates and click throughs to your website from your social media channels. Analyze your social media content efforts and gauge their ROI.
- Analytics is the best way to find out what your customers want and don't want, and is a powerful tool for success. It's amazing how many ecommerce entrepreneurs forget to analyze their own data and go off hunting for solutions elsewhere instead!
Creating a successful ecommerce company is a lot of hard work but the rewards can be huge. With dedication and time, there is absolutely no reason why you can't become a successful ecommerce entrepreneur. The hardest stage in your ecommerce journey is at the beginning, and this tends to be when most companies fail. Avoid these five cardinal sins that ecommerce entrepreneurs make to save you lots of time and money, enabling you to build on these solid foundations to steadily grow your online business into an empire.
Are you thinking of becoming an ecommerce entrepreneur? Let us know how you will be using these tips in your new business venture.