E-commerce has become a popular business model in recent years. With low start-up costs and a low barrier of entry, many people have started dabbling with e-commerce businesses. Platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce have greatly simplified the process of starting an e-commerce website. Anyone can start an e-commerce business in one day with very minimal investment. However, many people assume that this simple start-up process translates into easy business. In reality, e-commerce is a much harder business model than some people realize. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when starting an e-commerce business.
Not building a brand.
When building an e-commerce business, people often make the mistake of focusing more on their website and products than their brand. Every company should be concerned about creating an image and brand surrounding their business and services. Some of the most successful companies in the world have a brand image that instills a certain feeling within their customers. For example, people often associate North Face with adventure and outdoor activities. People think about luxury and quality when they see a Louis Vuitton logo. Branding is an integral part of every company, even smaller e-commerce businesses. Logos, tag-lines and other strategies shouldn’t be overlooked when creating a company. This branding and overall image is what will clients will remember and return to if they want.
Not utilizing social media.
Social media is an important tool for all companies. With billions of monthly users, social media platforms represent a pool of potential clients that can be reached for free. One of the biggest mistakes made by new e-commerce businesses is underestimating the sheer power of these platforms. Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have the potential to increase a company’s overall sales by generating leads, spreading news and keeping people updated with changes. E-commerce websites who don’t use social media are missing out on an excellent opportunity that doesn’t cost any money. Social media platforms are especially useful to e-commerce websites as these companies are completely based online.
Choosing website themes that aren’t user-friendly.
Another common mistake made by e-commerce companies is creating a website that isn’t user-friendly. Companies that are ran completely online must rely on a website to be their metaphorical storefront. This leads a lot of business owners to focus way too much time on the design of the website. It is a mistake to try to make a website more fancy than functional. Even the most aesthetic website will eventually turn away customers if it is not easy to use. Everyone experience visiting an online platform and having to leave because the user-experience was too complicated or distracting. When building an e-commerce website, the KISS strategy should be implemented. KISS stands for ‘keep it simple stupid’. E-commerce websites that are user-friendly will not only attract more customers, but it will also have higher conversion rates than sites that are too confusing to use. The purpose of an e-commerce website is sales, not design.
Not using tracking codes and links.
One of the advantages of an e-commerce business is the level of insight that is available. Because everything is based online, it is easier for sales data and other important information to be tracked automatically. Many e-commerce businesses make the mistake of not outfitting their website with tracking codes or links to track this sort of information. There are codes that can be placed throughout a website to track conversion rates, overall sales, demographic information and more. This invaluable information can be used to decide what strategies are working, how the website layout influences customer choice and more. This information can help increase a business’ sales and is a few clicks away from being installed into an e-commerce website.
Assuming e-commerce is an easy business strategy.
One of the more embarrassing mistakes made by e-commerce companies is assuming that this strategy is easy. There is a lot of misinformation surrounding e-commerce platforms and the amount of work required to see profits. Many people operate under the misconception that e-commerce businesses are easy to build. It’s a major mistake to think that an optimized website and popular products are enough to be successful. Success in e-commerce requires just as much work and investment as any type of business. There are some aspects that make e-commerce easier such as the online platform and low starting costs. However, this business strategy comes with its own unique challenges and obstacles. Anyone hoping to have success in this field must approach it with the same respect and dedication put towards traditional forms of business.
Selling too many products.
Many e-commerce companies make the mistake of selling too many products from the beginning. People assume that a website with more available products will generate more traffic and result in more sales. While this strategy may have some validity, it is a mistake to try to sell multiple products when starting a new e-commerce business. First and foremost, new companies should focus on successfully selling one product before moving onto others. Trying to sell too many products decreases the efficiency of selling each product. It is much more beneficial to becomes successful with selling one product and then slowly incorporating others. Furthermore, having multiple products at the beginning can keep an e-commerce business from establishing a clear image for their customers.
Only having one payment method.
This is one of the more frustrating mistakes made by many new e-commerce businesses. When a customer is trying to pay for a product, it is a cardinal sin within business to not be able to accept their payment method. Many e-commerce websites only have one or two payment methods available to their clients. Even if these few payment options cover 90% of a business’ clients, it is still important to add more options. Not only will this increase the amount of potential sales, it will also make customers feel more secure in the payment process. Customers vary in which payment methods they prefer. It is important for an e-commerce website to accept as many payment options as possible.
E-commerce can be a profitable business model when handled correctly. Too many people are misguided by success stories and the low-barrier of entry that e-commerce offers. In reality, e-commerce needs to be handled with the same attention, respect and care as any other form of business. Avoiding these common mistakes can help get businesses started in the right direction.