So, you’ve designed an awesome-looking e-commerce store and are all set to unveil it to the world. You’ve spent sleepless nights perfecting each product description and editing eye-catching product images. You’ve spread the word across your social circles and are hoping for sales to start pouring in anytime.
With worldwide retail e-commerce sales expected to reach $6.4 trillion by 2024, this might seem like the best time to launch your online business. It’s even more lucrative considering that the ongoing pandemic has increased consumers’ affinity towards online shopping.
But then months go by and you realize your online store isn’t generating as much revenue as you’d expected. This is the time you wonder what could’ve gone wrong and whether starting an ecommerce business was a good idea after all. Eventually, you end up adding another failed venture to your portfolio.
If this situation seems too familiar, the good news is that you’re not alone. It’s okay for entrepreneurs to fail and learn from their mistakes. But when it comes to e-commerce businesses, there are some mistakes you can’t afford to make.
While the e-commerce industry offers lower barriers to entry, this also makes it a competitive landscape. With new online stores cropping up now and then, it can be difficult to scale your business and make it stand out from the crowd.
In this blog, we’ve compiled a list of the most critical mistakes you should watch out for when setting up your e-commerce business. Let’s take a look.
1. Not Identifying Your End Goals
Many novice entrepreneurs think of e-commerce as a get-rich-quick scheme. What they fail to understand is that building a scalable e-commerce business requires meticulous planning. So, making some quick money shouldn’t be your only motivation behind launching an online store.
Before you start sourcing products and designing your online store, you should identify your long-term business goals. Do you want to use it as a source of passive income? Or do you want to earn a full-time living from your online store? Do you have plans to sell your business a few years down the line?
Your answers to these questions will influence various aspects of your business, including the e-commerce platform you choose and the type of marketing campaigns you implement. It’ll also determine whether you should opt for a dropshipping or Amazon FBA business model.
2. Choosing the Wrong Niche
This is one of the most expensive mistakes you’re going to make as an e-commerce entrepreneur. If you choose a niche that has no real market demand, your business will fail to thrive, even if you offer the most outstanding product.
That’s why it is essential to research various niches you’re passionate about and choose the most profitable one. You can use tools, such as Jungle Scout and MerchantWords, to find out what the product you’re planning to sell will garner traction.
3. Not Knowing Your Target Audience
If you don’t know who you’re selling to, you’ll never succeed in amplifying revenue. From your social media marketing campaigns to the layout of your website - your target audience influences every aspect of your e-commerce business. If you fail to understand who your potential customers are, you’ll fail to reach them at the right time.
This is particularly crucial considering that today’s consumers are spoilt for choice, irrespective of what they want to buy. The only way to grab their attention is to use personalized product recommendations and targeted marketing strategies.
Use online surveys, social media analytics, and website analytics for a deeper insight into your target consumers’ minds. You can even host polls, AMAs, and live sessions on various social media platforms to directly interact with them. Focus on understanding their shopping habits, purchase history, and online behavior.
4. Ignoring the Importance of Web Navigation & UX
Designing a visually appealing website isn’t going to be of much use if it takes too long to load or is prone to frequent crashes. Worse still, users may find it difficult to find relevant products and exit your website without making a purchase. Likewise, a complex checkout process could force users to quit a transaction mid-way.
If you want to avoid these scenarios, you must simplify site architecture to ensure that it’s easily navigable. Make sure users don’t have to click too many links to jump from one product category to the next. Also, choose a secure and reliable web hosting service that provides cache preloading and CDN support.
If you aren’t well-versed with web design, it’s wiser to hire an experienced UI/UX developer who will help optimize the user experience. Also, make sure your website is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities.
Have you ever realized you’ve set your business up for failure after launching it? Share your experience and learning in the comments section below.
WRITTEN BYSerena K. Johnson