Running an ecommerce business is, well, serious business. In fact, because it’s online and greatly influenced by quickly and ever-changing policies and algorithms, one can argue that ecommerce can be trickier to handle.
The bottom line here is that, just like any kind of business venture, ecommerce has a lot of pitfalls that can get in the way of success. What are these pitfalls, you ask? Here are some common problems that you should try to avoid.
Not Doing Research
Research is an important part of doing business, whether it’s e-commerce or something else. It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is, or how much fun you’re having in the ideation and creation processes. If there’s no market for it, it won’t sell and lead to huge losses. You may even end up feeling disenfranchised and quit.
Spend a month or so studying and researching trends. Look at the competition and what customers are buying online. You should also endeavor to get some advice from experts and ask fellow online sellers regarding their experiences and recommendations.
Using the Wrong Platform
There are a lot of ecommerce platforms available to host your online business, which makes it difficult to choose. What’s more, different platforms are designed to meet different business needs. For example, there are options that are much more suited to small-scale businesses, while there are others that can cater to larger operations.
Some of the things you need to consider when choosing an ecommerce platform include scalability, design freedom and customization, tools and integration, and user experience. Strictly speaking, there’s no “wrong” platform. However, there are those that are a wrong fit specifically for your business. Weed these options out so you can save time, money, and effort.
Going at it Alone
Start-ups are especially prone to this mistake due to limited capital. They tend to do everything by themselves, which can lead to burn-out and financial losses, among other things. When you build an ecommerce business, you need to find providers that can help you with critical aspects like design and accounting. Another key thing you should look for would be the best ecommerce fulfillment services for your business. Fulfillment is critically important for ecommerce businesses, since this is the aspect that ensures your customers get whatever they ordered in good condition and in a timely manner. Do your research, find the right service providers to help you out, and watch your business soar.
Another thing that many newcomers fall victim to is underpricing their work. Many have the false idea that, as newbies, they have no “right” to charge a premium price. This is wrong, however, especially when more businesses start to underprice their products and services. The practice will drastically skew the pricing average and can hurt the entire industry. Moreover, it can cause significant losses.
Don’t guess and don’t undervalue your work. Perform a financial analysis before you set prices, taking into account every expense like shipping costs, overhead costs, production costs, licensing fees, and such. Remember: ecommerce costs a lot of money, but it can also earn you a lot of money as long as you study your numbers carefully.
Trying to Sell to Everyone
Not every product is something that everybody needs, like water or food. Therefore, you can’t sell to everybody. You need to determine your target market and tailor-fit your communications to be able to sell to this market. Again, you need to do your research. Find out what your audience needs, what their pain points are, and what things they’ve tried before but didn’t work. You should also know what they value and figure out how they prefer to engage with brands. Finally, you should also find out where they’re staying online in the first place so you can create customized messaging for them in those platforms. Determining your target market will help you fine-tune your products, services, and messaging to stand out against the competition.
Not Investing on a Proper Website
Choosing the best ecommerce platform for your business is just one part of the equation. You should also invest on a proper website that’s primed for expansion. This way, even if you end up staying a small, niche business, your website can always provide top-notch user experience. Remember that as an online business, your success is affected by your online presence and your online presence is influenced by a good website.
Succeeding in business is not just about keeping your eyes on the prize. It’s also about being aware of common mistakes and avoiding them. Hopefully, this list has helped you evaluate your own ecommerce business and address issues that hinder your path to success.