According to a Digital Commerce 360 research of U.S. consumers, they spent $870.78 billion online in 2021, up 14.2% from $762.68 billion the previous year. There’s no denying that launching an eCommerce site is a thrilling experience, but it’s also important to remember that it’s a huge undertaking.
It’s not just about having the right products or marketing materials, it’s about making sure you have everything else in place as well. In this article, we will go over some of the common mistakes small businesses make when launching an online store and explain how you can avoid them.
Thinking You’ll Be Able to Do Everything Alone
Delegating is not a weakness. It’s a strength. You need to be able to delegate, whether it’s the design of your website or the management of your social media accounts. Hiring a team and outsourcing tasks can be extremely beneficial for your eCommerce business.
You should also consider using a virtual assistant to help you with things like:
- Responding to customer service inquiries
- Order fulfillment
- Inventory management
Ignoring Supply Chain Strategies
As an eCommerce store owner, you already know that you can’t just put up a website and expect the orders to come rolling in. You’ve got to have a strategy for getting customers to your site and then keeping them returning for more. That means having an effective supply chain strategy.
This includes everything from inventory management to E-commerce fulfillment methods. Same-day shipping and real-time inventory and order monitoring are crucial to today’s online businesses. As mentioned earlier, this is one of the areas where delegating to a fulfillment service partner immensely helps.
But the fact is, most eCommerce entrepreneurs don’t have an effective supply chain strategy in place. And it’s not hard to see why. They’re so busy trying to get their business off the ground that they don’t have time or energy left over for anything else.
But here’s the thing. Without one, your entire business will suffer. You’ll end up with too many products sitting on shelves while you wait for customers who don’t want them anymore. Or you could have too few products when customers are clamoring for more.
Lack of Clarity About Your Target Audience
To launch a successful eCommerce site, you need to know who your potential customers are. This means having a clear understanding of who they are and what they want from their online experience. It also means knowing how to reach them, engage with them, and make them feel like part of the community.
69% of customers will not buy something if the item description is inadequate. Furthermore, misleading internet product listings left roughly half of respondents (47%) annoyed and 36% furious, with a huge 86% confessing to shifting their business elsewhere.
Fortunately, these days many tools can help you do this effectively.
- Marketing automation software like HubSpot or Marketo
- Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms like Salesforce or Zendesk
- Social media management platforms like Sprout Social for Facebook ads and Twitter marketing
- Email marketing solutions such as MailChimp or Constant Contact
- Websites where people go to talk about products (like Amazon)
Focusing on Sales and Neglecting Customer Loyalty
If you’re focused on sales, then it’s likely that customer loyalty isn’t a priority. But the truth is that loyalty is more valuable than new customers. When you have loyal customers who have been with you for years, they are highly likely to buy from you again and again. And they will tell their friends about it too.
If your brand doesn’t offer anything unique or special in the marketplace and if many eCommerce sites are selling similar products or services to yours, then selling more products won’t help much. To be successful in this scenario requires lots of traffic or having a great product at an affordable price.
However, if your brand does offer a unique value proposition in the marketplace, then increasing customer loyalty will lead directly to increased sales rather than just trying harder at other kinds of marketing activities like advertising campaigns.
The bottom line. When building an eCommerce business, don’t forget about customer loyalty because this can mean big profits later down the road.
Not Thinking Ahead About Your Hosting Requirements
Google has used speed as a ranking factor since 2010. When prioritizing search results, Google’s search algorithm considers speed. In addition, Google added page speed as a ranking consideration for mobile search results in July 2018.
When you’re setting up your eCommerce site, you need to think about hosting. You need to make sure that no matter what goes on, your site will be able to handle it.
Your website needs a lot of space and bandwidth to function properly. If you don’t have enough of it, people who go to your website will have trouble loading pages and seeing products because the server is too busy trying to serve all of their requests at once.
If you don’t have enough bandwidth, then either users won’t be able to get through, or the page might load slowly or not at all. And if there isn’t enough processing power on the server itself, then again, slowdowns happen.
Overlooking SEO or Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is one of the most important areas to consider when launching your eCommerce site. If potential customers want to find your product, they will have a much easier time doing so if you’ve optimized it for search engines. It’s also important to note that SEO isn’t just about keywords but, more broadly, optimizing your site for users and the search engines themselves.
SEO can be expensive. SEM is not something you should take lightly. It’s an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring and maintenance by trained professionals who are familiar with how each algorithm works. It also has an impact on sales or conversions from paid advertising campaigns through paid ads on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.
SEM is not a magic bullet. Your success depends upon many other factors related directly or indirectly to web traffic, such as content quality/relevance and engagement levels among visitors while they’re on your site. That’s the number of pages visited per session/time spent, etc.
Not Having a Solid Business Plan with Financial Forecasts
To achieve success, you need to have a solid business plan. Your business plan should be based on realistic assumptions and reviewed regularly. As your business evolves, you must update your plan accordingly.
When creating a financial forecast for your eCommerce company, try not to take any shortcuts in the process, as this will only hurt your long-term goals and prevent you from reaching them successfully. The last thing you want is to have an unrealistic expectation of how much revenue will come into the company by certain dates because of this lack of preparation.
It is also important when sharing these forecasts with investors or even other team members within your organization. They understand what their money or time will be going into so there aren’t any surprises later down the road.
Focusing on New Customers and Forgetting About Existing Ones
Focusing on new customers and forgetting about existing ones is a common mistake made by companies launching an eCommerce site. You must keep your existing customers happy because they are the reason why you have a business in the first place.
But how do you do this? First, understand their needs. Then keep them informed about new products and deals by sending out newsletters with relevant information. You can also send them information on services if they are repeat buyers or if special promotions are running. If they’re interested enough in what they receive from you via email, they’ll want to come back again and again.
Not Spreading the Word About Your New eCommerce Website
When you launch an eCommerce site, you want to make sure that the world knows about it. There are many ways to do this.
Share your site with friends and family. You can also invite them to share it on their social media channels.
Email marketing is another excellent option for getting the word out about your new eCommerce business. Send out emails inviting people to sign up for sales promotions or coupons that might interest them.
Paid advertising can help get the word out about what you sell if someone else has not already done so for free. Online ads like Google AdWords work well because they show up all over the internet when people search for something related to what you have listed on your page.
Expecting Instant Results – eCommerce Can Take Time
One of the most common mistakes is expecting instant results. The truth is, it might take months, or even years, to build a successful eCommerce business. If you’re just launching an eCommerce store and hoping for results right away, you will be disappointed.
Some people never achieve the level of success they were hoping for because they give up too soon. They give up before building an audience and brand identity that can sell products on autopilot with little effort from them.
You have to do your research and be patient. Here are some examples of successful eCommerce stores that didn’t take off right away.
- Amazon took five years to turn a profit.
- Etsy was founded in 2005 but only started turning a profit in 2010 with gross sales of $25 million. And they only generated that revenue after winning investment of $15 million from Union Square Ventures in 2009.
- Apple famously struggled for many years before its launch on the stock market. It went public after nearly two decades as a privately held company, which means that Apple’s founding employees didn’t even get paid until it became public.
If you avoid these common pitfalls, your e-commerce site can be a big success.