In these modern times with services and customizable platforms for everything imaginable through the power of technology and the Internet, it’s quite easy to create an e-business.
Still, it is also very easy to overlook important details (or whole business processes) that can hold you back or sabotage your ecommerce business before it even properly started doing business.
When that is taken into account, building an online business can be difficult, especially if it’s your first time. However, just because it’s your first time doesn’t mean you need to make first-timer mistakes.
In this post, we will look at seven of the most common mistakes new ecommerce business owners make and how you can avoid them.
While some (or most, depending on your commerce know-how) of these may seem like things that should be undoubtedly done under any circumstance, they still are parts of some of today’s ecommerce businesses.
Insufficient Research and Planning Before Starting a Business
Being sure that customers will suddenly come to you when you start your business, without even thinking about researching your future market under the assumption that “it is something people constantly need” is definitely not the way to start even if you are selling something bought every day by the majority of the population.
The reasons behind this are that if the aforementioned is true, chances are that the market is already swamped with such products or services.
Even if you are the only provider within a broad area, people still might either not go to the closest provider (you) if they have not even heard of you or the competition leaves a better impression and has better marketing.
That is why, before starting, you need to do a lot of research and planning for various scenarios.
After you have researched whether what you want to offer is even needed, you should look for products similar to yours sold online.
Which marketplaces do your competitors use?
Browse the rest of the marketplace’s offerings to get a sense for its buyers and those buyers’ needs, find out what your future competition is offering and introduce at least the tiniest difference in what you’re doing that no one else has to gain a significant advantage at the start.
When that is done, you must, of course, continue to spread the word about your business, stay original and develop everything from product to advertising.
Having no Logo
A logo is usually the first thing a visitor sees and one of the first impressions of your online store.
People may still think that in order to get a logo made, they need to find a designer and spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars to obtain a well-designed logo, which is, of course, not the case.
You can find someone to design a logo on a freelancer site at an affordable price or even draw something minimalistic yourself with a few strokes of a paintbrush.
It will still be a lot more memorable than having merely your company name in black words on a white surface functioning as a logo.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most, if not all, ecommerce platforms will display your shop title in the standard text if you don’t upload a logo yourself.
Adding the Reviews Section and Social Media Following Counters Early
One might think: you have to start, how can it be too early? Of course, but it is better to offer the possibility to review something when more than a handful of people have already tried out what you are selling and liked it enough to spread the word.
Similarly, it is better to display your social media following when you have a decent-sized community or at least when it started increasing at a fair speed.
Some other good ideas are to start with one social network and not by scattering your effort and time on every possible social network at once, greatly reducing your effectiveness by not digging deep enough on any.
That way you can focus on it and try various methods of gaining popularity. In the end, find out whether your audience even has a significant presence on that network (e.g. prominent experts of the field and groups you could get in touch with).
Making the Website a Maze and the Checkout Steps Full of Surprises
Apart from intense color themes with large fonts and the rest belonging to the overall visual design, these are probably the most problematic characteristics of web shops.
Be sure to make navigation intuitive, minimizing the number of clicks it requires for customers to find what they are looking for.
To improve navigation, review your analytics to see where your customers are leaving the website from and then optimize your site accordingly.
It may be rare, but it still happens that a site has no search function.
Customers who use on-site search to find products are more than three times more likely to convert than customers who don’t, because they know what they want and are right from the start more likely to buy something than those who are just browsing.
Even if visitors were patient enough to manage navigating to what they wanted to find out or put in the shopping cart. If the checkout process turns out to be similarly complicated, they will likely abandon the process.
This means that checkout pages with mandatory registration and 10 steps full of fields with hidden shipping costs at the end. Accompanied by the revelation that their preferred payment option is not supported make users likely to abandon the process.
This includes patient users on their home computers, not to mention the ones on mobile devices, who are on the move and likely with limited time on their hands, and who make up a large part of Internet users at all times.
Also, instead of having multiple checkout pages, it is far better to use a one-page jQuery checkout that allows going through the different steps of creating an account/checking out as a guest, filling out shipping, billing and credit card information all on one page.
This should be of great concern to all webshops, as, according to the Baymard Institute, 69 percent of shopping carts get abandoned.
No Real About or Contact Page
A lot of store owners end up underestimating the sales potential of their About page. Have a look at your own analytics and you will likely find your About page is either the second most visited page or in the top three.
That means this page is important to visitors.
People want to know more about the place and people with who they could end up doing business with: what is their background and tradition?
They would like it more if they had a face to put to the shop because that builds trust and confidence.
The same goes for information on how the products are made, what from and where they are shipped from, which affects the price, depending on customs, shipping time, and options.
Another related problem is that many first time merchants use generic, throwaway email addressed. What does that say to customers? Nothing positive and trust-building.
Take the time to set up a domain name and a proper email address to let your customers know you are and intend to remain with them in the future, i.e. will be reachable in the future for spare parts, troubleshooting, etc.
Not Actually Thinking About Overall SEO Strategy
Probably the most common problem with new online stores is not doing any SEO or not doing it properly. It’s not rocket science but it’s not easy either.
Coupled with the fact that SEO can take a while to show any signs of success and it ends up being a complete afterthought (if even a thought at all) for most new online businesses.
The thing is, SEO is quite necessary and can be one of your most powerful tools as it can continue to bring in targeted traffic to your site, day after day after day.
Unlike channels like Facebook and Google Adwords which stop delivering traffic the second, you stop paying.
The least you can do is employ the old method of providing the community with helpful information in the form of guides and articles relating to your field.
Nowadays, it is most easily done over the Internet in the form of blogging and guest blogging.
As long as you find sites with an interested community to post your quality content to and refrain from spam, you will enjoy the reputation of being a business that cares about their existing clients. You will be considered as someone who generously gives back to society not only caring about profit, which, of course, builds trust and increases conversion.