There is a lot of money to be made in eCommerce; and with easy-to-use platforms available at our fingertips, it’s no wonder it is a booming industry. In fact, eCommerce is expected to become a $500 billion industry by 2018 (Internet Retailer). With that being known, and many hosted eCommerce platforms to choose from, all with reasonable pricing, it’s no wonder why more entrepreneurs are moving in that direction.
Although the concept of eCommerce makes a start up slightly easier, and more attainable, it’s still crucial that you do it carefully. There are a lot of mistakes to be made while starting in eCommerce and we have provided a list of some of the key ones to look out for.
Not being truly ready
Starting a business takes a lot more than having an idea and selling it. You need to consider funding, inventory management, staffing, automation, supply and demand and so much more. Before you even think about starting, it is imperative that you put together a comprehensive business and marketing plan. These will help you find holes in your strategy and fill them. The main advantage to having this is that you learn more about what you’re selling and who you’re selling to in the process which are both key to the success of your business.
Not knowing your niche or competitive advantage
Think about what you want to sell, and who you want to sell it to.
Now look it up online and you’ll probably find 5 or more people who have already thought about it. If you don’t, then you have your niche and competitive advantage; if you do, then you need to put some serious thinking into it. There needs to be a reason for your customers to come to you instead of the competitor. Your competitors are easy to access and your customers will find them if they look.
Not understanding your analytics in relation to your success
Ecommerce is extremely seasonal; you’ll have highs and lows. This is why it’s important to measure your success year after year not every quarter. Quarterly may show growth, but it won’t take into consideration the seasonal factor. Yearly will give you a more well-rounded idea of your growth. In addition, it’s important to have multiple analytics tools set up. In addition to your eCommerce analytics, make sure you’re making use of Google Analytics or a similar tool.
Not investing in a good user experience
Just like a brick and mortar store, customers expect shopping to be a pleasure. It’s important that you invest your time and money into researching the science behind it and applying it. A simple, easy to navigate design goes a long way. The attractiveness of the design is only part of the equation. If there is no customer path for them to follow, the design means nothing. The trick is to finding a nice balance of usability and quality design.
It’s hard to believe that any company would dream of not being on social media today, but they do exist. Social media is free, easy to start and fun to use. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to talk to your customers. Social media, as we all know, provides a great listening and learning to tool to hear your customers and what they want.
Not having a strategy for promotions
As mentioned above, a marketing strategy is extremely important. Having an idea of your audience (where and who they are), will give you a much clearer idea of the channels and types of promotions you should be looking at. For example, Facebook advertising is likely to be less impactful if most of your market is going to be using Google to search for you. Be conscious of where you promote and do your research!
There is no doubt when starting your business that mistakes will be made. It’s part of the process and it’s a big part of the entrepreneurial learning curve. All you can do it be aware of the mistakes you could be making and be prepared. It’s important to make informed decisions. Having said that, it’s even more important to have fun and learn as much as you can in the process!