Want to start your own online store? Awesome. Pretty much anyone can do it. In fact, you can have the website ready in just a few hours, if that. It will be ready to take payments. You’ll be able to upload images of your products. You can start sending things out as soon as they payments are made. It’s all been heavily simplified, so anyone can start their own ecommerce business. Great, right?
Well, the kind of thing I’m explaining probably isn’t a reliable key to success. These days, you can find a bunch of platforms where you can set up your own store in a short amount of time. Basically, there are now websites that let you start an online store the way people used to set up websites on Freewebz and Geocities. You can set one up even if you have no skills, stuff, or even money. But this isn’t exactly a good thing.
This sort of mindset is leading people to make huge mistakes when they start up this sort of business. And the fact is that you can’t afford to make big mistakes here. This is a business that you need to invest a lot in; these mistakes can end with all that going to waste.
Here are some of the common and devastating mistakes people often make when starting an ecommerce business.
Expecting huge profits within a year
No-one has set up an online store and made it big overnight. Or even within a few months. Heck, a lot of business owners may not see any decent profits for over a year. Just like a lot of business, ecommerce is a hungry and demanding beast. You need to pour a lot of resources into it over quite an extended period before you start to see the rewards. It can be a struggle. Keeping the site running, making sure the product is in stock, getting the marketing ball rolling… None of these things are cheap, nor are they undemanding of your time.
Of course, there are stories out there of success that came quickly. But if success does come very swiftly, then that can create a whole bunch of new problems. A sharp increase in demand and rapid growth can spell disaster for your business. So don’t be too sad that things are progressing quite slowly. This is how things generally work, and it’s how companies learn to deal with increasing success. The fact is that it can take years to see huge success. But that goes with pretty much all success stories out there. Remember: the time is going to pass anyway!
Investing too much in free marketing
Of course, my use of the word investing refers very much to your hopes for the business as opposed to money. To be honest, there’s a chance that those who are reading aren’t even fully aware of free marketing techniques. Well, they’re out there. Read up on them. Many of them are incredibly useful, and you should definitely be looking into them. In fact, I would go as far to say that free marketing is often underestimated.
But. But. Just because you’re just starting out and you want to save as much money as possible, it doesn’t mean you should only use free marketing. The fact is that free marketing is usually nowhere near as effective as the sort of marketing you pay for. And yes, you should be looking into paying for marketing. No-one is just going to stumble upon your website, I’m afraid! Make sure you invest in SEO tactics in particular. Read up on marketing agencies and how they can help your ecommerce business.
Keeping your delivery system basic
You want to know why people fell in love with Amazon so fervently? It’s not just because of the range of their stock, or how good their prices can be. It’s because they’re darn good at delivering their products. (Well, most of the time.) Their delivery service has reached the sort of standard that most other online stores aspire to. These days, quick and reliable delivery performance is pretty much required if you want any respect in the world of ecommerce. People are too used to great delivery service these days. You can’t afford to skimp out, here.
Of course, if you do want to keep things basic for budgeting reasons, then that’s understandable. As long as you’re not actually promising that the deliveries will be fulfilled in record time. There are sure to be customers who don’t mind waiting a while. But, of course, you don’t only have the amount of waiting time to consider. You also have to consider the safety of the package. The trustworthiness of the delivery service you’re using. If you’re just using municipal or public methods, you might not get the best results. Look into alternative fulfillment services like Red Stag Fulfillment.
Trusting people not to care about web design
You’ve probably heard a million times that looks aren’t everything. And I’m certainly not here to tell you that that platitude is wrong. But the problem is that looks are often more than people think. When it comes to websites, the way something looks informs how it functions. It determines how people feel when interacting with it. And if your website looks incredibly basic and by-the-numbers, then people are going to wonder why you’re not putting the effort in. It can lead them to assume your online store can’t be trusted!
This may sound a little dramatic, but it’s true. Of course, you also have to consider the fact that design will also determine everything about the user experience. Let’s say someone visits your website for the first time. They’re looking for a particular product. Is the search facility immediately visible? Can they split their search into categories? How many clicks do they have to perform between deciding they want the item and actually buying it? Are the images of the product of a high quality? Can they manipulate the images, see the product from different angles?
Web design in ecommerce is a very tricky business. I didn’t even scratch the surface there! Make sure you’re not afraid to blow minds with the design of your site.