If you started an online store in 2020 due to work changes because of the global pandemic, or if you plan to sometime this year, you no doubt know what a booming area this is. However, such popularity also creates plenty of business competition. The reality is that not every entrepreneur’s eCommerce dreams take off as they hope.
To create and grow a successful online store takes knowledge, skills, and commitment, and being smart and strategic at every step. To help you learn from challenges and setbacks others have faced and perhaps not come back from, here are some common mistakes to avoid along your eCommerce journey.
Lack of Research
One of the biggest errors in judgment entrepreneurs make is not doing enough research. Before opening a business, especially one with so much competition, you must understand what’s already being done and how. Prior to launching an online store, learn about all the main competitors and what they offer. Research who they target, the price points their products sit at, where and how they market, the level of their customer service, the platform they use, and more.
Also, to give your venture the best chance of success, investigate the target market you plan to sell to. Learn as much as you can about these consumers, including the times of day or night they shop, the gadgets they use to browse and buy, where they learn about eCommerce stores, the types of products they desire, etc.
Even online, you can’t (and shouldn’t) create a store that appeals to everyone, everywhere. As such, don’t make the mistake of trying to. Instead, focus on a niche group of clientele you think will fall in love with your offerings and rave about your products and business to everyone they know.
You can do all the market research you like but still have a store that falls flat if your “storefront” doesn’t appeal to buyers. When selling online, your shop is your website. People can’t see goods in person or speak with customer service staff face to face, so your online presence has to give them everything they need in one spot.
Avoid making the mistake of rushing into creating a shopfront that uses a less-than-ideal website layout that people find hard to use. Consumers must easily see how to get from page to page and find the information they need.
In particular, the checkout should be simple and straightforward and not give people cause for concern. Before you launch, have people outside your business test the site for functionality. Always be on the lookout for any links that break over time, too.
Furthermore, leave plenty of white space on each page, use a large, clear font, and choose quality graphics. Provide people with plenty of details and photographs (videos too, where possible) that showcase the wares you’re selling very clearly. Provide easy-to-understand information about shipping costs and timeframes, refunds and returns, warranties, and your business in general. Don’t forget to provide contact details, too.
Also, be sure to pick a software platform optimized for mobile use, as so many people use their smartphones and tablets to browse and buy these days.
Not Enough Focus on Packaging and Shipping
Another vital component of a successful eCommerce store is getting parcels delivered to shoppers in a timely manner and good condition. Don’t make the mistake of not finding quick and secure shipping methods. People expect to receive goods ASAP these days, often the same day or within a single day. As such, offer consumers the chance to choose express shipping if they want, or simply make this a standard feature of doing business with you. You may need to work with couriers to get items delivered on time. Always research the carriers you choose to partner with carefully.
Also, don’t disappoint people by sending them goods that aren’t packaged well enough to survive the transit process intact. Work out how to package wares in a way that protects them and looks professional.
If you sell fragile, hazardous, or otherwise sensitive products, you may need to invest in handy impact recorder tools or temperature indicators. Such solutions alert transporters to any problems with the goods contained in parcels en route to destinations.
Some of the other common mistakes entrepreneurs make when running their online stores include having poor customer service and a lack of security.
Some people also have the mistaken “build it, and they will come belief,” putting up a website and expecting people to flock to it. However, committed marketing is as essential online as it is for bricks-and-mortar stores. Pay attention to each of these business facets as you build and grow your venture in 2021.