Selling online has never been easier. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still potential pitfalls that many new eCommerce businesses regularly fall into. With more than 16-years of experience helping sellers build successful eCommerce brands across multiple channels, including online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon and their own eCommerce stores, we’ve seen and addressed almost every mistake an eCommerce business can make.

We’ve compiled a list of the top six most common mistakes online retailers make so that you can avoid them.

Six Common eCommerce Mistakes

  1. If you build it, they will come: Not only is this an often misquoted line from a Kevin Costner film, but it’s also a terrible strategy to build a business on. With as many as 24 million eCommerce stores fighting for buyers’ attention on the web, your site will need a serious marketing strategy if it’s to attract customers to its virtual doors. This means investing time and effort in things like paid search, SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, and content marketing. So while your site is being built, you should also be working on a go-to-market launch strategy.
  2. Poor foundations: If you are going to build a successful eCommerce business, don’t sell yourself short with a less-than-optimised eCommerce platform. We’re constantly approached by companies that have built incredibly simple online stores using low-cost and even free website tools. While these might be fine for hobby sellers and people operating simple side hustles, they don’t offer the scalability you’ll need as your business grows. Instead, you want a platform that can be fully integrated into your existing Martech stack and is future-proofed against the next generation of eCommerce technology. The good news is that there are fully formed eCommerce solutions like BigCommerce that offer the same great service whether you are a small, scrappy start-up or a massive enterprise.
  3. Software is too expensive: Sure, you can run your multi-channel eCommerce retail business very cheaply using spreadsheets on Google Docs. But this seemingly low-cost strategy will potentially cost you more money in the long run. Manual tasks take time (and time is money) and create opportunities for inefficiencies and errors to slip into your process. For example, multi-channel listing management software does the work of multiple people, never sleeps, and dramatically reduces the opportunity for expensive and reputation-busting errors like over-selling ruining your day. If you think your business cannot afford software, think again.
  4. Investing in a bigger warehouse: Warehouses are notoriously difficult and expensive to manage. Sellers often quickly find out that their warehouses are too small during peak sales periods and way too big throughout the rest of the year. Then you’ve got to find the staff to pick and pack all your items. Again, you’ll need to carefully manage this human resource throughout the year to meet demand — this means hiring and firing (never an easy task). Many eCommerce sellers have found out the hard way that they don’t make money stuffing envelopes. Thankfully, a range of third-party fulfilment services, including FBA and Huboo, can help make your picking, packing, and shipping process more efficient and profitable.
  5. Customer acquisition at all costs: Too many businesses spend big on customer acquisition and do very little to actually retain those expensively won customers. Suppose you are spending money on paid search or social media activities to win new customers and not using more low-cost strategies like email marketing to retain those customers. In that case, you may struggle ever to see a profit from those sales. When this happens, you may find yourself entering the realm of the busy fool. Don’t be a busy fool. Marketplace sellers on eBay and Amazon will only ever pay those expensive acquisition fees, even if you have a previous relationship with that customer.
  6. Complacency: What worked well yesterday might not work at all tomorrow. We see this a lot in the world of eBay, where sellers’ failure to keep up with listing best practices can result in their sales falling off a cliff. Similarly, when managing your own eCommerce store, unwatched paid search and comparison shopping campaigns can quickly burn through your marketing budget and deliver diminishing returns. eCommerce is a fast-moving industry, and you should expect change. So keep your eye on the ball and be ready to make changes when the market expects them.

Most of these mistakes are avoidable, but many other pitfalls are waiting for unassuming eCommerce entrepreneurs. You can minimise this risk by seeking the advice of an expert.

Schedule a 15-minute discovery call with one of our eCommerce build and design experts now, and we’ll guide you along a more profitable route.

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