Starting your first e-commerce business is a lot like becoming a parent for the first time; you can read all the books, but nothing ever quite prepares you for the reality of it.
There’s so much to learn, and you need to learn fast! Because in the early days, without the security of an established customer base, there is not much room for error.
But just because your e-commerce business is new doesn’t mean you need to make new to e-commerce mistakes.
In this post, we will look at seven of the most common mistakes new e-commerce business owners make, so that you can avoid them.
Wasting time with menial tasks
If you’re just starting out in e-commerce, chances are you do everything yourself. Uploading products, writing descriptions, marketing; A million plates all spinning in a spectacular one-man (or woman) show.
The problem is that while doing everything yourself is great, it’s also incredibly time-consuming.
And time is the one thing you can’t buy more of.
We’ve all been there; a task needs tackling, and it just seems most sensible to try and do it yourself. Two hours later, feeling frustrated and having made little progress, that can seem like less of a great choice.
New e-commerce merchants need to try and automate as many necessary menial tasks as possible. This process will cost a bit of money, but the headache and heartache you save typically outweighs the money you’ll spend.
Unnecessary menial tasks must go to the chopping block. By unnecessary, I mean things like spending too much time tinkering with tasks that could be automated for a relatively low cost.
Especially since after two hours of tinkering, you’ll feel like you did a lot of work, but you will have also endured two hours of frustration and will feel exhausted by it. Realistically, your time could have been better spent.
More e-commerce tasks are now able to be automated, and popular solutions such as Shopify or BigCommerce have a lot of stock management and customer service automation built in. For eBay sellers, AutoApply allows you to list however you want, from any device, and have custom listing designs automatically apply with no extra work for you.
Not knowing your customer
Doing quality e-commerce research comes in two parts; finding a product and knowing your customers.
Both are important, but it is a lot easier to have customers in mind and build a product range that you know they will want than it is to have a product and then hunt for customers who will want it.
The crucial step that most often gets missed by new e-commerce businesses is building a customer profile.
Creating a customer profile allows you to really explore your customer and get to know them. You should know how your customer speaks, so you know how best to communicate with them; you should know why your customer wants your product, so you know which features to point out and questions to answer, and you should know where else they go on the internet, so you know where to advertise your store.
Sales is all about rapport. About getting to know your customer, knowing their questions and how they want them answered. This step is vital to any e-commerce success, and it is something you should continuously revisit and keep building on.
Choosing a Setup you can’t maintain
A robust e-commerce set up is essential to the smooth running and future success of your business. There are many website platform options for a new e-commerce business, and it’s important that you choose one that not only works for you but is easy for you to maintain and scale too.
Self-hosted e-commerce is the e-commerce option which gives you the most freedom, but it is also the one which places the most work and responsibility in your lap. If you are not able to comfortably take on the responsibility of keeping your software and hardware safe and healthy as you scale your business, a hosted Solution would be better for your business.
Realistically, this means that if you do not have confident coding and graphic design skills, you will struggle to run your business from a self-hosted website.
Hosted solutions like Shopify or BigCommerce take a lot of technical and security issues away for sellers. They are developed to offer shopping environments which are fast, secure and flexible; with thousands of options for sales features, and the ability to apply your own custom store design.
Not branding your customer experience
You put a lot of effort into making sure that the service you provide to customers is good enough to make customers keep wanting to come back for more. So let them know that great shopping experience is yours!
Having the same header with your company logo, colour scheme and layout for all of the pages on your website gives customers confidence and keeps your brand at front and center at every turn.
This rule is also true for your marketplace listings. Customers shop on marketplaces they trust and feel loyal to. We want to transfer that trust and loyalty to you as a seller. Frooition creates full custom design for eBay listings, meaning that when a customer searches for a product and lands on one of your listings, they know that they are buying from you rather than just buying on eBay.
Amazon encourages loyalty to their marketplace with a strong focus on customer experience and prime scheme. Sellers can now custom design and brand their Amazon store. This is a huge development for sellers, allowing them to merchandise stock as fully on their Amazon store as they do on their own website, and transfer that great Amazon experience customer loyalty to their brand.
Recommendations for new e-commerce businesses
With all of those mistakes laid out, you might be wondering: How do you know you’re on the right track? No one can predict the future for you, but to help in some small way, here’s a shortlist of the hard but worthwhile work you should do to successfully launch and run an online store:
- Know your customers and their questions.
- Brand everywhere you sell.
- Avoid wasting time with distractions.
- Invest in a robust e-commerce set up.