1. Choosing a platform that won’t grow with you
For example, if your business plan forecasts sales of 100,000 units a year, an eCommerce platform such as Shopify or Etsy isn’t going to be able to handle your volume of orders and you’ll end up having to start your website from scratch on a new system. These platforms are much better suited to businesses whose yearly sales are much lower.
The key here is just to think ahead and do your research. What suits your business now might not in three years and unless you’re happy to move your website across to a different platform, it’s important to be aware of what the eCommerce platform can offer from the beginning to avoid making one of the most common eCommerce mistakes.
2. Going full steam ahead without goals, targets or direction
You need to make sure your business has goals from the beginning. Forecast yearly, 3 year and 5 year goals and make monthly notes of how your business is performing in relation to these. This way, you’ll be able to identify when important changes are needed to be made before it becomes too late.
3. The proof really IS in the pudding
Did you know that as many as 90% of customers are influenced by online reviews?
So many businesses fail as a result of having no social proof. If 90% of customers rely on reviews to make a purchase decision, having none could really stump your online business’s growth. Whether it’s reviews on an external companies site such as Trustpilot, reviews on social platforms such as Facebook or testimonials on your website, the feedback really will help. And if it’s the thought of negative reviews that’s putting you off… don’t let it! The odd bad review won’t hurt. In fact, it can make your business seem more human and your review profile seem more trustworthy. After all, is there really a company out there that gets it 100% right all of the time?
It’s just as important to remember that you’re going to need to build up a significant amount of social proof before you begin promoting it. Over promotion of poorly followed social media channels and advertising a couple of reviews is just going to make your business seem smaller than it is and could be one the the biggest, and potentially damaging, eCommerce mistakes you make. Make sure you keep things under wraps until you’ve built up a well established profile of social proof.
4. Forgetting about customer services
Many eCommerce businesses fail as a result of neglecting customer services. It might not seem like the most important aspect of your business, but 66% of customers are likely to jump ship to a competitor brand if the service they receive from your company is poor. If you don’t have time to manage customer services yourself, you may need to consider taking someone else on board to cover this for you. Avoiding it could be one of the biggest eCommerce mistakes you make.
5. Going in with too much, too soon
You only get one chance to make a first impression. Start by launching a succinct and focused product range that you know your target market will love and gradually add new products once you get to grips with your markets buying behaviour trends.
6. Underestimating the importance of a good product description
‘They’ll never read it anyway…’
You’ve probably said, we all have. But it’s important to put yourself into your customer’s shoes. Not every customer is going to read your product descriptions, but there will be those who want to know the specifications and care details before they make their purchasing decisions. You don’t have to spend hours upon hours writing paragraphs of descriptions. Just make sure you get the important details written down (see here for a production description guide). It’ll also work wonders for your SEO.
It’s also important to mention here that using manufacturers or pre-written descriptions are a big no-no. They’ll be other companies using these descriptions and you simply won’t be able to compete or gain good SEO ranking by using them.
7. Forgetting to let customers know how to get in touch
We understand many small businesses are being run by owners who have other full-time commitments, and that’s fine. But there is no harm in giving your customers a contact email address so you can answer their enquiries when you have a spare 5 minutes during the day. In fact if you do so, your company will appear a lot more trustworthy and your prospects will be filled with the confidence they need to make a purchase.