So you’ve decided to start your own e-commerce business. You’ve probably read every textbook and online guide you can get your hands on, and you feel like you’re ready to launch your online shop soon. While that may be true after you’ve chosen the perfect niche that’s not ultra-competitive and have found legitimate distributors that won’t put your name to shame, there are still some common mistakes you have to avoid making in order to make your new business successful from the get-go.
In order to prevent costly mistakes and to minimize birthing pains for your new online shop, here are some mistakes you must refrain from making.
- Sweating the small stuff
As a business owner, your main job is to ensure that operations flow smoothly and your customers remain happy. If you really want to be on top of things as far as your online store is concerned, you have got to stop sweating the small stuff.
This means scouring every bit of free tool that could automate every aspect of your business process that should be able to run without you micromanaging it. For instance, getting a software tool that tracks your inventory and monitors deliveries will cut down the time you need to ask for updates and monitor developments, allowing you to focus on the bigger things like seeking partnership deals and scoring new customers.
- Launching a generic website
Knowing how to create a website that’s a cut above the rest should be your main priority when launching an e-commerce shop. It’s a highly competitive industry, and you’re never going to land ahead of the pack with a generic site that gives little to no incentive from casual viewers to actually buy from you.
The worst thing you can possibly do is to launch your business with a ‘beta’ site that’s laggy and dysfunctional. First impressions matter a lot online where people have neither the attention span nor the patience to wait until your website is ready before they bring their business elsewhere.
- Slacking off on email marketing
The moment you have your e-mail list and your site up, you have to start grinding out those targeted emails. Even if your e-mails do not translate to sales immediately, it’s a great way to thoughtfully build awareness, trust, and eventually, loyalty to your brand.
Email marketing allows you to build meaningful relationships with your prospects and leads as it gives you a chance to speak directly to them while allowing them to respond to your advances in their own time.
However, a hastily-done email marketing campaign may be just as bad as not doing it at all. Email marketing is not about sending a generic email blast that will provide no value to its recipient. To be effective, marketing emails have to be personalized and well-thought-out.
- Failing to make customers feel protected
Speaking of email marketing, another common mistake online shop owners make is making their customers feel insecure simply by not knowing the difference between the CC line and the BCC line when sending out email blasts. Trust me, this is a great way to lose your customers’ trust because it shows that you are not keen on protecting their personal information and sensitive data.
The same goes for failing to ensure that their data, particularly their billing and payment information, is safe on your website. Easy, secure payment options should be available for your customers at all times.
- Scaling up too soon
There will always be challenges in scaling up a business, but even more so if you’re in the e-commerce industry. Scaling up traditional, physical online stores can be as simple as finding a new prime location and repeating everything you did in your flagship store. The same isn’t applicable for online businesses.
Scaling up means expanding your inventory, relaunching your original site, opening up a few more, and even expanding to overseas operations. There will always be the right time for this, and you just can’t rely on a leap of faith to make it happen.
You need full mastery of the business operations, as well as heavy commitment in terms of time and resources. To avoid losing everything you painstakingly built, avoid doing this too soon. Focus on building one successful site first until you’re sure it can run by itself (or with only your associates overseeing operations) before you scale up.
To sum things up, the success of your e-commerce endeavor hedges on proper timing and planning. As long as you do everything purposefully and with enough foresight to plan ahead, you can’t be too far off from your goals.