More and more offline companies have taken their businesses to the eCommerce arena. The number of new online merchants also continue to grow as these entrepreneurs put out their own shopping sites.
However, it’s not as easy as it looks. There are plenty of newbies who give up quite soon because they think they’ve lost the battle. Some of them haven’t even had the chance to take off yet.
There are several common eCommerce mistakes most newbies often make, which could be avoided if you know them in advance.
Mistake #1: Not Being Aware of Your Niche
It can be tempting to have an eCommerce site that’s like an online department store, catering to various needs and wants of different types of customers. However, this may not really work in the long run.
What you need to do is be identified with a particular niche so that more people will flock to you for specific products and services. At times, it’s better to focus on small niches that are not yet tapped or that may actually have a huge demand but with not much competition yet.
When you are well aware of your niche, it will help you focus your marketing efforts on a targeted audience. It will also allow you to shine through in the market and become better known in the industry.
Mistake #2: Not Using the Right Channels
Oftentimes, a lot of newbies make the mistake of wanting to use all the available channels to reach out to their market. Unfortunately, this could actually be time-consuming but not necessarily effective.
What if you’re spending a lot of time building your Twitter page when most of your potential clients hang out more on Facebook? What if your products cater to old people who don’t really use much of social media but are rather more reachable through email and via offline associations and communities?
These are just some things you may want to consider before you go all-out with your marketing and promotional efforts. It’s crucial for you to first identify the actual channels that will enable you to maximize your efforts and results.
Mistake #3: Not Using Resources Wisely
There’s another common mistake that a lot of newbies tend to make— to invest too much on resources that are not yet necessary.
Sometimes you may run ahead of yourself, excited and eager to get started with the business. But what if you end up piling up on your inventory without even knowing if there is sufficient demand?
You may come across a tempting offer to put out expensive ads when it’s not yet called for too. Or you might spend too much on having your website designed when in fact, you haven’t smoothed out your shipping process yet.
There are many ways that newbie e-sellers may not use resources wisely. Thus, you must be careful. Take it one step at a time and make sure you’re investing in the right things. Be sure to do your research and to keep on studying your operations and sales in order to determine how you can efficiently manage and allocate your resources.
Mistake #4: Not Staying in Focus
Can you imagine how many aspects of running an eCommerce business you need to monitor? From sourcing materials for your products to establishing the proper payment modes to making sure you have regular relevant content on your site and on social media, it can definitely be a lot to take in and handle.
There are times that you may feel overwhelmed. This could make you lose your focus. There may also be moments when you get distracted by not-so-important things. For example, you become so fixated on ensuring that your photos are of top quality when you haven’t even laid out any marketing plan yet.
Mistake #5: Not Maximizing Email Marketing
Anyone who’s running a business online will tell you that email marketing is vital to your success. You must gather and collect email addresses early on, offering enticing freebies related to your business so that people will show interest and will be willing to give their email ads. What’s more, this is a great way too to funnel your audience or market.
Don’t ignore email marketing, no matter how effective your social media marketing has become. Email marketing is essentially cheap as compared to paid advertising and other forms of marketing. Hence, you should take advantage of it.
Mistake #6: Not Measuring Success Properly (or at all)
If you’re new in business, there’s a chance that you are neglecting the measurement of your success. Or if you are doing it, you may not be doing it properly.
It’s important to measure your progress based on key indicators, such as the growth of your email list and the number of sales you make. This will give you a better, clearer picture of how your eCommerce business is doing so far.
Furthermore, take note that you have to measure success by years, not quarterly and definitely not monthly. After all, eCommerce is actually seasonal. You can’t compare summer months to those nearing Christmas, for example. They will not be matched up well.
In this case, you have to follow what traditional retailers practice— compare by year to have accurate measurements.
Mistake #7: Not Putting Strategy First
Before you came up with your actual website, did you think of your strategy? Were you able to plan it well and use it as a basis for the design, tabs, marketing process, and more? If not, then surely you’ll run into some problems along the way.
Strategy is crucial. You need to come up with a business plan so you don’t end up veering away or getting distracted. It will help you achieve more faster too.
For example, what are you spending most of your time on with regard to this business? How many hours do you actually consume worrying about features of your site rather than strategizing on how to reach more of your targeted customers?
Indeed strategy is something you cannot ignore. It must be prioritized.
Mistake #8: Not Picking the Right Partners
Just because something is popular now doesn’t mean it will stay popular forever. And just because it’s well-known today or has a big name in the industry doesn’t mean it’s going to be an effective channel for your promotions.
For example, if you’re looking for a top gun to partner with, you shouldn’t just rely on their popularity or name recall. You should find out first what their strategies are in marketing and if these would suit your purposes. Let’s say you pay a hefty amount to advertise on their site, but actually most of their customers go to their social media pages and not their site. Or you may have been counting on their emails, but the way they do email marketing isn’t effective for your ad.
These are scenarios that you ought to look into before partnering with another company or business.
Mistake #9: Not Understanding Supply and Demand
For some businesses, having plenty of products displayed online could be effective. But will this approach work the same for you?
You must understand the law of supply and demand in terms of inventory. You should also know to separate the eCommerce operations from traditional ones because they are different systems. One tactic that works for one may not work for the other.
Although it’s tempting to fill up your e-store with plenty of inventory, it may actually become too much or too confusing for potential customers. The best way to go about it is to get feedback from them so you’ll know that they want and you can therefore adjust accordingly.
Mistake #10: Not Maximizing Social Media Platforms
Today, it’s common knowledge that most people turn to social media to find what they are looking for. Hence, you should make your brand and your business accessible through the appropriate channels.
If you’re making use of Facebook because this enables you to reach out to your audience better and faster, then you ought to study and learn how to maximize its use. It’s not enough to just keep posting because even if you have great posts, people may not actually see them.
Perhaps you should be using hashtags. Perhaps you could be holding contests from time to time. Or maybe you ought to be posting more videos. It really depends on what social media you’re using and what your purpose is.
Knowledge is Power
They say knowledge is power, but if you don’t use what you learned from this article, then the knowledge goes to waste. It will be of no good at all.
Now that you’re well aware of the common mistakes that newbies in eCommerce make, this should help you avoid them and thus have an edge over others.