Avoid these 7 mistakes when you first start your online store
In this modern day, you can easily be your own boss just by starting a small business online. However, it is difficult to run your business successfully since there are plenty of issues arise in the company’s development journey. Many store owners have been struggling to maintain their profitability and sustainability due to several mistakes they have made. So, if you are a newbie in the industry, having an understanding of the e-commerce common mistakes may help you survive in this competitive world of online business.
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Table of content
- Number #1: Not having a clear and strategic plan
- Number #2: Choosing the wrong platform
- Number #3: Doing the wrong math
- Number #4: Failing to engage the customers
- Number #5: Not being different enough
- Number #6: Failing to allocate your time and resources
- Number #7: Offering too much but forget to get something in exchange
- Final thoughts
Number #1: Not having a clear and strategic plan
Regardless of a business’s shapes and sizes, having a great plan is a must. You cannot just sell what you have without knowing your targeted customers, balancing your budget while investing in your capabilities. There are many factors around an online business that must be concerned, and what you have to do is to write a perfect strategy with those elements before your business starts to collapse.
Overlooking the importance of market research
Many people create a pretty detailed plan for their business, but they still strain to gain profitability after putting it into operation because of a lack of market research. You should find your niche, what you are good at and which type of customer to whom you want to sell products, then sketch out a suitable strategy to approach the targeted audience.
It is also necessary to know whether your products or services are competitive and outstanding in the market, and what micro and macro environment can have significant impacts on your business. Additionally, being aware of the internal factos of your business is needed since those are controllable capabilities that can help you a lot to build an effective plan.
Forgetting a content plan
If you skip the content marketing in your plan, in the long term, you will definitely lose a great number of customers. Creating interesting and fresh content is one of the most effective tactics to increase the connection between you and your buyers. People love stories, and they will feel like staying with your brand if they find something in common. Instead of focusing too much on how to boost your sales, try to put great effort into building brand awareness and preference as well. A clever content strategy not only does bring more profits to you, but also attract more potential customers to your store.
Having over expectations with your plan
It is not always that your plan will efficiently work for 100%. Sometimes, it takes time, money and improvement to achieve the best outcomes. Being too confident with what you have prepared can lead to some disappointment which makes you quit in the middle of the venture. Therefore, just stay consistent in your plan, rectify the problems and give your business a period of time to grow.
Number #2: Choosing the wrong platform
After having a wonderful plan, choosing a suitable platform is crucially important. If the platform fails to support your website, then there is highly a chance that your business will be a failure. You should ask yourself several questions such as with this type of products and services, which platform would be a proper one? How big is your business scale? Which tools does the platform need to support your website? How should you customize your web design? Is your budget enough with the platform?
A powerful platform can help you build an easy-to-use website to gain customers and increase organic traffic to your online store. There are many platforms out there which can highly support your business, Magento, for instance, is one of the most popular ones when it comes to helping develop E-commerce platform of any companies in any sizes from a small store to a large scale enterprise.
Number #3: Doing the wrong math
The financial section is one of the essential parts in your plan, and if you are not careful with the calculation, you will bleed your money to death. This can be the reason why many online startups fail to maintain their business in a long period.
Not considering your budget properly
Everything related to your expenses must seriously be taken into account because at the end of the day, money is what keeps your business survive. Some online shop owners spend too much money on other physical resources such as premises or the office building that they cannot afford to pay for a better platform or hiring an excellent web designer. As a result, their website will be nothing more than just an ineffective channel. You should prioritize spending on the big and important categories in your financial plan but avoid paying an excessive amount. If your budget is not enough, try to find ways of raising funds for your business.
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In many cases, shop owners have even more money than enough. However, sometimes, it is not considered as a great situation when they may likely spend the budget on wrong investment such as too much on online advertising or unimportant events, which can waste a lot of support money for an unexpected future downturn. You must be wise in terms of investing your money in your business, or else it can be ruined in a very short time.
Underpricing your products
Remember that profit depends on how you price your products or services, so if the price is unreasonably low, you will lose money instead of generating it. A cost analysis is crucial for your business. Overhead costs such as labour and material costs should be considered carefully when it comes to setting a final price. Other factors such as shipping fees, returns and taxes should be estimated as well so that you can avoid getting over surprised because of the capital loss.
A smart E-commerce doer will also pay attention to the change of the industry and stay up-to-date with the latest SEO algorithm to know whether there is an increase in the platform fees. Just be wise, spend time and effort to do some math, then the profit will come to you in the long run.
Number #4: Failing to engage the customers
Having poor customer service
If your customers are not listened to, they will never come back to your store. Many people are frustrated because the hotline is always busy when they need, or the message box is “just for display purpose only”. Therefore, you need to build customers’ trust with professional customer service to increase your online brand reputation. The FAQ page, for example, is an important channel that can help solving the buyers’ issues at certain levels. With an optimized FAQ page, not only will your customer service be more upgraded, but also help you with sales improvement in the long term. Check out this article for some solutions for your FAQ page.
Remember that customers are those who give you feedbacks, their opinions upon your services and products. Thus, you have to always build a strong bond with them to adjust your strategy and improve the product and service qualities in order to reach higher profitability and acquire brand preference. Some shop owners have made their big mistake when they forget to collect buyers’ contact info such as emails from the beginning, which leads to a further issue that they have lost a great number of potentially loyal customers.
Trying to be active in every social media at the same time
Although being connected with the customers in various social media accounts can broaden the chance of gaining more interactions with the audience, you still need to focus on the main social networking site which is the most effective to your online store. Posting new content everyday on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, etc. at once does not mean that many people will be engaged to your brand. This is why a content marketing plan is important, and your content must be creatively excellent to reach customers’ minds. Less is more. Find your niche and which social media is major used by your targeted customers, then invest your time and money in it to achieve greater outcomes for your business.
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Number #5: Not being different enough
This is the question people may ask themselves when they enter your website: “Is there anything different about this store that is worth to keep me to stay for longer?”. Your types of product or service may already be pretty common in the market, but how you can make your business outstanding from others still matters to win the game. Find your competitive advantage that can help you be more valuable to the customers than your competitors.
It is not necessary that you have to invent innovative products or services to be different. There are many factors which can prove that your online store is unique. For example, you have exceptional customer service; your website is super creative and friendly to users, or you create a superlative marketing campaign that strongly impresses the audience. By doing so, your business is more special than others which helps you survive in the competitive industry.
Number #6: Failing to allocate your time and resources
Focusing too much on unimportant issues
Some people spend too much time and solutions for small issues that slow down the development of their business. What you should do to avoid that problem is to prioritize crucial activities on the list. For example, do not spend a whole day to design one slider for your front page, deal with that later after having a detailed content plan for your business in general. If you follow the Perato principle, remember that 80% of the great results come from 20% of tasks you do.
Doing everything by yourself
Even if you have a small business, doing it alone is hard to be successful. You need other people to support you in the competition. Your customers, suppliers, human resources is critically important to help your business thrive. Hire other people who have many different skills you do not in order to run your online store easier. You should also build relationships with many other entrepreneurs to learn from their success, gain lessons from their failure. Once you are in a network within the industry, more and more people would like to help you to overcome the obstacles you might face while running your business.
Number #7: Offering too much but forget to get something in exchange
When you start a business, giving away is a great strategy to build strong relationships with new customers. Offering them free gifts or services can also be a great way of making you stand out from others. However, be careful because, in the long run, those free stuff can add up to a huge cost. Therefore, be clever to choose proper free gifts such as a free ebook or some instructions in exchange for the customers’ contact info or their subscriptions. By doing that, you can both attract your audience and avoid losing too much money.
Running an online store, in this century, is possible to anyone, but if you don’t pay attention to some common mishaps that many people have ignored, your business will have the same faith of a breakdown. Therefore, carefully learning from the mistakes of others can help you lessen the risk of ruining your business in the short term, and develop it sustainably in the future.