Alright, Alright, Alright. You my friend have just stumbled upon one of the most important ecommerce lessons ever. So buckle up !
A year ago I was looking to make money online and I saw all these people (gurus) telling how much money they make and their GTR on the driveway.
And I got started my 3 month journey towards failure. Now when I look back the mistakes that I did were so dumb that is has potential to be the most funny comedy show.
Until reality punched me in the face. But I am here to save you a lot of money and time loss.
I hope for you to be wise enough to learn from other mistake.
Now don’t get me wrong. Coz if you are willing to put in the work and do your best those things are achievable.
And the other thing is that we only watch these people’s ‘success stories’. Chile there is nothing wrong with this. We should remember that most businesses fail and they’re reasons behind it.
So if you don’t want to be like most businesses, you should do what most people don’t.
“Only dumb people learn from their own mistakes.
Wise people learn from others.”
1.No business plan
Ok This goes to the top of the list. I did this too and looking back it is a stupid regret.
Don’t get me wrong, you might have some idea or a “plan” in your head but don’t fall into the trap that I have a plan in my mind.
Possibly the worst mistake you can do and the easiest and fastest way to fail.
You have to write your business plan down. Trust me you are going to save a lot of regret and pain not to forget money.
Taking time to write down a business plan might seem like a lot of unnecessary work but this has to be done.
“If you haven’t put your ideas, questions and concerns on paper, then you haven’t given your business model enough thought.”
If you are going to write you will have this info-
- General knowledge: greater sense of knowledge about your business
- Resources: resources that will take you to your goals and necessary things for you to make business successful like money, partners , employees.
- Road map: have a clear set of goals and deadlines that will take you from beginning to forward
- Viability: Answer to question “ is your business possible “
If you want to learn more about ecommerce business plans check out this resource.
2.No target audience and buyer persona
This is a really big mistake that a lot of people make. They think that they can sell everything to everybody.
If you are thinking like that you have already lost. Shave yourself and don’t do this.
What you should be doing is selling specific products to specific people.
Buyer personas are one of the if not the most important paper you need to succeed.
Yes I am talking this specific.
Here is how to write the perfect buyer persona for ecommerce stores.
3.Choosing the wrong platform
You should realise that the platform you choose can truly make or break the business.
Because, these ecommerce platforms decide how you showcase and present your products to your customer, they although play rore attracting customers.
And If you are on a budget or you don’t want to get too technical you need to choose wisely.
Once you decided what you want from your ecommerce platform stuff like-
- Your budget
- What kind of products do you plan to offer
- How do you plan to scale your business
- Do you want completely custom design or some ready-to-use templates will work for you
- What kind of experience do your target audience is looking for
- Which tools are you integrate with your website
- How much-h control do you want over your website
Avoid these mistakes
You definitely don’t want a platform that limits your business growth, something that does not integrate with your current system.
Choosing the wrong ecommerce platform right from the beginning will help you a lot of headache. Not to forget this mistake could lead to potential revenue lost.
This kind of mistake could mean you investing a lot more time, effort, energy, resources and money wich you could save if you made right choice from the beginning.
Make sure to know what you want from your ecommerce platform. What I recommend is to check the platforms features and do some research on YouTube.
4.Not defining and understanding your target audience clearly
This it is the one of the worst mistake that I did and I am totally regretful about it.
You having a good designed website and pretty photos of the products and a pitch is not enough.
Turns out this is one of the most common mistakes you can make and most entrepreneurs make do this that is why they fail.
There are couple of thighs you should do to make sure you dont do this mistake
- Make sure that your target audience really need your product
- Communicate with your audience with their language ( some special words, sayings they use it that niche )
- You should develop a marketing strategy that puts your target audience to the center.
It steps are really critical for your brand to survive.
Investing time to understand your customers is a must for your business.
Your research should involve-
- Learning target audiences, pain points
- Learning what worked and did not work according to their experience
- Knowing their values
- Learn about where and how they engage with online content
- Address points your products solve for customers
These kind of research will give you the a better edge about your customers which is a huge advantage.
5.Lack of resources
Alright here we come to the tough part. For those of you who ever had run a business you know how bad it sucks problem of money. This is something I have struggled with.
Hard truth is you will need money for marketing, domain, hosting etc.Lack of money is a real problem when starting a business is money is essential.
You want your budget to be at least 100-1000$ to get running but this budget is although limited You can sill drive some sales. But you would need to put too much effort to make the first sale.
6.Bad user experience
Pretty looking website is not enough to drive sales. You should make it easy for visitors to find what they want this is going to help you convert more in sales and increase sweet revenue.
Fortunately this is not too hard to do or something. There are ton of how to design ecommerce website tutorials and if you are using shopify your job is going to be pretty easy since they have ton of free and premium templates for you.
Although don’t be afraid to work with UX designers if you need to, this is an investment that definitely pay off in the long run
Huge mistake that a lot of ecommerce stores do is only relying on paid traffic to acquire new customers. While there is no problem with this you really leave so much money on table.
Great thing about SEO traffic is that it is free targeted traffic which means people who find your products on google have good chance to convert as a customer.
Another thing about SEO is that you don’t actually interrupt people you just give them what you want believe it or not this will help you increase brand reputation. From your homepage to product descriptions everything should be SEO friendly.
You although have options to hire a freelancer to do it for you or there ton of guides on line for you to do it yourself like this.
8.Complicated check out page
Yeah I did this too it sucks that users have come all the way and they cant purchase because they can’t complete the process
Users have come to your website and they want to purchase until they saw that your checkout page is a total mess. This is the the end and you lost that customer forever.
That is why if you ever want to make sales you need to make sure that check-out page is on point.
Designing a good check-out page definitely requires more than copying your competitors.
Here are some points to consider-
- Keep it minimalist and as simple as possible and only collect the most important data.
- A step by step process will make it a lot easier for your customers. Guide users through each step of your check out page
- Allow users to customize their purchases for example some users may want to change product quantity so let them change it by adding an option to checkout page
- Let customers register an account on checkout page. Don’t force them to create an account somewhere else.
- Minimize promotions.Hake users easy to focus on checkout. Limit promotions and add-on product recommendations.
9. No branding
If you really want to create a legitimate business you need to create a brand. Simon sinek said-
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it”
Branding is like reputation for business. Think about people who have good reputation. You have certain expectation from them like “being there on time” or “ keeping a promise”.
Apple has a great branding for example. And they stand for a strong message- “Think different”. And do you know why every new iphone looks like the old one that is for a reason. Because they are creating a strong reputation doing this.
Nike on the other hand is one of the gerat brands. Nike never says “ our shoes are better than puma” in their commercials, they honor great athletics and great athletes. And don’t forget their branding message “just do it”.
Now you are no Nike or Apple But that does not mean you are not going to be able to leverage this superpower. Yu need to be authentic and creative.
If you have done particular market research then you know your audience’s needs and pain points you should leverage them.
Best ecommerce websites use this for their advantage not to forget this creates a loyal customer base and skyrockets brand awareness.
10.Bad customer service
Today’s customers have sky-high expectations from brands.
What is ecommerce customer service?
Ecommerce customer survive is the way that ecommerce websites provide help for their users in areas like making the right purchase or purchasing process.
Ecommerce customer service isn’t something “nice to have” it is a must. But It is not enough to say you have customer service because bad customer service is a lot worse.
But the good news is that people are ready to pay 21% more just because customer service.
Here are best practises for ecommerce customer service.
11.Trying to develop your own CMS?
If you are not a developer don’t even try to develop your own CMS (content management system) You can call them website builders or ecommerce platforms.This task could be incredibly hard even if you have somebody doing it for you.
Instead there are ton of CMS softwares you can choose like Shopify, Big commerce, WordPress and others. There are plenty of options you can choose from and you can find one that suits your needs.
12.No clear value proposition
If your visitors come to your website and cant figure out what you are all about immediately, there is a high chance that they are going to leave.
This is an awesome example because if you didn’t know what Uber was which is impossible because just seeing their page at first glance you immediately know.
Major purpose of your homepage is grabbing attention of visitors and encourage them to learn more about you and check other pages of website.
13.Bad copy and design
Speaking of homepages tour copy needs to be om point foe-r your homepage to function successfully. Your copy can make or brake the chances of getting loyal customers.
That is why copywriting is so important for your businesses but this shouldn’t be a barrier for you. Since there are a ton of resources to learn copywriting.
When it comes to design it is actually a lot easier for you think. If you are using ecommerce CMS tools like Shopify or Bigcommerce they have a lot of free and paid templates so you won’t have any ecommerce website design issues.
Here are ecommerce website design tips.
Since one of your homepage important role is to get visitors attention and encourage them to see the rest of the website this is a must.
Think about it how they will visit the rest of your website if they cant find other pages?
For some of you this may sound obvious but You would be shocked by how many people forget this.
15. Technical problems
This goes without saying. But oll of your web pages should work and function flawlessly.
- Making sure that every link on your website should work flawlessly. Broken like should be avoided
- Your site speed should be on point and fast this has a lot of SEO benefits
- Mot of visits to your website will be done by smartphones that is why your website should be optimized for mobile devices
You might think that these problems are no big deal but don’t forget that “devil is in the details”
16.Poor product photography
We have mentioned this in our previous posts that people can’t touch check out products as they want when they are shopping online.
So you should do your best to present your product visually to the users so they can get the sense of what they are buying.
But when it comes to to pictures you definitely don’t only want to use white background images from the supplier.
“When people shop online, it can obviously be a challenge to see how the product might look in a real-life situation. Brands often struggle to show their products in a way that reflects what a potential customer might actually resonate with.”
Instead, what you should do is taking photos that will stand out from your competitors. If you are good with photography, you can take pictures yourself or find a freelance photographer and send them the product and let them take pictures for you.
If you can consider to add 360` photo or video. Or you might consider adding influencer generated content, this may give ideas about how others use your products.
This can although help you with branding.
17.Poor product info and description
This is an important one.
Since, people find it hard to interact with your products when they are shopping online pictures of products help but if you need deep product info.
Your product info should focus on objective features, specifications and benefits that customer will get. But don’t forget that these descriptions should be SEO optimized.
If you read these descriptions you will know what it feels to have one of these bottles.
“Never underestimate the importance of strong product data.”
Find out more about how to write amazing product descriptions.
18.Poor social proof
As you know social proof is necessary for your business to sell. That is why you need to leverage testimonials and reviews as much as possible to create trust.
And there is no better place to place social proof to your product pages? That is why you always should include product reviews on your product page.
Reviews are great and more positive reviews you can generate the better for you.
But you although need to make sure that those reviews are authentic to the user, of course. Best way to do that is to add “verified reviewer” badge.
Here is a recommended content-
19. Unexpected surprise fees
These unexpected surprise fees are the worst ecommerce conversion killers of all time.
Whether it is tax or shipping fees or a lot worse of all “the dreaded convenience fee” these unexpected and “meaningless” fees kill your chances of conversions.
Now we are not saying you should eat the cost of tax but at least provide how much tax will cost upfront they will appreciate your honesty.
But you can hide the cost of shipping and increase the total cost of a product. Free shipping is a great way to boost conversions.
20.No contact info and about page
A lot of people underestimate or forget the “ about page “. According to studies about page is 2. or 3. Most viewed page of your website. Not having this kind of page decreases the number of sales.
Your about page is an Amazing opportunity to tell your story and guess what stories sell. Although don’t forget to add your physical location because even you are an online business letting people know your actual location increases trust.
The last thing is to include your email address but don’t use free email like gmail.com or outlook.com get a professional email with your domain name this makes you recognisable.
I was actually shocked that this was real until I saw it.
Here is the question: Would you buy from a store without a logo?
Answer: Absolutely no!
Now when it comes to making a logo, anybody can make a logo nowadays ıit is super easy. Now if you want to hire a professional logo designer that is ok but you have free option too.
There are tons of tools online to make a logo. I personally prefer Canva But it really is your choice.
Now, when it comes to actually designing a logo I am not a logo designer bur you can learn to design one here.
I saved the worst to the end: Visitors.
Here is a harsh reality if nobody comes to your website you are not going to make any sales. And how do you get traffic to your website ? Marketing!
This part is the most important part and you are probably going to spend most of your time, money and effort on this. Because the internet is so crowded it is becoming harder and harder to stand out.
Most ecommerce websites fail because they don’t get any traffic at all. But don’t expect to get thousands of traffic in the first months of starting the business.
Don’t forget that marketing takes time and consistency. It is a long term game.
There are a lot of ways you can market your online ecommerce business but there arn’t one size fits all formula your marketing should be adjusted your target audience
Here are recommended reads for ecommerce marketing-
And here are some videos-
So these are the problems that you should solve to succeed. Don’t forget that it is better to face these problems head on, acting like they are not there will not solve anything.
I hope you you are someone wise and can learn from others mistakes.