6 Common Mistakes of E-commerce Startups

Young blonde woman working at small business ecommerce celebrating crazy and amazed for success with open eyes screaming excited.

E-commerce is the new commerce, with e-com giant Shopify estimating that the global online market will hit a worth of around 5.5-trillion dollars in 2022. The world of e-commerce is an institution that allows players to enter the game at all levels, from multi-million dollar enterprises to twenty-dollar dropshipping start-ups. 

No matter the scale of your e-com business, there are some common mistakes you can make at any level that can and will impact your online business’s success and development. Read on to learn six common mistakes of e-commerce start-ups.

1. Poor market research

Many people fall under the spell that e-commerce is a quick way to make some money. Unfortunately, while some people gamble and win with things like fast online sales with cheap products and fast fashion, this is not a sustainable business model; eventually, these businesses shut shop.

Market research is as essential in e-commerce as any other industry, and knowing your niche and where it is headed is critical to growing a sustainable online brand.

There is only so much paying other people to do your blog copy, social media marketing, and google ads will achieve, and it is ultimately up to you and your team to drive your business’s direction.

Make sure you have planned for profitable product margins, be invested in your company’s role within your market, and ensure your products and services are kept at a high quality and standard to continue to grow.

2. Ignoring business development

Knowing your market and providing a good product or service may be the foundation of a start-up; however, a strategic business development plan is the only thing that will guarantee momentum and growth.

Business is like chess, and it’s essential to be several moves ahead. The world of e-commerce is fast-paced, so while it is vital to have solid future plans, it is just as crucial to implement flexible business development strategies so you can shift with the ever-changing e-commerce tides.

The 21st century provided incredible opportunities to work less and achieve better results. When you have a limited budget (and it’s usually like that when you’re starting a business), and you can’t hire a big team, you need to think out of the box. A typical startup mistake is avoiding automation, thinking it’s too complicated, too expensive, or even unnecessary for them, and guess what? It’s not. Automation with the right tool can save your time, keep your costs under control, and make your business mistakeless from the very beginning.

3. Selecting the wrong e-commerce platform

Finding the correct e-commerce platform for your enterprise can often be challenging; there are many options on the online market; some are amazing, and others not so much, especially in the live shopping market.

While doing something unique with your online business can be ideal for success, choosing a popular, reputable e-commerce launch platform is a wise option in the start-up phase. After all, you can always scale to bigger and better things as you build your capital.

4. Poor webpage, GUI, and customer experience

On top of a high-performing platform, long gone are the days of settling for plain, uninspiring web pages, slow, glitchy graphic user interfaces (GUI), and clunky and unintuitive e-commerce site search systems.

In e-commerce, first impressions last more than ever. As you may have experienced personally, one minor negative online interaction on someone’s web page could end your potential customer or client relationship in seconds.

It is also vital to ensure your clients and customers have good security, including:

  • Secure personal information
  • Secure transactions 
  • Transparent payment methods
  • Effective ransomware response and more

You must do everything you can to guarantee a positive customer experience, build brand trust, reduce the chance of poor reviews, and avoid cart abandonment.

There is no excuse for having a sub-par website, GUI and online security with many affordable, high-performance platforms, programs and apps available online today.

5. Content is key

In e-commerce, not only do you have to provide excellent services and reliable products, but you also have to meet the quality requirements of search engine algorithms. Search engines like Google and Bing use these algorithms to ensure their clients, primarily the public, receive credible information and the best services and products available in their region.

This includes relevant search information, accurate and concise content, and copy quality to search keywords; this is where SEO comes into play, which is short for search engine optimisation.

If you are considering a start-up or have just entered the e-commerce space, you would be wise to gain a solid understanding of SEO protocols, and free SEO information is abundant online.

SEO not only needs to be present in your web page copy but also in your regularly updated content, such as blogs, case studies and other promotional content.

No matter the size and scale of your e-commerce enterprise, the algorithms watch and judge your webpage. They will always be several steps ahead of you, and failure to take SEO seriously could be the difference between success and failure. There are more common mistakes people make, don’t worry they can be easily rectified.

6. Analytics and market growth

So, now you have a brand, an operational service, or a range of products, and your first month of sales has gone well; you are officially the proud owner of a functioning e-commerce business; so now what?

One thing e-commerce provides is data in spades, which can then be used as analytics for business development and market growth. 

If you are running your business effectively, then every sale, transaction, page visit, and interaction can be collected as data that you can then use to adapt and improve all areas of your e-commerce business, including:

  • Customer relations
  • Market growth capacity
  • Quality of service
  • Website speed and performance
  • Product sales performance
  • Click to sales conversion rates
  • Reviews and much more

Ignoring this vital information is one of the ways many e-commerce companies fall short of performance or, worse, shut their digital doors before there is a chance to reach the enterprise’s full potential.

Analytics can also act as a digital mentor holding you accountable for your company’s performance. Some analytics can be pretty confronting, which is a good thing, as they are a direct mirror of how your audience perceives your business and how well your products and services are performing.

The unwise e-commerce start-up professional ignores this data at their own peril; however, the wise entrepreneur sees this information as golden wisdom that will push their brand into the stratosphere and beyond.

In conclusion

E-commerce is no fad and there are many common mistakes every entrepreneur makes; the online marketplace is here to stay as long as there is an internet. If anything, we are only just starting to see the full potential of the e-commerce market as technologies rapidly evolve.

If you pay close attention to addressing these common mistakes, you can avoid many common pitfalls and failures in the online marketplace. So, approach your e-com start-up with an open mind, patience, analysis, endurance, and adaptability. Stay focused, and you may soon find that your online business aspirations can be met and surpassed.

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