Ecommerce continues to provide an important opportunity for many potential entrepreneurs around the globe, and in a world which is increasingly mobile, small ecommerce businesses are filling the gaps big companies are leaving. The reason for the popularity of ecommerce is founded in real consumer need. In a recent survey by UPS, as many as 70% of shoppers prefer buying online rather than in a store. And as smartphones and other mobile devices help to bump that percentage up as more and more purchases are made on-the-go, ecommerce will likely only grow stronger as a business model.
But because of the ease of starting an ecommerce businesses, many entrepreneurs are jumping on the bandwagon without pausing to think about building their competitive advantage or the skills they’ll need to compete with more established businesses. Just having a website with a shopping cart is not a guarantee of success, and there are several important skills an entrepreneur needs in order to survive the critical first years.
We’ve highlighted some of the most common mistakes new ecommerce entrepreneurs make, and established some guidelines on how to overcome these critical flaws.
Not Having a Strategy
Just because you have a website and a product doesn’t mean that potential consumers will ever discover that website. So, well before opening your website, begin developing a strategy to help potential customers discover your business. In some cases, this might mean investing in SEO or PPC, to ensure that new customers in your targeted area see your website when making organic searches on search engines.
But these options can be expensive and time consuming. Try not to rule out local advertising, flyers, and social media as a great way to get the word out. A good rule of thumb? Try to aim for getting your business name and website out to at least ten new people every day.
Not Protecting Your Website
Small businesses are increasingly targeted by hackers and viruses, and if you mean to build a significant revenue stream, you need to be concerned about security. Ensure that your computer has a strong antivirus for pc suite and is checked weekly for issues which could infect your website. Install security plugins on your website to monitor it for malware or hacking, and be up-to-date on the security recommendations of your hosting provider. But most of all? Make regular back-ups of your website and client information, so that if anything happens to your website, you can simply revert to an older version and continue fulfilling orders.
Not Using Promotions
Promotions are often the best and most immediate way to get potential clients aware of your business… and to turn potential clients into actual customers. When you’re building your business model, try to build a promotional strategy in. This might be anything from offering a monthly ‘sales’ day, offering subscribers discounts at checkout, or even giving away some of your product for free! The rule of thumb in most ecommerce promotional strategies is that the bigger the promotion or ‘discount’, the more individuals will take advantage of it and use your service.
Not Utilizing Email Lists
One of the most effective ways to get people to visit your site a second time, and to remind them of your business, is sending regular email updates. Major companies use them because they’re effective… and ecommerce entrepreneurs should, too. And many studies indicate that re-marketing to past clients is often has a higher ROI than marketing to entirely new potential clients. Develop a newsletter plan and stick to it!
Building a successful ecommerce website is hard, and no entrepreneur wants to unwittingly sabotage their own work. So do more than just cover the basics with a logo and contact page; give some deep thought to your business plan and your objectives.
If you need ideas, study a successful business in your industry. Research their marketing channels and techniques, and learn what factors contribute to success. And always be objective about your own project, and be willing to make changes and adjustments if something isn’t working or yielding the results you need to succeed.