The world of e-commerce is always changing and expanding, but there are still some general rules you should follow if you want to succeed. If you’re getting ready to launch your online store, make sure that you avoid these six mistakes.
1. Not Doing Market Research
It’s easy to get so caught up in the romance of bringing your project ideas to life, but what if customers aren’t interested in your ideas? It’s important to do your market research before you launch any product.
Successful e-commerce site owners will tell you that it’s better to do one thing really well than to have hundreds of products that really don’t sell. Focus on one thing, and become an authority in your niche.
A great example of this is Murseworld.com. This e-commerce site specializes in men’s scrubs. In fact, that’s the only thing they sell – and they do it well.
Learn more about the products that sell well online, and research the competition. Don’t blindly dive in head-first.
2. Not Optimizing Your Site for Mobile
More people than ever before are shopping online through their smartphones. According to Google Analytics, 40% of online transactions were made on mobile devices between June and September 2017. In 2012, consumers in the U.S. spent $7.8 billion on retail purchases using their smartphones.
If your e-commerce site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’re leaving money on the table.
When building your site, choose a responsive design that will automatically adjust the layout and size to the visitor’s device.
If you think design isn’t important, think again. According to Marketing Charts, 78% of smartphone users say the look and feel of a company’s mobile site impacted their decision to make a purchase.
3. Ignoring Social Media
According to Forbes, 68% of consumers research companies on social networks before making a purchase. And 78% of consumers say the posts made by companies on social media influences their purchases.
Many e-commerce sites make the mistake of avoiding social media when they first launch. Even if you only have one product in your shop, you should create social media accounts and be active on them.
This way, customers can find you and learn more about you when researching your company. Social networks also give you a chance to build brand awareness and bring in new potential customers.
4. Not Providing Good Customer Support
What level of customer support do you offer? Do customers even know how to get in contact with you if they have a question or concern?
Many new e-commerce sites make the mistake of not having feedback widgets, contact forms and live chat boxes available. These interactive features make your online store feel a little bit more like a physical store.
5. Trying to Do Everything Yourself
When you’re just getting started in e-commerce, your budget is usually limited and your passion is high. You want to maintain as much control over everything as possible.
But you can’t do everything. You’ll burn out quickly if you go this route.
Hire someone else to take care of customer service, and consider choosing a domestic company. If there are other tasks that can be outsourced affordably, do it. By offloading these non-core tasks, you’ll have more free time to focus on what matters most: your business.
Ryan Yarbrough is a small business consultant, speaker, and the manager at Davis Financial Services, a small business consulting firm.