Still on this Electronic Commerce Matter.
E-commerce is quickly becoming the preferred way to buy. And this is a positive thing because it fosters healthy competition and better customer incentives. Building a successful e-commerce business is tough. This is mostly because people forget that simply creating an e-commerce site is not a guarantee of success.
However, everyone makes mistakes, and it is the mistakes which teach us the best lessons.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the biggest mistakes new e-commerce businesses make so you can learn from them and avoid making yours.
1. Putting features above strategy.
It’s easy to be impressed with your own website, but having the coolest, slickest, or sexiest e-commerce site is not a strategy.
Leave the bells and whistles to the product team and focus on the big picture: What need do you fill in the market, where are the white space opportunities, what is truly innovative?
Make sure to focus on critical initiatives that will move the business.
2. Launching With An Empty Online Store:
This is the problem many new e-commerce businesses in Africa have. They launch with little to no product items listed on their websites. If your online store is going to sell only a very few selected items, then the website should be well designed to look like it only sells those few items.
Imagine a brand like Chanel building a website that looks like Amazon’s. It’s a total no-brainer, knowing they release only a few collections per quarter.
First impressions are everything. When you launch an empty or low-stocked online store and start using various marketing strategies to get visitors to your website, upon arrival, they’d skim through, leave, and probably never return.
3. Not Using Paid Ads or Spending Way Too much on Paid Ads:
You’re probably thinking “What do they want fro us now ehn?!” I know.
But the truth is, you need to find the balance. Paid ads are important but if you’re on a low budget as most start ups are, you don’t want to dump it all on paid ads without taking time to study what works for you and what doesn’t. You’ll need to understand which consumers react to what type of ads, and how. Experimenting like this on a low budget could cost you over half of your startup capital, if not everything.
And besides, what if some bigger company enters into the market and it starts investing heavily on paid ads? You don’t what to put yourself in the position where paid ads are all you have going on for you.
This doesn’t mean you should completely write off paid ads. No. No. No.
If you are a startup and no one knows about you, it is important to reach out to people and bring your product in front of them. The ‘If you build it, they will come’ mentality doesn’t always work and getting quality traffic through SEO takes time. If you wait for people to come, they may not.
4. Not Gathering Enough Data and Inaccurately Measuring Success.
Many new e-commerce businesses don’t know their average daily page views, daily unique visitors, what pages get visited the most, what items get purchased or returned the most, what items get ignored or inquired about the most, what their real daily running expense costs are, their customer acquisition cost, what customers have to say about their service, and a lot more.
Without the right data, your business could come to a standstill and eventually crash out.
Also, when measuring success, you want to compare year-over-year, not quarter-over-quarter, as e-commerce is highly seasonal. Comparing your June site traffic to May site traffic isn’t an effective measure because summer months are typically slower. Instead, compare June to June and May to May, just as traditional retailers do.
5. Choosing Poor Advertising Partners.
When it comes to advertising partnerships, ask for lots of data;
- Open rate
- CTR (Click through Rate)
- The frequency of the advertiser’s sponsorships, among other metrics.