Insider Intelligence, a well-renowned research company, estimates that the eCommerce sales will grow to $1.06 Trillion (growth of 16.1%) in 2022. With more and more stores launching online, the eCommerce space has become highly competitive.
Many businesses make the common mistake of not adopting modern marketing practices and make several errors if they do. According to Forbes, 90% of eCommerce businesses fail in the first three to four months after launch. In this article, we’ve outlined some of the worst-case scenarios that businesses face along with some actionable tips on how to avoid risks while running your online store.
1. Unprofessional, Dated Design, and Poor SEO
A poorly designed website can cause high bounce rates and give visitors the perception that your store is unreliable (or is selling low-quality products). You could miss out on many potential sales with an outdated design.
A professionally designed website has several benefits, such as setting a good first impression, creating trust, and assisting your SEO strategies. When setting up your online store, you should carefully review examples of well-designed eCommerce sites such as Apple, Bohemian Traders, and Welly to get an idea of how to design your website for optimum results.
According to experts at Lean Labs, if your online store is not optimized for search engines, your dependency on paid advertisements to drive traffic is unsustainable.
You gain numerous benefits when applying SEO best practices such as using keywords for each page, adding meta descriptions, and ensuring URLs match the content or products on the page. Benefits can include higher-quality traffic, better user experience, increased ROI and increased organic visibility. Not focusing on SEO, leads to minimal conversions, and dead traffic, and eventually, your store will start having low sales performance.
2. Unexamined Growth
Failure to plan growth strategies effectively is one of the most common errors made by online businesses. While adding a new product to your store might seem exciting at first, it is very important that you carefully analyze the financial feasibility. This can be done by evaluating the market size, profit margins, demand, competition, and more.
If you keep adding new products without focusing on sufficient demand for the product, your investment costs will increase, and your ROI will diminish. Figure out how to track useful statistics of your online store. Compare bounce rates, session time, and conversion rates of each product to find the best market fit using Google Analytics.
Analyzing your online store daily is key to your success. You can't expect new products to be instant hits without market research.
3. Lack of Security and Payment Issues
One of the biggest concerns of running an online store is ensuring that your data is secure. Otherwise, your customer base will slowly dwindle. In the age of the internet, cybercrimes are common, and you can be its victim more easily than you expect.
Ensure multiple security levels for your site, such as firewalls, and apply modern-day techniques to stop unwanted cyber-attacks on your site. You can try using the following techniques to avoid cyber-attacks:
- Analyzing website vulnerability
- Setting up firewalls and intrusion detection software
- Routinely testing security integrity
Apart from site security, another major factor that online store vendors must consider is that there must be no issue for customers to pay for their orders. Customers frequently experience various issues while purchasing items online, such as processing errors, gateway errors, payment methods not supported, etc.
If your payment gateway isn't reliable or if it doesn't accept most types of payments, you're costing your business tons of potential revenue. Without a robust payment process in place, you risk decreasing sales and driving your customers directly to competitors.
4. Sticking to Losing Products
What products are your best sellers? Many store owners often find it hard to face reality and are unwilling to identify which products are losing money. Monitoring current market trends and creating realistic forecasts are extremely important for businesses to succeed.
Monitor which products were sold the least in a specific period, and then plan to remove the products that are no longer getting you any money. Adapting to changing market trends is important to stay ahead of your competitors.
Decide your market niche and use SEO tools such as Ahrefs to determine product demand through keywords. When you run a search on keyword statistics, the search volume would indicate customer interest in that specific product.
Your analysis results determine whether adding or removing products is the right decision. With innovations such as predictive analytics, machine learning, algorithmic recommendations, and more, marketplace management has become easier to operate.
5. Poor Logistics, Long Delivery, and No Return Policy
In today's fast-paced marketplace, establishing a reliable logistical framework and reducing delivery time is vital for businesses to survive.
With more and more stores offering overnight shipping, customer expectations have increased immensely. Logistics are something that you must plan comprehensively at the very beginning of your venture. Include all the possibilities and drive a method by which you will be able to get the products to your customers in the fastest way possible. By improving your logistics and streamlining its process you'll be able to keep them happy and satisfied!
Third-party logistics are another worthwhile option for businesses. By outsourcing your logistics operations to experienced professionals, businesses can focus on other critical day-to-day tasks. It is important to remember that after COVID, the supply chain model has been disrupted completely. Before COVID, logistical supply chains were focused on reducing costs and maximizing efficiency, but now most businesses are focusing on survival by remaining flexible and understanding delays.
Another thing that you must include in your business model is your return policy. Buyers appreciate transparency. Having a return policy in place helps build trust. So, a clear and easy-to-understand policy regarding the items customers want to return and keeping them informed about it beforehand will do the job.
The customers will not hesitate to make a purchase. However, realizing the quality isn't what they hoped for, they could be inclined to return the product. Add the forecasted cost of the returned items to your initial business cost so that this doesn't come up as an unforeseen expense later.
6. Absence of an Effective Marketing Plan
Many stores fail to utilize modern marketing techniques to induce engagement and maximize conversions. Identifying your target customer profile, creating a buyer persona, establishing multiple touchpoints, and creating opportunities for remarketing are some of the important elements. Create conversion-oriented campaigns to get the best results out of your marketing budget.
Marketing nowadays has reached new levels; you must be aware of modern-day marketing methods to get ahead of your competitors.
There is no specific road map to marketing, which makes it tricky; you need to test and try things and see what works best for your store.
7. Lack of Investment
Many store owners make the common mistake of not planning unforeseen expenditures. No business can excel without sufficient investment. There are several types of investments needed, such as:
- Basic Requirements: Purchasing a reliable hosting solution, domain, etc. These are charged monthly/annually.
- Website Development: With easy-to-use solutions such as WordPress and Shopify, you could also build the store yourself in no time.
- Inventory Purchase and Management: Purchase sufficient inventory to avoid logistical issues later. It is important not to purchase too much inventory at the start before you’re able to analyze how the product is performing. Keeping track of sales, orders, and storage space is a tough process. You also have the option of outsourcing to third-party logistics who take care of everything from A to Z. These companies provide access to experienced individuals who help drive logistic costs down and take care of the entire process, allowing you to focus on your core competencies and scale your business.
- Marketing Expense: This is a very broad term that covers costs for paid ads, graphic designs, printed promotions, SEO, and more.
- Backup Investment: Some eCommerce stores may take a while to kick off, it is important to ensure that the business has sufficient financial backup to keep running until takeoff.
- Business Expansion: Normally this investment is only needed when things are going well and the store is looking to expand its product line.
While running your online store, it’s important to focus on providing value to your customers. By providing them with a seamless shopping experience alongside great products, you’d be able to stay ahead of the competition.
With tasks such as website design, feasibility analysis, SEO, and logistics to cater to, running an online store effectively may seem like a daunting task. But by avoiding the mistakes mentioned above, you’d be able to run your store successfully.
To stand out from your competition, you could also look into more creative ways to boost your online presence, such as eCommerce personalization, interactive widgets, chatbots, and more!
For items such as logistics and marketing, remember you can outsource to experienced third-party companies that can help maximize your success by utilizing their numerous years of experience.
About the Author
Jake Rheude is the Vice President of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an eCommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of eCommerce. He has years of experience in eCommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.